Structural Biologists at the University of Michigan use X-ray crystallography, solution and solid-state NMR and other spectroscopic methods together with computational approaches, and techniques from molecular biology to understand the function, structure, dynamics, and energetics of important biological macromolecules.
Researchers at Michigan have a long history in studying these extremely complex phenomena. This is conducted in close cooperation with department of Physics and the Center for Study of Complex Systems.
At Michigan, Theoretical and Computational Biophysicists are at the forefront of developing and using theoretical approaches to extend our understanding of biological processes associated with protein and nucleic acid structure, folding, misfolding and assembly, drug discovery and design and cellular processing.
Michigan has one of the largest groups of researchers actively working on all aspects of enzyme structure and mechanism. Biophysics faculty integrate many of the techniques described above in the study of a wide variety of protein and RNA enzyme reactions, often in the context of understanding diseases or for environmental applications.
At Michigan, structure determinations of membrane proteins, which are difficult to crystallize, are made possible by recent advances in solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Other research focuses on topics ranging from posttranslational modifications of membrane-bound central nervous system proteins to the population response of neurons to outside stimuli in live animals.
The goal of the studies at Michigan is to understand mechanisms underlying these cognitive and/or pathological phenomena. Researchers at Michigan use state of the art theoretical and experimental approaches to understand biomolecular as well as network mechanisms underlying brain function and pathologies.
In recent years a scientific revolution has taken place in which tools to study single molecules are used to dissect biological systems and their dynamics in unprecedented detail. Michigan faculty have combined their expertise in fluorescence video microscopy and optical tweezers to form the Center of Single Molecule Analysis that further pushes this envelope.
Michigan scientists working in spectroscopy are developing new physical methods to study quantitative aspects of biological systems, from molecules to cells.