Huilin Li Laboratory

Cryo-EM, Structural Biology, DNA Replication and Epigenetics

overview - figure 1

Figure: a. raw cryo-EM image; b. class averages; c. 3-D map of the yeast CMG helicase.

In recent years, advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have revolutionized the study of life’s most basic components. Scientists can now image molecules and molecular complexes more precisely than ever before, providing insight into the biological building blocks that play key roles in normal health and in disease. The ability to see these tiny molecules gives scientists a powerful tool when designing new therapeutic strategies for some of humanity’s greatest health threats.

The laboratory of Dr. Huilin Li leverages state-of-the-art cryo-EM technology to several ends, including uncovering the molecular machinery behind eukaryotic DNA replication, which can contribute to tumorigenesis when it goes awry; investigating the bacterial proteasome system in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis, which claims more than 1.5 million lives annually; and determining the structure of membrane proteins such as Notch, which are underrepresented in structural databases given the difficulty in obtaining enough material to accurately image them.