My main research interest lies at the intersection and the connecting of systems and structural biology. In particular, I am pursuing a bottoms-up approach to systems biology, whereby a systems-level understanding of biological processes is achieved through a molecular understanding of biological structures and their interactions. Such a molecular systems biology would result in predictive models of biological processes, derived from first principles and grounded in the rules of molecular interactions.
For this to happen two pieces must fall into place. First, we must be able to very accurately (angstrom resolution) predict the structures of biological molecules, including but not limited to proteins. Second, we must be able to translate that structural information into functional information that is both quantitative and molecular. In other words, structure must tell us something quantitative about the molecular binding partners of a biomolecule, instead of merely providing a high-level functional annotation. It is only at that level of molecular description can we hope to obtain a unified framework for describing and modeling biological systems as phenomena emergent from more fundamental interactions.