Our lab uses an integrative and highly collaborative approach to identify the molecular determinants of protein function and dysfunction in various physiological contexts. We are particularly interested in enzymes and enzyme complexes that regulate metabolic processes such as nucleotide biosynthesis. We take a best tool for the job approach, drawing on the broad skill set of our team and the wide array of chemical, biochemical and biophysical techniques at our disposal. The overarching goal of our work is to exploit the knowledge that we obtain in these fundamental investigations to develop novel or improved therapies for a range of devastating human diseases.
 
Diversity Statement: Our research group embraces and promotes equity, diversity and inclusiveness in all forms, including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identify, sexuality, class and religion. We believe that our research and educational mission is strengthened when all members have a voice and are encouraged to contribute. We also believe that it is our duty to encourage and promote that contribution. We will ardently work to foster a respectful and supportive culture of compassion, inclusiveness, open-mindedness and engagement among the individuals, and groups, that we work with. We will endeavor to actively build a community of researchers from diverse cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. It is our firm conviction that this will improve the quality of our work and facilitate progress towards our research, educational and service objectives.
 
 

News

June 2022 – Jarrod, Brian (in person) and Nandini (virtually) attended the 42nd annual Steenbock Symposium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The symposium, entitled “Opening Doors to Cryo-EM” showcased the newly completed Cryo-Electron Microscopy Research Center and Midwest Center for Cryo-Electron Tomography, housed at UWM. There were workshops on tomography, lots of great talks, and Brian presented a poster on his new structure of AMP Nucleosidase. We also got to meet Bucky, the UWM mascot (who is likely a close relative to the mascot of Jarrod’s undergraduate institution, Boomer the Badger).

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June 2022 – We kicked off our 2022 program year of the Molecular Interactions Virtual REU (MIV-REU) program. We have 12 undergraduate students this year, from 9 different states across three time zones. The students will be conducting independent research on molecular interactions using industry standard software tools, ultimately generating and testing unique hypotheses. Students will also participate in professional development and social activities throughout the summer. We have a great group of students this year and we are looking forwards to a tremendously fun and productive summer.

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June 2022 – Raja attended the University of Michigan Cryo-EM workshop entitled “I have my data set – now what”. Raja was selected in a competitive process to attend this in-demand workshop. It is the first time in 3 years that they have run this program due to COVID-related restrictions. At this workshop he learned more about Cryo-EM data processing using some of the common software packages such as RELION, CisTEM and cryoSPARC. One highlight was the opportunity for Raja to take along a particularly challenging dataset that we have collected on our in-house Krios.

April 2022 – Humberto and Jarrod gave a brief demonstration and discussed careers in STEM at Ellis Middle School. Two groups of 7th and 8th grade students learned about the forces accompanying changes in state as their teacher (in a Darth Vader mask) crushed an empty can with their mind. We also discussed the research at The Hormel Institute and STEM career opportunities locally and nationally.

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March 2022 – A great big thanks to Glenn and Hayley Newman (and everyone who participated) for helping to raise money by Fishing for A Cure – they raised over $16,000 for cancer research at the Hormel Institute; and to Mike Nelson and Pheasants forever for helping to raise $4,500 for research at the Hormel Institute with the 7th Annual Hunt for a Cure.

February 2022 – Thanks so much to Austin Youth Hockey! They raised over $8,000 for the Paint the Town Pink Fundraiser. Jarrod accepted the check on behalf of the Hormel Institute during the intermission at an Austin Bruins hockey game. We really appreciate all the hard work that the AYH put in to raise money for cancer research at the Hormel Institute. All of the money raised goes directly to support cancer research.

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January 2022 – The National Science Foundation has funded our Molecular Interactions Virtual REU program for another 3 years! This is a fully virtual REU program, run jointly by Jarrod, Dr. Katherine Hicks at SUNY Cortland, and Dr. Andrew Torelli at Ithaca College. It provides an opportunity for students who wouldn’t typically otherwise have an opportunity to attend an on-site REU program to obtain an authentic research experience in a flexible, online research environment. We will be recruiting students for summer 2022. Please check the MIV-REU website for more information.

