Research Interests: Polymer and Physical Chemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Structural Biology
Our long-term research endeavor is to investigate the function-modulating interactions between proteins and membrane components by solving structures of membrane-associated protein complexes and aggregates. The elucidation of such structure-function relationships will contribute tremendously to our understanding of how proteins interact with lipids and/or cofactors to operate. In turn, these fundamental discoveries will translate into novel biomaterials and rationally designed therapeutic agents, since roughly 60% of all current drug targets are membrane proteins, yet structures of membrane proteins remain scant relative to their soluble counterparts. Further, understanding the interactions between amyloidogenic protein aggregates and the membrane will provide new insights into the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and bacterial infections. We have successfully developed solid-state NMR methods to tackle the challenges of membrane proteins and protein aggregates. Hence, we will be able to obtain detailed atomistic models from the structural information to describe the fundamental principles of how the membrane influence protein functions and vice versa.