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Research Cafe


Kevin Eduard Hauser

Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Chemistry

Helical Motions of a Human Transcription Factor Drive DNA Binding and Recognition

Synopsis: Proteins are the workers of the cell and one of their most important functions is to control the expression of genes. To understand this deep issue, we first must understand how proteins read DNA. We know how some of this works – a protein will bind to a random sequence of DNA, rapidly slide along it, then when it encounters its target site, change structure and stay put. We do not know, however, how proteins change structure during these processes because the changes are too fast and the states too fleeting to be observed experimentally, whereas, computer simulations are ideally suited to study fast and fleeting processes and states. In this presentation, I will present simulations that model the protein helical motions that drive structure change in a human protein and explain the potential impact of the findings on our understanding of gene expression.


Biography: Kevin was born in South Florida. Growing up in Riviera Beach at his father’s car shop, he played with chemicals including metallic paints and epoxies, sparking his love of chemistry. At eight years old, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease that the doctor said was not lethal, but was incurable. Kevin became driven to solve the problem of treating genetic diseases, even though he was not in a privileged position to do so – he was the son of a maid and an auto mechanic. With spiritual support from his family, Kevin worked his way through public education to earn a BS in Chemistry from The University of Florida, Gainesville. He worked his way into a research lab to begin to learn how to solve biomolecular problems as challenging as hitting genetic disease at its root – how proteins interact with DNA, the subject of his PhD research.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 12:30pm



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