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December 2021 – Thanks so much to Anna Welsh, a senior from LeRoy-Ostander High School, and all those who helped to contribute for the 2021 Paint the Town Pink Fundraiser. Anna chose to raise money for Paint the Town Pink as her senior project and, through several events and fundraisers managed to raise over $4000. All of the money raised goes directly to support cancer research. Paint the Town Pink has raised over $2 million for cancer research in the past 11 years.

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September 2021 – Humberto, Danushka and Brian have recently published a review in Cells. This paper, entitled The Intersection of Purine and Mitochondrial Metabolism in Cancer is part of the special issue ‘Ovary and Brain’ guest edited by our colleague Ilana Chefetz Menaker. The review discusses the evolving and complex roles of purine metabolism and how it is interconnected with mitochondrial and other metabolic pathways, with a particular focus on how these influence cancer progression.

Apr 2021 – Welcome to our newest lab member and postdoc Nandini. Nandini just completed a PhD in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mumbai, working with Prof. Ruchi Anand (a former Ealick lab alumna). With a strong background in nucleotide metabolism and expertise in mechanistic enzymology, structural biology and the biophysical characterization of proteins, Nandini will be an extremely valuable member of the team helping to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and structural determinants of key protein complexes involved in nucleotide metabolism and viral pathogenesis.

Apr 2021 – The paper detailing another structure from our E. coli structural proteomics pipeline has been published in PLOS ONE. Congratulations to Iva and our collaborators from the Torelli group at Ithaca College, Fardin and Andy. The paper, entitled Structure of the E. coli Agmatinase, SPEB, details our structural work on the agmatine amidinohydrolase from E. coli. Thanks to everyone involved in the project. This is another great example of how groups of undergraduate students can purify, crystallize and solve structures of soluble E. coli proteins as independent research projects with little oversight. We thank the National Science Foundation (MCB 1750637) and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (Cottrell Scholar Award to JBF) for their financial support of this project.

Mar 2021 – Yet another French lab alumnus will be starting medical school in the Fall. Congratulations to Jasper Sim (Biochemistry, McGill U., 2021), who volunteered in the lab during the summer of 2018. Jasper helped with a couple of projects, including an important contribution to Roger’s work on the structure and kinetics of Guanine Deaminase enzymes. Well done Jasper and good luck with your studies.

Mar 2021 – Congratulations to our newly minted Dr. Kim-Holzapfel, who successfully defended her thesis – well done Deb! She presented some of the work that she has done in the lab in her presentation entitled ‘Human Uridine 5′-monophosphate synthase stores metabolic potential in inactive biomolecular condensates’, and earned her well-deserved structure cake. Thanks very much to committee members Drs. Glynn (Stony Brook U.), Matus (SBU), Carpino (SBU) and Hicks (SUNY Cortland) for their help and support.

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January 2021 – Congratulations to Danushka Arachchige, a postdoc in our lab, on winning an Eagles Telethon Postdoctoral Fellowship! Well done on your great work in the lab so far. We look forward to lots of exciting research in the future. We gratefully acknowlege the 5th district eagles cancer telethon for providing support to the HI to support this fellowship. Danushka’s application was entitled ‘Elucidating the relationship between purine biosynthetic protein overexpression and liver cancer prognosis’.

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November 2020 – Jarrod had a great time meeting with students and faculty at Purdue during his virtual visit there as an invited speaker for the Purdue Biophysics PhD Program. He presented some of the group’s work in a presentation entitled ‘Intra- and Interprotein signal transduction mechanisms in the Blue Light Using FAD protein BlsA’. While it was unfortunate he wasn’t able to physically visit the campus, it was exciting to hear about the great biophysics research being conducted at Purdue.

November 2020 – Jarrod gave a Hormel Institute Research Seminar on some of his group’s recent work on photoactive proteins.

