I joined the faculty in the Department of Physiology at UCLA in January 2005. I am originally from Los Angeles but my road to UCLA went through Europe. I attended graduate school at Uppsala University, Sweden in the laboratory of So Iwata. From there, I moved with So Iwata to Imperial College London where I continued my training in membrane protein crystallography as a postdoc.
Research Interests & Expertise: Membrane transport proteins
Membrane transport proteins are responsible for many critical biological functions including governing energy transduction, modifying ion concentrations, and actively importing metabolites into the cell. Membrane proteins represent 20-30% of all proteins in each of the sequenced genomes. In addition, they are targets for 50% of all marketed drugs. Considering their biological and pharmacological relevance and their vast numbers throughout genomes, there is an enormous demand for structural information. However, membrane proteins represent only about ~0.7% of the protein structures in the Protein data bank. The reason for this discrepancy stems from the hydrophobic nature of membrane proteins, which reside in a phospholipid bilayer, making them difficult to express, purify, and crystallize.
Our lab is trying to overcome these barriers and resolve the structures of several channels and transporters. This is an ideal format for students to interact with other groups and learn numerous techniques through interdepartmental collaborations.