To function, cells must integrate numerous signals into coordinated outputs. Many of these signals are generated by proteins, biomolecules involved in virtually every process of living cells. As such, to understand living organisms, it is critical to scrutinize proteins. My research program has been focused on a poorly understood cellular signal present on protein, namely lysine acetylation. Lysine acetylation is known to impinge on many processes affecting protein associated with DNA and to mediate physical interaction between proteins. Bromodomain, a protein domain (or portion) found in over 40 human proteins, form a deep cavity in proteins (as per a lock) which is essential for binding to other protein with acetyl lysines (which would act as a key in this analogy).
The overarching goal of my work is to define the specificity of bromodomains for acetylated proteins in the same manner that a locksmith would want to catalogue keylock pairs. To achieve this goal, I have begun leveraging the expertise that I acquired during my previous studies to define the role that lysine acetylation plays in human cells with an emphasis on protein containing bromodomain. I have already made great progress toward this goal and am excited about continuing this work as I establish my own research group. In the years to come, I will focus most of my work on breast cancer, the most common cancer in Canada for which numerous unmeet clinical needs still exist, in order to identify novel treatment possibilities and to investigate the efficacy of emerging reagents targeting bromodomains.