“Molecular Biology” is defined by both an approach (a way to do life science) and a subject (a way to think about life science). Theses underlie our drive to understand molecules – DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites – that are the fundamental units of a living system. The MB&B department engages in research and teaching from the perspective of molecular biophysics, protein biochemistry, molecular genetics, and cellular imaging, all approaches that permit observation and manipulation of molecules at different levels of scale.
The molecular biophysics approach is exemplified by the work of Professors Mukerji and Olson who aim to elucidate the structural organization and atomic level behavior of biological molecules. Professors Hingorani and Oliver utilize the approach of protein biochemistry to understand the functions and interactions of protein machines in metabolic processes. Molecular genetics is exemplified by the work and expertise of Professors Holmes, MacQueen, Lane and McAlear, who use genetic tools to characterize molecular pathways responsible for various cellular functions. Professors Lane, Holmes and MacQueen utilize cellular imaging to investigate spatial and temporal organization of molecules in the context of the whole cell or organism. Quantitative approaches underlie all MB&B research efforts aimed at understanding the workings of molecules and their emergent properties that constitute life.
Links to individual faculty research programs are below.
- Enzymology of DNA replication and repair (Hingorani)
- Molecular genetics of gene silencing in budding yeast (Holmes)
- Gene co-regulation in the developing olfactory system (Lane)
- Meiotic prophase chromosome dynamics (MacQueen)
- Mechanisms of adjacent gene co-regulation (McAlear)
- Spectroscopic studies of protein and nucleic acid structure-function (Mukerji)
- Mechanisms of protein translocation across membranes (Oliver)
- Crystallographic analysis of membrane proteins (Olson)