The Farhan Lab

Our lab has two main research areas: (i) The regulation of Proteostasis and membrane trafficking by signalling and (ii) the role of Pseudoenzymes in health and disease.

Safeguarding the cellular proteome is of fundamental importance and it is thus of no surprise that nearly 70% of cellular energy is devoted to handle the proteome. The balance between protein synthesis, folding, trafficking and degradation is referred to as proteostasis. Our group focuses on how proteostasis is regulated by signalling to and from endomembranes. In particular are we interested in the regulation of membrane traffic, organelle dynamics and autophagy. We employ a set of methods to study these processes such as live cell confocal microscopy, SRRF stream imaging, FRAP and high-content RNAi screening. We use the knowledge gained from fundamental cell biology and use to better understand human diseases or to develop new therapies. Two main areas of interest of our lab are the role of secretion in breast cancer migration and invasion as well as the role of proteostasis in multiple myeloma.

Pseudoenzymes are catalytically inactive enzymes that are present in almost all enzymes families. Because they are living, but dead proteins, we refer to them as “Zombies”. Our favourite zombie protein is the pseudophosphatase STYX. We explore the role of STYX is MAPK signalling as well as its role in the regulation of Cullin-RING ligases such as FBXW7. We are exploring the role STYX as a global regulator of Cullin-RING ligases and its role in the regulation of the cell cycle, DNA damage response and proliferation.