RESEARCH & DISCOVERIES

The multidisciplinary nature of our Lab has been our major strength. Our research fits into the scope of soft condensed matter physics, computational chemistry, even quantitative biology! 

We are studying fundamentals like thermodynamics, kinetics, and structure of biomolecular assembly using the tools of statistical mechanics, machine learning, data science, and molecular simulation in order to develop new materials, drugs, and diagnostics. Our lab’s grand mission is to improve the human condition, specifically human health.

INTRINSICALLY DISORDERED PROTEINS AS CANCER TARGETS

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.

CARBON NANOMATERIALS FOR DRUG DELIVERY

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