Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Expansion of gene regions containing nucleotide repeats (NRs) has a causal role in a variety of inherited degenerative neurological diseases, including Huntington?s Disease, certain spinocerebellar ataxias and muscular dystrophies, and some types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. A major area of investigation in our lab is study of mechanisms that selectively enable transcription through expanded NR regions in human genes. We also study the actions of abnormal mRNAs and proteins generated by such repeats, and efforts in the lab are aimed at treating these diseases by targeting expression of the abnormal genes. We also investigate mechanisms that underlie the occurrence of NR expansions.
Certain of our investigations are aimed at elucidating the signals that govern RNA decay. We use E. coli and Streptomyces species to investigate the mechanism of action of specific ribonucleases, related proteins, small non-coding RNAs, and to identify cellular events and proteins that regulate the actions of these molecules.
Our lab has long been interested in the evolution and dissemination of antibiotic resistance, and currently, we continue to pursue these interests by investigating the biology underlying the ability of bacteria to adapt non-mutationally to antibiotic exposure and other environmental stresses.