Dr. Gingras's current research falls
into two distinct but overlapping areas of cell adhesion: i) cell-extracellular matrix interactions, and ii) cell-cell interactions.
The first focus is to understand the structure, function and dynamics of talin dependent integrin activation. They solved the structures of all 18 domains of talin and complexes with binding partners. Together they show that talin has evolved to regulate integrin activity, it couples the integrins to cytoskeletal actin and acts as a mechanosensitive protein.
A second focus is to determine the molecular basis of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCMs), an autosomal dominant disorder affecting 1:200 people that arises from a weakening of endothelial cell junctions. They used structural and biochemical approaches to investigate the interaction between CCM proteins (CCM1-3) and the heart of Glass (HEG1) transmembrane protein, which form part of a multi-protein complex localized at endothelial cell-cell junctions.