Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Biophysics
Cancer Cell Biology
Area of Interest
Most proteins adopt different structures to carry out their various biological functions. A better understanding of how protein conformational states interconvert in different biological contexts will inform new strategies for selectively targeting disease-associated proteins. Intrinsically disordered proteins, or proteins that do not adopt a single, well-defined structure in isolation, represent a particularly interesting class of dynamic proteins, as they play critical roles in cellular signaling, regulation, and spatial organization. Intrinsically disordered proteins utilize dynamics and disorder to interact with and compete for molecular interaction partners in ways that are not possible for stably folded proteins and thus present many exciting avenues for future research.
In the Berlow lab, we use a highly interdisciplinary approach combining solution NMR spectroscopy, biophysics, structural biology, and complementary biological and chemical techniques to characterize disease-associated proteins and macromolecules that coordinate important cellular responses to molecular and environmental stress. We integrate information about the relationship between protein dynamics and functional outcomes obtained from biophysical and structural approaches to identify new strategies for modulating these functions. These findings will be translated to new therapeutic approaches for the many diseases and disorders that are associated with the dysfunction of dynamic macromolecules.
The interdisciplinary nature of our research provides ample opportunities for collaboration and trainees are encouraged to gain expertise in a wide range of skills that will prepare them for future scientific and biomedical careers. Lab members are also expected to be active participants in the vibrant scientific community at UNC and beyond, by interacting with their peers, attending scientific conferences, and participating in networking, outreach, and professional development events. The Berlow lab is committed to providing a safe and inclusive training environment that celebrates the diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and contributions of all lab members.