Below is a brief description of the current projects in the laboratory:
1) Next-generation genome editing: CRISPR-based technologies hold immense promise for therapeutic genome editing but suffer from several issues, including those about specificity, delivery, and immunogenicity. We are applying chemistry-based approaches to solve these issues. See our Biochemistry perspective here for more details.
2) Chimeric small molecules: Most therapeutic small molecules inhibit enzyme function. We are developing a new class of small molecules that will activate and endow new functions to the enzymes.
3) Targeted delivery : The narrow therapeutic indices of many targets/small molecules have prevented their therapeutic development. We are developing methods for cell-specific release of such small molecules.
4) Exceptional organisms: Nature has evolved organisms that feed frequently (e.g., humans) and those that feed infrequently (e.g., lions). While frequent feeding organisms are often studied (e.g., mice), it is the infrequent feeding organisms that survive conditions considered pathological to humans. We are unraveling the molecular mechanisms by which infrequent feeding reptiles avert metabolic disorders despite possessing lifestyles that will be pathological to humans. We draw inspiration from the studies on the infrequent feeding Gila monster that led to the diabetes drug exenatide. See New York Times article here for more details.