Research in biochemistry comprises the broad area of structure-function relationships in individual macromolecules and their assemblies. Using spectroscopic, enzymological, and biophysical approaches, investigators probe the detailed atomic-level basis for biological activity. Research includes work on protein and nucleic acid folding and design, on enzyme mechanisms, on materials properties of biomolecules, and on the basis for specificity in macromolecular interactions. Particular techniques employed include: Xray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), mass spectrometry, light scattering, and fluorescence and absorption spectroscopies. These approaches are generally applied to highly purified proteins and nucleic acids, and their assemblies. Supporting technologies include recombinant DNA and molecular genetics for the construction and expression of macromolecules and their variants, and bioinformatics techniques used to mine the expanding databases of genomic sequence information.
Roles of metals in metalloenzymes; microbial iron acquisition, including siderophores and new metallo-enzymes.
The origin of life; principles of biomolecular function and design; evolutionary systems biology; phage therapy.
Biochemistry; protein structure and function relationships; protein dynamics; chemotaxis in bacteria.
Physical foundations of macromolecular technology: self-assembly, polymer mechanics and stability, energy transport, diffusion, and DNA-based nanotechnology.
Molecular mechanisms of ribosome pausing during protein synthesis and recruitment of SsrA (tmRNA) to stalled ribosomes.
Intermolecular and surface forces in colloidal and biocolloidal systems and materials, adhesion, and friction.
RNA folding and evolution; nucleic acid-based bionanotechnology and biomaterials; emergence of complexity in living systems.
Molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease; structure/function studies on tau using NMR, spectroscopic, biochemical, molecular, and cell biological methods; role of cdk5/p35 in neuronal development and signal transduction.
Microbial pathogenesis; innate and adaptive immune responses to infection; coagulopathy and inflammation of sepsis; vaccine development.
Nanomedicine and bioengineering to explore fundamental biology, construct new approaches to disease diagnosis, and develop effective means for disease prevention, therapy, and cure.
Bio-nano technology including molecular mechanisms controlling self assembly, emergent properties of biomolecular systems from minerals to dynamically tunable color in octopus skin; translation to revolutionary new routes to semiconductors, optoelectronics and energy.
Neurotransmitter storage; transporter structure and function; development of in vivo diagnostics for PET and SPECT, rapid assays for drug abuse.
Bioengineering and protein biophysics.
Enzymology of enzymes that modify nucleic acids, including bacterial and human epigenetic enzymes with biomedical relevance. Protein engineering, inhibitor design. Drug development. Nanoparticle-based delivery of siRNA, proteins, and drugs into cells (cancer/embryonic stem cell) and animals. Laser-dependent spatio-temporal control of drug targeting.
Molecular biology of animal virus-cell interactions; antiviral innate immunity & mechanisms of interferon action; translational control of gene expression in mammalian cells; A-to-I RNA editing; new materials for gene delivery into mammalian cells.
Ion channels in the nervous system and cardiac muscle; molecular mechanisms of ion channel trafficking, regulation, and signal transduction.
Biochemistry and biophysics of bio-adhesion in marine organisms; bio- and nanomechanics of sclerotized composites; liquid crystals and molecular gradients in biomolecular materials.
Biochemistry and function of cytoskeletal proteins; regulation of microtubules assembly and dynamics.