Academic & Professional Updates
Advisor: Dr. David Segal
My PhD research focused on the C2H2 zinc finger domain, specifically on protein-protein interactions mediated by these domains. C2H2 domains are found in many transcription factors and is well known as a DNA binding domain. For the past 15 years there has been growing recognition that the domain also forms protein-protein interactions. For my thesis, I worked with OAZ, a human protein containing 30 C2H2 domains arranged in 6 clusters, and used biochemical assays to measure the protein and the DNA binding potential of these clusters. In particular, I used the library based CAST assay (aka SELEX) and yeast 2-hybrid assays to examine the DNA and protein binding potential of the domain, and verified my results by mammalian co-immunoprecipitation and/or in vitro pull-down assays. My results indicate that the protein binding potential of C2H2 domains is high, and may be greater than their ability to interact with DNA.
I am currently working at Yale University as a postdoc. Broadly, my current project focuses on the evolution of gene regulation, and how novel gene function arises. Specifically, I am characterizing transcription factor complex formation at the prolactin promoter. This involves determining what factors are binding to the region, and any protein-protein interactions that occur at the promoter. I will also be looking at differences in the formation of transcription factor complexes at this promoter across species, and how complexes have evolved over time.