Welcome to the Hou Laboratory of
Molecular Biochemistry and Genetics of Transfer RNA (tRNA)



Ya-MingHoupostDocPosition We are interested in the specificity of translation of the genetic code, focusing on the questions of how tRNAs are synthesized, matured, modified, aminoacylated, and function on the ribosome.

The tRNA molecules are essential for the specificity of decoding, which is the key determinant in the speed and quality of cell growth. Elevated levels of tRNAs can lead to cancer, while deficiency in tRNAs can lead to cell toxicity.

Our research provides the basis to gain biochemical, structural, and bioinformatic insights into tRNAs in evolution. These insights are important for understanding the origins of the genetic code and for developing new strategies for drug targeting against diseases arising from errors of tRNA functions.

tRNA worldWe have developed a variety of methods, including biochemical, structural, kinetic, and genetic approaches. We focus on one representative enzyme in each case and build a framework of information by examining the enzyme in the larger biological context. Because tRNAs are ancient and enzymes that interact and recognize tRNAs are also ancient, we have a large database to search for related and homologous enzymes in evolution. The tRNA-interacting network is broad and include enzymes and proteins that are in pathways unrelated to protein synthesis. Some of our work published in various journals is mentioned in our publications page.

December 26, 2012.
Postdoctoral fellow position

A postdoc fellow position is open immediately to study tRNA biology, using biochemical, biophysical, and bioinformatics methods. The focus is on tRNA biology of mammalian mitochondria, which is associated with the development of many human cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Ideal candidates must have experience in biochemical and biophysical experience and must have used quantitative measurements. Experience in fluorescence analysis of proteins or nucleic acids, in enzyme assays, RNA isolation, nucleic acid preparation, and kinetic concepts are important. The position is in Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Thomas Jefferson University, located in the center city of Philadelphia, USA, surrounded by historical landmarks of the US founding history. The lab has a strong infrastructure for promoting research and for networking with collaborators around the world. We have a strong track record of publications and we encourage teamwork and leadership and participation in domestic and international meetings. This is a great place to build a successful research career.

Please send CV with a list of references containing names, email addresses, and phone numbers to:

Professor Ya-Ming Hou,
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Thomas Jefferson University,233 South 10th Street,
BLSB 220,Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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