Profile and Department: Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto
My lab is fascinated with the birth, life, and death of proteins. Right after their birth, all proteins need to adopt their intricate three-dimensional shape and find the right localization in the cell. They do so with the help of an ancient network of highly conserved chaperones and co-chaperones. After adopting the right shape in the right place, all proteins must then interact with other proteins and biomolecules within the greater context of cellular interaction networks. And when their time has come, all proteins must be degraded in an orderly manner through the ubiquitin-proteasome system. My laboratory is using modern high-throughput functional proteomics tools to characterize how these networks of chaperones, co-chaperones, and the ubiquitin-proteasome system are organized and how protein/protein interaction specificity is achieved in the crowded environment of the cell. In particular, we are interested in understanding how these networks are rewired in cancer and in rare Mendelian disorders. In addition, my laboratory has a strong emphasis on technology development for detecting and characterizing new bimolecular interactions, such as those between secreted proteins and their cell-surface receptors.