Structural Biology






Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology falls into three general areas: Gene Expression, Cellular Biochemistry and Structural Biology. The three groups are highly interactive and collaborative, both within and between the focus areas.


Six research groups in the department are working to unravel the biophysical basis of complex biological events spanning from the cell surface to the nucleus. The research includes detailed structural studies on chromatin and transcription complexes and the protein-protein interactions involved in the cell cycle. Other research projects delve into the biophysical mechanism of protein folding, stability and design, and the basic methodologies that are used in the determination of biomolecular structure and dynamics. X-ray diffraction, analytical ultracentrifugation, and optical spectroscopic methods are being used to evaluate the structure and dynamics of the multi-component molecular machines that are central to the processes of gene-regulation, energy interconversion and signalling, and cell-cycle regulation.


Analysis of Macromolecular Assemblies:  Dr. HansenDr. SchauerDr.Peersen
Amyloid Fibril Formation:  Dr. Ross
Protein Folding: Dr. Hansen
Analysis of Macromolecular Assemblies: Dr. Cohen


X-Ray Crystallography:  Dr. Ho & Dr. Peersen
Analytical Ultracentrifugation:  Dr. Hansen




Effect of Acidosis on Renal Gene Expression:  Dr. Curthoys
Reconstitution of Chromatin; Chromatin Structure and the Regulation of Gene Expression: Dr. Hansen, Dr. Stargell
Transcriptional Activation by the Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Tax Protein; Involvement of Coactivators and Tumor Suppressors:  Dr. Nyborg
Mechanisms of Transcriptional Initiation by RNA Polymerase II:  Dr. Stargell
Regulation of chromatin structure and dynamics by histone ubiquitination: Dr. Tingting Yao

Regulation of transcription and translation at the single cell leve: Dr. Nishimura, Dr. Stasevich




Cellular biochemistry focuses on the signaling processes that permit the elaborate cell-cell communication required in a multicellular organism.  Five research groups are currently studying cellular biochemistry, focusing their research on the rapid changes in cytoskeletal proteins, protein kinases, membrane lipids, and small ions that accompany extracellular signals.  These groups utilize a broad array of biochemical techniques including fluorescence and electron microscopy, gene expression, and electrophysiology to characterize these fundamental biological processes.


The Role of ADF in Neural Degeneration:  Dr. Bamburg


Mechanisms of Mitotic Chromosome Segregation  Dr. DeLuca


Regulation of Neuronal Excitability:  Dr. Chanda


Dynamics of the Neuronal Cytoskeleton:  Dr. Bamburg
Regulation of molecular motor-based transport: Dr. Markus

Retrovirus Assembly and Budding

Cellular Factors That Regulate the Gag-Actin Interactions for Gag Polyprotein Trafficking:  Dr. Chen
Viral Determinants for the Actin Cytoskeleton Association:   Dr. Chen

Signal Transduction

Regulation of ADF/Cofilin Proteins:  Dr. Bamburg

Ubiquitin metabolism and ubiquitin-mediated signaling

Regulation of deubiquitination enzymes: Dr. Cohen & Dr. Tingting Yao
Polyubiquitin recognition in signaling pathways: Dr. Cohen & Dr. Tingting Yao