September 2020 – Congratulations to Iva, her latest paper is now in press at ACS Infectious Diseases. This exciting new work, entitled Structural basis for the regulation of biofilm formation and iron uptake in A. baumannii by the blue-light using photorecptor, BlsA, details the structural elucidation of functionally relevant conformational changes in a BLUF photorecptor involved in mediating biofilm formation and other processes. This paper also identifies BfmR, the biofilm regulator, as a BlsA binding partner and proposes mechanisms for the intra- and inter-protein signal transduction processes. Thanks also to James, Jinnette, Helena, YongLe and all of the other researchers who contributed.

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September 2020 – Welcome to our newest lab member Srinivasa Reddy. Reddy is a talented medicinal chemist with over 10 years experience, post-PhD, synthesizing a variety of small molecules as chemical probes and inhibitors. He will be helping us push forward our drug discovery work on several projects and contributing towards the development of novel assays and other chemical probes.

August 2020 – Congratulations (again) to James on another great paper – his work on the mechanism of unfolding in the Avena sativa LOV2 (AsLOV2) protein was just published in ACS Chemical Biology. This paper, entitled Unraveling the Mechanism of a LOV Domain Optogenetic Sensor: A Glutamine Lever Induces Unfolding of the Ja Helix , describes a highly collaborative project that involved contributions from the Tonge, Meech (Spectroscopy), Gardner (NMR), and Simmerling (MD simulations) groups.

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July 2020 – Congratulations to James, his vibrational spectroscopy work on FMN that he did in collaboration with the Tonge and Meech groups was just published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Another great contribution to our understanding of the photophysics of LOV-domain proteins. The paper, entitled Excited State Vibrations of Flavin Mononucleotide and Photoactive Flavoproteins, is a detailed characterization of the excited state dynamics of flavin mononucleotide (FMN), the chromophore for BLUF and LOV domain proteins.

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July 2020 – A recent story on National Public Radio (NPR) described the importance of phase transitions in regulation cellular processes and for disease progression. J. Paul Taylor and Cliff Brangwynne discuss the implications of errors in protein phase transitions for neurological diseases, heart disease and cancer. The formation of these biomolecular condensates (like the purinosome) is critical for the proper function of many cellular phenomenon, including numerous metabolic pathways. Dysfunction in the capacity to undergo phase transitions can lead to negative consequences in the cell and, ultimately, to disease states. This NPR story brings some needed national attention to this emerging field and highlights its importance, both for basic science and human health.

July 2020 – Another one of the hard-working French lab alumni has been accepted into medical school. Congratulations to Brian Coyne, who completed a BS and MS in the lab at Stony Brook. He will be starting at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine this Summer/Fall. Brian worked on a few projects during his time in the lab, but focused mostly on completing a fragment-based approach to identifying inhibitors of the phosphatase function of Sts-1.

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June 2020 – Congratulations to our newly minted PhD, Dr. Iva Chitrakar! Iva successfully defended her thesis entitled ‘Insight into intramolecular and intermolecular signal transduction of blue light sensitive BlsA protein’. It was a great presentation describing her work on the photoactive BLUF-domain protein BlsA. Iva certainly did a great job to earn her structure cake.

June 2020 – Former French lab member Alexia Collins (BS, Virginia Commonwealth University) was recently accepted to medical school. Congratulations Alexia! She will be starting at SUNY Downstate Medical School in the Fall. Alexia was a technician in our lab at SBU during 2018-2019 and worked on the STS proteins project.

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April 2020 – Cindy’s (Yue Yin) paper on the new phosphoesterase activity of Sts-1 was just accepted for publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Great work Cindy, and thanks to our collaborators from the Carpino lab at Stony Brook University. This paper details the discovery and initial functional characterization of a relatively unprecedented 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide 2′-phosphodiesterase activity catalyzed by Sts-1. We also showed that the new domain of Sts-1, called the PDE domain, is implicated in negative regulation of specific cell signaling pathways.

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The dinucleotide 2′,3′-cyclic NADP is hydrolyzed by the PDE domain of Sts-1 to yield an acyclic dinucleotide product (left). When compared to standards, the sole product that is produced is identified as 3′-NADP (middle). Although not a fast reaction, the rate saturates (right), indicating that this reaction is enzyme catalyzed. While there are other 2′-cyclic phosphoesterases in microbes, the unusual stereochemical and regiochemical selectivity of this enzyme is relatively unprecedented in humans.

