Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

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Logo for the Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University in St. Louis, MO
The 2014-BMB/MBCP Retreat

Head of the Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics Department Named

Welcome to New Faculty

New Faculty Positions

Welcome Picnic

Core Facilities in the BMB Department

Welcome to New BMB Arrivals

Latest Publications
Head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Named

John A. Cooper, MD, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. More....
Welcome New Faculty
Gregory R. Bowman - The Bowman lab combines simulation and experiment to understand the conformational changes proteins undergo and how these changes allow information to flow, both within single proteins and within networks of interacting proteins. Two major application areas are (1) understanding hidden allosteric sites and the opportunities they present for drug design and (2) understanding the molecular mechanisms of vision, especially the origins of inherited forms of blindness. To facilitate these applications, we also develop enhanced sampling algorithms for simulating long timescale dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids.
Michael J. Greenberg - The Greenberg lab focuses on the generation and transduction of forces by molecular motors, with an emphasis on human disease. The lab uses an array of biochemical, biophysical and cell biological techniques to probe the function and regulation of these motors over a range of scales that extends from single molecules to tissues. Currently, the lab is studying the molecular basis of heart failure.
New Faculty Positions
The BMB department is searching for new faculty to fill multiple positions. We are open to candidates of all levels. If you know of anyone who might be interested in a position, please pass this information along. Details can be found at our website:
Welcome Picnic
On August  20th, we held our Annual Joint Departmental and Graduate Program BBQ for the new graduate students starting this fall in the programs of Biochemistry and Computational & Molecular Biophysics. Everyone enjoyed food, drinks and games in Forest Park.
Core Facilities in the BMB Department
High Throughput Screening Facility
The High-Throughput Screening Core (HTSC) has successfully completed its first year in operation in its remodeled space on the 2nd floor of Cancer Research Building.  The HTSC is the combination of two former screening cores: the CGSC and the HTC, and represents a collaboration between the Siteman Cancer Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. 
The number of HTSC Users, who come from multiple departments across Washington University as well as Saint Louis University, has continued to grow in the past year. They have taken advantage of the various resources and services available at the Core, including small molecule and siRNA collections, automated high speed fluorescent and brightfield microscopes, and specialized instrumentation (multimode plate readers, liquid handling equipment) for plate-based assay implementation and high throughput screening. 
The Core facilitates efforts towards identifying molecules or genes that modulate investigators’ biology of interest.  Assay systems range from in vitro enzymatic or protein interaction assays to cell-, organoid-, and whole organism-based readouts.  Some of the projects that the HTSC was involved with in the past year include:
  • Effects of microbial metabolites on intestinal stem/progenitor cell proliferation
  • Targeting the RelMtb enzyme to combat Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection
  • Drug modulation of protein secretion in kidney cells
  • Targeting malarial and human glucose transport with small molecule inhibitors
  • Development of high throughput screening assays to identify inhibitors of viral nucleoprotein interactions
  • Regulators of snail transcription factor stability
  • Mechanisms of gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma tumorigenesis
  • Determinants of aging and lifespan in worms
The Core also provides assay development expertise and grant writing support to investigators interested in applying high throughput screening and high content imaging approaches to their studies.  To help support some of these research activities, eligible investigators can apply to the ICTS Just-in-time Core Usage funding program.
For a detailed description of the HTS Core’s resources and services, please visit the Core’s website ( or contact the Scientific Director, Maxene Ilagan (
NMR Facility
The Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics NMR Facility consists of 3 NMR Spectrometers (500, 600, 700 MHz). Our 600 MHz instrument is fitted with a triple-resonance cryoprobe. The facility serves the needs of investigators studying biomolecular structure, macromolecular interactions and dynamics.

For more information please visit the NMR Facility website:
WUSM Structural Biology Core
WUSM Structural Biology Core (X-ray Facility) is a state of the art macromolecular crystallography facility formed by eight faculty (Drs. Amarasinge, Brett, Ellenberger, Fremont, Hultgren, Li, Tolia, and Yuan) representing four different primary Departments (Pathology & Immunology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Microbiology, and Cell Biology). Resources include three X-ray-generators (two Rigaku, one Xenocs), with four image plate detectors supported with near liquid nitrogen cold heads, two Mosquito robots, a Gryphon LCP device, and a Rigaku HT Minstrel and CrystalMation Gallery. The core facility also supports broad access to SBGRID crystallography software as well as dedicated synchrotron beam line access through membership in the MBC consortium at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, CA (Beamline 4.2.2). For training, or to schedule time to use the X-ray data collection systems, please contact Rick Stegeman by e-mail at or visit the Core's website at
The BMB department is searching for new faculty to fill multiple positions. We are open to candidates of all levels. If you know of anyone who might be interested in a position, please pass this information along. Details can be found at our website:
BMB Department Welcomes...
Nicholas Bodmer-Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Jim Harvranek's lab.
Drew Braet-Research Technician in Michael Greenberg's lab.
Lina Greenberg-Staff Scientist in Michael Greenberg's lab.
Carrie Sibbald-Research Technician in Greg Bowman's lab.
Program Students:

