Laufer Junior Fellows


  
photo of Adam de Graff Adam de Graff. I am interested in the fundamental causes of biological aging. By combining experimental data with mathematical modeling, I study how and why organisms progressively deviate from their youthful phenotypes. By estimating the metabolic costs of cellular processes, insight can be gained as to the evolutionary trade-offs between species longevity and fitness, with interesting applications to biotechnology. Building on my past work on protein folding and stability, I am also passionate about developing electrostatic models to determine the mechanisms by which oxidative damage destabilizes our proteins and elicits aging.
alberto4web Alberto Perez's current research involves the use of physics to understand protein folding. Knowledge-based algorithms are quite successful at predicting the 3D protein structures that a sequence of amino acids will adopt. However, we would like to understand the physics governing this process at an atomic level. That understanding might lead to insights into kinetic routes, and the effects of solvent, temperature, etc. on protein folding, and give us the opportunity to compare atomistic ensembles with the overall processes seen experimentally. We use a variety of computational modeling techniques, ranging from geometric packing to Molecular Dynamics atomistic simulations to describe and better understand this process. In the past I've also worked on DNA flexibility, and it is a subject that I'm still very interested in. (Citations)
jason1 Jason Wagoner is interested in the study of chemical/biological problems using the perspective and tools drawn from chemical physics and statistical mechanics. This includes the study of aqueous solvation and molecular assembly, as well as the development of new simulation techniques for the multiscale modeling of biomolecular systems. (Citations)

 

 

Postdoctoral Associates

  
bien Harold Bien. Balázsi lab
emilano Emiliano Brini. My research focuses on solvation thermodynamic. In particular I am interested in understanding how the environment of a chemical group affects its solvation properties and therefore its interaction with the rest of the system. On this path I am currently working on the development of a solvation model that can be used to run implicit solvent molecular dynamic simulation of complex object like protein and protein aggregates.
daniel Daniel Charlebois. My research at the interface of physics and biology aims to make fundamental advances in our understanding of genetics/epigenetics and evolution, and apply this knowledge to the growing problem of drug resistance.
angela Angela Migues. Simmerling lab.
james James Robertson. The ability to predict protein structure from sequence, and to understand the kinetics and thermodynamics of the folding process, would lead to important breakthroughs in understanding how these molecular machines function. New insights into structure and function can lead to new treatments for disease. My research involves using physics-based atomistic models and state of the art computer simulations to study protein folding. My additional interests are in protein-DNA interactions.
mantu4web Mantu Santra. I am interested in understanding the basic principle of metabolism in growing cell. My current research involves investigation of folding pathways of different types of proteins with the assistance of chaperone and the effect of protein folding on the kinetics of metabolism under diverse synthesis and growth rate conditions.
tamas Tamás Székely. I am interested in non-genetic variability, which enables genetically identical cells to have different properties (phenotypes). A cell's phenotype can change over time, and is influenced by its environment as well as the randomness of biochemical reactions inside the cell, as genes are translated into proteins. Cell populations can consist of multiple phenotypes, with different phenotypes surviving better in different environments. Phenotype switching allows cell populations as a whole to survive stressors and toxins that only some of their phenotypes can tolerate. In particular, combining both experiments and theory, I am working on understanding how phenotype switching itself evolves in different environmental conditions, and how this leads to a cell population with a particular set of phenotypes.