Biophysics of Proteins and Biomimetic Membranes

Group Members

Dr. Brigita Urbanc
Dr. Bogdan Barz
Dr. Thomas Williams
Derya Meral


Core research focus of the group led by Brigita Urbanc is folding mechanisms and pathways of assembly of proteins such as amyloid beta-protein and tau-protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, alpha-synuclein implicated in Parkinson's disease, sickle hemoglobin causing sickle-cell dementia, and human spastin involved in hereditary spastic paraplegia. Further research topics include but are not limited to interactions of amyloid-forming proteins with biomimetic membranes, membrane receptors, and membrane proteins. Multiscale computational approaches include fast and efficient discrete molecular dynamics (DMD) combined with coarse-grained protein models in implicit solvent as well as all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) in explicit solvent. Experimental techniques that will be applied are photo-induced cross-linking of unmodified proteins (PICUP) combined with gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) for studying size distribution of small assemblies at the early stages of protein aggregation and surface plasmon field-enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy (SPFS) to study interactions between proteins and biomimetic membranes.

Research Links

Protein Data Bank
CHARMM Tutorial