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Full Length LRH-1 structure.

Full Length Nuclear Receptor LRH-1

Welcome to The Blind Lab. Ray Blind is an Ingram Assistant Professor of Cancer Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and School of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Diabetes Research Center, with secondary appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Pharmacology. Ray is also Director of the Quantitative & Chemical Biology PhD program, Associate Director of DEI for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Diversity Liaison for the Department of Medicine, and an active member of the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology, the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

The Blind Lab explores second messenger signaling in the nucleus. Specifically, we seek to understand the structure, function and signaling properties of nuclear inositide lipids and soluble inositol phosphates, asking how these molecules directly participate in controlling gene expression. We use functional genomics, structural biology and chemical genetics to query how these second messengers operate. We then attempt to apply that information to develop drug discovery platforms, with potential to treat several different types of cancers and metabolic diseases.

Nuclear inositide signaling is particularly interesting to us 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 lipid signaling enzymes, with remarkable kinetic properties, providing a new framework to explain how nuclear lipid signaling works. 

Current research in our group is 1. determining what role phosphorylated inositols, phosphoinositide lipids and their signaling enzymes play in chromatin biology, 2. determining 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.

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