School of Medicine
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Wells H. Rauser and Harold M. Petiprin Professor and Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, of Biochemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch in this laboratory focuses on problems where deep insights into enzymology and metabolism can be harnessed to improve human health.
For the past two decades, we have studied and engineered enzymatic assembly lines called polyketide synthases that catalyze the biosynthesis of structurally complex and medicinally fascinating antibiotics in bacteria. An example of such an assembly line is found in the erythromycin biosynthetic pathway. Our current focus is on understanding the structure and mechanism of this polyketide synthase. At the same time, we are developing methods to decode the vast and growing number of orphan polyketide assembly lines in the sequence databases.
For more than a decade, we have also investigated the pathogenesis of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine, with the goal of discovering therapies and related management tools for this widespread but overlooked disease. Ongoing efforts focus on understanding the pivotal role of transglutaminase 2 in triggering the inflammatory response to dietary gluten in the celiac intestine.
Peter S. Kim
Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of BiochemistryOn Partial Leave from 09/01/2023 To 06/30/2024
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are studying the mechanism of viral membrane fusion and its inhibition by drugs and antibodies. We use the HIV envelope protein (gp120/gp41) as a model system. Some of our studies are aimed at creating an HIV vaccine. We are also characterizing protein surfaces that are referred to as "non-druggable". These surfaces are defined empirically based on failure to identify small, drug-like molecules that bind to them with high affinity and specificity.
Paul and Mildred Berg Professor
Current Research and Scholarly Interests- Lung development and stem cells
- Neural circuits of breathing and speaking
- Lung diseases including lung cancer
- New genetic model organism for biology, behavior, health and conservation