Life as we see it is a collection of proteins, organized in interesting ways. We analyze the synthesis of proteins, their structure, actions and interactions. When proteins are born, they need either to be targeted to their proper compartment or acquire their proper three-dimensional structure. Members of our group thus study protein targeting and ER quality control, the catalysis of protein folding, how heat and oxidative stress affect protein folding, and how proteins can end up in the disease associated prion configuration.
Once proteins are in place they can do amazing things like transduce light into energy, control the signal transduction cascades that allow cells to grow and divide properly and can even generate the compounds that make a flower smell so sweet. We study all these processes by the use of biochemical techniques such as enzyme purification and characterization, physical techniques such as spectroscopy and crystallography, cell biological techniques such as light microscopy and cell fractionation along with molecular biological techniques and genetics. Bonding us is a common interest in the use of model organisms to attack fundamental biological questions.