April 2020 – Congratulations to Jerome for being awarded an Angela & Dexter Bailey award to support his research for the summer of 2020! Jerome is an undergraduate at SBU who has been working hard in the lab for the last year. He will be working remotely this summer on a modeling project involving the EBV and KSHV tegument proteins that are homologous to the purine biosynthetic protein, FGAMS.

March 2020 – Humberto, Raja and Jarrod helped out with the ‘Scientists helping Students’ day at the Hormel Institute. All of Austin’s 6th graders visited the institute today and learned about the exciting research and the tools that we used. Their visit included, among other things, a demonstration of 3D visualization techniques, a viewing of our new Titan Krios Cryo-EM, and fun with some hands-on science experiments. It was a great day and we hopefully inspired a few of the next generation of scientists.

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March 2020 – The French lab welcomes Brian Richardson, PhD, to the lab. Brian earned his PhD from Princeton in 2009 and completed postdoctoral studies in the Fromme lab at Cornell. Brian is well versed in protein biochemistry, X-ray crystallography, and yeast microbiology. His work at Cornell focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of vesicular transport and protein secretion. Brian’s experience will complement our existing strengths in structural biology and will add further depth to our research team.

February 2020 – Welcome to our newest research scientist, Raja Dey. Raja completed his PhD at Calcutta University in Physics and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Connecticut, Weill Cornell University and the Hormel Institute (Dong lab). He has extensive experience in structural and computational biology. Raja’s training and experience will be invaluable asset to our team, specifically for our structural studies and drug discovery work.

February 2020 – The French lab welcomes our newest research scientist, Humberto De Vitto. Humberto completed his PhD in Biological Chemistry at the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and did post doctoral work in the lab of Ferdianado Chiaradonna in the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. Most recently, he worked in the lab of Zigang Dong at the Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota. His experience in cancer biology and mitochondrial metabolism will be of great benefit to our lab and we are excited to have him as part of the team.

January 2020 – Danushka and Jarrod collect the lab’s first (of many) data set on the Titan Krios at the Hormel Institute. Thanks to Jan, Le Le and Amer for all of the training and help with setting up the data collection.

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January 2020 – Happy new year, and welcome to our new postdoctoral scholar, Danushka Arachchige! Danushka completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Ohio University (Holub lab) where he worked on novel synthetic methods to produce Scyllatoxin-based peptide mimetics and evaluated their efficacy as inhibitors of BCl2 proteins. Danushka is our first new arrival (one of several that will be joining in the next couple of months) to join the new lab at the Hormel Institute.

November 2019 – Congratulations to our newest Chemistry PhD, Yue Yin (Cindy)! Cindy successfully defended her thesis entitled ‘Structural and Biochemical Characterization of Sts-1 and Sts-2 Phosphatase domain and Phosphodiesterase Domain’ and we all enjoyed her well-earned structure cake. Well done Cindy and thanks to her committee members Profs.. Tonge, Glynn and Carpino (shown below, with Cindy and Jarrod).

September 2019 – The French lab is moving to Minnesota. After nearly 6 great years at Stony Brook University with many tremendous, supportive colleagues and friends in the department of Biochemistry, and the Chemistry Department, we will be continuing our research at the Hormel Research Institute, University of Minnesota, in Austin, Minnesota. We are excited to make this transition in the coming months and to join our new colleagues in Austin. This will be a tremendous opportunity to expand the scope and impact of our research with new collaborations and access to the tremendous resources at the Hormel Institute, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota.

August 2019  – Jarrod attended the 2019 ACS Annual Meeting where he presented on our group’s Sts-1 drug discovery efforts and was awarded the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award from the ACS division of Biological Chemistry. Shown below are the Chair of the Biological Chemistry division, Anne-Frances Miller, Jarrod, and the other awardees, Megan Wright and Emily Derbyshire.

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August 2019 – Welcome to the newest French lab member, Shreyoshi Chakraborti. Shreyoshi has a BS and MS from the University of Calcutta and joins the lab as part of the Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB) PhD program. She will be working on the characterization of a novel chemistry catalyzed by the Sts proteins and defining the mechanistic and structural underpinnings of this enzyme activity. Welcome to the group.

