WELCOME TO THE GHZ LAB!
Computational Biomolecular Science Lab
The GHZ Lab works at the interface between life, physics, chemistry, math, and engineering to "quantitatively" understand outstanding problems of living matter in order to improve human health. We are located at the University of Houston where we are proud to have created an inclusive, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and open-minded Lab.
Primary Areas of Interest
INTRINSICALLY DISORDERED PROTEINS
One focus area in the GHZ lab is cancer targets that are traditionally considered undruggable and include a special class of proteins, called intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs). IDPs lack a stable three-dimensional folded structure, i.e. they are structurally "disordered" as their name implies. They exist as an ‘ensemble’ of configurations of similar stability. The vast majority of proteins implicated in human cancers are either IDPs or have large intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs). Many of these cancer targets are still considered “undruggable” mostly due to the paucity of high-resolution methodologies that can offer a fundamental understanding of these targets. The computational expertise in the GHZ lab offers a promising avenue to fill in this gap.
BIOMOLECULAR ASSEMBLY IN COMPLEX MEDIA
As a part of our major focus area, undruggable cancer targets, we are very interested in exploring biomolecular assembly in complex media. Specifically, liquid-liquid phase separation of IDPs in crowded milieu, as implicated in human diseases, is an area that we are currently working on.
RNA STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS
Being one of the most versatile molecules of life, RNAs fold into a range of structures from simple helix-loops to complex tertiary structures and quaternary ribonucleoprotein assemblies. Their cellular functions largely depend on how their structure responds to different thermodynamic conditions. Being somewhat similar to IDPs, RNAs also exists as dynamic ensembles of conformations of similar stability (sampled over a range of timescales). Another active area in the GHZ lab focuses on a fundamental understanding of RNA structure and dynamics in ribonucleoprotein assemblies.
Thank you for your interest! Get in touch with us via email or in person at UH Engineering Building 1 (Lab: S303A, PI Office: S331)
Mailing Address: 4226 Martin Luther King Boulevard S222
Houston TX 77204-4004