McCarthy Lab Research Areas
We study multiple aspects of gene expression, whereby most of our work focuses on the posttranscriptional steps in this pathway, with a particular emphasis on the translation of mRNA.
Gene expression is made possible by a very large number of coordinated molecular interactions and transformations and, like many research groups, we investigate the details of these molecular processes. We utilize a combination of biophysical, biochemical, genetic and computational methods to study a subset of the underpinning molecular mechanisms in considerable detail.
However, molecular properties and functions cannot be fully understood simply in isolation living organisms comprise systems of component molecules that are organized in physical and functional networks. We therefore apply experimental and theoretical methods of systems analysis to elucidate how molecular properties and functions combine to generate the system-level properties of gene expression and signaling pathways.
Our understanding of the full complexity of biological systems is in its infancy. Molecular processes are, by their very nature, stochastic, and the significance of the resulting noise in pathways such as gene expression and signaling is only beginning to be understood. We are applying a combination of molecular, systems and synthetic biology approaches to the analysis of stochasticity in cells.
Methodological advances play a key role in driving biological discovery, and we try, wherever possible, to develop new experimental and theoretical tools that will be of value to researchers in our own and related fields.