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Research




General Research Interests of the Group:

  • Structural and Computational Biophysics
    • Protein electrostatics
    • Allostery and long-range communication in proteins
    • Protein motion/dynamics
  • Understanding Biochemical Mechanisms
    • Protein structure and function relationships
    • Protein active site/functional site characterization and analysis
    • Classification of enzymes
    • Role of cysteine modifications
  • Systems Biology/Understanding Biological Systems and Processes
    • Cell signaling pathways involving protein modification
    • Computational algebra and Bayesian network modeling of time course data
    • Microarray analysis of gene expression data
    • Clustering microarray data
  • Bioinformatics
    • Development and implementation of novel computational methods to analyze biological data

The Fetrow Group research focuses on understanding how proteins work in the cell by studying the intricate relationships that exist between protein function and structure, involving communication networks both within the protein and between proteins. To achieve this the group is developing methods and tools to aid in the early stages of drug discovery using Bioinformatics, Computational Biophysics and Systems Biology approaches. Some of the research underway includes the characterization and classification of enzyme functional sites, which provides information on the functional relationships between proteins, and can thus aid in the design of specific enzyme inhibitors. The methods we are developing can be used to quickly classify structures or sequences based on mechanistic determinants, contributing to the efforts to more accurately characterize unannotated or misannotated proteins. Other major research projects focus on using computational algebra or Bayesian techniques to model biological networks from time course data, such as gene expression or protein phosphorylation data. These techniques provide a fast way to discover dependencies in interaction networks involving modification of the proteins involved, which aids in the discovery of potential drug targets. In addition to these projects we also participate in research focused on the identification of biomarkers for specific diseases and exploratory research aimed at gaining a better understanding of certain biological systems.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical CenterAll of our research requires a seamless integration of computational and biological techniques; thus, interdisciplinary collaboration is a very important part of the research done by our group. On-going collaborations include the departments of Computer Science, Biology, Mathematics, Biochemistry, Physics, Microbiology and Immunology, Internal Medicine (Molecular Medicine), and others. We also value collaboration with other universities and research facilities and currently have relations with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Virginia Tech, University of Minnesota, SUNY Buffalo, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and University of California in San Francisco.

For more information on specific research projects visit the Projects page. Also, check out the Computational Biosciences or the Molecular Signaling websites to learn about other related research to the Fetrow Group. If you are interested in a collaborative research project, please send an email to Dr. Jacquelyn Fetrow.