Molecular Biophysics Faculty and Research

Program faculty have diverse backgrounds and interests, ranging from mathematics and theoretical physics to neurobiology and genetics.

Research in the Molecular Biophysics Graduate Program is highly interdisciplinary, comprising faculty drawn from the departments of Biophysics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Radiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and others. A list of faculty with their research interests is given below.

José Rizo-Rey (Josep Rizo), Ph.D., Chair

Rizo-Rey Lab
Research Interests: Biophysical studies of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and intracellular membrane fusion

Paul Blount, Ph.D.

Paul Blount, Ph.D., Professor
Blount Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of channels that gate in response to membrane tension


Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D., Professor
Chook Lab
Research Interests: Structures and mechanisms of nuclear transport and the nuclear pore complex


David Corey, Ph.D., Professor
Corey Lab
Research Interests: Engineering proteins and nucleic acids for novel function


Jan Erzberger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Erzberger Lab

Research Interests: Structural and biochemical characterization of dynamic protein-RNA complexes during ribosome biogenesis


Kendra Frederick, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Frederick Lab
Research Interests: Protein folding and structure in cellular environments


Elizabeth J. Goldsmith, Ph.D., Professor
Goldsmith Lab
Research Interests: Crystallographic studies of signal-transducing proteins


Nick Grishin (Nikolai Grichine), Ph.D., Professor
Grishin Lab
Research Interests: Computational biology; analysis of protein sequences and structures


Mike Henne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor 
Henne Lab
Research Interests: Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Sculpting; formation and dynamics of inter-organelle membrane contact sites (MCSs) in human health and disease


Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Hibbs Lab
Research Interests: Ion channel structure-function, membrane protein structural biology


Khuloud Jaqaman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Jaqaman Lab
Research Interests: Quantitative single-molecule imaging of receptor organization and signaling; linking molecular and cellular behavior across multiple scales; computational image analysis and data multiplexing


Youxing Jiang, Ph.D., Professor
Jiang Lab
Research Interests: Structure and function of ion channels/transporters using X-ray protein crystallography and electrophysiological tools


Lukasz Joachimiak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Joachimiak Lab
Research Interests: Molecular recognition in protein folding, chaperone structural biology and neurodegeneration


Ege Kavalali, Ph.D., Professor
Kavalali Lab
Research Interests: Synaptic functional architecture and dynamics of presynaptic specializations


Milo Lin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Lin Lab
Research Interests: Theoretical and computational approaches to predict protein folding and aggregation; evolutionary dynamics


Xin Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor 
Liu Lab
Research Interests: Roles of chromatin and nuclear organization in transcriptional regulation; structural and biochemical studies of chromatin dynamics during transcriptional activation and repression.


Xuelian (Sue) Luo, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Luo Lab
Research Interests: Protein structure determination by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); protein folding; cell cycle checkpoints and cancer


Craig R. Malloy, M.D., Professor
Malloy Lab
Research Interests: The analysis of metabolism in intact tissues by NMR spectroscopy; development of new methods to understand metabolic processes in functioning cells


Yunsun Nam, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Nam Lab
Research Interests: Mechanisms of RNA-mediated gene regulation; Structural and biochemical studies of non-coding RNA function.


Daniela Nicastro, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Nicastro Lab
Research Interests: 3D structures and cell biological functions of macromolecular complexes in situ, such as dyneins and microtubules in cilia


Zbyszek Otwinowski, Ph.D., Professor
Otwinowski Lab
Research Interests: Three-dimensional structures of biological molecules


Margaret A. (Meg) Phillips, Ph.D., Professor
Phillips Lab
Research Interests: Polyamine and pyrimidine metabolism in trypanosome and malaria parasites


Arun Radhakrishnan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Radhakrishnan Lab
Research Interests: Understanding how protein sensors measure levels of cholesterol in cell membranes.


Rama Ranganathan, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Ranganathan Lab
Research Interests: The evolutionary design of proteins and cellular signaling networks


Michael Reese, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Reese Lab
Research Interests: Biochemistry; Biophysics; Cell signaling, kinases, pseudokinases; Host-pathogen interaction; co-evolution; Immunology; Structural biology


Kimberly Reynolds, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Reynolds Lab
Research Interests: Statistical analysis and rational design of cellular systems


Luke Rice, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Rice Lab
Research Interests: Integrating structure, kinetics, and computation to understand the molecular determinants and regulatory mechanisms of microtubule dynamics


José Rizo-Rey (Josep Rizo), Ph.D., Professor
Rizo-Rey Lab
Research Interests: Biophysical studies of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and intracellular membrane fusion


Michael K. Rosen, Ph.D., Professor
Rosen Lab
Research Interests: Structural, biochemical, and cell biological mechanisms of signal transduction that control the actin cytoskeleton


Daniel Rosenbaum, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Rosenbaum Lab
Research Interests: Structure and mechanism of integral membrane signaling proteins


Elliott Ross, Ph.D., Professor
Ross Lab
Research Interests: Mechanisms of G-protein signaling; amplification, selectivity, response timing; structure/function of GTPase-activating proteins and associated receptors


Sandra Schmid, Ph.D., Professor
Schmid Lab
Research Interests: Mechanisms governing and regulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, structure and function of the GTPase dynamin


Philip J. Thomas, Ph.D., Professor
Thomas Lab
Research Interests: Structure, function, and folding of membrane proteins


Erdal Toprak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Toprak Lab
Research Interests: Antibiotic resistance and sensitivity; single molecule biophysics; synthetic biology


Yang Xie, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Research Interests: Processing and analysis of high throughput data; false discovery rate estimation; integrated analysis methodology; Bayesian analysis methodology; design and analysis of clinical trials


Hongtao Yu, Ph.D., Professor
Yu Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of cell-cycle progression and mitotic checkpoints; structure determination of cell cycle regulatory proteins


Hong Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Zhang Lab
Research Interests: Structural enzymology; NAD biosynthesis and regulation; structure-based drug design


Xuewu Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Zhang Lab
Research Interests: Biochemical and structural studies of regulation mechanisms for signaling proteins, especially receptor-mediated signaling pathways in neuron development and axonal guidance

Associate Members

These faculty members do not accept graduate students. They participate in teaching, co-mentoring, exam and dissertation committees, and all other program responsibilities.

Joseph Albanesi, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: Mechanisms of membrane fusion; role of lipids in membrane trafficking; membrane vesiculation of dynamin

Xiaochen Bai, M.D..

Xiaochen Bai, M.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Cryo-EM studies of membrane protein complex in signaling transduction pathway


Dominika Borek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Eukaryotic chromatin organization, mutational rates and spectra, biological signals and noise


Chad Brautigam, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Research Interests: Basic processes in living organisms at atomic level, using X-ray crystallography, analytical ultracentrifugation, isothermal titration calorimetry, and other biophysical techniques


Zhe Chen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor 
Research Interests: Structural and functional studies of proteins in signal transduction


Johann Deisenhofer, Ph.D., Professor
Deisenhofer Lab
Research Interests: Crystallography of biological macromolecules; structure and function of proteins


William Russ, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Evolutionary principles of enzyme design


Diana R. Tomchick, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: Basic processes in living organisms at atomic level using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and other biophysical techniques

Guanghua (Andy) Xiao, Ph.D.

Guanghua (Andy) Xiao, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Research Interests: Statistical methods for genomics/proteomics and in spatial/image analysis