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Professor of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur focus is on building computational models of complex biological processes, and using them to guide an experimental program. Such an approach leads to a relatively rapid identification and validation of previously unknown components and interactions. Biological systems of interest include metabolic, regulatory and signaling networks as well as cell-cell interactions. Current research involves the dynamic behavior of NF-kappaB, an important family of transcription factors.
Professor of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are developing various physical and chemical approaches to study biological processes in neurons. There are three major research directions: (1) Investigating the axonal transport process using optical imging, magnetic and optical trapping, and microfluidic platform; (2) Developing vertical nanopillar-based electric and optic sensors for sensitive detection of biological functions; (3) Using optogentic approach to investigate temporal and spatial control of intracellular signaling pathways.
Martha S. Cyert
Dr. Nancy Chang Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Cyert lab is identifying signaling networks for calcineurin, the conserved Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase, and target of immunosuppressants FK506 and cyclosporin A, in yeast and mammals. Cell biological investigations of target dephosphorylation reveal calcineurin’s many physiological functions. Roles for short linear peptide motifs, or SLiMs, in substrate recognition, network evolution, and regulation of calcineurin activity are being studied.
Head, Metabolomics Knowledge Center
BioDr. Yuqin Dai is the Head of the Metabolomics Knowledge Center at Stanford ChEM-H. In this role, she collaborates with faculty in the development and execution of experiments aimed at measuring small molecule drug candidates, endogenous and exogenous metabolites in a variety of biomedical R&D contexts. In addition, she provides strategic vision, mentorship, and leadership in the development of new LC/MS analytical methodologies for metabolomics research, the Metabolomics Knowledge Center’s daily operation and growth.
Dr. Dai came to ChEM-H with 20 years of research, marketing and managerial experiences across biotech/pharma and analytical instrument industries. Prior to joining ChEM-H in January of 2020, Dr. Dai worked at Agilent managing strategic collaborations with key opinion leaders in academia and industry for metabolomics researches, driving new application marketing opportunities, and developing differential solutions to support new LC/MS and automation product introductions. Before Agilent, Dr. Dai led bioanalytical R&D teams and managed DMPK projects to support drug discovery and development programs at three biotech/pharm companies. She was also extensively involved in new technology assessment and implementation. Dr. Dai received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Alberta, Canada, where her research focused on the LC/MS and MALDI/MS instrumentation and method development for proteomics and small molecule applications.
Laura M.K. Dassama
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
BioThe Dassama laboratory at Stanford performs research directed at understanding and mitigating bacterial multidrug resistance (MDR). Described as an emerging crisis, MDR often results from the misuse of antibiotics and the genetic transfer of resistance mechanisms by microbes. Efforts to combat MDR involve two broad strategies: understanding how resistance is acquired in hopes of mitigating it, and identifying new compounds that could serve as potent antibiotics. The successful implementation of both strategies relies heavily on an interdisciplinary approach, as resistance mechanisms must be elucidated on a molecular level, and formation of new drugs must be developed with precision before they can be used. The laboratory uses both strategies to contribute to current MDR mitigation efforts.
One area of research involves integral membrane proteins called multidrug and toxin efflux (MATE) pumps that have emerged as key players in MDR because their presence enables bacteria to secrete multiple drugs.The genes encoding these proteins are present in many bacterial genomes. However, the broad substrate range and challenges associated with membrane protein handling have hindered efforts to elucidate and exploit transport mechanisms of MATE proteins. To date, substrates identified for MATE proteins are small and ionic drugs, but recent reports have implicated these proteins in efflux of novel natural product substrates. The group’s approach will focus on identifying the natural product substrates of some of these new MATE proteins, as well as obtaining static and dynamic structures of the proteins during efflux. These efforts will define the range of molecules that can be recognized and effluxed by MATE proteins and reveal how their transport mechanisms can be exploited to curtail drug efflux.
Another research direction involves the biosynthesis of biologically active natural products. Natural products are known for their therapeutic potential, and those that derive from modified ribosomal peptides are an important emerging class. These ribosomally produced and post-translationally modified peptidic (RiPP) natural products have the potential to substantially diversify the chemical composition of known molecules because the peptides they derive from can tolerate sequence variance, and modifying enzymes can be selected to install specific functional groups. With an interest in producing new antimicrobial and anticancer compounds, the laboratory will exploit the versatility of RiPP natural product biosynthesis. Specifically, efforts in the laboratory will revolve around elucidating the reaction mechanisms of particular biosynthetic enzymes and leveraging that understanding to design and engineer new natural products with desired biological activities.
Associate Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy lab is interested in the relationship between cell death and metabolism. Using techniques drawn from many disciplines my laboratory is investigating how perturbation of intracellular metabolic networks can result in novel forms of cell death, such as ferroptosis. We are interested in applying this knowledge to find new ways to treat diseases characterized by insufficient (e.g. cancer) or excessive (e.g. neurodegeneration) cell death.