Research Description: 
We study how cells make proteins, which is a fundamental process for life. Ribosomes are the machines responsible for protein synthesis in all cells. Ribosomes accurately "read" the genetic information in mRNAs to assemble all the proteins required by the cell. Ribosomes are large macromolecular complexes made up of RNA and protein. The process of protein synthesis is very complex and highly regulated in eukaryotic cells. 

Currently we are focusing on three research areas: 

First, we are studying how the different steps in bacterial protein synthesis are catalyzed by the ribosome and several translational factors. This will provide insights for developing new antibiotics to treat drug-resistrant bacterial infections.

Second, we are studying the mechanism of translational control by the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP). Fragile X Syndrome is the most common form of mental retardation. We are interested in understanding how FMRP regulates the synthesis of numerous proteins in the nervous system.

Third, we are studying the mechanism used by the influenza virus to enhance the translation of viral mRNAs. Previous studies have shown that influenza virus infection blocks the transport and translation of host mRNAs, whereas viral mRNAs are translated efficiently. We are interested in understanding the protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions that are important for this process. These studies may provide insights for developing new anti-viral agents to treat flu.   

Graduate Program: 
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chemistry and Biochemistry