July 2019 – Roger’s work on the yeast and E. coli guanine deaminase enzymes was just accepted for publication in the ACS journal Biochemistry. You can see the ‘Just Accepted’ version of the paper here. Many thanks to all the efforts of our most recent Alumnus, Roger (PhD, now at the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease), with help from alumni Tylene (BS, currently a Chemistry PhD student at Penn State) and Jasper (currently completing undergraduate studies at McGill University).

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May 2019 – It’s official: Jarrod has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure! He continues to be jointly appointed to the Departments of Chemistry, and Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

May 2019 – Congratulations to YongLe He, an undergraduate researcher in the lab, who just graduated with a BS (double major) in Biochemistry and Chemistry. Yong will continue on to do a Master’s degree in Chemistry in our lab. Yong is working on photoactivation mechanisms of the BLUF-domain protein, BlsA.

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May 2019 – Its graduation season again! Another great commencement ceremony at Stony Brook. Three more members of the lab were hooded this year: Iva Chitrakar, Yue Yin (Cindy) and James Iuliano. Cindy has been working on the newly discovered cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase domain of Sts-1 and Iva has been working on photoactivation and signal transduction mechanisms of the BLUF-domain protein, BlsA. Both plan to defend their theses later this year. Dr. Iuliano, who works on structural dynamics of LOV photoreceptors, defended his thesis earlier this month. Congratulations to these three outstanding graduate students.

May 2019 – Congratulations to our newest Chemistry PhD! James Iuliano successfully defended his thesis entitled Structural Dynamics of LOV Photoreceptors and Photochromic Proteins. James has been co-mentored by Professor Peter Tonge and myself. Great job Dr. Iuliano!

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April 2019 – James’ book chapter in Methods in Enzymology is now in press. This paper, entitled Vibrational spectroscopy of flavoproteins, describes how vibrational spectroscopy (such as IR, Raman and Resonance Raman) can be used to gain mechanistic insights about flavoproteins including the photoreceptor BLUF and LOV-domain proteins (among others).

April 2019 – Congratulations to James for being selected by the Department of Chemistry for the Chemistry Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student! This is a well-deserved honour. There are a lot of excellent students graduating this year and it is a testament to James’ skill and hard work in the lab that he was selected as one of the top Chemistry graduate students.

March 2019 – Congratulations to former French Lab undergraduate research assistant Hussein Harb for being selected for a 2019 SBU Undergraduate recognition award. A well deserved honour. Hussein will receive his award at an awards reception in April.

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March 2019 – Jarrod has been honored with the 2019 ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award. This young investigator award is a collaboration between ACS Infectious Diseases and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry. Jarrod will give a lecture and receive the award at the 2019 ACS Fall National Meeting to be held in San Diego in August.

March 2019 – Congratulations to our collaborators, the Tonge and Tan groups – their newest paper, entitled Structure-based Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Non-Acyl Sulfamate Inhibitors of the Adenylate-forming Enzyme MenE was just accepted to be published in Biochemistry. Thanks to Cindy (Yue Yin) from our lab for her help with structural work.osb-ams-pic
March 2019 – Jarrod was pied by students for a good cause! A group of biosciences clubs (including the Biochem Society, Pre-Med Society, Pre-Dent Society, iGEM, SBU Young Investigators Review and the Neuroscience Axis) had their annual social event where students could buy raffle tickets to ‘pie a professor’. One lucky student won the chance to pie Jarrod in retaliation for a tough BIO362 exam.

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January 2019 – Congratulations to Roger for passing his thesis defense! Dr. Shek successfully defended his work entitled Structural and Biochemical Studies of C. jejuni Agmatine Deiminase, E. Coli Guanine Deaminase, and S. cerevisiae Guanine Deaminase, and we all got to sample another structure cake. Well done Roger and thanks very much to his committee members Dr. Tonge, Dr. Garcia-Diaz, and Dr. Krug.

