2012 Anne A. Johnson Work Awardee.
ABSTRACT: Fidelity during protein synthesis is essential to the cell, since misfolded proteins lead to several neuordegenerative diseases and cell death. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) which are the first and the most critical checkpoint to ensure accuracy in translation, also possess a wide repertoire of critical nontranslational functions including RNA splicing. My graduate work in Prof. Susan Martinis's lab focused on dissecting multiple 'proofreading' mechanisms in the AARSs, developing tools that allow assessment of mistranslation in vivo, and deciphering functional adaptations in one of these housekeeping enzymes to accommodate it's alternate role in splicing. My postdoctoral research at the NIH focuses on genome maintenance, with attention to mechanisms that preserve telomeric DNA. Telomere maintenance requires the interplay of several proteins including SLX4, a Fanconi Anemia protein. My current work aims at elucidating the role of SLX4 in regulation of various aspects of telomere maintenance, including repair, length homeostasis, and sister chromatid exchange.