Research And Faculty

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Helim Aranda-Espinoza

Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Fischell Department of Bioengineering. Director of Graduate Studies

Office: 3108 A. James Clark Hall
Phone: +1-301-405-8250
Email: helim@umd.edu

Research Interests: Mechanobiology, the response of cells to external stresses during healthy and pathological conditions. Soft matter, biophysics of membranes and the cytoskeleton.

Dorothy Beckett

Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: 4506, Wing 5, Chemistry Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-1812, 301-314-9121(FAX)
Email: dbeckett@umd.edu

Research Interests: Biophysical Chemistry, coupled equilibria in biological regulation, quantitative analysis of regulatory system behavior, allostery, thermodynamics and kinetics, protein: protein interactions.

Robert Briber

Professor and Associate Dean for Research in Engineering

Office: 2135 Chemical & Nuclear Engineering Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-7313, 301-314-2029(FAX)
Email: rbriber@umd.edu

Research Interests: RNA and protein folding, X-ray and neutron scattering, bio- and synthetic ploymer complexes.

Daniel Butts

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Office: 1118 Biosciences Research Building
Phone: +1-301-405-9890
Email: dab@umd.edu

Research Interests: Computational and systems neuroscience; understanding how visual and auditory perception is constructed through computation implemented by neurons and neural circuits.

Marco Colombini

Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology

Office: 3276 Biology-Psych Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-6925, 301-314-9358(FAX)
Email: colombini@umd.edu

Research Interests: Molecular structure and physiological function of membrane channels, especially mitrocondrial channels. These are involved in mitrochondria-mediated protosis: 1) VDAC, a channel that controls the flow of metabolites; 2) ceramide channels formed by self-assembly of a lipid, ceramide.

Theodore Kwaku Dayie

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: 2117 Biomolecular Sciences Building
Phone: +1-301-405-3165
Email: dayie@umd.edu

Research Interests: RNAs as dynamic signaling molecules and as new drug targets. Structural and dynamic basis of molecular recognition in RNA macromolecular complexes. Methodology: Non-radioactive isotope (13C/15N/2H) labeling technologies, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, relaxation, and mathematical modeling.

Gregg Duncan

Assistant Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Office: 4116 A. James Clark Hall
Phone: +1-301-405-7397
Email: gaduncan@umd.edu

Research Interests: Our lab specializes in the development of new measurements capable of resolving key processes on the nano- to microscale in biology and medicine to aid in the design of more sensitive diagnostics and effective therapeutics. Using nanoparticle-based imaging approaches, we study the biomolecular and biophysical aspects of fundamental processes that contribute to the onset and progression of disease. We have a particular interest in pulmonary diseases (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis) where we aim to understand the mucosal airway microenvironment in order to develop nanoparticle-based therapies and biosensor devices.

José A. Feijó

Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Office: 0118 Bioscience Research Building.
Phone: +1-301-405-9746, 301-314-9489(FAX)
Email: jfeijo@umd.edu

Research Interests: MResearch in our group is focused on the development of integrated models of apical cell growth and morphogenesis, using the pollen tube as a biological model, ion dynamics as an experimental paradigm and theoretical modeling as an integrative tool. Pollen is the male gametophyte of plants, and therefore all the biological mechanisms we unravel can be integrated in terms of function and evolution and adds to our understanding of Plant Reproduction. We use Arabidopsis, lily, tobacco and tomato as model species for higher plants, and the moss Physcomitrella as an evolutionary correlate of apical growth evolution. To characterize ion choreographies we use a combination of methods, including imaging, electrophysiology, and molecular genetics.

David Fushman

Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Institute for Physical Science and Technology; University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies

Office: 1121 Biomolecular Sciences Bldg
Phone: +1-301-405-3461, 301-324-0386(FAX)
Email: fushman@umd.edu

Research Interests: Proteins as dynamic molecular machines at the atomic resolution. Structure, dynamics, and recognition in multi-domain proteins and protein complexes. Intracellular signaling, especially in ubiquitin-mediated pathways. Methodology: Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and relaxation, small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS), molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and physical and mathematical modeling.

Michelle Girvan

Professor, Department of Physics; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 3327 A.V. Williams Building.
Phone: +1-301-405-1610
Email: girvan@umd.edu

Research Interests: Many social, biological and technological systems take the form of complex networks. Examples include friendship and collaboration networks, neural networks, food webs, power grids, and the Internet. Understanding that these systems cannot be well represented by low-dimensional lattices of mean field approximations, and that the intricate non-homogenous tangles of interacting elements must be explicitly taken into account, can give us new insights into hard problems. My research combines methods from statistical mechanics, dynamical systems, and graph theory to address interdisciplinary, network-related problems. I am interested in both broad theoretical approaches to complex networks as well as specific applications, especially to information cascades, epidemiology, and genetic regulatory networks.

