My laboratory studies genes involved in the ubiquitin system. Ubiquitin is a small protein that is covalently tagged to other proteins to regulate their longevity, activity or localization in the cell. Ubiquitin addition, called ubiquitination, and its effects can be reversed by deubiquitinases (DUBs) that remove ubiquitin from tagged proteins. Ubiquitination/deubiquitination cycles regulate many important cellular proteins, and the loss of this regulation is associated with disease and developmental problems.
We are specifically interested in how WD-repeat (WDR) proteins regulate DUBs. We use reverse genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry to better understand the role of WDR proteins in regulating DUB activity. Our research employs two model eukaryotes, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the yeast S. cerevisiae. We aim to understand the role WDR proteins have in recruiting specific substrate proteins to specific DUBs.
My lab is also interested in the biology of fermentation. We have isolated and genetically identified dozens of wild yeasts and are characterizing their fermentation abilities. We collaborate with two local breweries to identify wild microorganisms involved in open-fermentation brewing and barrel-aging to help develop new yeast strains for use in creating novel beers. You can learn more by reviewing our recent posters describing these projects - Evo Brewery poster Burley Oak Brewery poster - or a Salisbury University press release.