Biochemistry and Chemical Biology

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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).

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.

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

 

Faculty

Advanced
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Dennis Bong

Dennis Bong

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

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Caroline Breitenberger

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

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Rafael Bruschweiler

Rafael Bruschweiler

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

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Jimmy Cowan

James Cowan

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

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Ross Dalbey

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

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Mark Foster

Mark Foster

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

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Venkat Gopalan

Venkat Gopalan

(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

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Jane Jackman

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

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Christopher Jaroniec

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

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Bern Kohler

Bern Kohler

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

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Dmitri Kudryashov

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

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Steffen Lindert

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

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Thomas Magliery

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

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Karin Musier-Forsyth

Karin Musier-Forsyth

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

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Kotaro Nakanishi

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

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Jennifer Ottesen

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

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Dehua Pei

Dehua Pei

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

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Marcos Sotomayor

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

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Richard Swenson

Richard Swenson

Regulation of flavin cofactor redox chemistry; cofactor/protein interactions; macromolecular structure/function; protein engineering

  • Enzymes
  • Protein Structure & Folding

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Justin Wu

Zhengrong (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

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Vicki Wysocki

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

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Dongping Zhong

Dongping Zhong

Department of Physics

Femtobiology; biomolecular interactions; protein dynamics

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding