Biophysics & Structural Biology
Research in Biophysics at UVA utilizes quantitative approaches to understand the physical and chemical basis of complex biological processes. Biological processes are studied at every level and across many fields, from the theoretical to the experimental.
The Biophysics Graduate Program at the University of Virginia is one of the oldest in the country. We employ a wide range of experimental and computational approaches in a highly interactive and multidisciplinary environment. One of our strengths is in the study of membranes, which are of fundamental importance for biological systems. Membranes compartmentalize the cell, thereby controlling the internal cellular environment. They are sites for energy transduction and signaling. Finally, many regulatory processes take place at membrane surfaces.
Students in biophysics at UVA gain a strong foundation in biophysical approaches and analysis through innovative research and didactic coursework.
Research in Structural Biology at UVA seeks to acquire a thorough understanding of biological function by gaining a detailed knowledge of the structure of the macromolecules that comprise the machinery of life.Students interested in Structural Biology pursue research designed to determine the 3D structures of proteins and nucleic acids using a variety of methods, including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Through the use of these different structural methodologies, we are able to gain unique and complementary information about the structure of macromolecules. These structures, in turn, provide important insights into the molecular basis of function and provide a framework for the design of experiments to address biological processes involving the macromolecules under investigation. Structures of medically relevant targets can also play a critical role in accelerating the process of drug design through the use of structure-based lead compound discovery.
Structural biology laboratories at the University of Virginia have established strengths in integral membrane proteins, structural genomics, cell signaling factors, as well as macromolecular assemblies such virus particles and filaments.
Spatiotemporal Regulation of Biological Signaling; Protein Engineering for Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics
Molecular Mechanisms of Transcriptional Regulation
Regulation of low-voltage activated T-type Ca2+ channel activity by kinases and heterotrimeric G-proteins and their roles in physiological responses.
Physical Modeling of Microarray Hybridization; Analysis of Genomic Tiling Array Data; Bioinformatics; Computational Biology; Regulatory Networks
Drug Development Targeting Transcription Drivers in Cancer; Structure/Function Studies of Transcription Factor Drivers in Cancer
Molecular Mechanisms for Membrane Transport and Cell Signaling
Statistical genetics and genomics.
Biophysical Chemistry: Membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics
Structure-function relationships in proteins
The design of self-assembling nanomaterials
Structure and Function of Macromolecular Complexes Using Electron Microscopy
Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology. Medical Automation Research. Neurotransmitters, cell surface receptors and intracellular second messengers.
Bacterial attachment and biofilms, microbial transport in porous media
Super-resolution fluorescence imaging of bacterial cells
The Structural Biology of HIV assembly
Cell plasticity, Biophysics, Molecular Biology
Immune response to infectious disease in the CNS
Chemical Biology, Lipid Biochemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, and Mass Spectrometry
Physical mechanisms of infectious disease; influenza infection; membrane fusion; antibiotic resistance; molecular dynamics simulation; machine learning.
Human Herpes virus associated with malignancy, including Kaposi's Sarcoma
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis
Architecture and function of biological membranes
Bioanalytical Chemistry on Microchips
Vascular and Molecular Engineering
Role of lipid oxidation products in inflammation and vascular immunology in atherosclerosis and diabetes
Composition, Biophysics and Physiology of Cellular Membranes
Fundamental mechanisms by which membranes and dietary lipids regulate cell physiology
Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
Structure-Function Relationships in Macromolecules; Infectious Diseases and Drug Discovery; Bioinformatics and Big Data; Scientific Reproducibility
Structure-Function of Active Transporters
Systems biology, infectious disease, cancer, toxicology, metabolic engineering
Modulation of sodium channel gating by beta subunits and novel sodium channel blockers; Synaptic transmission in dorsal horn neurons
Tissue Engineering and Regeneration, Computational Systems Biology, Vascular Growth and Remodeling, Stem Cell Therapies
Exploring epilepsy circuits then preventing seizures using gene therapies. Developing drug-inducible genetic switches for insulin replacement gene therapies.
Bioanalytical tools for inflammatory disease
Structure and assembly of HIV, virus/host interactions, structural biology of the innate immune system
Chromosome segregation and aneuploidy in meiosis and mitosis
Human Immunodeficiency; Virus Gene Expression
Roles of complex signaling networks involved in the regulation of cardiovascular function and disease
Proteoform Systems Biology: proteogenomic approaches to uncover the role of proteomic variation in human disease
Novel signal transduction pathways in smooth muscles that regulate contractility and impact diseases of the vasculature, airway and gastrointestinal tract.
Microcirculation, vascular ion channels, calcium signaling mechanisms, endothelial cells, hypertension
Role of Glia in Neurological Illnesses and Cancer
Mechanisms of chromosome segregation in Mitosis and generation of Chromosomal Instability in tumors
Molecular and bioelectric devices; tissue regeneration.
Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
Analytical Neurochemistry; Dopamine and Serotonin Neurotransmission in Drosophila; Mechanisms of rapid adenosine signaling in rodents
Structure/function of integral membrane proteins; structural biophysics; enzymology and virology of ZMPSTE24; sparse-constraint structure determination; technology development
Cardiac Gap Junction Membrane Channels / Integrins Water Channels / Rotavirus / Reovirus / Retrovirus
Bioinformatics methodology development; Epigenetics and chromatin biology; Transcriptional regulation; Cancer genomics and epigenomics; Statistical methods for biomedical data integration; Advanced machine learning; Theoretical and computational biophysic
Transport of biopolymers across biological membranes with a particular interest in polysaccharide and protein translocation.