chemical_biologyChemical biology involves the exploration of chemical principles for the study and manipulation of biological systems, as well as the harnessing of biology to advance chemistry. It integrates tools and techniques from different scientific fields to foster the innovations and discoveries at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Maryland possesses unique strengths in chemical biology.

The research of our faculty focuses on a wide variety of important areas at the chemistry-biology interface. These include: self-assembly and host-guest systems for molecular recognition; design and synthesis of novel molecular probes for deciphering biological functions; development of special analytical tools for investigating enzymatic reactions; innovative approaches to studying ubiquitination, glycosylation, and other posttranslational modifications; site-specific modification of therapeutic antibodies; structural biology and biophysical chemistry of biopolymers and their complexes; advanced computational models of complex biological systems; functional proteomics and glycomics; and
nanotechnology/nanomaterials for drug delivery and vaccine development. These diverse research activities involve exciting interplays of chemistry, biology, materials science, and medicine. In addition, the chemical biology research in the department is also integrated with other departments and nearby institutions including Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the US Food and Drug Administration. This highly integrated program provides a unique platform for training, education, and research collaborations at the chemistry-biology interface.


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

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Jeffery Davis

Supramolecular chemistry; bioorganic chemistry; molecular self-assembly; chemical synthesis and chemistry of bioconjugates; transmembrane ion transport

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Supramolecular chemistry; bioorganic chemistry; molecular self-assembly; chemical synthesis and chemistry of bioconjugates; transmembrane ion transport

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 Philip DeShong

Philip DeShong

Bioconjugate Chemistry; Colloid Chemistry; Nanotechnology. Synthesis of complex bioconjugates; Functionalized nanomaterials for use as biosensors, drug delivery, and vaccine development.Read More

Bioconjugate Chemistry; Colloid Chemistry; Nanotechnology. Synthesis of complex bioconjugates; Functionalized nanomaterials for use as biosensors, drug delivery, and vaccine development.

Photo of Daniel Falvey

Daniel Falvey

Organic Photochemistry; ultrafast laser spectroscopy studies of the dynamics of organic and enzymatic reactions; biophysical chemistry; photothermal methods; UV-damage and repair of DNA

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Organic Photochemistry; ultrafast laser spectroscopy studies of the dynamics of organic and enzymatic reactions; biophysical chemistry; photothermal methods; UV-damage and repair of DNA

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 Lyle Isaacs

Lyle Isaacs

Host-guest chemistry; molecular recognition; drug delivery; cucurbituril molecular containers;

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Host-guest chemistry; molecular recognition; drug delivery; cucurbituril molecular containers;

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 Sang Bok Lee

Sang Bok Lee

Nanomaterials science; synthesis and characterization of bio-nanotubes for nanotoxicology and biomedical applications; electrical energy storage; electrochemistryRead More

Nanomaterials science; synthesis and characterization of bio-nanotubes for nanotoxicology and biomedical applications; electrical energy storage; electrochemistry

Photo of George Lorimer

George Lorimer

Biophysical chemistry, enzyme mechanisms, protein folding

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Biophysical chemistry, enzyme mechanisms, protein folding

Photo of Zhihong Nie

Zhihong Nie

Nanoparticle chemistry and self-assembly; soft materials, microfluidic mimicking of biological tubules for studying pharmacokinetics and diseases; biomimetic programmable soft materials for tunable optics and tissue engineering

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Nanoparticle chemistry and self-assembly; soft materials, microfluidic mimicking of biological tubules for studying pharmacokinetics and diseases; biomimetic programmable soft materials for tunable optics and tissue engineering

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 Garyk Papoian

Garyk Papoian

Advanced computational methods to study biological systems; histones, nucleosomes and chromatin folding; actin-based cytoskeletal self-assembly and mechanochemistry; protein folding and dynamics; development of algorithms and publicly-released software for modeling biomolecules and cellular processes.Read More

Advanced computational methods to study biological systems; histones, nucleosomes and chromatin folding; actin-based cytoskeletal self-assembly and mechanochemistry; protein folding and dynamics; development of algorithms and publicly-released software for modeling biomolecules and cellular processes.

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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