Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Texas Medical Branch


Alexander Kurosky, Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Kurosky’s laboratory has focused over the years on protein structure, function, and genetics, relating to plasma proteins, bacterial toxins, and proprotein processing. More recently the laboratory has transitioned into the discipline of proteomics and is pursuing both proteomics technology development as well as directed proteomics research to investigate total protein expression to obtain a more global understanding of biological phenomena. Much of this activity is being conducted within the UTMB National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Proteomics Center (Director, A. Kurosky). The overall theme of the NHLBI Proteomics Center is airway inflammation. Dr. Kurosky is also Director of the UTMB Biomolecular Resource Facility (BRF), a University-wide facility that includes five component infrastructure cores, largely dedicated to the production and/or analysis of proteins and peptides. The BRF cores include: 1) Mass Spectrometry; 2) Peptide Synthesis; 3) Protein Chemistry; 4) Protein Synthesis and Biomarkers; and 5) Separation Technologies.

A major ongoing project in Dr. Kurosky’s laboratory relates to a better understanding of the function of eosinophils and their involvement in inflammatory diseases. Eosinophils are bone marrow-derived granulocytes that are abundant in inflammatory infiltrates of many pathologic processes, such as allergic diseases, e.g. asthma. Eosinophil maturation from myeloid precursors is promoted by cell signaling events as a consequence of the action of GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5. As a foundation for these studies the laboratory is pursuing defining cell signaling phenomena. Thus, cytokine function defined within a context of phosphoproteomics is an integral part of these eosinophil-related studies. Important also to these studies are the structure and function of protein complexes found in eosinophils and their subsequent alteration in various disease states, including component kinetic flux. Overall these studies employ a variety of protein fractionation and characterization technologies, especially mass spectrometry, and extensively utilize bioinformatics to analyze and interpret the considerable amount of data generated by these studies.