James West

James West

Associate Professor, Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Department/Affiliation: BCMB, Biology, Chemistry
Phone: 330-263-2368
Office Address: Rubbermaid
Email
Website

Degrees

  • B.S., Campbell University 1999
  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University 2005
  • Fellowship, Northwestern University 2005-2008

Courses Taught

  • BCMB 331:  Principles of Biochemistry
  • BIOL 201:  Gateway to Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • IDPT 101:  First-Year Seminar
  • CHEM 120:  Principles of Chemistry
  • BCMB 303:  Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BCMB 332:  Biochemistry of Metabolism
  • BCMB 333:  Chemical Biology
  • BCMB 399:  Tutorial in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BCMB 401:  Introduction to Independent Study

Interests

Cells are constantly exposed to harmful molecules (e.g., oxidizing agents, electrophiles, and transition metals) that damage DNA and proteins. Damage to DNA and proteins is associated with a variety of disorders, including cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular disease. To prevent excessive damage, most organisms express proteins that sense these molecules and increase the levels of genes that function in molecular detoxification and repair of protein damage, thereby allowing for adaptation.

My research utilizes baker's yeast and mammalian cells to define more clearly how organisms sense and respond to protein-damaging molecules. The way that cells deal with these molecules and their damaged protein targets involves at least two different types of gene expression responses: the antioxidant response (which involves expression of genes involved in detofication) and the heat shock response (which involves expression of genes involved in repairing and clearing protein damage). Ongoing research projects include(a) how the antioxidant response in regulated in baker's yeast, (b) how the antioxidant response influences other stress responses, and (c) how structural features of molecules promote activation of both the antioxidant and heat shock responses in yeast and mammalian cells. These projects utilize a combination of molecular biology, protein biochemistry, and cell biology techniques.