Thakor Group

***The Thakor Research Group is currently recruiting two students for MSc/PhD positions in RNA synthetic biology and eukaryotic protein translation regulation. Click here for details.***

Contact Dr. Thakor: nthakor@uleth.ca

Thakor Research Group Summer 2016

RNA synthetic biology for energy production:

With a continuous decrease in the supply of fossil fuel and substantial environmental concerns governments, industries and scientific community are looking for greener, sustainable and renewable source of hydrocarbon fuels. Our research aims towards contributing to solve the crisis in ‘energy and environment’ sector by developing commercially viable and environment friendly technologies for the production of microbial biofuels. Significant amount of effort has been directed towards metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the production of biofuels. Although these proof-of-concept studies are informative, they face a common problem of generating limited yields of biofuels. One contributing factor to this problem is the non-portability of the metabolic engineering tools. Accordingly, we are interested in developing novel and versatile RNA synthetic biology tools which can be used for sustainable microbial production of biofuels and can also be leveraged for several other biotechnological processes for production of value added goods. Ultimately, utilizing the RNA synthetic biology tools, we want to create metabolic network/s for the production of microbial hydrocarbon fuels.

Protein translation regulation in oncogenesis:

In eukaryotic cells, the process of gene expression is tightly regulated at various levels including transcriptional, translational and post translational steps. Translational control is a critical component of gene expression process that maintains cellular homeostasis during physiological and pathophysiological stress conditions. Moreover, the regulation of gene expression at the translation level allows cells to rapidly reprogram proteome output in response to stress stimuli. Deregulation of protein translation has been implicated in various physiological disorders including cancer, alzheimer disease (AD), diabetes, stroke, X- linked Dyskeratosis Congenita (X-DC), etc. Specifically, and directly relevent to my research interests, extensive evidence exists suggesting that deregulation of protein translation directs tumourigenesis by affecting both the global control of protein translation as well as the translation of specific subsets of transcripts. Significantly, key pro- and anti- apoptotic proteins that play crucial roles in deciding the fate of cell are, to a large extent, translationally regulated. Accordingly, our research interest is in investigating the cellular, biochemical, molecular and structural aspects of the regulation of protein translation and to determine how these processes impact on tumourigenesis.

Group Members (Fall 2017)

  1. Dr. Joseph Ross (PDF)
  2. Dianevys Gonzàlez-Peña Fundora (PhD; Co-supervised with Dr. Nora Foroud)
  3. Jean Claude Nshogozabahizi (PhD student)
  4. Rachana Jayant Muley (PhD student)
  5. Divya Sharma (MSc Student)
  6. Nirujah Balasingam (MSc Student)
  7. Keiran Vanden Dungen (Undergraduate)
  8. Mikayla Fredriksen (Undergraduate)
  9. Kamiko Bressler (Undergraduate)
  10. Olivia Marasco (Undergraduate)
  11. Keith Aubrey (Undergraduate)

Former Lab Members

  • Harshil Patel (BSc; 2015-2016)
  • Anand Nambisan (BSc) MITACS Globalink intern (Summer 2016)
  • Jesse Johnson (BSc; 2016)
  • Clay Kurtz (BSc; 2016)
  • Ethan Kutanzi (BSc; 2016)
  • Kaylie Graham (BSc; 2016)
  • Marisa Lelekach (BSc; 2016)
  • Chris Cote (BSc; 2015-2016)
  • Rochelle Caruso (BSc; 2015-2016)
  • Ishani Moghe (BSc2015-2016)
  • Michelle Kwan (BSc; 2015)
  • Adam Sebzda (BSc; 2015)
  • Leeann Klassen (BSc-Honours; Co-supervised with Dr. Wade Abbott; 2015-2016)
  • Abeer Ogailan Abdullah (MSc student, Kothe lab; 2016)