Biochemistry and Biophysics
My laboratory primarily studies the interactions between proteins and their ligands, substrates or inhibitors. We use several techniques in the examination of the molecular details of these types of interactions including x-ray crystallography, microcalorimetry, and molecular biology. An area of research for several years has been proteins and enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis. We are also applying protein crystallography to define aspects of the structural basis of the cellular immune response. This is being done through a concerted effort to determine the 3-D structures of several major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) with specific antigenic peptides bound, as well as proteins from the T-cell. These studies have permitted many insights into how cells notify the immune system of their infection. A third major focus in the laboratory is in the field of rational drug design. Our approach to designing drugs is to first determine the 3-D structure of a target enzyme and then use these data to computer design inhibitors that will bind to the enzyme's active site. These structural studies are combined with high throughput and combinatorial screens. We have now designed and synthesized several compounds which are drug candidates against tuberculosis.
Ph. D., 1987, Washington University, St. Louis