Better understand how thermal adaptation and acclimation by organisms modulate proteins
This is critical given that climate change is raising Earth’s temperature. To survive, all organisms must sense and respond to fluctuating environmental conditions. Proteins are only marginally stable, and, therefore, the cellular environment must protect them or face lethal consequences. To understand the effects of thermal stress on protein homeostasis, we investigate protein folding in differentiated zebrafish and tardigrade tissues. Yet quantifying how tissues modulate protein stability and interactions in situ is challenging using current techniques. We will investigate how the local environment changes protein stability and function using the fast relaxation imaging in living organism approach that I developed during my postdoc. This will inform new strategies for protecting proteins in the organisms that provide our food and medicine in a rapidly warming world.
 Feng, R.; Gruebele, M.*; Davis, C.M.* “Quantifying protein dynamics and stability in a living organism,” Nat. Commun. 2019, 10, 1179. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09088-y