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Top blue bar image Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology


Originally created as a Department of Biochemistry, the faculty has retained a strong emphasis in this area.  Biochemical research in the department addresses key questions using a wide range of systems and applying a variety of approaches and techniques.  The central theme that brings these diverse interests together is a fundamental interest in biochemical mechanisms of molecular and cellular function.

Faculty links:

Bonnie Bartel: Molecular genetic studies of peroxisome biogenesis and functions in Arabidopsis; roles of auxin precursors in plant growth and development (lab home page).

Kathleen M. Beckingham:  Calcium signaling in Drosophila; gravitational sensing in Drosophila.

Abnormal eggs produced by lov66 mothers in studies of embryonic expression of Drosophila from the Beckingham lab

George N. Bennett: Response of microbes to stress and use of metabolic engineering to generate strains with beneficial properties (lab home page)

Janet Braam:  Regulation and functions of genes encoding calmodulin-related proteins and cell wall modifying enzymes of plants; control of gene expression in response to mechanical force (lab home page).

Daniel Carson:  Expression and function of cell surface components involved in embryonic development and tumor cell models. Study of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan.

Pamela Constantinou: The study of membrane bound glycoproteins, mucins, as targets for cancer therapies.

Mary C. (Cindy) Farach-Carson:  The role of extracellular matrix in the progression of cancer; the use of proteoglycans in the engineering of connective tissues.

Model for atlastin-mediated membrane fusion from the McNew Lab


Michael C. Gustin:  Molecular genetics and biochemistry of signal transduction by stress-sensing pathways in the yeasts Saccharomyces and Candida; control of stress resistance by the reproductive system of Drosophila.

Daniel Harrington: Design of biocompatible materials with engineered features that can influence cell phenotype. Tissue engineering of salivary glands, and 3D tumor engineering of cancer models.

Seiichi P. T. Matsuda:   Recombinant biosynthetic approaches to natural product biosynthesis; directed evolution and DNA shuffling to generate new oxidosqualene cyclases; metabolic engineering to produce terpenes.

Kathleen S. Matthews:  Functional characterization of hinge domain of lactose repressor proteins.   

James A. McNew:  Molecular mechanism of biological membrane fusion; membrane protein expression and reconstitution, intracellular vesicular transport; functional reconstitution of exocytosis; role of SNARE proteins in yeast sporulation and cytokinesis; analysis of cell-cell fusion (lab home page)

Edward P. Nikonowicz: NMR spectroscopy of RNA and RNA-protein interactions - correlation of structure, function, and dynamics; biophysical studies and engineering of RNA regulatory elements; small molecule-RNA interactions; biophysical and functional studies of tRNA base modification.

Maps of the effects of large-to-small mutations on the rate of entry and escape in Sperm Whale Mb from the Olson lab.

John S. Olson:  Biochemical, biophysical, and physiological properties of myoglobins, hemoglobins, and red blood cells; genetic engineering of heme protein based blood substitutes; application of rapid kinetic techniques to biological problems (lab home page).

George N. Phillips, Jr.: Prof. Phillips and his laboratory members are actively engaged in the characterization of enzyme mechanisms, including those of carbohydrate degrading enzymes and the phosphotransferase, adenylate kinase.

Yousif Shamoo: The evolutionary and molecular basis for antibiotic resistance, directed evolution of protein structure-function, and the underlying biophysical and physiochemical principles of adaptation within bacterial populations (lab home page)

Jonathan Silberg: Investigation of the processes controlling molecular evolution, particularly the evolution of protein structure, function, and molecular recognition using biochemical, computational, and molecular biological methods (lab home page).

Michael Stern
: Signalling mechanisms regulating the timing of the Drosophila larval metamorphosis.

Yizhi Jane Tao:  Structure and function of RNA viruses; RNA virus genome replication and genome packaging; influenza A virus; dsRNA viruses; astroviruses (lab home page).