• Title Graduate student Garcia-Marcos Lab
  • Education BS Chemistry, Emmanuel College
  • Office K2
  • Area of Interest G proteins

My primary research in the lab of Mikel Garcia-Marcos focuses on the biochemical mechanism of a recently identified, novel G protein regulator. GPCRs act as the primary activating inputs for heterotrimeric G proteins (Ga-Gbg), which then propagate signals inside the cell. These receptors are a quintessential mechanism of intercellular communication across eukaryotes and are highly druggable, evidenced by the fact that ~30% of FDA-approved drugs are targeted to GPCRs. In the neural system, GPCRs are critical metabotropic receptors for neurotransmitters, and their dysregulation is related to a vast array of neurological disorders. Despite the discovery of many medications that modulate GPCR signaling activity, the fundamental mechanisms of signaling regulation involved are not fully understood. More specifically, G protein regulation after receptor activation is known to be mediated by a complex network of cytoplasmic factors that are largely understudied.

I graduated from Emmanuel College with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2016 before working in industry at New England Biolabs as a production associate. There, I performed enzyme purification and helped to develop novel glycobiology tools for the identification and characterization of glycoconjugates. Now, I am leveraging my experience in protein biochemistry to identify the protein-structural and signaling consequences of new G protein regulators.

I joined the department of Biochemistry in 2018 after three rotations, all in the department, and immediately found a thriving environment and support system for graduate students. There was immediate mentoring in areas such as grant writing, resulting in the recent funding of my NIH F31. Connections in the department have allowed me to already begin collaborations with institutions including UMASS Amherst and the Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences in Spain. My goal in my PhD training is to gain exposure to mass spectrometry and structural biology techniques that will allow me to learn more about the protein-protein interactions for my molecules of interest. I will also further develop my classical biochemistry and molecular biology toolkit in order to advance my research forward.

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