"Identifying subtle variations that promote significant biological consequences has always fascinated me. The key is to distinguish which small changes matter and which ones don't; this knowledge can then facilitate the development of therapeutics."
I began my career at Genentech as an NIH Biotechnology Training grant intern and had the opportunity to complete my graduate studies at Genentech. Here I witnessed the transformation of scientific discoveries into therapeutic agents. In this way I learned that rigorous scientific experimentation is the foundation for rational drug design.
During my medical training I experienced how illness can transform the lives of patients and saw first hand the impact that effective medicines can have. After completing my graduate and medical studies I chose to return to Genentech as a scientist in order to help patients through scientific discoveries. My aims are to understand the molecular basis of normal physiology and of disease and to translate those findings into novel therapeutics.
Postdoctoral projects in our lab are focused on characterizing protein alterations that promote human disease. These pathogenic changes may include aberrant enzymatic activity, altered protein expression levels, or post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation or ubiquitination. Oncoproteins, tumor suppressors, and components of homeostatic signaling cascades are often modified by such mechanisms. Thus improper regulation of proteins can promote inflammatory disorders, cancer, and other disease states.
Our laboratory uses and develops a variety of molecular, cellular, genetic, biophysical, proteomic, and in vivo systems to achieve our research goals. As such we have active collaborations with external groups and within Genentech including Protein Chemistry and Proteomics, Medicinal Chemistry, Research Oncology, Structural Biology, Antibody Engineering, Molecular Biology, and Pathology. In this way, we aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which aberrant protein modifications contribute to disease.
Our lab has two primary aims: 1) to identify and characterize enzymes and substrates that regulate pathogenic signaling pathways, with a focus on the ubiquitin system, and 2) to apply our understanding of disease mechanisms by collaborating with internal and external scientists to develop novel therapeutic agents and to improve clinical trial treatment regimens. Ultimately, our better understanding of the pathogenesis of human disease may reveal critical diagnostic markers and disease targets for pharmacological intervention.