Biophysical Methods

While all faculty apply biophysical methods to biological questions, some of the faculty also work on methods development.

Rieko Ishima, NMR spectroscopy
Angela Gronenborn, NMR spectroscopy

James Conway, Cryo-electron microscopy
Guillermo Calero, X-ray crystallography, dynamic light scattering

Jinwoo Ahn, Fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography
Andrew Hinck, NMR spectroscopy

Gene Regulation & Signaling

Gene regulation and signaling are fundamental biological processes of interest to many faculty.

Angela Gronenborn, Structural basis of signaling & gene regulation, by NMR

Guillermo Calero, Structural and biochemical studies of the transcriptional machinery (RNA PolII and the general transcription factors)
Andrew Hinck, Mechanisms of growth factor-receptor signaling

Macromolecular Recognition

Research in this area is focused on elucidating the mechanisms of interaction between molecules, enzyme-substrate, protein-DNA, and protein-ligand. These studies focus on detailed characterization of the exquisite specificity between molecules and how this is achieved, from the point of recognition to attaining high affinity. Additional studies focus on mechanisms by which reactions proceed, from a structural perspective.

Angela Gronenborn, Structure, dynamics and energetics of protein-carbohydrate interactions

Jinwoo Ahn,  Structure and function of E3 ubiquitin ligase complex
Andrew Hinck, Structure-function studies of the signaling ligands and receptors of the highly diversified TGF-beta signaling family 

Principles of Protein Structure & Dynamics

Structural biology is undergoing a quiet revolution. Despite the thousands of high resolution – but static – protein structures now available in the Protein Data Bank, scientists have broadly recognized that many biochemical questions about these proteins remain open. The reason is simple. By and large, proteins are machines that perform their jobs by moving – rendering a static view incomplete. Using both experimental and computational approaches, a number of the training faculty have turned their attention to the study of fluctuations and dynamics in biomolecules. Techniques include NMR, Raman spectroscopy, coarse-grained computational modeling and other advanced molecular simulation approaches.

Angela Gronenborn, Structural basis of signaling & gene regulation
Pei Tang, NMR & computations of protein structures, dynamics & drug effects

Structure & Dynamics of Membrane Proteins

Research in this area involves structural, biochemical, and pharmacological characterization of integral membrane proteins. The major objectives of these studies are to determine the mechanism by which these critical proteins function in the context of the lipid membrane, which serves both as a barrier and a unique environment. These studies address questions pertinent to fundamental biology: how is a signal transduced across the membrane; how is selectivity and high permeation maintained by a membrane channel; what are the mechanisms to regulate the activity of the membrane protein? To address these questions, advanced modern approaches of X-ray crystallography, NMR, electron microscopy, and computational analysis are used.

Pei Tang, NMR & computations of membrane protein structures, dynamics & drug effects

Yan Xu, NMR of ion channels & low-affinity drug action

Guillermo Calero, Structural and biochemical studies of membrane signaling pathways

Andrew Hinck, Solution NMR studies of G-coupled protein receptors

Virus Protein Structure

Virus structure, assembly, function and evolution are investigated by several researchers.

James Conway, Virus structure with cryo-electron microscopy

Angela Gronenborn, HIV proteins and their interactions

Rieko Ishima, HIV protease and reverse transcriptase structure and dynamics
Jinwoo Ahn - HIV/SIV Vpr and Vpx protein complexes with host cellular factors