Ronald C. Wek, PhD
Showalter Professor of Biochemistry
Dr. Wek is the Showalter Professor of biochemistry who directs a laboratory that addresses how cells cope with stress. This research is important for the development of new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and related metabolic disorders, skin disorders, infectious diseases, cancers, and neuropathologies.
Dr. Wek is a biochemist and molecular biologist with a PhD from the University of California, Irvine, and postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. He is the Showalter Professor of Biochemistry and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Research in the Wek laboratory addresses how cells cope with stress, including nutrient deprivation and disruptions in protein folding. This research identified stress recognition pathways, gene expression programs designed to adapt to stress, and the processes by which these pathways contribute to health and disease. This research is important for the development of new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and related metabolic disorders, skin disorders, infectious diseases, cancers, and neuropathologies.
Titles & Appointments
- Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
- Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
Our research is focused on how cells recognize stress and induce gene expression pathways to alleviate damage. Central to these stress adaptation processes is translational control through phosphorylation of a translation factor eIF2, which is involved in delivery of initiator tRNA to the ribosome machinery. Protein misfolding and nutrient deficiencies are critical triggers of translational control, which rapidly repress global translation coincident with preferential translation of key stress response genes. We use biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetic, and bioinformatics approaches for determining the mechanisms for these stress response pathways and their roles in the progression and treatment of diabetes and related metabolic diseases, cancer, and neuropathologies