Biochemistry and Chemical Biology

At Ohio State, biochemistry and chemical biology research covers important topics from understanding fundamental life processes to developing agents to improve human health.  Broad areas include molecular biology, structure-function studies of biomolecules, enzymology, nucleic acid biochemistry, development of peptide and small molecule probes, protein structure and folding including X-ray crystallography and NMR, and protein engineering. Many members of the department work in interdisciplinary areas between biology and other areas of chemistry (bioanalytical, bioinorganic, bioorganic, biophysical).

Research Areas

  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Chemical biology
  • Computational biology
  • Drug design and delivery
  • Enzymes
  • Laser spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry and proteomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular biophysics
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Nucleic acids (chromatin & DNA, RNA)
  • Protein structure and folding
  • X-ray crystallography

Resources

The Campus Chemical Instrument Center (CCIC) has world-class shared resources in high-field NMR, mass spectrometry, proteomics, and X-ray crystallography. The department's Biophysical Interaction and Characterization Facility (BICF) has analytical ultracentrifugation, CD spectroscopy, fluorescence, and calorimetry.  The department also has excellent shared small-molecule NMR and mass spectrometry instrumentation.

Students in the Biochemistry division are eligible for the NIH T32 Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP), and many labs interact with the outstanding nucleic acids community at OSU through the Center for RNA Biology.

In addition to the Chemistry Ph.D. program, students with more biological interests should consider the Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP), and students with more physical interests should consider the Biophysics Graduate Program.

Faculty


We design and synthesize polymer, peptide, lipid and nucleic acid constructs to  achieve controlled chemical delivery in vivo. Research efforts begin with chemistry and trace a path through biophysical, biochemical and cell culture studies.
  • Chemical Biology
  • Drug Delivery
  • Biomaterials

Caroline Breitenberger
We are developing authentic research experiences for introductory biology labs. In one project, students isolate a bacteriophage from soil samples, then work in small groups to annotate a phage genome. In another class, students isolate novel fungal endophytes and look for secreted enzymes.
  • Molecular Biology
  • Chemical Education

Our research program focuses on protein dynamics (enzymes, regulatory and intrinsically disordered proteins) in relationship to function using NMR and long MD simulations. It also covers Metabolomics of complex biological samples to uncover the metabolic response to health and disease.
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • NMR
  • Theory & Computation

Project areas include cellular biosynthesis and trafficking of complex metal cofactors, design and study of catalytic metallodrugs, metallopeptide and metallosugar chemistry, and the role of metal ions in various aspects of neuroscience, by use of chemical, physical, and molecular biology tools.
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Protein Structure & Folding
  • Chemical Biology

Ross Dalbey
My lab discovered YidC, which is essential for insertion of proteins into membranes in bacteria.  Our research is starting to use a range of biophysical approaches, i.e., fluorescence spectroscopy, sophisticated electron paramagnetic resonance spin labeling, and single molecule approaches to examine the dynamics and structural relationships of membrane insertion events. We are elucidating the functional interactions in the YidC/Sec holo-insertase complex with and without substrate.  Another objective is to identify the substrate features of multispanning membrane proteins that determine selection of YidC and SecYEG translocase pathways in E. coli.
  • Molecular Biology
  • Enzymes
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology

Protein and nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) structure and dynamics; gene regulation; allostery; DNA recombination; riboswitches; transcription; enzyme dynamics; oligomeric assemblies; NMR spectroscopy; calorimetry; modeling; drug discovery.
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • NMR
  • RNA

(i) RNase P as a model system to uncover mechanisms of protein-aided RNA catalysis. (ii) Metabolism of Amadori compounds by Salmonella.
  • Molecular Biology
  • Enzymes
  • RNA

Jane Jackman
The Jackman lab uses enzyme kinetics, model organism genetics, and RNA biochemistry to uncover the molecular mechanisms and biological functions of tRNA processing and modification enzymes that catalyze critical reactions in biology.
  • Molecular Biology
  • Enzymes
  • RNA

Christopher Jaroniec
Development of multidimensional solid-state NMR methods and their  applications to structural and dynamic analysis of large biomacromolehummocular protein-protein and protein-DNA assemblies, including amyloids and chromatin.
  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • NMR

Femtosecond spectroscopy of biomolecules and nanomaterials for solar energy conversion and photocatalysis; photoinduced proton-coupled electron transfer in molecular and nanoscale systems; exciton and carrier dynamics in earth-abundant metal oxides.
  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Solar Energy Conversion
  • DNA & Chromatin

Dmitri Kudryashov
We investigate the role of the actin cytoskeleton in metastasis of human tumors and in immune response. Additionally, we study modes of toxicity of bacterial toxins and mechanisms employed by human immune peptides to intercept bacterial and viral infections.
  • Enzymes
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Molecular Basis of Disease

Steffen Lindert
Simulations of biomolecules, computational protein structure prediction from sparse experimental data, and computer-aided drug discovery
  • Theory & Computation
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding

Thomas Magliery

Combinatorial and statistical approaches to protein stability, structure and function; protein folding; protein engineering; protein therapeutics
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding
  • Chemical Biology

Structure and function of RNA-protein interactions critical for assembly of HIV-1 and other retroviruses; Quality control by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and related trans-editing enzymes.
  • Chemical Biology
  • RNA
  • Enzymes

Kotaro Nakanishi
Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which nucleic acids regulate basic cellular processes such as gene expression.
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • RNA
  • Molecular Biology

Jennifer Ottesen
Synthetic protein chemistry; expressed protein ligation; solid phase chemical ligation; histone post-translational modification; nucleosome structure and dynamics
  • Chemical Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding
  • DNA & Chromatin

Discovery and delivery of macrocyclic compounds as chemical probes and therapeutics against protein-protein interactions; delivery of proteins and nucleic acids into mammalian cells
  • Chemical Biology
  • Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry
  • Biotechnology

Marcos Sotomayor
We use experimental and computational tools to discover structure-function relationships in macromolecular complexes involved in mechanotransduction and selective cellular adhesion.
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Theory & Computation
  • Neuroscience

Richard Swenson
Regulation of flavin cofactor redox chemistry; cofactor/protein interactions; macromolecular structure/function; protein engineering
  • Enzymes
  • Protein Structure & Folding

 


Justin Wu
My research interests are mainly focused on using biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and functional dynamics of biomolecules and their interaction which are important for their biological functions.
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Cancer

Vicki Wysocki
We develop surface-induced dissociation ion mobility/high resolution MS for large non-covalent protein and nucleoprotein complexes, define peptide fragment structures with IR action spectroscopy, and perform metabolomics and proteomics research.
  • Analytical Spectroscopy & Spectrometry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology

Dongping Zhong

Department of Physics
Femtobiology; biomolecular interactions; protein dynamics
  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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