biology is the study of the three-dimensional structure of biological
important molecules and macromolecules such as carbohydrates,
proteins and nucleic acids. The 3D structure of these molecules
generally defines their function. By determining their atomic
structures, we can gain significant insights into how they function,
and why mutations or deletions give rise to particular diseases.
Analysis of the atomic-level structure of proteins also allows
the rational design of small molecules that manipulates their
function and therefore have powerful therapeutic potential.
The two main techniques that are used to determine atomic level
details of macromolecular structure are X-ray crystallography
and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Within our
department, these techniques are used to study the function of
proteins involved in the mammalian immune response, retroviral
assembly, and the structure of cell-surface carbohydrates. Within
the last several years, other techniques such as electrospray
ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), have also been developed
to study macromolecular structure that are not accessible by NMR
or X-ray crystallography. This approach is being used within our
department to probe nucleic acid and protein-nucleic acid structures
For a brief description of the three techniques mentioned above and the facilities that are available in the Department of Chemistry, click on the buttons below.
Bush, C. Allen
Three-dimensional structure, conformation and dynamics of complex oligosaccharides and polysaccharides by NMR spectroscopy and computer molecular modeling.
X-ray crystallography, Small-Angle x-ray Scattering (SAXS)
Computational methods for NMR analysis of proteins. Computational analysis of binding in drug discovery.
Michael Summers is interested in the application of nuclear magnetic resonance to studies of retrovirus structure and function.
Molecular modeling and simulation of biological systems with an emphasis on protein structure, function and dynamics
Antibody structure and function