The Horvath Lab applies structural methods and biochemistry to make discoveries in two broad areas: (1) DNA Repair and (2) Chronic Neuropathic Pain. For the DNA repair project we study the atomic resolution structure of MutY to understand how this enzyme recognizes and removes Adenine in OG:A base pairs. The search has led us to a microbial world in the mid-Atlantic Ocean called the Lost City where samples collected by our collaborator Dr. Brazelton (Biology) contain MutY-encoding genes. The Neuropathic pain project focuses on the alpha-9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and a molecule, RgIA, that blocks this receptor and alleviates pain in animal models. RgIA was discovered in the venom of the marine snail Conus regius by our collaborator Dr. McIntosh (Biology). Our current goal is to determine the structure of the alpha-9 receptor in complex with RgIA so as to design non-opioid pain drugs.