RESEARCH & DISCOVERIES
Current Areas of Study
QUINONES in BIOLOGY
Quinone moieties have a range of biological roles from redox cofactors (e.g. pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and trihydroxyphenylalanine quinone (TPQ)) to neurotransmitters and adhesion molecules in biology. Our laboratory is currently synthesizing new small molecules bearing quinone moeties with the goal to produce potential therapeutics (antimicrobial or anti-Parkinson's compounds) or new building blocks for novel biomaterials. We are also studying the various enzymes that biosynthesize quinone cofactors in order to target these enzymes within the cell or utilize their catalytic power in chemo-enzymatic synthesis.
THYMIDYLATE BIOSYNTHESIS ENZYMES
DNA biosynthetic enzymes are an attractive target for chemotherapeutic and antibiotic drugs. We are particularly interested in the de novo biosynthesis of thymidylate (dTMP), one of the four DNA bases, which is essential for cell replication and survival. Our laboratory studies the enzymes responsible for dTMP biosynthesis, either produced by humans or by pathogenic microorganisms, with the overarching goal to better understand these enzymes in order to develop novel chemotherapeutics and antibiotic agents.
CHEMICAL BIOLOGY & ENZYME ENGINEERING
Our laboratory is using a range of cutting-edge techniques to develop novel enzyme reactions, new biophysical tools, and biomimetic materials and catalysts. We are applying enzyme chemistry and molecular biology to create new proteins that catalyze unusual reactions or have expanded synthetic utility. We are also developing new tools to assay kinetics of enzyme reactions or monitor dynamical behavior of proteins.