Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Yuan Gao, PhD

Dr. Gao aims to understand the mechanism that proteins inside the cell use to enter peroxisomes. Peroxisomes are organelles that play important roles in fatty acid degradation, ether-phospholipid biosynthesis, and breakdown of hydrogen peroxide. Mutations in genes that cause faulty peroxisome function, particularly those that affect matrix protein import, result in a variety of severe inherited human diseases referred to as peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD). Cancer cell lines also strongly depend on peroxisomes for survival, which suggests that pharmacologic targeting of peroxisomes could be a novel cancer therapy. Dr. Gao is using a combination of biochemical and biophysical approaches to investigate the peroxisomal import machinery with the goal of deciphering its mechanism and developing better cancer therapies.

Project title: "Mechanism of protein import into peroxisomes"
Institution: Harvard Medical School
Named Award: HHMI Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Tom A. Rapoport, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Cell Biology