Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group

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Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics Training Program


Trainee Meeting Schedules
Fall 2013 Spring 2014

Fall 2014 Spring 2015

Fall 2015 Spring 2016

Fall 2016 Spring 2017

Fall 2017 Spring 2018







Mission Statement. Our central mission is to leverage the immense resources, outstanding faculty and superb graduate students of the University of Pennsylvania to promote and strengthen advanced training in structural biology and molecular biophysics. Through this vehicle we seek to train a cadre of supelative students that will subsequently provide national leadersthip in both academia and industry in this core area of biomedical research in the United States.

The Structural Biology & Molecular Biophysics (SBMB) training program is the flagship predoctoral training program for quantitative biology at the University of Pennsylvania. The SBMB training program is designed to provide students with focused research training in structural and molecular biophysics integrated within a basic understanding of human biology and disease.

The training faculty consists of nearly three dozen world-renowned researchers in the many areas of structural biology and molecular biophysics. Students are recruited from the BMB and Chemistry Graduate Groups though outstanding students from other graduate groups working in structural biology or molecular biophysics are also eligible.

Students are usually appointed early in their dissertation research. More senior students, espcially those completing individual fellowships, are appointed from time to time. Appointments are annual and may be renewed once. Appointments begin in the fall. Applications are accepted in the late Spring. Students of trainers are given preference. Students are expected to participate fully in the SBMB training program, particularly the weekly meetings.

For further information contact:

Josh Wand

Kelli McKenna


Feng Gai, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Kim Sharp, Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D. (Wistar Institute)
A. Joshua Wand, Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Biophysics)

Jessica Anna, Ph.D.
Using ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopic techniques to explore condensed phase dynamics, photochemistry and photophysics
Yair Argon, Ph.D.
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Functions of molecular chaperones in folding cell surface receptors and secreted proteins
Paul H. Axelsen, M.D.
Biophysical studies of molecular recognition and rational drug design
Tobias Baumgart, Ph.D.
Chemistry/Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Thermodynamics and mechanics of membrane curvature sensing and generation
Ben E. Black, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Chromosome segregation; chromatin structure; epigenetic centromere specification; hydrogen/deuterium exchange
David M. Chenoweth, Ph.D.
Chemical basis of molecular recognition wiht applications in biology and materials science
David W. Christianson, Ph.D.
Protein crystallography; metalloenzymes; enzymes of terpenoid and steroid biosynthesis

Gideon Dreyfuss, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Roberto Dominguez, Ph.D.

Nuclear transport, hnRNP complexes, RNA-binding proteins, spinal muscular atrophy, x-ray crystallography

Structural biology & biophysics of proteins that regulate actin cytoskeleton and membrane dynamics

Roland L. Dunbrack, Jr., Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Protein structure prediction
P. Leslie Dutton, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Oxido-reductase engineering; design and chemical synthesis of redox proteins
S. Walter Englander, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Protein folding; structure, structure change, and dynamics;H-exchange; NMR; mass spectrometry
Feng Gai, Ph.D.
Spectroscopic study of protein folding/misfolding
Benjamin Garcia, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Mass spectrometry, protein sequencing, post-translational modification, proteomics, quantification, chromatin, kinetics, dynamics
Yale E. Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.
Motor proteins and protein synthesis studied by spectroscopy and mechanics
Mark D. Goulian, Ph.D.
Two-component signaling, bacterial regulatory circuits
Paul A. Janmey, Ph.D.
Cytoskeleton, phosphoinositide signalling, cell mechanics

Kristen W. Lynch, Ph.D.Biochemistry and Biophysics

Biochemical, structural and biophysical basis of regulation of RNA processing.

Vera Moiseenkova-Bell, Ph.D.
Pharmacology/Biochemistry and Biophysics

My program has two main areas of research. First is to determine the structural basis of TRP channel activation, inhibition and desensitization mechanisms by utilizing cryo electron microscopy (cryo-EM); Second is to understand how TRP channels regulate cellular functions and the role of their dysregulation in human disease.
Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
X-ray crystallography, epigenetics, tumor suppressors, oncoproteins, kinases, aging, structure-based inhibitor design
Megan L. Matthews, Ph.D.
Uniting enzymology and chemical biology to develop novel chemical proteomics technologies
Kenji Murakami, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Transcription initiation and regulation in eukaryotes; electron microscopy
Michael Ostap, Ph.D.
Molecular mechanisms of cell motility
Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D.
Structure-function of aldo-keto reductases; role in steroid hormone action and chemical carcinogenesis
E. James Petersson, Ph.D.
Development of methods for protein labeling by semi-synthesis, application to the study of folding and proteolysis
Ravi Radhakrishnan, Ph.D.
Bioengineering/Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Computational structural biology and systems biology; cell membrane mediated trafficking; targeted drug delivery; cancer signaling
Ravinder Reddy, Ph.D.
Sodium and oxygen-17 MR methods; multiple quantum and polarization transfer MR techniques

Elizabeth Rhoades, Ph.D.

Single molecule fluorescence characterization of conformational ensembles of proteins states in vitro and in cells
Heinrich Roder, Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
NMR; protein folding mechanism; protein structure, dynamics and function
Jeffery G. Saven, Ph.D.
Theory, simulation and design of proteins and molecular systems
Kim A. Sharp, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Theory of protein and nucleic acid structure and function
James Shorter, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Regulation of beneficial or neuropathogenic prions and amyloids by protein-remodeling factors, molecular chaperones, and small molecules
Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D.
Wistar Institute
Structure function of telomeric complexes; cancer and aging
David W. Speicher, Ph.D.
Wistar Institute
Cancer proteomics; structure-function of membrane proteins: structural mass spectrometry

Alison M. Sweeney, Ph.D.

Cecilia Tommos, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Molecular evolution of protein photonic structures; molecular camouflage; protein biophysics

Protein radicals; tyrosine radicals; protein voltammetry; proton-coupled electron transfer

Gregory D. Van Duyne, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Structural biology; protein-protein interactions; x-ray crystallography
Sergei A. Vinogradov, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Functional macromolecules, optical imaging probes, porphyrin chemistry, dendrimer chemistry, oxygen microscopy and tomography
A. Joshua Wand, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Protein structure, thermodynamics and dynamics; molecular recognition and signal transduction; NMR spectroscopy
Felix W. Wehrli, Ph.D.
MRI studies of architecture, physiology and function of tissues