TITLE:  Painting Chromatin with Synthetic Protein Chemistry


PRESENTER:   Tom W. Muir, Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of 1965, Professor of Chemistry, Princeton University


WHEN:  October 12, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Meeting ID:  998 0577 8326
Passcode:  916253


Painting Chromatin with Synthetic Protein Chemistry

Understanding protein function is at the heart of experimental biology. Perhaps one of grandest contemporary challenges in this area is to catalogue and then functionally characterize protein post-translational modifications (PTMs). Modern analytical techniques reveal that most, if not all, proteins are modified at some point; it is nature’s way of imposing functional diversity on a polypeptide chain. Understanding the structural and functional consequences of all these PTMs is a devilishly hard problem. While standard molecular biology methods are of limited utility in this regard, modern protein chemistry has provided powerful methods that allow the detailed interrogation of protein PTMs. In this lecture, I will highlight the use of high-throughput methods for studying the role of PTMs in regulating aspects of chromatin biology. In particular, I will discuss how histone modifications, and cancer-associated mutations, impact the activity of chromatin modifying enzymes and chromatin remodeling machines.


Tom W. Muir received his B.Sc in chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1989 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the same institute in 1993 under the direction of Professor Robert Ramage. After postdoc studies with Stephen B.H. Kent at The Scripps Research Institute, he joined the faculty of The Rockefeller University in 1996, where he was, until 2011, the Richard E. Salomon Family Professor and Director of the Pels Center of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Structural Biology. In 2011, Dr. Muir joined the faculty of Princeton University as the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of ’65 Professor of Chemistry. He currently serves as Chair of the Chemistry Department. He has published over 200 scientific articles in the area of chemical biology and is best known for developing methods for the preparation of proteins containing unnatural amino acids, posttranslational modifications and spectroscopic probes. These approaches are now widely employed in academia and industry. His current interests lie in the area of epigenetics, where he tries to illuminate how chemical changes to chromatin drive different cellular phenotypes.