Keck Foundation Grant
Munsky also received a recent $1.2 million medical research grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, with fellow CSU Assistant Professor Tim Stasevich, biochemistry and molecular biology. Their project combines Munsky’s computational expertise with Stasevich’s innovative live-cell, super-resolution microscopy, and aims to observe and model, for the first time, real-time single RNA to protein translation in vivo. The technological advances to be developed in this project will also make it possible to discover and quantify ribosomal frameshifting, a mechanism which allows distinctly different proteins to be translated from the same RNA strand and is exploited by viruses for their replication. These results will help the biomedical community to better understand, control and predict the process of translation as it normally occurs in cells and when cells are infected by viruses.
New single-cell imaging approaches produce an unprecedented amount of data to quantify the fundamental, yet extremely complicated, processes of cell signaling, transcription, and translation. Advanced computational analyses allow researchers to redesign these experiments, untangle the complexity and randomness within these data, and to extract the most valuable insights. With the proper integration of experiments and computation, Munsky and Stasevich will first predict and then change the future of biomedical research.