The biology seminar on deep evolutionary analysis and predicting protein function will be hosted by Dr. Aziz Mithani, Associate Professor, SBASSE. Guest speaker for the event will be Mr. Ashar Malik, is currently a postdoc fellow at the Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR, Singapore where, alongside developing the area of structure-based phylogenetics, he is also working towards the development of methods for adding annotations of clinical significance to genomic data collected from healthy individuals in a national precision medicine programme. Mr. Malik graduated from Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, with a PhD degree in Biochemistry (computational). During his doctoral studies, he worked under Dr Jane Allison's supervision to develop and test methods in the area of structure-based phylogenetics.
Date: Friday, March 6, 2019
Time: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Venue: 10-304, SBASSE Building, LUMS
Proteins are molecular machines that carry out all the functions necessary for supporting life. Evolutionary analysis utilises this ubiquitous presence of proteins to delineate shared ancestral relationships, through comparison of proteins carrying out similar functions. Conventionally, this analysis utilises the comparison of protein sequences. This method of recreating phylogenies struggles to separate the evolutionary signal from noise when the sequences being compared become increasingly diverged. The three-dimensional structure of proteins, on the other hand, is more robust to the changes incurred by the underlying sequence and therefore retains the signal over longer evolutionary time-scales. This work discusses the use of protein structure comparison to not only delineate the evolutionary history of proteins with highly diverged sequences but also infer the function of novel proteins based on their structural homology when sequence-based analysis struggles to provide a satisfactory answer.