Howard Hughes Medical Institute Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2017, Yale University, New Haven, CT
PhD, 2009, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
MSc, 2002, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
BSc, 2000, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Work in the Gagnon laboratory is directed at understanding the structural basis of the functions of proteins and nucleic acids involved in gene expression, particularly translation. In all living cells, translation is mediated by a large macromolecular assembly, the ribosome. We are interested to characterize the mechanisms of regulation of protein synthesis mediated by ribosome-binding proteins, RNAs and small molecules, such as antibiotics. Understanding the mechanisms of protein synthesis in atomic details will lead to new antibiotic targets, which is particularly important nowadays with the increasing occurrence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics being one of the biggest threats to global health. More than half of clinically relevant antibiotics cure infections by inhibiting the bacterial ribosome, making the ribosome a validated drug target in the cell. Many pathogenic bacteria have acquired resistance mechanisms that rely on specialized ribosome-binding proteins capable of rescuing antibiotic-inhibited ribosomes. Rescue of protein synthesis allows pathogens to thrive in the presence of drugs. We are seeking to characterize the molecular mechanisms exploited by many human pathogens to rescue drug-inhibited ribosomes, making them resistant to commonly used antibiotics. To achieve these goals, our laboratory uses an integrated approach combining biochemical, biophysical, genomic, molecular genetics and structure determination techniques.