Invenio 2009

Molecular biology meets genetics meets biochemistry in protein research

Maxim SukhodoletsMaxim Sukhodolets, assistant professor of chemistry at Lamar University, is researching a recently discovered protein, a component of the E. coli bacteria, known as RapA. In mutated form, the protein has been linked to several types of cancer of the brain and soft tissues, mainly in children.

Sukhodolets pursues the research in molecular biology at Lamar with support of an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“It is a hardcore basic research project in molecular biology-meets-genetics-meets biochemistry,” Sukhodolets said. “The work in the field of prokaryotic transcription is a study of the relatively recently discovered protein RapA, a novel component of the transcriptional apparatus in the Escherichia coli bacterium.”

“The study of RapA is important because the mutations in its human homologs (genes separated by the event of genetic duplication) have been conclusively linked to several—predominantly pediatric—types of cancer of the brain and soft tissue,” Sukhodolets said.

Sukhodolets has published several scientific papers on discoveries related to the role and behavior of RapA with colleagues at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. His research at Lamar seeks to extend this knowledge. Research associate Lin Zhang and additional students were recruited to assist.

A Lamar faculty member since 2004, Sukhodolets teaches two undergraduate biochemistry courses and an advanced graduate-level biochemistry course. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Moscow State University and did post-doctoral work at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md.

The $186,000 grant was issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health. The NIGMS serves to support biomedical research that contributes to fundamental cellular and physiological principles.