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Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research focuses on the identification of host genes that play critical roles in the pathogenesis of infectious agents including viruses. We use haploid genetic screens in human cells as an efficient approach to perform loss-of-function studies. Besides obtaining fundamental insights on how viruses hijack cellular processes and on host defense mechanisms, it may also facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Associate Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research program integrates chemistry, biology, and physics to investigate the assembly and function of macromolecular and whole-cell systems. The genomics and proteomics revolutions have been enormously successful in generating crucial "parts lists" for biological systems. Yet, for many fascinating systems, formidable challenges exist in building complete descriptions of how the parts function and assemble into macromolecular complexes and whole-cell factories. We are inspired by the need for new and unconventional approaches to solve these outstanding problems and to drive the discovery of new therapeutics for human disease.
Our approach is different from the more conventional protein-structure determinations of structural biology. We employ biophysical and biochemical tools, and are designing new strategies using solid-state NMR spectroscopy to examine assemblies such as amyloid fibers, bacterial cell walls, whole cells, and biofilms. We would like to understand at a molecular and atomic level how bacteria self-assemble extracellular structures, including functional amyloid fibers termed curli, and how bacteria use such building blocks to construct organized biofilm architectures. We also employ a chemical genetics approach to recruit small molecules as tools to interrupt and interrogate the temporal and spatial events during assembly processes and to develop new strategies to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Overall, our approach is multi-pronged and provides training opportunities for students interested in research at the chemistry-biology interface.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
BioOur group's research is focused at the intersection of mechanics and biology. We are interested in elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms that give rise to the complex mechanical properties of cells, extracellular matrices, and tissues . Conversely, we are investigating how complex mechanical cues influence important biological processes such as cell division, differentiation, or cancer progression. Our approaches involve using force measurement instrumentation, such as atomic force microscopy, to exert and measure forces on materials and cells at the nanoscale, and the development of material systems for 3D cell culture that allow precise and independent manipulation of mechanical properties.
James K. Chen
Jauch Professor and Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology, of Developmental Biology and of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory combines chemistry and developmental biology to investigate the molecular events that regulate embryonic patterning, tissue regeneration, and tumorigenesis. We are currently using genetic and small-molecule approaches to study the molecular mechanisms of Hedgehog signaling, and we are developing chemical technologies to perturb and observe the genetic programs that underlie vertebrate development.
Wallenberg-Bienenstock Professor and Professor of Bioengineering and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research includes methodology improvements in single particle cryo-EM for atomic resolution structure determination of molecules and molecular machines, as well as in cryo-ET of cells and organelles towards subnanometer resolutions. We collaborate with many researchers around the country and outside the USA on understanding biological processes such as protein folding, virus assembly and disassembly, pathogen-host interactions, signal transduction, and transport across cytosol and membranes.
Jennifer R. Cochran
Shriram Chair of Bioengineering, Professor of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMolecular Engineering, Protein Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Molecular Imaging, Chemical Biology
Professor of Bioengineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur focus is on building computational models of complex biological processes, and using them to guide an experimental program. Such an approach leads to a relatively rapid identification and validation of previously unknown components and interactions. Biological systems of interest include metabolic, regulatory and signaling networks as well as cell-cell interactions. Current research involves the dynamic behavior of NF-kappaB, an important family of transcription factors.
Professor of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are developing various physical and chemical approaches to study biological processes in neurons. There are three major research directions: (1) Investigating the axonal transport process using optical imging, magnetic and optical trapping, and microfluidic platform; (2) Developing vertical nanopillar-based electric and optic sensors for sensitive detection of biological functions; (3) Using optogentic approach to investigate temporal and spatial control of intracellular signaling pathways.