About Our Research

The translation of the genetic code is fundamental to life and all cells have to determine which mRNAs get translated, how much they are translated, and where within the cell they are translated.  We are broadly interested in understanding how cells answer these questions and we address them by using multi-disciplinary approaches in yeast and human cell culture, such as ribosome profiling and computational analysis, biochemical techniques, and single-molecule fluorescence imaging.

Efforts in the Section are focused on the question of how ribosomes terminate translation and how they are "recycled" after they terminate. We discovered that recycling occurs in two phases and that several proteins are specifically involved. In the future, we aim to understand how termination and recycling are regulated and what role collisions between ribosomes play in the process. In addition, how pathways that sense aberrant translation events, such as the Integrated Stress Response (ISR), Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC), and Nonsense Mediated Decay (NMD), interact to control stress signaling, mRNA decay, and "rescue" of stalled ribosomes is an important goal of our work.

Many of the proteins we study are oncogenes or are are known to be linked to neurological diseases and aging. Many of them are also critical for the immune response. Our work is therefore important for understanding what happens in the cells of patients with these diseases and finding novel targets for pharmaceuticals.

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