What Happens After: The Post-Translational Modification of Proteins
After being synthesized within the cell, many proteins are modified in response to various cellular stimuli. Often, these post-translational modifications alter the function of select proteins, thereby eliciting an orchestrated cellular response. Dr. David Vocadlo investigates how the post-translational modification of proteins regulates programmed cell death. Frequently what happens is that proteins are modified by the introduction of a single specific carbohydrate residue. Little is known about what regulates the enzymes involved in this modification nor how the enzymes attenuate the function of various proteins within the cell.
As Canada Research Chair in Chemical Glycobiology, Dr. Vocadlo is undertaking a multi-disciplinary approach to his research of the post-translational modification in proteins that combines cellular and molecular biology, organic chemistry, structural biology and proteomics (the study and categorization of proteins), and biophysics. His research uses an impressive range of analytical tools, including advanced techniques in mass spectrometry, chemical synthesis of alternative forms of carbohydrates, and X-ray crystallographic analysis of enzyme structure.
Dr. David Vocadlo won the 2003 NSERC Doctoral Prize and is already an international leader in the field of glycobiology. His research program has the potential to lead to a much greater fundamental understanding of the regulation of protein function in the cell and to produce significant medical advances.