My research is directed at understanding inter-molecular interactions in biological systems. An understanding of these interactions is required if biological systems are to be comprehended at the molecular level. The combined tools of molecular biology, computational biology, NMR spectroscopy and x-ray crystallography are used to provide important information to aid in our understanding of these interactions. Our research efforts have been directed at enzyme-substrate interactions, protein-lipid interactions, antibody-antigen interactions, RNA structure, and protein-nucleic acid interactions. Current areas of research are briefly described below.
Enzyme-Substrate Interactions: Glutathione transferases are cellular detoxification enzymes. As such, they play an important role in the protection of an organism from carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. Current efforts in my laboratory are directed at correlating substrate specificity and enzymatic mechanism with protein dynamics and substrate-protein interactions. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Saxena at the University of Pittsburgh (Chemistry).
Protein-DNA Interactions: In collaboration with Dr. Jen-Jacobson at the University of Pittsburgh (Biological Sciences) we are using NMR spectroscopy and thermodynamic measurements to understand the recognition of specific DNA sequences by restriction endonucleases.
Thymidylate Kinase: We are using biophysical and computational tools to develop inhibitors of thymidylate kinases which are potential anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-malarial drugs.
Automated NMR assignments: A key bottleneck in the analysis of NMR data is the assignment of resonance lines to atoms in the protein. We are developing automated Monte-carlo methods to accomplish this task.