Petit Institute lab of Raquel Lieberman makes groundbreaking discovery
The lab of Petit Institute researcher Raquel Lieberman has made an important new discovery in a protein associated with glaucoma: a Y-shape.
This extreme oddity is significant to science, and possibly someday to medicine, particularly in the treatment of certain types of blindness.
“A protein like this one has never been reported before. There are extremely few Y-shapes in proteins at all,” said Lieberman, who led a two-year study, running the protein through a gauntlet of lab tests. The research has been published in the journal, Structure.
Lieberman, a structural biologist and associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is an expert on myocilin, a protein sometimes implicated in a form of hereditary glaucoma, which is just one category of glaucoma – the second most common cause of blindness globally. Genetic mutations in myocilin are a major cause of hereditary glaucoma, which can strike at a particularly young age, including in childhood.