January 2019 – Happy New Year! Our paper entitled ‘Crystal Structure of E. coli PRPP Synthetase‘ has been accepted to be published in BMC Structural Biology. Thanks to Sally, Iva, Andrew, our former high school interns Alexis and Shiv, and our collaborators in the Hicks Lab for their contributions. This is the first of (hopefully) many examples of E. coli soluble protein structures that are being solved by groups of undergraduate, graduate and high school students as part of our high-throughput structural biology program. This program is a hybrid research/educational project that aims to crowdsource an important structural genomics problem to groups of students, primarily at the undergraduate and high school level.hexamer4

November 2018 – Congratulations to Sally, Cindy and Jacqueline, their paper entitled ‘Discovery and Characterization of Two Classes of Selective Inhibitors of the Suppressor of TCR Signaling Family of Proteins‘ was just accepted to be published in ACS Infectious Diseases. This is another exciting paper describing our drug discovery work, carried out in collaboration with the Carpino lab, aimed at targeting the Sts enzymes to stimulate the immune system.

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November 2018 – Another great Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery symposium. This year’s symposium, entitled ‘Frontiers in Nanomedicine: Drug delivery, Therapeutics and Diagnosis’ had a number of exciting speakers including Henry Hess (Columbia), Stan Wong (SBU), Wenbin Lin (UChicago), Joachim Kohn (Rutgers), Mansoor Amiji (Northeastern), Miqin Zhang (UWashington), and James Tour (Rice).

October (31st) 2018 – We have some scientists who are also artists in our midst…

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October 2018 – The lab welcomes our newest staff member Alexia Collins. Alexia completed her BS in Biology at the Virginia Commonwealth University in May of 2018. She will be working on various projects in support of lab with a particular focus on screening and characterizing potential inhibitors of the Sts proteins.

October 2018 – Our collaborator, Shu Jia, just published another exciting paper in Biomedical Optics Express entitled Fast, volumetric Live-cell imaging using high-resolution light-filed microscopy. Congratulations to the Jia Lab and to Deb Kim-Holzapfel from our lab, who helped with the work.

October 2018 – Jarrod gave an invited seminar at Ithaca College. It was great to get back to Ithaca and meet with the students and faculty. A particular highlight was getting to spend some time catching up with former lab-mates and current collaborators Andy Torelli (Ithaca College) and Katherine Hicks (SUNY Cortland).

September 2018 – Jarrod was invited to give a talk at the Young Academic Inventors Symposium hosted by the Stony Brook chapter of the National Academy of Inventors. He discussed the lab’s efforts to develop an acoustofluidic device to manipulate and pattern protein crystals.

September 2018 – Here we grow again! Welcome to our two new lab members Brandon Graham and Yongle He. Both are part of the accelerated BS/MS program in the Chemistry department.

July 2018 – Jarrod attended the 2018 Cottrell Scholars Conference in Tucson, Arizona. This year’s theme was Personalized Education. It was a great overall experience and a tremendous opportunity to learn about all of the amazing advances that the other Cottrell scholars are making in pedagogy, increasing diversity in STEM, and incorporating authentic research experiences into curricula.

July 2018 – Iva, Deb and Roger attended the 2018 Protein Society Meeting in Boston. They presented posters on their work, learned about a lot of exciting new science and made a bunch of great contacts.

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June 2018 – Shujuan Gao has joined the group as a research scientist. Welcome to the lab! Shujuan completed her PhD in molecular biology at Jilin University and did postdoctoral studies at Mainz University (Mainz, Germany) and at Stony Brook. She brings to our lab her expertise in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and her experience working with scaffold proteins.

June 2018 – Sally (Weijie Zhou) successfully defended her PhD thesis and earned her structure cake! Well done Sally and good look at Genentech. Update – Sally received an offer for a postdoc position at Boehringer Ingelheim in Connecticut. She’ll start her position there after completing her summer at Genentech. Best of luck at BI!

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May 2018 – Welcome to our two newest lab members, Jacqueline Chou, from the Department of Chemistry PhD program and Morgan King, from the Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD program.

May 2018 – The group attended the annual Biochemistry and Cell Biology retreat at the Old Field Club. Iva presented a great talk entitled ‘Molecular mechanism of photoactivation of the blue light regulated protein BlsA’.

