Richard W. Baker, PhD

Dr. BakerĀ seeks to understand the molecular mechanism of how large protein assemblies actively rearrange local areas of chromatin, acting as keystone regulators of gene expression. He focuses on the SWI/SNF family of proteins. Recent genomic studies have shown that nearly 20% of all tumors contain a mutation in SWI/SNF genes. Notably, these mutations frequently result in with aberrant or uncontrolled SWI/SNF activity, suggesting that they could be viable drug targets.

Michael A. Cianfrocco, PhD

Dr. Cianfrocco [HHMI Fellow] studies proteins called dynactin and dynein that function to transport organelles within the cell, a process that is particularly important during cell division. He aims to elucidate the structural basis for dynactin's ability to regulate dynein activity. Since many viruses, including cancer-causing oncoviruses, require dynein to be transported from the cell membrane to the nucleus for genome replication, understanding the molecular details of dynein-dynactin function may provide novel targets for cancer therapies.