Research Biological

Biological Research

Graduate students in the Division meld molecular and structural biology with physical, organic and analytical chemistry to understand the molecular basis of biological processes and human disease. Research in the Biological Division focuses on the structure, stability and function of proteins, membranes, DNA, RNA, macromolecular complexes and viruses, natural product biogenesis, synthetic biology, and genomics.

Students are a constant source of new hypotheses for mechanisms underlying cellular machines like the ribosome, spliceosome, and as well as protein and RNA folding. Students tackle these problems using biochemical methods, chemical biosensor technologies, protein and nucleic acid crystallography, in vitro and in vivo evolution, multi-dimensional NMR spectroscopy, surface chemistry, atomic-force microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and high-resolution mass spectrometry.

Doctoral students in our Divsion leave the Department broadly trained for leadership roles in academia and industry.

Recent Research Results

Nonlinear fluorescence spectroscopy of layered perovskite quantum wells

Interest in layered organohalide perovskites is motivated by their potential for use in optoelectronic devices. In these systems, the smallest and largest quantum wells are primarily concentrated near the glass and air interfaces of a film, thereby establishing a gradient in the average values of the bandgaps.

More Than π–π–π Stacking: Contribution of Amide−π and CH−π Interactions to Crotonyllysine Binding by the AF9 YEATS Domain

Lysine crotonylation (Kcr) is a histone post-translational modification that is implicated in numerous epigenetic pathways and diseases.

Genome guardians stop and reel in DNA to correct replication errors

Chemistry Professor, Dorothy Erie, collaborates with researchers to conduct research on how proteins MutL and MutS prevent DNA replication errors by creating an immobile structure that calls more proteins to the site to repair the error

Representative Publications

The Journal of Chemical Physics.
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Nonlinear fluorescence spectroscopy of layered perovskite quantum wells Zhenyu Ouyang, Ninghao Zhou, Jun Hu,  Olivia F. Williams,  Liang Yan, Wei You, and  Andrew M. Moran

Recurrent mismatch binding by MutS mobile clamps on DNA localizes repair complexes nearby.
Pengyu Hao, Sharonda J. LeBlanc, View ORCID ProfileBrandon C. Case, Timothy C. Elston, Manju M. Hingorani, Dorothy A. Erie, and Keith R. Weninger.
PNAS July 28, 2020 117 (30) 17775-17784

Engineered Reader Proteins for Enhanced Detection of Methylated Lysine on Histones.
Katherine I. Albanese, Mackenzie W. Krone, Christopher J. Petell, Madison M. Parker, Brian D. Strahl, Eric M. Brustad, Marcey L. Waters.
ACS Chem. Biol. 2020, 15, 1, 103-111

Specificity of Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetases in the Biosynthesis of the Pseudomonasvirulence factor.
Gina L. Morgan, Ashley M. Kretsch, Kevin C. Santa Maria, Savannah J. Weeks, and Bo Li.
Biochemistry 2019, 58, 52, 5249-5254

Targeting Regorafenib-Induced Toxicity through Inhibition of Gut Microbial β-Glucuronidases.
Samantha M. Ervin, Ronan P. Hanley, Lauren Lim, William G. Walton, Kenneth H. Pearce, Aadra P. Bhatt, Lindsey I. James, Matthew R. Redinbo.
ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, 14, 12, 2737-2744

On Command Drug Delivery via Cell‐Conveyed Phototherapeutics.
Christina M. Marvin, Song Ding, Rachel E. White, Natalia Orlova, Qunzhao Wang, Emilia M. Zywot, Brianna M. Vickerman, Lauren Harr, Teresa K. Tarrant, Paul A. Dayton, David S. Lawrence.
Small, First published: 28 July 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.201901442

Introduction to Laboratory Safety for Graduate Students: An Active-Learning Endeavor.
David J. Hill, Olivia F. Williams, Danianne P. Mizzy, Therese F. Triumph, Catherine R. Brennan, Dawn C. Mason, David S. Lawrence.
Journal of Chemical Education, Volume: 96, Issue: 4, Pages: 652-659

Controlling and Quantifying Protein Concentration in Escherichia coli.
Shannon L. Speer, Alex J. Guseman, Jon B. Patteson, Brandie M. Ehrmann, Gary J. Pielak.
Protein Science, Volume28, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 1307-1311

Protecting Activity of Desiccated Enzymes.
Samantha Piszkiewicz, Kathryn H. Gunn, Owen Warmuth, Ashlee Propst, Aakash Mehta, Kenny H. Nguyen, Elizabeth Kuhlman, Alex J. Guseman, Samantha S. Stadmiller, Thomas C. Boothby, Saskia B. Neher, and Gary J. Pielak.
Protein Science, Volume 28, Issue 5, May 2019, Pages 941-951