Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Our research focus is the mechanism of mRNA transcription (the synthesis of mRNA) by RNA Polymerase II. Two primary research areas are the mechanism of transcription initiation and mechanisms used in transcription activation. Transcription initiation mechanisms are examined using biochemical, structural, proteomics, and biophysical methods. These studies are aimed at discovering how a large protein machine is specifically assembled at promoters and discovering mechanistic steps involved in the initial stages of RNA synthesis. Transcription activation involves transcription activators, which are intrinsically disordered proteins that interact with multiple coactivator protein complexes and lead to recruitment of the Pol II machinery at promoters. Using a combination of biochemical, molecular and structural (in collaboration with Rachel Klevit, UW) approaches, we are investigating the nature and specificity of transcription activators and coactivators. The laboratory provides an excellent learning environment for students to address scientific questions using multidisciplinary approaches and through collaborations with other laboratories using cutting edge technologies. See the Hahn laboratory web site for more information.