Professor Benkovic’s Group is engaged in a variety of projects connected by the general theme of understanding enzyme catalysis at various levels. On one level is the study of a single enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase, to understand in depth how its structure is harnessed to drive the chemical transformation. On a second level is the study of the eight proteins and enzymes involved in DNA replication by the T4 replisome, to gain a molecular insight as to how these proteins interact within a multi-protein assembly to coordinate leading and lagging strand DNA synthesis. On a third level is the study of de novo purine biosynthesis as it occurs within a human cell line, to determine where in the cell and how the eleven enzymes in the pathway function as a dynamic complex to regulate the metabolic flux.
Research on these problems prepares individuals for careers in academics and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Many former members of the Benkovic Lab have gone on to hold prominent positions in these environments.