- Lipid signaling and small GTPases
Our research interest is focused on understanding the roles of endogenous small molecules, particularly the phosphatidylinositides (PIs), in cell signaling events that are responsible for both normal development and diseases. PIs are one of the most versatile signaling molecules, yet are difficult to study due to their dynamic metabolism in the cells and the lack of available reagents and assays for PIs and their metabolic enzymes. Consequently, how PI signaling pathways regulate normal development and diseases is still poorly understood. We are interested in three different approaches to address this question: 1) develop efficient methods and technologies to synthesize PIs and identify their interacting proteins; 2) develop small molecule sensors and inhibitors for different PI metabolic enzymes; and 3) investigate the cellular functions of known and unknown PIs, particularly how PIs synergize with small GTPases in regulating signal transduction.