Structural biology is a powerful tool for understanding how microbes interact with host factors to promote infection, and how complex macromolecular machines drive processes important for pathogen replication and host invasion. Using a range of techniques, from X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy (cryo EM) through microbial genetics and biochemistry, we are unraveling the inner workings of the bacterial outer membrane and the complex, harpoon-like invasion machinery of a large family of eukaryotic intracellular pathogens.
We have investigated the structure and function of a wide-range of proteins involved in infection and host-immunity, as well as some collaborative efforts in enzymology and protein design. As a part of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, we have access to state of the art robotics for nanoliter crystallization and automated plate imaging, and are just a short drive from the National Synchrotron Light Source II--the newest and brightest synchrotron X-ray source in the United States. And through a major new initiative, the Skirball Institute will be purchasing three brand-new electron microscopes for structural biology: a Titan Krios and a Talos Arctica for high-resolution cryo EM, and a Talos 120, for cryo screening and negative-stain EM studies.
A new structure carries a wealth of information and raises numerous hypotheses that require experimental validation. Using the latest biochemical and biophysical techniques, we can probe how our new structural insights relate to protein activity, and how ensembles of proteins might work together to drive an important biological process. Ultimately, we aim to place our findings back in a cellular context, and use bacterial genetics and cell culture models of infection to explore how precise changes in protein sequence and structure impact mutant phenotypes.
Our lab is a part of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, located on the NYU Langone Medical Center campus in Manhattan, in New York City. We are located on the second floor in labs 14-17, space we share with the Bhabha lab.