University of Minnesota
Dr. Aihara received his PhD at the University of Tokyo in 2000. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, and has a particular interest in various DNA rearrangement systems. His lab uses x-ray crystallography as the primary tool to determine three-dimensional structures of the protein machineries that catalyze DNA strand cutting and rejoining reactions. The structural information helps to address mechanistic questions, namely how particular DNA sequences are recognized to initiate a DNA rearrangement reaction, how separate pieces of DNA are brought together and arranged for coordinated chemical reactions, and how reaction directionality is regulated. Better understanding of these aspects of the DNA rearrangement processes may ultimately aid in the design of new antibiotics and anti-viral drugs as well as the development of a sequence-specific gene delivery tool for safer gene therapy.