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Structural & Computational Biology

Molecular biophysics and structural biology faculty in BCMB have diverse interests. Current areas of research include structure, function, assembly, and folding of proteins; thermodynamics and dynamics of enzyme–ligand complexes; antibiotic-target interactions; protein-protein interactions; coagulation and fibrinolysis calcium signaling in plant cells; stability and dynamics of biomolecular structures and supramolecular assembly; protein import into chloroplasts; molecular chaperones; molecular modeling; structure-based drug design; structure and functional dynamics of proteins involved in biological electron transfer and immune response; X-ray crystallography of biological molecules; and the application of advanced computational methods to the study of macromolecules.

Researchers in molecular biophysics and structural biology make use of biochemical, biophysical, or computational approaches to understand molecular principles of biological processes.


Jerome Baudry
Molecular Modeling; Molecular Biophysics

Elias Fernandez
Protein structure; Signal transduction; X-ray crystallography; Biophysics

Hong Guo
Simulated molecular dynamics of proteins

Elizabeth Howell
Enzymology of dihydrofolate reductase

Nitin Jain
Protein Structure; NMR spectroscopy

Cynthia Peterson
Biophysics; Hydrodynamic techniques

Engin Serpersu
Enzymology; NMR spectroscopy

Tongye Shen
Simulated Molecular Dynamics

Jeremy Smith
Simulated Molecular Dynamics


Students in our labs often take some of the following courses

1. Core courses (taken by all BCMB graduate students, as well as students from other programs):

  • BCMB 511 Advanced BiochemistryProtein structure, catalysis, binding; membranes
  • BCMB 512 Advanced Molecular Biology: Gene regulation, chromatin, RNA

2. Specialized BCMB courses. Popular offerings include:

  • BCMB 560  Alternates between X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy Fall/Spring semesters
  • BCMB 530  Experimental Design and Analysis: Scientific writing, building and testing hypotheses
  • BCMB 513  Cell Biology: Signaling pathways, cell cycle, cytoskeleton, protein trafficking
  • BCMB 606  Journal clubs: Structural Biology
  • BCMB 615 Special topics: Recent topics: Analytical Techniques in Protein Biochemistry

3. Courses offered by other programs (such as Genome Science and Technology [Analytical Technologies, Genomics, Bioinformatics], Statistics, Microbiology, and many more.

4. Course credit for miscellaneous activities such as departmental seminars (BCMB 601) and colloquia (BCMB 603), first-year lab rotations (BCMB 516) and other ‘Thesis’ (BCMB 500) and ‘Dissertation’ (BCMB 600) activities.