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Structural Biology

What makes life “work?” Simply put, biology depends on the formation of specific interactions between different kinds of molecules: large molecules like proteins and nucleic acids (RNA & DNA), and smaller molecules like lipids and metabolites. 

These interactions are diverse and dynamic, and they depend on the three-dimensional structure of the molecules involved. These structures are complicated and varied; when they don’t form correctly the complex network of interactions within cells is disrupted and this can lead to disease. Even infections, such as those from viruses, are driven by interacting structured molecules. 

Thus, understanding the structures of molecules like proteins and RNA, how these molecules behave and interact, and how structures and interactions change is essential to understanding disease. Gaining this understanding is the goal of structural biology, biophysics, and biochemistry....the understanding that results from these studies are the foundation on which new ways to treat diseases can be developed.​



Francisco Asturias​

Elan Eisenmesser, PhD​​
Viral protein/host protein interactions and enzyme motions​

Kirk Hansen, PhD
Quantitative and functional proteomics, extracellular matrix processing and organization

Peptide and protein structure

Aaron Johnson, PhD
Mechanisms of chromatin-mediated gene silencing

Jeffrey Kieft, PhD
Protein Translation and RNA structure

David Pollock, PhD
Protein structure, function and sequence evolution

Rui Zhao, PhD

Molecular mechanism of pre-mRNA splicing; drug design targeting transcriptional complex in breast cancer

Hongjin Zheng​, PhD
Structural biology of membrane proteins and protein complexes