Robert Monsen

University of Louisville

Robert Monsen is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Louisville. Robert has a long-standing interest in biomolecular interactions and how alterations in macromolecular structure and stability contribute to human disease. His academic training and experiences have given him a broad background in various disciplines including molecular biology, biochemistry, structural biology, and biophysics. Robert’s research focuses on the structural characterization of non-B DNA structures known as G-quadruplexes. G-quadruplexes are tetraplex DNA secondary structures that form in genomic regions of high guanine content, such as gene promoters, and have been shown to regulate adjacent gene transcription. The inherent structural complexities of higher-order DNA G-quadruplex systems have required Robert to employ an integrative approach combining circular dichroism spectroscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, molecular dynamics, and hydrodynamic methods to characterize these systems as molecular targets in drug discovery. Robert first applied this approach to characterizing the promoter G-quadruplex of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene, which is believed to play a role in regulating its production. Recently, Robert has been studying higher-order quadruplex systems derived from promoters of oncogenes that are notoriously difficult to target at the protein level, such as c-Myc, k-Ras, and c-Kit, and has extended these structural studies to G-quadruplexes in the context of duplex bubbles to better understand their structure and stability in a more native context.


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