Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics

About the Lab

The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics uses molecular genetics, biochemical techniques, microscopy and physical chemical approaches, to study a diverse range of topics related to disease and health. These include: prions (infectious proteins) in yeast; the roles of chaperones and other components in yeast prions; centrosome replication and function; gamete development, meiosis, and fertilization; molecular crowding; biosynthesis of polyamines and their roles in translation and other functions; and translation, particularly termination and the ribosome recycling process.

Current Research

Our goal is to discover new knowledge useful in understanding basic biology and disease processes.

Andy Golden: We are modeling human monogenic diseases by creating the analogous mutations in the C. elegans genes. We will characterize the biological consequences and use suppressor/enhancer genetics to find interacting genes.

Nicholas Guydosh: We study the molecular mechanism of the ribosome and how changes in translation alter gene expression during viral infection or in diseases such as cancer.

Daniel Masison: We exploit the strict dependency of yeast prions on protein chaperones to study not only how chaperones act to influence propagation of amyloid in vivo, but also how they cooperate to perform their many crucial roles in cellular protein quality control.

Allen Minton: We study how nonspecific interactions between bioichemical reactants and elements of the surrounding medium affect the kinetics and equilibria of specific biochemical reactions within complex media resembling biological fluids and interfaces.

Kevin O'Connell: Centrioles play critical roles in mitosis, cell motility, and cell signaling and centriole dysfunction has been linked to a growing number of diseases. Our research addresses how cells control centriole number with particular emphasis on the mechanism underlying centriole biogenesis and the how the structural integrity of centrioles is maintained over many cell generations.

Herbert Tabor: Polyamines are very widely distributed in biological materials and have been shown to have a variety of physiological functions. We are now studying how polyamines stimulate the level of the RpoS subunit of E.coli RNA polymerase, and the action of polyamines in correcting the defect in the wobble position of aminoacyltRNA due to an mnmE chromosomal deletion.

Reed Wickner: Because yeast prions are detrimental to the host, we are studying host systems that eliminate yeast prions or limit their pathogenicity.