Recently Recruited Faculty
Rank: Assistant Professor
Joined BMB: February 1, 2011
Upbringing: Hong Kong; United Kingdom (Oxford and Dundee)
Previous Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Phillip A. Sharp,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Research interest: Research in my laboratory focuses on RNA-mediated gene regulation. Currently, we are interested in how gene expression is regulated by poly(ADP-ribose) - the only other known polynucleotide in nature, besides DNA and RNA. Much has been studied about the latter two polynucleotides, but poly(ADP-ribose) remains an enigma. Discovered in 1963, poly(ADP-ribose) has since been implicated in DNA-mediated processes including DNA repair, transcription and chromatin structure maintenance in the nucleus. We identified that poly(ADP-ribose) also functions outside the nucleus - regulating microRNA activity and stress responses in the cytoplasm.
What is unique about this polynucleotide is that it acts as a post-translational modification attached covalently to a target protein. Intriguingly, the target proteins are usually DNA- or RNA-binding proteins, so one might wonder: What biology would happen when two highly negatively charged polynucleotides are forced into close proximity by the covalent modification? Our laboratory currently focuses on dissecting these novel roles of poly(ADP-ribose) in the cytoplasm using quantitative imaging, genomics and proteomics approaches.
"BMB attracted me because of the people here in the Department, the School and the broader Johns Hopkins Community. I enjoy the collaborations I have fostered with experts in post-translational modifications and biostatistics within the School of Public Health, and across the street at the School of Medicine, soon after my arrival. Given that poly(ADP-ribose) has been implicated in stress responses and germ cell biology - the dual focuses of our Department - I chose BMB to start my lab."
- Anthony Leung