Biochemistry, Structural Biology and Biophysics

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Researchers in Biochemistry, Structural Biology and Biophysics employ a wide variety of approaches to the study of mechanistic biology problems at the molecular level. Research interests include protein and nucleic acid structure and function, mechanisms of gene regulation at the transcriptional and translational levels, protein and RNA processing, metal trafficking, mechanisms of viral infection, and membrane-embedded transporters and their mechanisms of regulation. These research questions are addressed using a variety of methods including basic biochemistry, proteomics, X-ray crystallography, solution NMR spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and single-molecule manipulations.

Northwestern fosters a highly collaborative environment for multi-disciplinary studies and provides researchers with access to outstanding research facilities equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation such as the Keck Biophysics Facility and a dedicated beam line for Northwestern University researchers at the Advanced Photon Source of the Argonne National Laboratories. The training in this concentration is broad and interdisciplinary through research and specialized courses in advanced topics. Research in this area frequently integrates several disciplines, and involves collaborative efforts between preceptors from various fields. Outstanding students may be nominated for support from the Molecular Biophysics Training Program.

Molecular Biophysics Training Program

Faculty List

vadim backman

Vadim Backman, PhD
Research Interests: Development of novel optical spectral and imaging techniques for non-invasive screening, diagnosis and detection of disease, and characterization of biological and bioengineered tissue

Xiaomin Bao

Xiaomin Bao, PhD 
Research Interests: Epigenomic regulation of stem cell maintenance and differentiation

Rosemary Braun

Rosemary Braun, PhD 
Research Interests: Computational biology at multiple scales

jason brickner

Jason Brickner, PhD 
Research Interests: Cell biology of transcription

Jenna Christensen

Jenna Christensen, PhD 
Research Interests: Intracellular transport diversity and regulation

marco gallio

Marco Gallio, PhD
Research Interests: Processing of temperature stimuli in the brain

Curt Horvath

Curt Horvath, PhD
Research Interests: Signal transduction and gene regulation in innate immune responses to cancer and viruses

Neha Kamat

Neha Kamat, PhD
Research Interests: Artificial cell/protocell models, membrane biophysics, emergent behaviors from synthetic membranes, membrane stress-sensing

neil kelleher

Neil Kelleher, PhD
Research Interests: Top-down proteomics, natural products discovery, chromatic oncobiology, and computational proteomics

Sinan Keten

Sinan Keten, PhD
Research Interests: Molecular modeling, adhesive and structural proteins, bioinspired materials

William Klein

William L. Klein, PhD 
Research Interests: Molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease

Laura Lackner

Laura Lackner, PhD 
Research Interests: Spatial organization within cells, using mitochondrial structure and distribution as a model

Joshua Leonard

Joshua Leonard, PhD
Research Interests: Engineering cellular systems and biomolecules for immunotherapy, synthetic biology, and biotechnology

Julius Lucks

Julius Lucks, PhD
Research Interests: Unraveling the RNA sequence/structure/function code for biology, medicine, and biotechnology

john marko

John F. Marko, PhD
Research Interests: Protein-DNA interactions, and chromosome structure and dynamics

thomas meade

Thomas J. Meade, PhD
Research Interests: Bioinorganic coordination chemistry, biological molecular imaging, transcription factor inhibitors, and electronic biosensors

Chad Mirkin

Chad A. Mirkin, PhD
Research Interests: Developing methods for controlling the architecture of molecules and materials on the 1 - 100 nm length scale

alfonso mondragon

Alfonso Mondragón, PhD
Research Interests: DNA topoisomerases, catalytic RNA molecules, and the molecular basis of spectrin flexibility

Richard Morimoto

Richard I. Morimoto, PhD
Research Interests: Cell stress responses, molecular chaperones, and protein conformational disease

Heather Pinkett

Heather Pinkett, PhD
Research Interests: Membrane proteins; emphasizing the structure & function of membrane-embedded transporters & their regulation mechanisms

ishwar rahadkrishnan

Ishwar Radhakrishnan, PhD
Research Interests: Structure, function, dynamics and informatics of eukaryotic transcription factors

Amy Rosenzweig

Amy C. Rosenzweig, PhD
Research Interests: Structure, function, and mechanism of metalloproteins and metalloenzymes

Danielle Tullman Ercek

Danielle Tullman-Ercek, PhD
Research Interests: Engineering of membrane proteins and protein membranes

Reza Vafabakhsh

Reza Vafabakhsh, PhD
Research Interests: Development of methods for quantitative hierarchical characterization of synaptic players at different length scales

Eric Weiss

Eric Weiss, PhD
Research Interests: Signaling pathways in the control of cell architecture

sadie wignall

Sadie Wignall, PhD
Research Interests: Spindle assembly and chromosome segregation during cell division

yue yang

Yue Yang, PhD
Research Interests: Epigenetic programming of neural circuits

xiaoyu zhang

Xiaoyu Zhang, PhD
Research Interests: Chemical biology and therapeutics