Chemistry
Sebastien Poget
Assistant Professor
     

Academic Background

 

  • 2003-2008: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

  • 2001-2003: Research Associate, The Rockefeller University, NY

  • 2001: Ph.D, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK

  • 1996: Diploma in Chemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland

 

Research Interests

All cells require a membrane to separate them from their neighboring cells or the environment. While this compartmentalization is essential for life and its processes, it also poses problems: Not only do chemicals need to cross the barrier to get in and out of the cell, but communication also needs to take place between the cell and its environment. These transport and communication tasks are being carried out by proteins in the membrane that form transporters, pores, channels and signal transducers.

My research focuses on understanding a few of these membrane proteins and their function on an atomic level of structural detail. We employ nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and a range of ancillary biophysical techniques to study these proteins. While the main focus in the lab is on understanding the biological systems under study, significant effort is also devoted to developing the NMR methodology to tackle these questions.

Current projects:

1) Ion channels and their interactions with animal toxins.

Ion channels allow the flow of a given type of ion through the membrane in a highly specific but very fast manner. Among others, they are responsible for the electric signal transmission in nerves and the regulation of the heartbeat. Therefore, many toxins in snake and spider venom target these ion channels. We are studying the interactions of these toxins with several cation channels to better understand channel structure and function and also as potential templates for designing therapeutic drugs.

2) Transmembrane domain interactions in natural killer cell receptors.

Natural killer cells are a part of the innate immune system and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. Their activity is regulated by natural killer cell receptors, membrane proteins that transmit an activation or suppression signal into the cell depending on the environmental stimuli. We are interested in the transmembrane segments of these proteins and how they transmit the signal through the membrane.