I received my PhD in Biochemistry from Queen’s University in 2007 working on the structures and mechanisms of heme recognition and degradation proteins from Escherichia coli O157:H7. In parallel with this work, I also focused my attention on the structure and function of a lipopolysaccharide transport protein, LptA.
Prior to joining Laurier, I was a European Molecular Biology Organization Fellow at The York Structural Biology Laboratory where my work focused on the structure-function relationship of microbial carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes). CAZymes describe families of structurally related, catalytic and carbohydrate-binding modules that degrade, modify or create glycosidic bonds. I continued this line of research, focusing on the characterization of pneumococcal CAZymes at the University of Victoria as a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Fellow. During this period, I was also part of a collaboration involving the structural characterization of receptor-antibody complexes.
Beyond the universally recognized role for carbohydrates as nutrient sources, complex carbohydrates in the form of polysaccharides, proteoglycans and glycolipids may be considered to be "the language of the cell" in that they mediate many integral biological events. Because of this central importance, research projects in our lab utilize X-ray crystallography and supportive biophysical methods to characterize the interaction between proteins and carbohydrates. Our primary work focuses on long, linear carbohydrates such as chondroitin, heparan, hyaluronan, alginate and pectin, and microbial factors that recognize and process these important cell surface molecules.
Our work is supported by an Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant and Early Career Researchers supplement, a Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant, and we frequently receive support from Wilfrid Laurier and the Faculty of Science.
The Suits Lab is hiring motivated biochemists for MSc and PhD opportunities. Interested candidates should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a curriculum vitae, an unofficial copy of your transcript, and a one or two paragraph description of why you want to work in the Suits Lab.
† Denotes co-first authorship
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