Juthaporn Sangwallek, PostDoc
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
What are you working on?
We try to elucidate the relationships between a protein structure and function by combining bioinformatic analysis and experiments in the fields of biochemistry and cellular biology. I am currently responsible for two groups of proteins: a new family of prokaryotic and mitochondrial membrane attached proteins containing coiled coils, and a group of bacterial histone-like proteins.
How are you going to find out?
We determine a protein structure by X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. Concerning its function, we knock out a gene and screen for phenotypic changes. We try to identify a protein’s interacting partners and then visualize its cellular localization. These experiments will give us some clues about how the protein works, with whom it interacts, and where its function takes place.
Why is it interesting?
Proteins are the workhorses of the cell: they are responsible for almost every task of a living cell. It is challenging to try to find out the better and simpler ways to explain how they work. A better understanding of their structures and functions will bring us there, and we may be able to create more useful predictions or models for further applications.
What do you like most about being a scientist?
Being a scientist is fun. You have the freedom to follow your curiosities. You can look at things, question them, guess, and design strategies to prove your hypotheses. Almost every day you have the chance to discover something new: either something that you assumed or something that proves you were wrong. Either possibility is great because it contributes to scientific development. Science advances by new findings and I am happy to be a part of it.
Your favorite thing outside of science?
I like go jogging in the Schönbuch forest, a nature park near my house. I enjoy sitting under the trees and reading books. Besides, I also like cooking – experiments at home.
Updated 24/01/2017 1:46pm