NEW YORK, Dec. 6, 2006As biomedical science progresses, physicians apply increasingly refined tools to treat disease. Researchers hope it will eventually be possible to use tools based on the emerging field of nanomedicine. The idea is to repair the body on the tiny scale of moleculesat the nano-scale or roughly one millionth the size of an antto reach inside cells and fix what may be broken.
As part of a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) nanomedicine grant, David Roth, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Pathology and the Irene Diamond Professor of Immunology, is collaborating with colleagues at academic research institutions around the country to set up a Nanomedicine Center for Nucleoprotein Machines. The center will be headquartered at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where it will be directed by Georgia Tech biomedical engineer Gang Bao, Ph.D. and molecular biologist William Dynan, Ph.D. of the Medical College of Georgia.
The centers scientists will focus on the repair of damaged DNA, an essential process that cells perform to preserve the integrity of their genetic material. The first step in the research project is to build tools and do experiments to observe, characterize, and track various stages and types of DNA repair processes.
Just as athletes rely on key muscle groups to power their performance, cells need their protein machines. Lots of important bodily processes are performed by protein machines that typically contain a number of individual proteins assembled together much like a sophisticated car engine, explains Dr. Roth. The machine we elected to study in this project is the DNA repair machine, he says. It contains many components and assembles dynamically: its composition also changes with time as different stages of the repair process are completed.
The team has developed a customized instrument to study a special kind of DNA break.
Contact: Jennifer Choi
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine