What is signal transduction? Program director Ze'ev Ronai, Ph.D. explains.
The Signal Transduction Program focuses on research questions related to the control of cell cycle progression, cell proliferation, DNA damage checkpoint function, stress response pathways, and cellular senescence. The emphasis lies on studies of protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins, chromatin organization, and transcription factors that play important roles in these processes. The projects employ state-of-the art technologies, including comprehensive proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiling, as well as high-content and high-throughput screening of siRNA and chemical compound libraries.
How our research helps improve health
Many pathologic disorders in humans arise from malfunctioning signal transduction processes in particular cells or tissues. A substantial proportion of modern-day drug discovery efforts is founded on the premise that pharmacologic manipulation of signaling proteins will prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of major human afflictions, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Discoveries by scientists in this program have resulted in several new therapies currently in clinical testing, including drugs that block signal transduction proteins needed for cancer cell division and survival and cancer gene therapies that reprogram the genome of tumor cells, making them easier to kill with chemotherapy or radiation.