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

Pinpoint Structural Features

Bacterial β-glucuronidase, GUS, enzymes cause drug toxicity by reversing Phase II glucuronidation in the gastrointestinal tract. While many human gut...

Possible Lymphoma Treatment

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, DLBCL, is a heterogeneous disease, and at least one-third of its patients relapse after treatment with the current chemotherapy regimen, R-CHOP...

Active Site Flexibility

β‐Glucuronidase, GUS, enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract are involved in maintaining mammalian‐microbial symbiosis and can play key roles...

Representative Publications

Structure, Function, and Inhibition of Drug Reactivating Human Gut Microbial β-Glucuronidases.
Kristen A. Biernat, Samuel J. Pellock, Aadra P. Bhatt, Marissa M. Bivins, William G. Walton, Bich Ngoc T. Tran, Lianjie Wei, Michael C. Snider, Andrew P. Cesmat, Ashutosh Tripathy, Dorothy A. Erie, and Matthew R. Redinbo.
Scientific Reports, 9, Article Number: 825, JAN 29 2019

Dasatinib Is Preferentially Active in the Activated B-Cell Subtype of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.
Marissa L. Cann, Laura E. Herring, Lauren L. Haar, Thomas S. K. Gilbert, Dennis Goldfarb, Kristy L. Richards, Lee M. Graves, and David S. Lawrence.
J. Proteome Res. 2019, 18, 1, 522-534

Active Site Flexibility Revealed in Crystal Structures of Parabacteroides merdae β‐Glucuronidase from the Human Gut Microbiome.
Michael S. Little, Samantha M. Ervin, William G. Walton, Ashutosh Tripathy, Yongmei Xu, Jian Liu, Matthew R. Redinbo.
Protein Science, Volume27, Issue12, December 2018, Pages 2010-2022

Pervasive Tertiary Structure in the Dengue Virus RNA Genome.
Elizabeth A. Dethoff, Mark A. Boerneke, Nandan S. Gokhale, Brejnev M. Muhire, Darren P. Martin, Matthew T. Sacco, Michael J. McFadden, Jules B. Weinstein, William B. Messer, Stacy M. Horner, and Kevin M. Weeks.
PNAS November 6, 2018 115 (45) 11513-11518; published ahead of print October 19, 2018

Phevamine A, a Small Molecule that Suppresses Plant Immune Responses.
Erinn M. O’Neill, Tatiana S. Mucyn, Jon B. Patteson, Omri M. Finkel, Eui-Hwan Chung, Joshua A. Baccile, Elisabetta Massolo, Frank C. Schroeder, Jeffery L. Dangl, and Bo Li.
PNAS published ahead of print September 20, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1803779115

Discovery of (Dihydro)pyrazine N-Oxides via Genome Mining in Pseudomonas.
Org. Lett., 2018, 20 (16), pp 4791–4795.
Ashley M. Kretsch, Gina L. Morgan, Jillian Tyrrell, Emily Mevers, Isabelle Vallet-Gély, and Bo Li

Protein Shape Modulates Crowding Effects.
Alex J. Guseman, Gerardo M. Perez Goncalves, Shannon L. Speer, Gregory B. Young, and Gary J. Pielak.

Osmolytes and Protein–Protein Interactions.
Amy E. Rydeen, Eric M. Brustad, and Gary J. Pielak.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (24), pp 7441–7444

ITLE Exploring Bioactive Peptides from Bacterial Secretomes Using PepSAVI‐MS: Identification and Characterization of Bac‐21 from Enterococcus faecalis pPD1.
Christine L. Kirkpatrick, Nicole C. Parsley, Tessa E. Bartges, Casey E. Wing, Sushma Kommineni, Christopher J. Kristich, Nita H. Salzman, Steven M. Patrie, Leslie M. Hicks.
Microbial Biotechnology, Volume 11, Issue 5, September 2018, Pages 943-951

In Vitro Biosynthesis of the Nonproteinogenic Amino Acid Methoxyvinylglycine.
Jon B. Patteson, Zachary D. Dunn, Bo Li.
Angew. Chemie, Volume57, Issue 23, June 4, 2018, Pages 6780-6785