Our laboratory uses a combination a molecular and structural biology techniques to unravel the mechanims by which cells communicate with their environment. This includes the translocation of biopolymers across biological membranes. Biopolymers, such as polysaccharides, polypeptides and nucleic acids, are essential for life and, under certain conditions, have to be transported across biological membranes to reach their final destination. Diverse mechanisms evolved to facilitate these processes. Our group is particular interested in the biosynthesis and membrane translocation of polysaccharides and polypeptides, which perform vital functions in life.

Our approach is multi-pronged. We seek to reconstitute membrane transport processes from purified components in vitro and to determine the structures of the transporters at different states during the transport cycle. This allows us to derive structure-function relationships critically needed for drug design, development of biopolymers with defined properties, and therapeutic purposes, among others.

Our research group is embedded in a multi-disciplinary Center for Membrane Biology at the University of Virginia, which provides a collaborative and highly stimulating environment for state-of-the-art research. Please have a look at the examples of our ongoing research.

Examples of our ongoing research topics include:

- Bacterial Cellulose Biosynthesis.

- Eukaryotic Cellulose Biosynthesis.

- Synthesis and Membrane Translocation of Hyaluronan.

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Last updated: March 4, 2011
Current Research Topics
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EM image of E. coli expressing & secreting hyaluronan