I'm a 5th-year graduate student in Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I work with Professor Forest White on phosphoproteomics applied to diabetes and cancer.
MAP kinases in cancer and diabetes
The mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are involved in signal transduction downstream of stress and growth factors. Activation of JNK in a critical event in development of type II diabetes, and activation of ERK is involved in both diabetes and cancer. I am combining mass spectrometry a chemical genetics strategy, developed by Kevan Shokat, to identify substrates of these kinases.
Mechanisms of oncogenesis by KRAS mutation
Activating mutations in KRAS occur in about 60% of all cancers. The KRAS oncogene signals through several major pathways, including the Raf/MEK/ERK cascade. This cascade is a major target for pharmaceutical research because of its importance in KRAS signaling and because it is targeted by other important oncogenes. My goal is to understand how KRAS activation leads to cancer development by activating this and other pathways.
Regulation of alternative splicing
Regulation of mRNA splicing is implicated in development of cancer, and especially in the progression to metastasis. The splicing factor FOX2 is a global splicing regulator particularly important in development and frequently up-regulated in poorly differentiated cancers. In collaboration with the Sharp Lab at MIT I am trying to understand how mitogenic and oncogenic signaling affects FOX2 activity.
Using the combination of informatics and high-throughput experiments to identify clinically relevant diagnostics. I worked with Dr. Harvey Cohen at Stanford to identify blood biomarkers for Kasawaki disease, monitor juvenile arthritis, and identify premature infants at risk for common disorders.
High-throughput experiments in proteomics and genomics have required a range of new statistical methods. Protein measurements are often strongly correlated, and correlated variables interfere with most of the statistical analyses. I applied clustering methods as a form of data-reduction to reduce problems introduced by correlated proteins.
I worked with Dr. Leonid Kruglyak and Dr. Elaine Ostrander on study of genetic variability among pure-breed dogs. This work was published in Science (see the CV).
I'm a graduate student adviser for MIT's undergraduate team for the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition. See the iGEM website or our team wiki for more information.
Download my CV here.