Protein Biophysics and Bioengineering

Our group’s research interests are on the areas of Molecular Biophysics and Synthetic Molecular Biology. Within this broad area we investigate the conformational and functional behavior of proteins with the combined goals of deciphering their mechanisms of operation and understanding their general design principles towards developing exciting engineering applications in the emerging field of Bionanotechnology.

Featured image November 2017
Protein folding scenarios
Yosemite National Park (close to UC MERCED)

We are interested in addressing these fundamental questions:

  1. Protein Folding: what are the molecular mechanisms that proteins use to find their unique and structurally complex functional 3D structures?
  2. Folding coupled to Binding and Function: how do proteins change shape upon stimuli and transduce signals at the molecular level? And how do some proteins exploit their conformational flexibility to exhibit a rich palette of binding behaviors, including functional moonlighting, induced-fit and conformational selection, binding to multiple partners and allosteric regulation?
  3. Gene Regulation: what are the molecular mechanisms that transcription factors use to home into their target gene(s) and control the activation and repression of gene expression?
  4. Engineering Nanoscale Biosensors : how to engineer protein-based high-performance biosensors that are capable of operating analogically at the nanoscale (single-molecule sensors)?
  5. Design of Allosteric Macromolecular Assemblies what are the design principles for building the biological nanomachines, and how can we exploit them to engineer synthetic macromolecular assemblies able to form and dissolve on demand?

Below is a collection of videos that feature Victor Muñoz, his series of lectures on Protein Folding and Dynamics at International Institute of Physics, Brazil:
  • Experimental Kinetics of Protein Folding
  • Mapping Folding Interaction Networks by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Protein Folding Studies using Single-Molecule FRET Experiments
  • Unfolding Coupled to Assembly as Molecular Mechanism
  • Funding