Buddy Ullman, PhD
Parasites - Molecular Parasitology – Purine Nucleoside/Nucleobase Transport - Purine and Pyrimidine Metabolism - Polyamine Transport and Biosynthesis
Amalgamating the tools and techniques from the diverse scientific disciplines of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, immunocytochemistry, structural biology, and computational chemistry, the Ullman laboratory focuses on unique transport and metabolic pathways in protozoan parasites that might be amenable to therapeutic manipulation. Currently, we have four primary areas of interest: (1) the purine salvage pathway; (2) the polyamine biosynthetic pathway; (3) purine nucleoside and nucleobase transporters; and (4) polyamine transporters.
The parasite genera on which our laboratory focuses include Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Toxoplasma, and Plasmodium, the causative agents of leishmaniasis, African sleeping sickness, toxoplasmosis, and malaria, respectively. We have cloned, sequenced, and characterized the genes encoding key proteins in all of these pathways. The genes then serve as the molecular cornerstone for genetic and biochemical experiments to: (1) evaluate gene function in intact parasites using targeted gene replacement strategies; (2) to determine biochemical characteristics and 3-dimensional structure after gene overexpression in a variety of heterologous expression systems; and most importantly to validate and exploit potential drug and vaccine targets for the treatment and prophylaxis of parasitic diseases.