The aim of our research program is to help elucidate the structural mechanisms of biomedically important molecular systems associated with cellular membranes. We are particularly interested in proteins involved in transmembrane transport, signaling and energy conversion.

Membrane proteins mediate numerous essential processes in living cells, such as the import and metabolism of nutrients and the transmission of chemical signals between and within cells. They also contribute to define the morphology of the membranes where they reside, which is crucial for normal cellular activity. It is for these reasons that a wide range of human health disorders, from heart disease to neurodegeneration, are associated with the malfunction of membrane-associated systems. Membrane transport proteins are also crucial for the survival of multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria and cancer cells, and are therefore promising pharmaceutical targets. The premise of our research is that a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of these fascinating systems will eventually facilitate the design of more effective pharmacological approaches.

Our investigations rely primarily on computationally-intensive, physics-based molecular simulations and related theoretical methods. This approach enables us to formulate novel mechanistic hypotheses and interpretations of existing empirical data, which in turn guide the design of new experimental work. Our theoretical studies are often carried out in synergy with experimental collaborators, both at NIH and elsewhere, particularly in the areas of structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics. On the methodological front, we are actively involved in the development and implementation of novel approaches to extract reliable thermodynamic and mechanistic information from molecular simulations.

Last update on 6/2017

Home | About the PI | Group members | Publications | Contact | Downloads | Positions | Disclaimer