Gene-Wei Li, Ph.D.

Title
Helen Sizer Career Development Assistant Professor
Department
Biology
Institution
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Address
31 Ames Street
Room 68-223a
City, State, Zip
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone
(617) 324-6703
E-mail
gwli[at]mit.edu
Website
http://qbio.scripts.mit.edu/group
Research Field
Cell Biology
Award Year
2017

Research

We are investigating whether cells produce the “optimum” amount of each protein they need. Even single-celled bacteria are capable of synthesizing more than 1,000 different proteins. But how do they “decide” how much of each protein to produce? In my laboratory, we have developed a technique for measuring the precise production rates of every protein in a cell. Combining this approach with other techniques in cell, molecular, and computational biology, we will compare a broad range of organisms across evolutionary distances to determine whether all of their proteins are maintained at some preferred level. Further, by artificially perturbing the quantities of selected proteins, we will explore the mechanisms cells use to re-establish the proper protein balance—systems whose misregulation underlies a variety of human diseases.