Associate Professor

Research

The research of the Perlstein Group lies at the interface of chemistry and biology with a focus on bioinorganic chemistry. We are currently developing new projects that will use the tools of chemical biology, including biophysical techniques, enzymology, microscopy, and molecular biology to understand iron-sulfur cluster containing proteins and bacterial cell division.

Using site specific substrate analogs, Prof. Perlstein was able to demonstrate distinct lipid lengths for donor and acceptor sites in peptidoglycan glycosyltransferases.

  • Iron-sulfur proteins – Iron-sulfur clusters are ancient and essential cofactors that allow proteins to access a wide range of chemistries that would not otherwise be possible with the standard 20 amino acids. Elucidating the novel chemical mechanisms of enzymes that utilize iron-sulfur clusters and understanding the biochemical pathway required for iron sulfur cluster assembly in vivo will be a major focus of the lab’s research efforts.
  • Bacterial Cell Division – The bacterial cytoskeletal proteins MreB and FtsZ are the major orchestrators of cell growth and division and therefore represent potential antibiotic targets that can be exploited to combat drug resistant pathogens. These bacterial homologs of actin and tubulin coordinate the activities of numerous enzymes in the cell membrane and the perplasmic space that maintain the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope during growth and division. We are developing projects to probe how cytoskeletal protein dynamics are regulated both in vitro and in vivo to discover new approaches to combating drug resistant microorganisms.

Publications

What’s Next for Graduates of the Perlstein Group?

I have had the opportunity to work with many fantastic undergraduate students, graduate students and postdocs during my time at MIT and Harvard and am continually amazed at what they have gone on to accomplish. In particular, I have worked closely with two undergraduate students.

  • Darlene S. Douglas (MIT, B.S. 2001) is owner of MJS Editing, LLC
  • Mia Lassier (Harvard Summer Clinical and Translational Research Program, 2009) is pursuing her Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.