Jennifer Kavran

Jennifer Kavran

Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: 
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SPH
Secondary Appointment: 
Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, SOM AND Oncology, SOM

W3116
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD

Research topic: 

Mechanistic studies of eukaryotic signaling pathways

My research interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms of signaling pathways with the goal of understanding what factors regulate the activity of these pathways. This knowledge provides the framework needed to interpret how alterations to a pathway, such as additional proteins, mutations to pathway components, or small molecules, modulate pathway activity. My lab is poised to answer such problems with a multi-prong approach that combines biochemistry, enzymology, biophysics, and structural biology. We are currently focusing on the factors that regulate the Hippo pathway. By regulating the balance between cell growth and cell death, the Hippo pathway controls organ size during development. When disrupted, this pathway leads to tumorigenesis, and is associated with a variety of human cancers. We are currently focused on investigating how the activity of two core kinases, Mst1/2 and Lats1/2 are regulated.

BCMB students currently in the lab:
Selected Publications: 

Cairns, L, Tran, T, and Kavran, JM. Structural insights into the regulation of Hippo signaling. (2017) ACS chemical biology 12:601-610.

Kavran, JM, McCabe, JM, Byrne, PO, Connacher, MK, Wang, Z, Ramek, A, Sarabipour, S, Shan, Y, Hristova, K, Shaw, DE, Cole, PA, and Leahy, DJ. How IGF-1 activates its receptor. (2014) Elife. 3:e03772.

Kavran, JM, Gundllapalli, S, O’Donoghue, P, Englert, M, Soll, D, and Steitz, TA. (2007) Structure of pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase, an archaeal enzyme for genetic code innovation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104, 11268-11273.