Research in our laboratory seeks to understand the role of metabolism in mediating chemical communication in living systems. Metabolic reactions are typically catalyzed by enzymes, and extract, transfer and store chemical energy from nutrients, generate building blocks for biosynthesis of larger biomolecules, and eliminate harmful compounds. These reactions also produce metabolites that are structurally diverse and interact with cellular components such as enzymes and receptors to modulate cellular activity. We are interested in studying these metabolite modulators: how are they synthesized and broken down, how are these processes regulated, and what are their molecular targets, and what functions to they modulate?
We take a systems approach to answer these questions, combining experimental and computational techniques. As engineers, we wish to use the insights gained from our studies to develop new ways for inhibiting or promoting cell functions in biomedical and biotechnological applications. Current projects focus on host-microbe interactions and cell-based bioprocesses.
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