Research Interests

I worked on transcription and translation and learned genetics by studying the bacteriophage T4. I focused my efforts on regulation of translation in T4-infected E. coli and discovered that translational repression was quite common. (It seemed for a while that every gene I studied was later found to be translationally regulated.) We studied mRNA structure and function, which of course underlied the phenomenon of translational regulation. Along the way, through a deep study of bacteriophage T4 mRNAs that were autogenously translationally regulated, we found out how to prepare and screen vast libraries of RNA sequences for the rare members of such libraries that are interesting. We called the process SELEX, a process by which oligonucleotide libraries can be screened for fascinating molecules, many of which have either pharmaceutical or diagnostic value. I moved my primary efforts to NeXstar, a biotech company dedicated to novel methods of drug discovery and drug delivery. SELEX has yielded high affinity and high specificity antagonists of a variety of proteins, leading to the possibility of using SELEX-derived oligonucleotides as drugs that may have advantages over, for example, humanized monoclonal antibodies. I thus find myself reading and studying serious human disease states (oncology, immunology) instead of the bacteriophage T4, a large jump in complexity and a wonderful personal challenge.

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Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology