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Andreas Martin is interested in the proteasome – the molecular machine responsible for disposing of damaged or obsolete proteins. Martin and his team focus on deciphering the fundamental principles that govern the structure, function, and regulation of the 26S proteasome from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ultimately, they plan to extend their studies to the mammalian system. Given the proteasome’s role in the pathogenesis of numerous human diseases, a detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying substrate processing may lead to new ways to inhibit proteasomes. And that, in turn, could lead to novel treatments for cancer and other diseases.