Biochemistry: Faculty-Student Research
Bioorganic Chemistry Research on Enzyme Inhibitors
Dave Alberg , Chemistry
Prof. Dave Alberg (left) does research that involves the design, synthesis, and evaluation of potential inhibitors of the parasite enzyme trypanothione reductase (TR). The metabolic pathway involving TR is unique to the parasites of the genera Trypanosoma and Leishmania, which are responsible for many diseases affecting man and domestic animals, including African sleeping sickness and Chaga's disease. Dave's group is synthesizing and evaluating a number of potential reversible and irreversible TR inhibitors which they expect to be selective for this enzyme over the closely related host enzyme, glutathione reductase.
Protein-RNA Interactions & RNA Structure
Joe Chihade , Chemistry
Prof. Joe Chihade (left) has research interests are in the broad areas of protein-RNA interactions and RNA structure. These areas lie at the intersection of biology and chemistry and encompass wide variety of scientific perspectives. These range from the "biological" questions of which proteins interact with particular RNAs, what the consequences of these interactions are to the living cell, and how particular interactions evolved, to the more "chemical" questions of how a specific functional group influences a macromolecular interaction or changes the structure of a macromolecule, and how a simple chemical reagent can be used to elucidate biological function. Current research in the lab is focused on two projects: 1) characterizing substrate recognition of alanyl-tRNA synthetases which aminoacylate the highly unusual tRNAs found in animal mitochondria, and 2) developing tools for creating RNA-based enzyme mimics using specific RNA modifying enzymes and carbodiimide reagents.