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Jon Elkins

Principal Investigator, Cellular Signalling

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of proteins involved in cellular signalling, especially those involved in phosphorylation such as protein kinases. There are over 500 protein kinases in the human genome and most of them remain poorly characterized despite the importance of signalling in regulating physiology. Our approach is to use high resolution structural information for the generation of selective inhibitors (chemical probes) which we use to gain understanding of the functions of these largely uncharacterized proteins. Our lab generated a large repository of efficient expression systems, recombinant proteins and crystal structures that now enables family wide structural comparison and screening. Together with the recently established SGC site at the University of Campinas we aim to generate new chemical probes against novel protein kinases, and to use these to investigate biology.
Other research interests of the group include cellular regulation by ADP-ribosylation, which links epigenetics to metabolism; lipid kinases ; and sphingolipid biosynthesis, which has strong links to both inflammation and cancer, and where mutations in the various proteins involved are associated with a variety of rare diseases.