Our Research

We are seeking to find general strategies for the photo-control of peptide and protein structure – and thereby activity. In doing so, we gain fundamental knowledge about protein conformation, folding, and dynamics. We also develop powerful tools for the analysis of complex biochemical systems.

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We found that introduction of a thiol-reactive azobenzene-based cross-linker at cysteine (Cys) residues spaced 11 residues apart in an alpha helix can be used to control the stability of the helix. We studied this system in detail and found that the trans form of the cross-linked peptide is helical in water whereas the cis form is disordered (see figure above). This was the first report of the reversible control of peptide helical structure using light. Since the helix is an important element of secondary structure in a wide range of functional proteins, we expect this strategy for photo-control will find general application (see PubMed for latest references).

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Lab Equipment

Equipment is readily available for everything from small molecule synthesis (NMR, mass spectrometry, X-ray, HPLC) to protein production (autoclaves, incubators, FPLC, electrophoresis, centrifuges) to analysis (fluorescence, CD, various types of UV/Vis, high field NMR)


For links to reagents, software etc.