Research in my group is based on the application of molecular electron microscopy to obtain the 3D architecture of complex and dynamic protein assemblies. Complemented by biochemical, biophysical, and molecular modeling tools, we aim to address structural and mechanistic issues in key cellular processes. A main theme in my lab is the structural biology of signaling cell membrane receptors, which play essential roles in regulating every aspect of normal physiology. In this direction, we seek to decipher how extracellular signals, such as hormones and neurotransmitters, instigate intracellular signaling cascades through binding to their cognate receptors on the cell surface.
As an Innovation Fund investigator, Skiniotis’ lab is teaming up with the lab of William I. Weis, Ph.D., to perform studies to obtain a 3-D structure of a major signaling complex in the Wnt pathway—a pathway implicated in cellular development and cancer. This complex is of particular interest because it is a major hub of Wnt activity—where various pathway components come together to form an organized scaffold. Understanding its assembly could lead to insights on how the pathway is regulated.