Work in our lab resides at the crossroads of biochemistry and genetics and takes advantage of the many research benefits offered by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model eukaryotic cell system. A short, but by no means exhaustive, list of areas of active study can be found here.
For most short-lived eukaryotic proteins, attachment to ubiquitin is an obligatory step in the cascade of events that culminates in their degradation. Protein turnover via the highly conserved ubiquitin-proteasome system is central to a great variety of regulatory mechanisms, including many of medical relevance. We wish to understand, at a mechanistic and molecular level, how specific proteins are rapidly degraded within cells even while most proteins are spared. This entails detailed functional analysis of the various elements of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, from the degradation signals targeting proteins for destruction, to the components of the ubiquitin conjugation machinery, to the proteasome itself.