"What we learn from the model system, S. cerevisiae, has important implications for the human system because many of the DNA transaction pathways in both organisms are conserved," Zhuang notes. "We expect that the knowledge we gain from this study will contribute to the further deciphering of ubiquitin's role in how cells respond to damaged DNA. Moreover," he adds, "we expect that the new chemical approaches we develop for producing ubiquitylated proteins will aid researchers in investigating other cellular processes that involve post-translational modification by ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like proteins."
Zhuang's laboratory works at the interface of chemistry and biology to develop new tools and approaches that will enable better understanding of complex biological systems at the molecular level.
"Currently we are working to dissect the different steps in the process of translesion synthesis with a focus on the role of ubiquitin modification," Zhuang says. "Our findings from this investigation will further inform our ongoing research on human cancer development and therapy."
The NSF award will support the expansion of Zhuang's research collaborations at home and abroad. Kelvin Lee, Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, will share his expertise in mass spectrometry. The project also will foster a long-term research collaboration with the Institute of Genetics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The ultimate goal of the project, Zhuang notes, is to establish research and educational programs that not only advance the field of chemical biology by enhancing the scientific understanding of DNA damage tolerance, but also to inspire and educate the next generation of chemical biologists.
The project's outreach component seeks to spark the scientific curiosity and career aspirations of high-school students, w
|Contact: Tracey Bryant|
University of Delaware