Mentor: Richard Lee, Harvard Medical School
Thioredoxin (Trx) is a protein with antioxidant activity that can be inhibited by thioredoxin-interacting protein (Txnip). Txnip also regulates glucose metabolism, representing a potentially important link between oxidative stress and metabolism.
Because direct evidence for the interaction of Txnip and Trx has not been shown, Haydeliz and her colleagues set out to find methods of producing pure protein and eliminating aggregation of Txnip (which hinders crystallization), with the ultimate goal of defining the structure of Txnip and the mechanism of its interaction by crystallization. The researchers successfully improved the purification method, which will enable crystallization and may provide key insights into the association of insulin resistance with oxidative stress.
"I knew I wanted to pursue graduate school, but my experiences working at the Broad Institute definitely strengthened my desire to continue my education. Participating in this program was one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my undergraduate studies."
Haydeliz Martínez-Ruiz, a chemical engineering senior at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, developed and optimized methods for purifying Txnip proteins, which may lead to key biological insights.