"In the last few
years, physics, chemistry, and engineering have given us incisive new tools
that can be applied to biological and medical problems. The challenge is to deploy these tools
creatively to increase our understanding of cell biology and to discover
treatments for human disease." - Patrick Hogan, Ph.D.
Dr. Hogan, who will join the Institute in early 2010, began
his professional career in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical
School, where he headed a
research laboratory and taught neurobiology. In 1996, he moved his laboratory to the Harvard-affiliated
Immune Disease Institute, and continued to teach at Harvard College and Harvard
Dr. Hogan is
internationally recognized for his work on the calcineurin-NFAT pathway, which
regulates gene transcription in many cell types, and for his work on cellular
calcium signaling. He
holds baccalaureate and
Ph.D. degrees from Harvard.
Patrick Hogan, Ph.D., studies cells at the nano level -
seeking to understand how protein-protein interactions on the submicroscopic
scale can have gargantuan impacts on human health and disease. "My laboratory is interested in the
processes by which proteins interact with each other and with DNA to turn on
genes in the nucleus. That's the
whole secret of how T cells work," he said, referring to the body's
infection-fighting white blood cells.
"The interactions we study are subtle but can be the key to human
health and disease." Dr.
Hogan researches how calcium entry into T cells turns on the genes that are
necessary to fight infections and cancers. "This flows from my earlier work in neurobiology,"
he said, "where we tried to understand how pain sensory neurons are
activated. That was my
apprenticeship in how calcium and other ions enter cells, and how cells
perceive and respond to signals."
His laboratory made a landmark discovery in 2006, when they studied a
protein, ORAI1, that was mutated in two children with immune deficiency, making
the children unusually susceptible to life-threatening infections. Dr. Hogan related the immune deficiency
directly to calcium by showing that ORAI1 forms the pore of the calcium entry
channel in T cells. "The
hopeful lesson we take from these immunodeficient patients is that it may be
possible to develop new therapies for transplant rejection and autoimmune
disorders by targeting the calcium channel," he said.
Dephosphorylation of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcription factor is regulated by an RNA-protein scaffold complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011
Interaction of calcineurin with substrates and targeting proteins. Trends Cell Biol. 2011
Pore architecture of the ORAI1 store-operated calcium channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA.
STIM1 gates the store-operated calcium channel ORAI1 in vitro. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2010
Structure of calcineurin in complex with PVIVIT peptide: portrait of a low-affinity signalling interaction. J Mol Biol. 2007
Orai1 is an essential pore subunit of the CRAC channel. Nature. 2006
A genome-wide Drosophila RNAi screen identifies DYRK-family kinases as regulators of NFAT. Nature. 2006
Structural delineation of the calcineurin-NFAT interaction and its parallels to PP1 targeting interactions. J Mol Biol. 2004
Selective inhibition of calcineurin-NFAT signaling by blocking protein-protein interaction with small organic molecules. Proceedings of the Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004
Selective inhibition of NFAT activation by a peptide spanning the calcineurin targeting site of NFAT. Molecular Cell. 1998
Immunosuppressive drugs prevent a rapid dephosphorylation of the transcription factor NFAT1 in stimulated immune cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995
Isolation of the cyclosporin-sensitive T cell transcription factor NFATp. Science. 1993
Molecular basis of calcium signaling in lymphocytes: STIM and ORAI. Annual Review of Immunology. 2010
Dissecting ICRAC, a store-operated calcium current. Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 2007
Transcriptional regulation by calcium, calcineurin, and NFAT: structural and cell biological aspects. Genes & Development. 2003
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