Welcome to The Blind Lab. Ray Blind is an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the Department of Medicine's Diabetes Research Center, the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Pharmacology. We are also affiliated with the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology, the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, and the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.
The Blind Lab is focused on exploring the structure, function and signaling properties of nuclear inositide lipids and soluble inositol phosphates. Our group uses genomics, structural biology and chemical genetics to determine how these second messenger signaling molecules operate in the nucleus. We then use of that new information to develop new drug discovery platforms, with potential in several cancers (glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma) and metabolic liver diseases (fatty liver and diabetes).
Nuclear signaling is particularly interesting because the nucleus contains unique pools of lipids that do not exist in any known membrane structure, but are instead complexed with soluble proteins. We discovered certain pools of nuclear inositides can be directly remodeled by membrane signaling enzymes, with remarkable kinetic properties, providing a new framework explaining how lipid signaling in the nucleus works.
Current research in our group is 1. determining what role phosphorylated inositols, phosphoinositide lipids and their signaling enzymes play in chromatin biology, 2. elucidating how nuclear phosphoinositide complexes are structured, 3. identifying rapid nuclear signaling events using chemical genetics, 4. understanding how nuclear receptors acquire phospholipid ligands from membranes.