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May 2018 – Congratulations to our new graduates, Sally (Chemistry PhD), Brian (Chemistry MS) and Ya (Chemistry MS).

April 2018 – Brian successfully defended his Masters thesis (Chemistry) today on ‘Identifying small molecule inhibitors of Sts-1 for the prevention of systemic candidiasis’. Excellent work Brian!

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April 2018 – Congratulations Sally (Weijie)! The 2018 Department of Chemistry Graduate Student Awards were just announced and Sally was given the Chemistry Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student. This is a well-deserved honour, earned for her tremendous contributions to science, the lab and the department. Sally’s keen intellect, commitment to success and stellar work ethic over the past few years are what made this possible. Well done Sally!

April 2018 – Deb, Sally and Cindy attended the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) annual meeting in San Diego.

February 2018 – Jarrod was selected as one of 24 Cottrell Scholars for 2018. The Cottrell Scholar program ‘develops outstanding teacher-scholars who are recognized by their scientific communities for the quality and innovation of their research programs and their academic leadership skills’ (from the Cottrell Scholar website). Thanks so much to to the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for this great honour. Read the announcement on the Stony Brook SBU Happenings site here.

January 2018 – Congratulations to Deb – her paper with Nick Van Skike from the Krug Lab, entitled Viral FGARAT ORF75A promotes early events in lytic infection and gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis in mice was accepted for publication in PLOS Pathogens.

December 2017 – Congratulations to James (and Jinnette) – his paper entitled Variation in LOV photoreceptor activation dynamics probed by time resolved infrared spectroscopy was just accepted for publication in Biochemistry. Keep up the good work!

December 2017 – Wilson Nieves, an undergraduate researcher that has been with us since the summer of 2016, has been named a URECA researcher of the month. Read the whole story here.

November 2017 – Congratulations to Roger – his paper entitled Structural and functional basis for targeting Campylobacter jejuni agmatine deiminase to overcome antibiotic resistance was just accepted for publication in Biochemistry. We also want to thank our collaborators, Katherine Hicks and Christa Chatfield, for their important contributions.

October 2017 – The 11th annual Institute for Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery symposium entitled ‘Frontiers in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery’ was a great success. The program featured exciting talks by leading researchers from both Stony Brook and Mount Sinai. In addition, the poster session (which Jarrod chaired) had over 60 posters that exemplified the innovative research being conducted at Stony Brook and neighbouring institutions.

September 2017 – Congratulations to James – his paper entitled Photoactivation of the BLUF protein PixD Probed by the Site-Specific Incorporation of Fluorotyrosine Residues was just accepted for publication in JACS.

September 2017 – Thanks in large part to everyone’s hard work over the last three years, Jarrod was just awarded an NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (R35) to support our research into the mechanisms that govern assembly and function of higher order protein structures of purine metabolic enzymes.

August 2017 – Jarrod participated in an alumni panel for the Tri-Institutional Chemical Biology Program (Weill Cornell, Rockefeller, Memorial Sloan Kettering) at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. It was great to see some old colleagues and meet the new generation of TPCB students.

July 2017 – Congratulations to Sally and Cindy; their paper entitled Structural and functional characterization of the histidine phosphatase domains of human Sts-1 and Sts-2 was just accepted for publication in Biochemistry.

May 2017 – Sally gave a great talk at the annual Biochemistry and Cell Biology retreat entitled ‘Phosphatase Suppressor of T-cell Receptor Signaling Pathway as a Novel Drug Target for Systemic Candidiasis’. Sally will also present a poster on this topic at the annual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association in New Orleans at the end of this month.

May 2017 – Best of luck to the latest French lab graduates, Tylene Hilaire (off to Penn. State for a PhD in Chemistry), Michael Yan (working at Enzo Biosciences while applying to medical schools), Andrew Tsai (applying to medical school), and Brian Coyne (currently completing his MS in Chemistry in our lab). The lab has benefited substantially from all of your great efforts – thanks for everything.

