Research in the Parsons Lab

The field of genomics has determined that there are tens of thousands of proteins in the human body, but our understanding of the functions for the majority of these proteins remains limited. The Parsons lab generates new chemical tools that can be used to understand the functional roles of previously understudied proteins, including their potential involvement in health disorders. The lab’s primary focus is on hydrolases, enzymes that cleave chemical bonds through the addition of water. By developing and using novel molecular probes to study these enzymes, the lab seeks to provide insight into the fundamental biology of these proteins and investigate their potential to serve as medicinal targets for treating metabolic, neurodegenerative, and infectious diseases.

In this representative activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) workflow, mammalian cells are lysed to generate a complex mixture of proteins. The mixture is treated with a chemical probe containing a tag for visualization. The probe binds to the protein of interest in the mixture, and the labeled protein can be visualized following gel electrophoresis.
Example workflow for an activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) experiment in which a chemical probe is used to visualize a protein of interest in a complex mixture.

View Assistant Professor Will Parsons' faculty bio