CSB Lab Spotlight: Brown Lab
Breann Brown, Ph.D., came to Vanderbilt University in January 2019 after completing a postdoc at MIT in the lab of Dr. Tania Baker. Although a relatively new PI, the assistant professor in Biochemistry recognizes the importance that donuts can have on lab productivity! Read more about Dr. Brown and her lab.
What projects does your lab currently work on?
My lab seeks to understand how mitochondrial protein complexes maintain metabolism and overall health. We primarily study two areas under this umbrella: protein complexes initiating heme biosynthesis and protein complexes regulating production of mitochondrial DNA.
What are the primary tools and techniques you use to answer these questions?
We primarily use X-ray crystallography and complementary biophysical techniques to characterize the protein complexes, along with enzymatic assays and metabolomics.
What was your path to this position? What is your favorite part of being a PI?
I’ve always loved scientific research so this job was a natural fit for me. I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors along the way, so I was always encouraged to pursue research. My favorite part of being a PI is walking into lab and seeing what everyone is up to for the day. I live vicariously through my trainees experiments!
What are some fun lab activities you like to do?
I have a huge sweet tooth, so you can sometimes find us chatting around a dozen donuts. I also like sometimes to go out for a mid-afternoon Starbucks run.
What do you think is the key to running a successful group?
I don’t have all the answers, but I think one key is to be excited about research. That way, coming to lab and working long hours is not a chore. Also, taking time to celebrate the small victories. They are few and far between.
Is there any other info, thoughts, advice, etc., that you’d like to share?
Follow me on Twitter @dr_bsquared.