Alan Brown, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Institution
Harvard Medical School
Address
240 Longwood Ave.
C Building, 249A
City, State, Zip
Boston, MA 02115
Phone
617-432-5289
E-mail
alan_brown@hms.harvard.edu
Website
https://brown.hms.harvard.edu/
Research Field
Structural Biology; Cell Biology
Award Year
2019

Research

Our ability to see, hear, and smell are enabled by specialized structures called cilia, fingerlike extensions that protrude from the surface of cells involved in sensory perception. In the retina, cilia contain light-sensing proteins and the molecular machinery required to transmit light signals from the eye to the brain. These materials are ferried to their destination by large carrier proteins that select their cargo and then form trains that traverse the length of each cilium. Using an array of cutting-edge techniques in molecular genetics, biochemistry, proteomics, and electron microscopy, our lab aims to elucidate the structural basis by which carrier proteins select their cargoes and establish the signaling pathways needed to transmit light signals in the eye. This information will allow us to elucidate how mutations disable this transport system and lead to visual impairment—work that could lead to treatments that slow retinal deterioration or restore vision.

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