We use single-particle cryo-electron microscopy in combination with biochemical approaches to study how messenger RNA translation is regulated in human health and disease.

The process of translating messenger RNA (mRNA) into proteins must be tightly regulated. Our lab is focused particularly on how the process is initiated.

Using cryo-electron microscopy in combination with biochemical and genetic approaches, we study the role of a family of enzymes called DEAD-box (DDX) RNA helicases in the initiation of mRNA translation in humans, and how this initiation is regulated in health and disease, including:

  • the role of RNA helicases in local translation initiation in neurons during the early-stage of human brain development
  • the structure and role of helicases in translation of mRNAs containing repeat expansions that lead to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia
  • how translation  is dysreguled in cancers