A central theme of our research is to study the structures, dynamics and mechanisms of light-sensitive proteins and enzymes involved in color perception, photosynthesis and DNA processing via technical innovations in structural biology. We focus on the following areas of research. 1) We study the light signaling mechanisms of photoreceptors using an integrated approach of crystallography, cryoEM, spectroscopy and biochemistry. 2) We investigate the structures and functions of signaling proteins and enzymes responsible for spectral diversity in photosynthetic organisms. 3) We employ dynamic crystallography and spectroscopy to dissect the mechanistic roles of iron-sulfur clusters in DNA repair and replication. 4) We develop experimental and computational methods to enable direct observations of macromolecular structure dynamics at atomic resolution using crystallography and cryoEM.
Our research programs have been funded by National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and UIC intramural funds.