May 2017 – Two of our undergraduates presented their work at the annual Chemistry Department Senior Research Symposium. Brian Coyne presented his work on the ‘Analysis of Putative Nuclear Localization Sequence Mutagenesis on vFGAMS Nuclear Import’ and Tylene Hilaire presented her work on ‘Developing an Assay for the Kinetic Measurement of Nucleobase Transporters.’

April 2017 – Two of our undergraduate researchers, Andrew Tsai and Tylene Hilaire, presented posters at the URECA undergraduate research symposium. Andrews poster was entitled ‘Characterization of Nucleobase and Nucleoside Transporters in Humans and E. coli‘ and Tylene’s poster was entitled ‘Developing an Assay for the Kinetic Measurement of Nucleobase Transporters’.

March 2017 – Congratulations to Andrew Tsai for being awarded a Stony Brook University Undergraduate Recognition Award for Academic Excellence. A well-deserved honor.

January 2017 – Congratulations to Iva, Deb and Sally; their review of Higher order structures in purine and pyrimidine metabolism was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Structural Biology.

January 2017 – Congratulations to James for his recent paper in J. Phys. Chem. B, completed in collaboration with the Tonge Lab, entitled Femtosecond to Millisecond Dynamics of Light Induced Allostery in the Avena Sativa Lov Domain.

January 2017 – Jarrod gave an invited talk on The Complex problem of Purine Biosynthesis at the New York Structural Biology Discussion Group’s 12th Winter Meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences

November 2016 – Congratulations to Tylene for being selected to participate in the Collegiate Science, Technology, and Engineering Program (CSTEP) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

November 2016 – Congratulations to Deb who just successfully completed her thesis proposal defense.

October 2016 – Congratulations to Wilson for being selected as an ACS Scholar by the American Chemical Society.

October 2016 – Congratulations to Iva who just successfully completed her thesis proposal defense.

August 2016 – James, Jinnette and Roger attended the Chemical Biology Training Program retreat at the Setauket Neighborhood house. They took part in informative, interactive sessions run by the SBU Alan Alda Center aimed at honing their science communication skills and teaching how to ‘distill your message’.

July 2016 – Sally and Iva attended 2016 annual American Crystallographic Association meeting in Denver, CO. Sally presented a poster entitled Characterization and Crystallization of the C-terminal Histidine Phosphatase Domain of Sts-1. Iva gave a presentation on the Structural Dynamics of Blue Light-sensing Using Flavin (BLUF) Domains and co-chaired a scientific session.

June 2016 – Congratulations to Iva for being selected for a student travel award to attend the 2016 annual American Crystallographic Association meeting in Denver, CO.

May 2016 – Roger, Iva, Deb and Sally attended a BioSAXS workshop held at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

May 2016 – Congratulations to Andrew and Tylene for being selected for a PSEG URECA fellowship and an Explorations in STEM fellowship, respectively, for summer research in our lab.

Feb. 2016 – Congratulations to Kafi for being selected as a W. Burghardt Turner Graduate Fellow.

Jan. 2016 – Congratulations to James for being selected for a second year to the Chemical Biology Training Program.

Featured Structure

KPRS_hexamer_prelim
E. coli KPRS Hexamer (6ASV)

The E. coli Ribose-phosphate pyrophosphokinase (EcKPRS; EC 2.7.6.1) catalyzes the ATP-dependent conversion of ribose-5-phosphate to phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate. This reaction is an important early step for the biosynthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides. Our 2.2 Å crystal structure reveals the conserved fold of this enzyme and the organization of the key residues of both the active site and the allosteric site. In EcKPRS, a flexible loop acts as a putative means to modulate entry to the allosteric site of the regulatory molecule, ADP, and prevent entry of low affinity molecules.

This structure is the  first of (hopefully) many examples of E. coli soluble protein structures that are being solved by groups of undergraduate, graduate and high school students as part of a high-throughput structural biology program hosted by the lab. This program is a hybrid research/educational project that aims to crowdsource an important structural genomics problem to groups of students, primarily at the undergraduate and high school level. We are conducting this program in collaboration with partner institutions including SUNY Cortland, Ithaca College, and local high schools.