Rice University logo
 
 
 
 

Biophysics

Deem 01

Hafner 01

Huang 01

Kiang 01

Michael W. Deem

Professor (Joint Appointment)

Jason Hafner

Professor

Huey Huang

Professor

Ching-Hwa Kiang

Associate Professor

Levine 01

Onuchic 01

Wolynes 01

Herbert Levine

Professor (Joint Appointment)

Jose Onuchic

Professor

Peter Wolynes

Professor (Joint Appointment)

Primary Current Research Efforts of Rice Biophysics Faculty


Michael W. Deem

Immune response to variable or multi-strain viruses and vaccines

Physical theories of pathogen evoltion

Jason Hafner

Biological applications of plasmon resonant nanoparticles

Membrane electrostatics


Huey Huang

Mechanisms of membrane-active peptides, proteins, and drugs

X-ray/neutron resolution of lipidic structures in membranes


Ching-Hwa Kiang

Reconstruction of protein folding free energy surfaces

Single molecule dynamic force spectroscopy


Links above have complete descriptions of ongoing research programs

Examples of BIO research at Rice:

 

BIO pic 06

Single molecule force spectroscopy uses a microscopic AFM cantilever to grab individual proteins attached to a gold surface. This protein consists of eight repeats of the I27 domain of the heart muscle protein titin, a domain found in the extensible region of the striated muscle. The protein is stretched by retracting the cantilever from the sample surface at a constant velocity, and the force required to manipulate the molecule is monitored by the bending of the cantilever.                   
 
The mechanism of antimicrobial peptides was resolved by a combination of macroscopic and microscopic techniques: X-ray and neutron diffraction, oriented circular dichroism, and single GUV (giant unilamellar vesicle) experiment. The new concept is that the elastic energy of lipid bilayer is a key to the mechanism. We now widen the research to include membrane-active proteins and drugs. We continue to explore novel X-ray/neutron techniques to resolve lipidic structures in membranes, such as membrane fusion intermediates, pores, and inhomogeneous lipid distribution, which are essential information for understanding membrane processes, such as fusion, apoptosis and drug effects.