Susan Bane’s research in chemical biology focuses on microtubules, which are vital to any cellular function that involves movement. Interfering with microtubules can cause a cell to die, which has important implications for treating cancer. A better understanding of how anti-microtubule drugs work could lead to new, more effective ways to fight cancer and other diseases.
Bane and her colleagues want to develop drugs that will affect microtubules without leading to cell death. They also want to find out how anti-microtubule drugs do so many different things when the protein that they interact with is so similar in all cells. After many years of studying the drug Taxol, a well-known and widely used anti-microtubule drug, Bane’s group is now exploring other compounds.
Bane’s lab is also working on site-specific fluorescent labeling of proteins. Fluorescence spectroscopy is the most common, powerful and sensitive optical technique used in chemical biology. Bane and her colleagues are working to develop a method for fluorescently labeling proteins that is versatile yet highly specific, compatible with living systems and capable of monitoring phenomena temporally and spatially.
Bane, who earned a PhD in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University, joined Binghamton University’s Chemistry Department in 1985. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.