structural biology, protein misfolding, amyloid, glaucoma, crystallography, molecular biophysics
The Lieberman research group focuses on biophysical and structural characterization of proteins involved in misfolding disorders. One major research project in the lab has been investigations of the glaucoma-associated myocilin protein. The lab has made major strides toward detailed molecular understanding of myocilin structure, function, and disease pathogenesis. Our research has clearly demonstrated similarities between myocilin glaucoma and other protein misfolding disorders, particularly amyloid diseases. The work has led to new efforts aimed at ameliorating the misfolding phenotype using chemical biology approaches. Our second project involves the study of membrane-spanning proteolytic enzymes, which have been implicated disorders such as Alzheimer disease. Our group is tackling questions surrounding discrimination among and presentation of transmembrane substrates as well as the enzymatic details of peptide hydrolysis. In addition to the biochemical characterization of intramembrane aspartyl proteases, our group is developing new crystallographic tools to improve the likelihood of determining structures of similarly challenging membrane proteins more generally.
The impact of ethical controversy on scientific research, with a particular emphasis on emerging biomedical technologies. Recent work has focused on a range of issues related to stem cell policy (including state-level science policy and the rise of unproven stem cell therapies) as well as the oversight of assisted reproduction.
I am interested in understanding (i) how transcription factors find their targets on DNA and activate transcription despite the presence of nucleosomes and (ii) how structural details of trans-activators and cis-elements quantitatively fine-tune gene regulation at the cellular level.
Dr. Jang's research interest is to characterize and design nanoscale systems based on the molecular architecture-property relationship using computations and theories, which are especially relevant to designing new biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering. Currently, he is focusing on 1) NanoBio-mechanics for DNA, lipid bilayer, and hydrogel systems; 2) Molecular interaction of Alzheimer proteins with various small molecules. Dr. Jang is also interested in various topics such as nanoelectronics, nanostructured energy technologies for fuel cell, battery and photovoltaic devices.