Faculty research programs in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park emphasize fundamental approaches to molecular aspects of biological systems.

Biophysical chemistry/molecular biophysics/bioanalytics is a particular strength, including biomolecular NMR (Dayie, Fushman,  Orban) and X-ray crystallography (Beckett , Herzberg, LaRonde, Paukstelis), biomolecular small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS) (Dayie, Fushman), biomedical mass spectrometry (Fenselau), computational methods (Fushman), kinetic and equilibrium analysis of biomolecular interactions (Beckett, Lorimer), and fluorescence approaches (Kahn, Lorimer). Faculty apply these approaches to problems of biological and biomedical importance that include molecular mechanisms of allosteric regulation (Beckett), regulation of gene expression (Kahn), RNA processing (Dayie, LaRonde, Paukstelis), translation (Dayie, Dinman, LaRonde), protein folding and chaperone proteins (Lorimer), ubiquitin-mediated signaling pathways (Fushman), cell-cell communication (Fenselau), SNP’s associated with human diseases (Herzberg),  drug design (Herzberg), protein-protein interactions in virulence (Beckett), membrane channels (Colombini), nanobiotechnology (Kahn, Paukstelis), and DNA recombination and repair (Julin).  Chemical biology and bioorganic chemistry benefit from the environment of a chemistry department with active research in nucleic acid biochemistry (Dayie, Kahn,  LaRonde, Paukstelis, Winkler), ubiquitination and other post-translational modifications (Fushman),  and protein glycosylation and glycoprotein function (Poulin, Wang). Most projects are carried out by one or a few graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral researchers, so there is constant contact among faculty and students. Biochemistry groups benefit from connections with many other programs on campus, including Chemical PhysicsBiophysicsMolecular and Cellular Biology, and Bioengineering.


Photo of Dorothy Beckett

Dorothy Beckett

Biological regulation; allostery; protein:protein interactions; transcription regulation, bacterial virulence; thermodynamics; kinetics; structural biology; computational biologyRead More

Biological regulation; allostery; protein:protein interactions; transcription regulation, bacterial virulence; thermodynamics; kinetics; structural biology; computational biology

Photo of Kwaku Dayie

Kwaku Dayie

Structure, interactions, dynamics, and function of RNA complexes involved in catalysis and gene regulation; chemical biological methods of labeling RNAs; NMR methods development.

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Structure, interactions, dynamics, and function of RNA complexes involved in catalysis and gene regulation; chemical biological methods of labeling RNAs; NMR methods development.

Photo of Catherine Fenselau

Catherine Fenselau

Biomedical mass spectrometry and bioanalytical chemistry, bioinformatics, proteomics and glycomics, post-translational modifications, cell surface chemistry, next generation sequencing of small RNAs; cell-cell communications and immunosuppression in cancerRead More

Biomedical mass spectrometry and bioanalytical chemistry, bioinformatics, proteomics and glycomics, post-translational modifications, cell surface chemistry, next generation sequencing of small RNAs; cell-cell communications and immunosuppression in cancer

Photo of David Fushman

David Fushman

Structure, dynamics, and function of proteins and biological macromolecules, signaling and regulation in multidomain systems; intracellular signaling; ubiquitination; posttranslational modifications; Biological NMR and computational biology

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Structure, dynamics, and function of proteins and biological macromolecules, signaling and regulation in multidomain systems; intracellular signaling; ubiquitination; posttranslational modifications; Biological NMR and computational biology

Photo of Osnat Herzberg

Osnat Herzberg

Structural biology; X-ray crystallography; structural approaches to mechanisms of human diseases; rational design of inhibitorsRead More

Structural biology; X-ray crystallography; structural approaches to mechanisms of human diseases; rational design of inhibitors

Photo of Douglas Julin

Douglas Julin

Enzymology and mechanisms of DNA recombination and repair; mechanism of the RecBCD enzyme from E. coli. DNA repair in Deinococcus radiodurans

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Enzymology and mechanisms of DNA recombination and repair; mechanism of the RecBCD enzyme from E. coli. DNA repair in Deinococcus radiodurans

Photo of Jason Kahn

Jason Kahn

Biophysical chemistry; DNA structure, flexibility, and topology in multi-protein DNA complexes and DNA loops; transcription and gene regulation; DNA and RNA packaging by peptides used for transfection; protein-DNA nanostructures; thermodynamics of modified DNARead More

Biophysical chemistry; DNA structure, flexibility, and topology in multi-protein DNA complexes and DNA loops; transcription and gene regulation; DNA and RNA packaging by peptides used for transfection; protein-DNA nanostructures; thermodynamics of modified DNA

Photo of Nicole LaRonde

Nicole LaRonde

Structural biology; X-ray crystallography; structural and functional studies of proteins involved in ribosome biogenesis; biophysical characterization of secreted mycobacterium virulence proteins; Inhibitor design and development

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Structural biology; X-ray crystallography; structural and functional studies of proteins involved in ribosome biogenesis; biophysical characterization of secreted mycobacterium virulence proteins; Inhibitor design and development

Photo of George Lorimer

George Lorimer

Biophysical chemistry, enzyme mechanisms, protein folding

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Biophysical chemistry, enzyme mechanisms, protein folding

Photo of John Orban

John Orban

Structural biology; NMR methods; protein folding; conformational switching and the evolution of new folds; microbial and eukaryotic structural genomics

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Structural biology; NMR methods; protein folding; conformational switching and the evolution of new folds; microbial and eukaryotic structural genomics

Photo of Paul Paukstelis

Paul Paukstelis

Nucleic acid structure, function, and catalysis; Structural DNA nanotechnology; DNA crystal design; Non-canonical DNA structures; DNA-based catalysts.Read More

Nucleic acid structure, function, and catalysis; Structural DNA nanotechnology; DNA crystal design; Non-canonical DNA structures; DNA-based catalysts.

Photo of Myles B. Poulin

Myles B. Poulin

Bioorganic chemistry, enzymology, carbohydrate chemistry, glycobiology, molecular biology, microbiology, bacterial biofilm biosynthesis, membrane transport of polysaccharides, kinetic isotope effectsRead More

Bioorganic chemistry, enzymology, carbohydrate chemistry, glycobiology, molecular biology, microbiology, bacterial biofilm biosynthesis, membrane transport of polysaccharides, kinetic isotope effects

Photo of Lai-Xi Wang

Lai-Xi Wang

Bioorganic chemistry;  chemical biology; synthetic carbohydrate chemistry; glycobiology; enzymology; molecular biology; immunology; chemoenzymatic synthesis of oligosaccharides and glycoproteins; protein glycosylation; antibody glycoengineering; HIV vaccine designRead More

Bioorganic chemistry;  chemical biology; synthetic carbohydrate chemistry; glycobiology; enzymology; molecular biology; immunology; chemoenzymatic synthesis of oligosaccharides and glycoproteins; protein glycosylation; antibody glycoengineering; HIV vaccine design

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