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What do we study?

Our laboratory studies protein-protein interactions and the networks that these interactions function within. Protein-protein interactions are often altered in disease through mutation, disrupting the underlying networks. Our interest is to understand how mutations in cancer disrupt protein interaction networks. We study the networks of interacting proteins that carry out fundamental cellular processes such as signal transduction. We are interested in ‘mapping’ these interactions in cancer cells, to understand how cancer subverts normal cellular functions. A particular interest is the Wnt signaling pathway, an important signal transduction pathway during animal development and in cancer.

Omics Approaches

We use large-scale proteomics and transcriptomics techniques to identify and quantify thousands of proteins or RNAs once, so that we gain a comprehensive view of how gene and protein expression is regulated. Affinity-purification mass-spectrometry (AP-MS) is a key technique that allows us to identify the interacting partners of a protein of interest. This technique first isolates a target protein using an antibody and then uses mass-spectrometry to identify the proteins that are associated with the target protein. By studying these interacting partners, we can gain insight into what the function of the protein is. By studying the interacting partners of a mutant protein we can understand what happens in the cell when proteins are mutated. We use these techniques in cancer cells to understand which mutations drive cancer.

Computational / Bioinformatics Approaches

Computational (bioinformatics) techniques are an essential tool when dealing with the large-scale data tha result from omics experiments. Programming languages such as Python, Perl and R are powerful tools that can be used to process, analyze, integrate and visualize molecular data. We are also interested in applying techniques of Big Data analysis in molecular biology. This video was made by undergraduate students working with us.

What will I gain from working in this lab?

You will gain experience in cutting-edge research as well as becoming familiar with molecular biological, proteomic and computational approaches.

Further reading 

Reading lists for our laboratory are here

See papers and reviews in:

Undergraduate projects

Some example project titles from previous years

Published on July 15th, 2020

More info

ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6510-4001

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2020 - EwingLab