We here in the Durrant Lab are excited to be adding an experimental component to our work! Graduate student Jennifer Walker, a.k.a. the “yeast whisperer,” has been setting up yeast-evolution experiments. Our goal is to force yeast to evolve resistance to anti-cancer and anti-parasitic drugs.
Resistance-conferring mutations often affect the drug-binding protein (i.e., the drug “target”). To identify the target, we’ll sequence the genomes of the resistant yeast to discover which protein has changed. Identifying a drug’s target in yeast will teach us about the same target in cancer or parasite cells.
We will leverage this information to improve our computational techniques. The goal is to better understand drug mechanisms of action and to identify new small molecules that are perhaps even more potent.
Jen took some neat pictures of her ongoing work. Hope you enjoy!