Messenger RNA (mRNA) is more than just a carrier of information from the genome to the ribosome. Some mRNAs include additional sequences that regulate their message by sensing molecules in the cell. These “riboswitch” sequences are an interesting and unique form of biosensor and cellular regulator.
One of the greatest powers of research is harnessing symbiotic relationships among different fields, and biological research is no exception. With the growth of bioinformatics, a field dedicated to developing computational methods for biology, collecting extremely large datasets has become easier and more widespread. As a result, biochemical methods are increasingly informed by these datasets, and in turn, the complexity of biochemical systems provides an excellent source of material for bioinformatic analysis. Our group "Biochemistry and Bioinformatics in Society" is interested in exploring this interface between biochemistry and bioinformatics. Specifically, we will be sharing insights into the impact that discoveries from this interface have on various aspects of society, such as policy and healthcare/medicine.
Cancer is difficult to treat because it mutates quickly and frequently, enabling cancer cells to develop resistance to many therapies. However, scientists and doctors can take advantage of the many mutations in cancer using a concept called synthetic lethality.
Kinase inhibitors are one of the most common types of prescription drugs, but developing them is difficult and expensive. Using a new method, kinase inhibitors can be designed quickly and easily just by knowing the protein sequence!
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and about a quarter of a million new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year. For many years previously, patients with breast cancer have been prescribed essentially the same blanket treatment for their cancer. However, “breast cancer” itself is not just one disease; patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer may have tumors that differ in many significant ways, including amount of aggression and sensitivity to drug treatments.
Forty years ago, at the birth of gene-editing technology, 140 brilliant scientists from all over the world met at Asilomar to discuss its usage. Now that they could join pieces of DNA in artificial ways, what should they do with it? What are the experiments they need to answer relevant questions? And more importantly, are those experiments safe and responsible? After 3 long days of intense discussion, scientists showed the public that they could self-regulate and set a precedent for scientific regulation.