Patrick Judge
George Katumba
Justin MIller
Cameron Sargent
Lindsey Steinberg

Drake Jensen
Edward Peneguy
Brittany Smith
Upcoming Events:

September 22, 2015
BMB Seminar
Melanie Ott-Gladstone Institutes and University of California-San Francisco-Epigenetic Regulation of HIV Transcription

September 25, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Jabari Elliot (Fremont lab)

October 2, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Joshua Rackers (Ponder lab)

October 9, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Tyler Hughes (Swamidass lab)

October 13, 2015
BMB Seminar
Eva Nogales-University of California-Berkeley-Macromolecular Assembly and Function Visualized using Cryo-EM

October 13, 2015
Biophysical Evenings
Jianmin Cui-The Slow Potassium Channel in the Heart: Activation Mechanisms and a Drug Target

October 16, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Andrzej Krezel (Krezel lab)

October 20, 2015

BMB Seminar
Keir Newuman-NHLBI, NIH-A Chink in the Armor: Spontaneous Periodic Defects in Collagen Control Collagenase Activity

October 23-24, 2015
BCM & CMBP Retreat

October 30, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Robb Welty + Halloween Party

November 6, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Rotation Talks: Ned Peneguy and Brittany Smith

November 10, 2015

Biophysical Evenings

November 13, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Linxuan Hao (Lohman lab)

November 17, 2015
BMB Seminar
Vince Hilser-John Hopkins University-Parallel Tuning of Activation and Repression in Intrinsic Disorder-Mediated Allostery

November 20, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Rachel Bezalel-Buch (Burgers lab)

December 4, 2015
BMB Science Fridays
Jim Havranek (Havranek lab)

December 8, 2015
BMB Seminar
David Baker-University of Washingon-Seattle-TBA

Latest Publications:

Kukshal, V., Kim, IK., Hura, G.L., Tomkinson, A.E., Tainer, J.A. and Ellenberger, T. Human DNA ligase III bridges two DNA ends to promote specific intermolecular DNA end joining. Nucleic Acids Res. (E-pub ahead of print.) (2015).

Liu, K.E. and Frazier, W.A. Phosphorylation of the BNIP3 C-terminus inhibits mitochondrial damage and cell death without blocking autophagy. PLoS One 10:e0129667 (2015).

Liu, X., Pu, Y., Cron, K., Deng, L., Kline, J., Frazier, W.A., Xu, H., Peng, H., Fu, Y.X. and Xu, M.M. CD47 blockage triggers T cell-mediated destruction of immunogenic tumors. Nat Med (E-pub ahead of print.) (2015).

Kee, A.J., Yang, L., Lucas, C.A., Greenberg, M.J., Martel, N., Leong, G.M., Hughes, W.E., Cooney, G.J., James, D.E., Ostap, E.M., Han, W., Gunning, P.W. and Hardeman, E.C. An actin filament population defined by the tropomyosin Tpm3.1 regulates glucose uptake. Traffic 16:691-711 (2015).

Rau, M.J., Welty, R., Stump, W.T. and Hall, K.B. Formation of tertiary interactions during rRNA GTPase center folding. J Mol Biol. (E-pub ahead of print.) (2015).

Bergonzo, C., Hall, K.B. and Cheatham III, T.E. Stem-loop V of Varkud satellite RNA exhibits characteristics of the Mg2+ bound structure in the presence of monovalent ions. J Phys Chem B (E-pub ahead of print.) (2015).

Greene, S.E., Hibbing, M.E., Janetka, J., Chen, S.L. and Hultgren, S.J. Human urine decreases function and expression of type 1 pili in uropathogenic Escherichia coli. mBio 6:e00820-15 (2015).

Suksombat, S., Khafizov, R., Kozlov, A.G., Lohman, T.M. and Chemla, Y.R. Structural dynamics of E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein reveal DNA wrapping and unwrapping pathways. e-Life (E-pub ahead of print.) (2015).


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