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Jean-Francois Couture

Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

INPEC node since 2014

The Couture laboratory is focused on fundamental questions regarding the interactions between proteins and chromatin. This includes understanding how post-translational modifications of chromatin influence chromosome structure, as well as investigating how mutations associated with cancers like leukemia disrupt epigenetic processes. Ultimately, the laboratory uses the insights gained from these studies to engineer small molecules, aiming to develop novel modalities for treating diseases.


Keywords: epigenetics, chromatin, nucleosome, X-ray crystallography, histone modifying enzymes


Martin Schmeing

Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

INPEC node since 2010

The general goal of the lab is to understand how some of the large enzymes in the cell act to perform their important functions.  To do this, we combine X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, biochemical techniques and chemical biology. The main current focus of the lab is the study of nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs), large macromolecular machines that, like the ribosome, catalyze peptide bond formation. Instead of making proteins, these enzymes produce a large variety of small molecules with important and diverse biological activity. For example, NRPSs synthesize anti-fungals, anti-bacterials, anti-virals, anti-tumourigenics, siderophores, and immunosuppressants, including classic therapeutics such as penicillin and cyclosporin, and modern billion-dollar antibiotics like daptomycin.

Keywords: megaenzyme, NRPS, natural products, X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, ribosome

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