Our structural biology laboratory studies proteins that transport molecules in and out of cells. Cells are surrounded by a lipid membrane that restricts the movement of many water-soluble molecules into or out of the cell. Similar membranes also form compartments within cells. Specialised cell machinery within the membranes allows the regulated movement of proteins and salts in or out of cells, or between internal compartments.
We study this cellular machinery at a molecular level to try to understand both how it functions and how it is regulated.
Cellular function is underpinned by the capacity to control the passage of molecules across membranes, and discrete macromolecular machineries have evolved for the transport of ions, metabolites and proteins.
Our chief interests lie in the mechanisms, regulation and interplay of molecular assemblies facilitating membrane transport and cellular signaling.
The lab focuses on two modes of molecular transport: protein translocation and ion conduction. We use X-ray crystallography as the central methodology to elucidate the principles underscoring function. Understanding the molecular and mechanistic parameters will enhance the scope and opportunity for medical intervention into related disease states.