- Michael Rust Laboratory
- Cell and Molecular Biology/Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology
The University of Chicago
900 E 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
I am interested in understanding the molecular bases of biological oscillators, particularly how systems level properties of robustness are realized. Currently, I am taking an experimental and theoretical approach to gain a more detailed understanding of the relationship between the biochemical mechanisms underlying the protein based (KaiABC) circadian clock of cyanobacteria and its ability to generate a strong oscillatory response in spite of environmental perturbations. For example, over the physiological range of energy/metabolite conditions and temperatures, the KaiABC protein clock maintains approximately 24 hour periodicity, even as it attenuates the amplitude of oscillations in response to these changes. As meeting these simultaneous, somewhat conflicting demands for robustness in periodicity and sensitivity to environmental inputs is a common challenge for circadian oscillators, I am also interested in understanding if and how much the mechanisms we will uncover for the KaiABC protein clock will be observed across circadian organisms.