Meet some of our favorite people


levental lab

university of texas health science Center

The overall goals of our laboratory are to understand and manipulate the fundamental molecular mechanisms by which membrane lipids influence cellular physiology. Cellular membranes are a biophysicist’s dream: they are composites of biological macromolecules with a multitude of chemical interactions, which give rise to complex phase behaviors and physical properties. Their study inherently requires a multidisciplinary approach, which is reflected in the thoroughly interdisciplinary, collaborative constitution of my lab: an interactive team of biologists, engineers, and physicists.

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marquardt lab

university of windsor

The Marquardt group is interested in the structure-function relationship of cellular membranes in biology. When investigating biomembranes and small membrane bound molecules, much of the existing biophysical data on various model systems are not without significant problems. For example, the use of bulky lipid fluorophores drastically alters the physical properties of the model membranes used. To overcome this issue, we employ neutron and X-ray scattering techniques where studies can be conducted without the use of perturbing probes.

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lyman lab

university of delaware

How do the peculiar material properties of the cell membrane emerge from the interactions between lipids and proteins? How does the cell exploit these properties to perform the physical chemistry of life? We address these questions by molecular simulation and through close collaboration with experimental colleagues. Our efforts focus on both methods development and the application of existing methods and advanced hardware to outstanding problems.

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sodt lab

national institutes of health

The focus of the Sodt Lab is to use molecular simulations to compute how membrane composition and the modular chemistry of lipids determine the material and physical properties of membranes, including the propensity to promote lateral organization and to affect the function of transmembrane signaling protein systems. The work requires physics-based all-atom simulation with new statistical mechanical methods to interpret them, mathematical analysis of curved surfaces and continuum-elastic materials, and creative model building to apply the results to biological processes and so determine the role of lipids in disease.

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pabst lab

university of graz

Our research is focused on biological membranes as a meeting place of lipids, proteins and membrane-active drugs on the one hand, and on the other hand as complex multifunctional interfaces for diverse (patho)physiological processes. The overall aim is to delineate the physics of simplified but functional models to biomembrane function to aid in the development membrane active drugs. To address these issues we are using a broad selection of experimental techniques, such as small angle x-ray (neutron) scattering, osmotic stress experiments, calorimetry, or fluorescence microscopy to name but a few.

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feigenson lab

cornell university

From a chemical view, the main groupings of biomolecules are proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Alone among these groups, lipids are not polymers -- therefore the information contained in their molecular structure must be of a different kind than monomer type within a polymer sequence. Because biological membranes are physical mixtures of many components, the thermodynamics of mixing and phase behavior provides clear guidance for design and interpretation of experiments.

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waxham lab

university of texas health science Center

Our laboratory combines four lines of study to address mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and transmission in the mammalian CNS: (1) biochemical and biophysical measurements help us acquire parameter sets necessary for an understanding of the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity; (2) live-cell spectroscopy provides an understanding of the movement of molecules in space and time within different neuronal compartments; (3) three-dimensional reconstructions provide accurate geometric and spatial representations of macromolecular complexes found at synapses: (4) computational analyses provide an overlying framework in which the previous three lines of experimental investigation are consolidated to extend our understanding beyond that presently accessible with experiments.

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