Structural Biology & Biophysics

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Researchers in 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 at the Advanced Photon Source of the Argonne National Laboratories for Northwestern University researchers. 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 Program

Faculty List

Luís Amaral

Luís Amaral, PhD 
Research Interests: Integrative approach to modeling cellular signaling pathways

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

jason brickner

Jason Brickner, PhD 
Research Interests: Cell biology of transcription

marco gallio

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

yuan he

Yuan He, PhD
Research Interests: Structure and function of macromolecular machines on genes

brian hoffman

Brian M. Hoffman, PhD
Research Interests: Long-range interprotein electron transfer

michael jewett

Michael Jewett, PhD
Research Interests: Engineering cell-free systems for medicine, biotechnology, and synthetic biology

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

robert lamb

Robert A. Lamb, PhD
Research Interests: Viral glycoproteins, ion channels, and RNA-binding proteins

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, chromosome structure, and dynamics, single-molecule biophysics

thomas meade

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

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: Regulation and function of molecular chaperones

teri odom

Teri W. Odom, PhD
Research Interests: Controlling the size and shape of noble metals at the nanoscale

thomas ohalloran

Thomas V. O'Halloran, PhD 
Research Interests: Metalloregulatory proteins

Heather Pinkett

Heather Pinkett, PhD
Research Interests: Membrane proteins with emphasis on the structure and function of membrane-embedded transporters and their mechanisms of regulation

ishwar rahadkrishnan

Ishwar Radhakrishnan, PhD
Research Interests: Structure, function, and dynamics of proteins involved in eukaryotic gene regulation

indira raman

Indira Raman, PhD
Research Interests: Neuronal ion channels and synaptic transmission

amy rosenzweig

Amy C. Rosenzweig, PhD
Research Interests: Structural biology and bioinorganic chemistry, metal uptake, transport and storage, oxygen activation by metalloenzymes, biological methane oxidation, membrane protein crystallography

richard silverman

Richard B. Silverman, PhD
Research Interests: Medicinal, bioorganic, and enzyme chemistry

Danielle Tullman Ercek

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

vizenz unger

Vinzenz Unger, PhD
Research Interests: Transport of transition metals; structure and function of membrane-associated synaptic scaffolds; methods development for membrane protein crystallization and single particle approaches

Reza Vafabakhsh

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

sadie wignall

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