The Big Picture
I study the link between the biophysical properties of macromolecules and the principles of biological phenomena such as subcellular localization and compartmentalization, evolution, and fitness
There exists a dichotomy between classical biochemical and cellular research on how proteins respond to an increase in temperature. Proteins heated in vitro typically misfold and form unproductive aggregates. In vivo, heat shock triggers the productive assembly of many proteins and their complexes into evolutionarily conserved bodies called stress granules. Recent data suggest these are separate, but linked phenomena. I am working towards understanding the breadth of mechanisms utilized in the temperature-dependence and the specificity of protein assembly. I hope to extrapolate these mechanisms to other biological signals/stresses to develop our understanding of the physical basis and cellular benefits of assembly.