Natalie G. Ahn
University of Colorado, Boulder
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Ahn has made major contributions to signal transduction mechanisms. She discovered MAP kinase kinases and their activation of MAP kinases, which are essential and universal regulators of signaling in eukaryotic cells. She elucidated MKK1 regulation, showing for the first time that sustained activation of MAP kinase promotes cancer. She also discovered an unprecedented mechanism for cell polarity, involving rear-directed organelle positioning to control membrane retraction and cell migration. She has further been a pioneer in the development and application of functional proteomics and hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, using these tools to elucidate new mechanisms for cell signaling and enzymatic regulation.