Every spring DISCOVER: Marquette University Research and Scholarship showcases some of the most interesting research happening on Marquette's campus. Learn more through the links below.
Exploring proteins at the atomic level This colorful image depicts pyruvate carboxylase, a complicated protein studied by Dr. Martin St. Maurice, assistant professor of biological sciences. “This is an important enzyme in our bodies that plays a role in insulin secretion and glucose biosynthesis and that also contributes to the synthesis of all kinds of building blocks for the cell,” St. Maurice explains. “As a result, this enzyme may be a target for the treatment of a number of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.” St. Maurice uses an X-ray diffractometer to create three-dimensional maps of molecules — in this case, to determine the exact location of all atoms in this protein to gain insight into how it functions, including how one part moves as it catalyzes a chemical reaction. “By understanding how this region of the protein moves during a chemical reaction, we may ultimately be able to alter the way the enzyme functions, leading to possible therapies directed against this enzyme,” he says. Dr. Martin St. Maurice Marquette University 3