School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Biochemistry and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering and of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research is aimed at understanding the chemical and physical behavior underlying biological macromolecules and systems, as these behaviors define the capabilities and limitations of biology. Toward this end we study folding and catalysis by RNA, as well as catalysis by protein enzymes.
Philip C. Hanawalt
Dr. Morris Herzstein Professor in Biology, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur current research focuses in two principal areas:
1. The molecular basis for diseases in which the pathway of transcription-coupled DNA repair is defective, including Cockyne syndrome (CS) and UV-sensitive syndrome (UVSS). Patients are severely sensitive to sunlight but get no cancers. See Hanawalt & Spivak, 2008, for review.
2. Transcription arrest by guanine-rich DNA sequences and non-canonical secondary structures. Transcription collisions with replication forks.
John A. Overdeck Professor, Professor of Statistics and of Biomedical Data Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsFlexible statistical modelling, datamining, bioinformatics, and statistical computing.
H Craig Heller
Lorry I. Lokey/Business Wire Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsNeurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms, regulation of body temperature, mammalian hibernation, and human exercise physiology. Currently applying background in sleep and circadian neurobiology the understanding and correcting the learning disability of Down Syndrome.
Paul S. and Billie Achilles Professor in Environmental Biology, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Geological Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe research of Elizabeth Hadly probes how perturbations such as climatic change and human modification of the environment influence the evolution and ecology of vertebrates.
David Mulvane Ehrsam and Edward Curtis Franklin Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Photon Science at SLAC
BioCombining inorganic, biophysical and structural chemistry, Professor Keith Hodgson investigates how structure at molecular and macromolecular levels relates to function. Studies in the Hodgson lab have pioneered the use of synchrotron x-radiation to probe the electronic and structural environment of biomolecules. Recent efforts focus on the applications of x-ray diffraction, scattering and absorption spectroscopy to examine metalloproteins that are important in Earth’s biosphere, such as those that convert nitrogen to ammonia or methane to methanol.
Keith O. Hodgson was born in Virginia in 1947. He studied chemistry at the University of Virginia (B.S. 1969) and University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 1972), with a postdoctoral year at the ETH in Zurich. He joined the Stanford Chemistry Department faculty in 1973, starting up a program of fundamental research into the use of x-rays to study chemical and biological structure that made use of the unique capabilities of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL). His lab carried out pioneering x-ray absorption and x-ray crystallographic studies of proteins, laying the foundation for a new field now in broad use worldwide. In the early eighties, he began development of one of the world's first synchrotron-based structural molecular biology research and user programs, centered at SSRL. He served as SSRL Director from 1998 to 2005, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) Deputy Director (2005-2007) and Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Science (2007-2011).
Today the Hodgson research group investigates how molecular structure at different organizational levels relates to biological and chemical function, using a variety of x-ray absorption, diffraction and scattering techniques. Typical of these molecular structural studies are investigations of metal ions as active sites of biomolecules. His research group develops and utilizes techniques such as x-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy (XAS and XES) to study the electronic and metrical details of a given metal ion in the biomolecule under a variety of natural conditions.
A major area of focus over many years, the active site of the enzyme nitrogenase is responsible for conversion of atmospheric di-nitrogen to ammonia. Using XAS studies at the S, Fe and Mo edge, the Hodgson group has worked to understand the electronic structure as a function of redox in this cluster. They have developed new methods to study long distances in the cluster within and outside the protein. Studies are ongoing to learn how this cluster functions during catalysis and interacts with substrates and inhibitors. Other components of the protein are also under active study.
Additional projects include the study of iron in dioxygen activation and oxidation within the binuclear iron-containing enzyme methane monooxygenase and in cytochrome oxidase. Lab members are also investigating the role of copper in electron transport and in dioxygen activation. Other studies include the electronic structure of iron-sulfur clusters in models and enzymes.
The research group is also focusing on using the next generation of x-ray light sources, the free electron laser. Such a light source, called the LCLS, is also located at SLAC. They are also developing new approaches using x-ray free electron laser radiation to image noncrystalline biomolecules and study chemical reactivity on ultrafast time scales.
Professor of Statistics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab has been developing tools for the analyses of complex data structures, extending work on multivariate data to structured multitable table that include graphs, networks and trees as well as categorical and continuous measurements.
We created and support the Bioconductor package phyloseq for the analyses of microbial ecology data from the microbiome. We have specialized in developing interactive graphical visualization tools for doing reproducible research in biology.