Research in my lab is focused on the proteins that control cell growth and cell death, particularly in a type of white blood cell known as a T lymphocyte or T cell. These proteins are generally part of a signal transduction pathway that translates what is happening outside of the cell to an event inside the cell, resulting in a functional change. The functional change of the cell could result in the cell changing shape, moving, producing new proteins through transcription and translation or many other activities.
Although these studies are relevant to many types of diseases, as well as cellular differentiation, development and other normal cell functions, such as immune responses, my specific interests are in the roles that these proteins play in the development of cancer. Cancer is a disease caused by unregulated cell growth, where the normal mechanisms that balance cell reproduction and cell death are malfunctioning. Currently, I am studying a tumor suppressor protein, RASSF1A to determine its role in a human cancer T cell line. As the name suggests, a tumor suppressor is a protein whose normal role in a cell is to inhibit uncontrolled cell growth. In many types of cancer, tumor suppressor proteins become mutated or silenced so that they are unable to carry out their jobs. We are determining the effect of RASSF1A and mutant versions of the protein on transcriptional regulation. Learn more about this project here.
Some papers and abstracts on my past and current research projects can be found here.
At Olin College, our mission is to educate engineering students. My research projects have greatly benefitted from the involvement of many undergraduate students. Students often present their research findings at regional or national conferences and also at Olin’s Expo, which is an end of semester public event to showcase the work that students have done inside and outside of classes during the semester.