Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular metabolism is an important aspect of modern biochemistry. In humans, metabolic imbalances can lead to obesity, diabetes and cancer. In bacteria, efficient reprogramming of metabolic pathways can be exploited to produce valuable products, including biodegradable plastics and biofuels. Enzymes are central players in cellular metabolism. They are highly selective catalysts, greatly increasing both the rate and specificity of metabolic reactions, from the digestion of food to the synthesis of DNA. Therefore, obtaining structural insights into the mechanisms regulating enzymatic activity is crucial for developing new therapeutics, and may provide the basis for engineering more efficient bacteria for microbial production of chemicals from renewable carbon sources.
In our lab, the structure, dynamics and interactions of enzymatic proteins are studied using a broad range of biophysical techniques. Our experimental approach involves state-of-the-art methods in biomolecular NMR, computer simulations, enzymology, and protein chemistry. Our research is primarily focused on determining how enzymatic activity and regulation are coupled to structural and dynamical features of an enzyme. Moreover, we look forward to applying the information gathered from these studies to the development of new inhibitors and bacterial systems.
- Research interests
- Protein structures, dynamics and regulation; Development of solution NMR methods for structural elucidation of large proteins and protein complexes
- Ph.D., University of Siena - 2009
Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health - 2009-2014