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Molecular Biophysics Faculty and Research

The Molecular Biophysics Graduate 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.

Program Chair

Luke Rice, Ph.D.
Luke Rice, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Research Interests: Integrating structure, kinetics, and computation to understand the molecular determinants and regulatory mechanisms of microtubule dynamics

Faculty

Xiaochen Bai, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Cryo-EM studies of membrane protein complex in signaling transduction pathway

Xiaochen Bai, Ph.D.
Paul Blount, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of channels that gate in response to membrane tension

Paul Blount, Ph.D.
Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Structures and mechanisms of nuclear transport and the nuclear pore complex

Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D.
David Corey, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Engineering proteins and nucleic acids for novel function

David Corey, Ph.D.
Marc Diamond, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms of amyloid propagation in neurodegenerative diseases, especially tauopathies (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), synucleinopathies (e.g. Parkinson’s disease), and polyglutamine diseases (e.g. Huntington’s disease); linkage between amyloid structure and biological impact

Marc Diamond, M.D.
Jan Erzberger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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

Jan Erzberger, Ph.D.
Kendra Frederick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Protein folding and structure in cellular environments

Kendra Frederick, Ph.D.
Elizabeth J. Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Crystallographic studies of signal-transducing proteins

Elizabeth Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Nick Grishin (Nikolai Grichine), Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Computational biology; analysis of protein sequences and structures

Nick Grishin, Ph.D.
Mike Henne, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of membrane sculpting; formation and dynamics of inter-organelle membrane contact sites (MCSs) in human health and disease

Mike Henne, Ph.D.
Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Ion channel structure-function, membrane protein structural biology

Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D.
Khuloud Jaqaman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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

Khuloud Jaqaman, Ph.D.
Youxing Jiang, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Structure and function of ion channels/transporters using X-ray protein crystallography and electrophysiological tools

Youxing Jiang, Ph.D.
Lukasz Joachimiak, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Molecular recognition in protein folding, chaperone structural biology and neurodegeneration

Lukasz Joachimiak, Ph.D.
Xiaochun Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Structural and biochemical characterization of membrane proteins in cholesterol biosynthesis, metabolism and signaling

Xiaochun Li, Ph.D.
Milo Lin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Theoretical and computational approaches to predict protein folding and aggregation; evolutionary dynamics

Milo Lin, Ph.D.
Xin Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Roles of chromatin and nuclear organization in transcriptional regulation; structural and biochemical studies of chromatin dynamics during transcriptional activation and repression

Xin Liu, Ph.D.
Xuelian (Sue) Luo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Protein structure determination by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); protein folding; cell cycle checkpoints and cancer

Xuelian (Sue) Luo, Ph.D.
Craig R. Malloy, M.D.

Professor

Research Interests: The analysis of metabolism in intact tissues by NMR spectroscopy; development of new methods to understand metabolic processes in functioning cells

Craig Malloy, M.D.
Yunsun Nam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms of RNA-mediated gene regulation; Structural and biochemical studies of non-coding RNA function

Yunsun Nam, Ph.D.
Daniela Nicastro, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: 3D structures and cell biological functions of macromolecular complexes in situ, such as dyneins and microtubules in cilia

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Zbyszek Otwinowski, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Three-dimensional structures of biological molecules

Zbyszek Otwinowski, Ph.D.
Margaret A. (Meg) Phillips, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Polyamine and pyrimidine metabolism in trypanosome and malaria parasites

Margaret A. (Meg) Phillips, Ph.D.
Arun Radhakrishnan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Understanding how protein sensors measure levels of cholesterol in cell membranes

Arun Radhakrishnan, Ph.D.
Michael Reese, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Biochemistry; biophysics; cell signaling, kinases, pseudokinases; Host-pathogen interaction; co-evolution; immunology; structural biology

Michael Reese, Ph.D.
Kimberly Reynolds, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Statistical analysis and rational design of cellular systems

Kimberly Reynolds, Ph.D.
José Rizo-Rey (Josep Rizo), Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Biophysical studies of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and intracellular membrane fusion

Jose Rizo-Rey, Ph.D.
Michael K. Rosen, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Structural, biochemical, and cell biological mechanisms of signal transduction that control the actin cytoskeleton

Michael Rosen, Ph.D.
Daniel Rosenbaum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Structure and mechanism of integral membrane signaling proteins

Daniel Rosenbaum, Ph.D.
Elliott Ross, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms of G-protein signaling; amplification, selectivity, response timing; structure/function of GTPase-activating proteins and associated receptors

Elliott Ross, Ph.D.
Sandra Schmid, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Mechanisms governing and regulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, structure and function of the GTPase dynamin

Sandra Schmid, Ph.D.
Ruhma Syeda, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Mechanistic studies of volume sensors and mechanosensors, ion channel structure-function and related channelopathies

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Philip J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Structure, function, and folding of membrane proteins

Philip Thomas, Ph.D.
Erdal Toprak, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Antibiotic resistance and sensitivity; single molecule biophysics; synthetic biology

Erdal Toprak, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Woodruff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Live-cell microscopy, micro-rheology, and in vitro reconstitution to understand oocyte ageing, embryogenesis, and cancer onset

Jeffrey Woodruff, Ph.D.
Xuewu Zhang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Biochemical and structural studies of regulation mechanisms for signaling proteins, especially receptor-mediated signaling pathways in neuron development and axonal guidance

Xuewu Zhang, Ph.D.

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

Joseph Albanesi, Ph.D.
Dominika Borek, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Eukaryotic chromatin organization, mutational rates and spectra, biological signals and noise

Dominika Borek, Ph.D.
Chad Brautigam, Ph.D.

Professor

Research Interests: Basic processes in living organisms at atomic level, using X-ray crystallography, analytical ultracentrifugation, isothermal titration calorimetry, and other biophysical techniques

Chad Brautigam, Ph.D.
Zhe Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Research Interests: Structural and functional studies of proteins in signal transduction

Zhe Chen, Ph.D.
Yang Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Cryo-EM; Structural and functional studies of proteins

Yang Li, Ph.D.
William Russ, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Evolutionary principles of enzyme design

William Russ, Ph.D.
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

Diana R. Tomchick, Ph.D.
Weiwei Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: How ion channels and scaffolding proteins assemble into cellular signaling machineries

Weiwei Wang, Ph.D.