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“The molecular logic of communication pathways inside cells controls every aspect of cell biology from the growth and survival to death in both health and disease. The overarching aim of our research is to define new links in these communication pathways and so provide novel approaches to manipulate cell functions as new treatment strategies across a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases and cancer.”
The Bogoyevitch research team is interested in signal transduction, i.e. the unravelling mechanisms of intracellular communication pathways in both health and disease. We are exploring the regulation of a group of intracellular communicators, the protein kinases that provide critical control points during signal transduction events. Our specific focus lies in the c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) subfamily. The JNKs have attracted increasing interest following their initial description as stress and cytokine-activated protein kinases. They are now implicated as mediators in diseases including stroke, obesity and diabetes. A better understanding of these kinases will facilitate the development of improved therapeutic strategies for these diseases.
Our main aims therefore include:
- Improving our basic understanding of the JNK upstream regulators and downstream targets, with a view to enhancing our ability to develop JNK-selective drugs.
- Targeting novel JNK-dependent signalling events as the first steps to developing new therapeutics in the treatment of neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases and cancer.
Techniques include: molecular biology methodologies such as plasmid/transfection and viral delivery approaches to manipulate signalling pathways, subcloning and site-directed mutagenesis, real time PCR and gene microarray analysis and of cell biology methodologies such as primary cell culture, confocal scanning microscopy and quantitative live cell imaging. These approaches are complemented by a broad spectrum of biochemical techniques that include recombinant protein expression and purification, cell-permeable peptide approaches and biochemical assays of protein kinase function.
Marie graduated from the University of Queensland (BSc Hons (Biochemistry), PhD 1990), and her interests in signal transduction were initiated during postdoctoral work in London (1990-1997) with Peter Sudgen (National Heart and Lung Institute) and Chris Marshall FRS (Institute for Cancer Research). These interests were expanded during her appointment at the University of Western Australia (UWA) from 1997 to 2007 where she led the Cell Signalling Laboratory within the School of Biomedical Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, winning the UWA Teaching Excellence Award. Her research team has now been based in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne and the Bio21 Institute since mid-2007.