The overarching goal of my research program is to study the structural basis of the function of protein complexes involved in lipid and nutrient metabolism and cell growth. These complexes are routinely found to be deregulated in cancer. We use electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) to image proteins purified from cell cultures or animal tissues to build 3D density (i.e. Coulomb potential) maps. We strive to achieve atomic-resolution density maps to enable atomic modeling of the purified proteins. Structural understanding of molecular function will enrich our fundamental knowledge of the mechanistic basis of tumorigenesis.
Currently, my laboratory is interested in the structural basis of i) de novo fatty acid synthesis, ii) A Kinase Anchor Protein 9 (AKAP9)-mediated microtubule nucleation, and iii) regulation of mTORC1 through the action of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. My lab is also involved in two collaborative projects on ion channels (IP3R and Orai channels) and PTEN signaling with other researchers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.