Sridhar Hannenhalli

Professor, Department of Cell Bio and Mol Genetics; Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Office: 3104G Biomolecular Sciences Building
Phone: +1-301-405-8219
Email: sridhar@umd.edu

Research Interests: Within the broad field of computational biology, we focus on eukaryotic gene regulation and its evolution. We develop computational approaches to harness the huge amount of biological data (genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, etc.) to answer specific biological questions pertaining to these domains. We are also involved in exploiting massive amounts to clinical and molecular data in cancer to identify genetic interactions and dysregulations relevant to cancer.

Christopher Jarzynski

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Director, Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 4211 Atlantic Building & 2126 Institute for Physical Science and Technology Building
Phone: +1-301-405-4878 & +1-301-405-4439
Email: cjarzyns@umd.edu

Research Interests: My research group and I focus on statistical mechanics and thermodynamics at the molecular level, with a particular emphasis on far-from-equilibrium phenomena. We have worked on topics that include the application of statistical mechanics to problems of biophysical interest; the analysis of artificial molecular machines; the development of efficient numerical schemes for estimating thermodynamic properties of complex systems; and the relationship between thermodynamics and information processing.

Patrick Kanold

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Office: 1116 Biosciences Building
Phone: +1 (301) 405-5741
Email: pkanold@umd.edu

Research Interests: Early brain development, especially how transient and other early circuits shape the functional organization of the brain and how these circuits control the critical period.

Jeffery B. Klauda

Associate Professor, Associate Chair, and Graduate Program Director. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Office: 1227A Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Phone: +1-301-405-1320
Email: jbklauda@umd.edu

Research Interests: Cell membrane biophysics, thermodynamics, and molecular simulations. My lab uses molecular simulations to understand the structure and function of biological membranes, membrane proteins, and sugar-binding proteins. Quantum mechanical methods are used to develop accurate force fields used in molecular dynamic simulations to describe molecule interactions of the complex and diverse lipidome. Our main interest in transmembrane proteins is the study of efflux proteins that lead to multi-drug resistant bacteria. Other research areas in my lab are lipid transport proteins that peripherally bind to membranes and facilitate membrane contact sites, developing organism and organelle membrane models, and polysaccharide lyases.

Doron Levy

Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Mathematics

Office: 1105 Math Building
Phone: +1-301-405-5140, 301-314-6674(FAX)
Email: dlevy@umd.edu

Research Interests: Mathematical modeling of biological systems, immunology, cancer dynamics, drug resistance, cell motility.

George H. Lorimer

Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 2113 Biomolecular Sciences Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-1828, 301-324-0386(FAX)
Email: glorimer@umd.edu

Research Interests: Protein Folding, Allostery, Molecular Chaperones, Mechanistic Enzymology.

Wolfgang Losert

Professor of Physics and Associate Dean. Director, Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research. Department of Physics and Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: Physical Sciences Complex Bldg, Rm 1147
Phone: +1-301-405-0629
Email: wlosert@umd.edu

Research Interests: Cell dynamics; soft materials that are driven far from equilibrium; how mechanical forces and surface topography contribute to the operation of signaling pathways in cell motility; cancer dynamics.

Silvina Matysiak

Associate Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Office: 4220 A. James Clark Hall
Phone: +1 (301) 405-0313
Email: matysiak@umd.edu

Research Interests: My group aims to explore how molecular behavior dictates macroscopic-scale properties of biological systems. We utilize statistical thermodynamics to estimate thermophysical properties from computer simulations on a molecular level. We model self-assembly of soft materials such as surfactants, proteins, lipids and polysaccharides. We particular focus on characterizing molecular mechanisms that are relevant in many neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancer.

Garegin (Garyk) Papoian

Monroe Martin Professor and Director of Chemical Physics Graduate Program. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: Room 2216, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone: +1-301-405-8667, 301-314-9121(FAX)
Email: gpapoian@umd.edu

Research Interests: Biophysics of cell motility and actin polymerization; Chromatin folding and dynamics; Protein physics, functional landscapes, allostery.

Giuliano Scarcelli

Assistant Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Office: 4228 A. James Clark Hall
Phone: +1-301-314-1689
Email: scarc@umd.edu

Research Interests: Our lab studies the interaction of light and matter to devise novel technology for biological research and clinical medicine. We focus on developing imaging modalities to map properties (e.g. mass, stiffness, viscosity) that are difficult or impossible to measure with traditional techniques but with important biomedical applications. In doing this, we cover all stages of the translational spectrum: we study what light is; we try to understand its interaction with tissue, cells, and biomaterials; we develop advanced optical technology; we build instruments; and, we use our instruments for biological research and in clinical trials.

Colenso Speer

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Office: 2116 Bioscience Research Building
Phone: +1-530-220-4195
Email: cspeer@umd.edu

Research Interests: Our laboratory explores changes in synaptic connectivity and function underlying the development of parallel neural pathways from the eyes to central targets in the brain. We use transgenic and molecular tools to label and manipulate specific neuronal subsets in the visual system, electrophysiological and optical recording techniques to assay circuit function and connectivity, and high-resolution imaging techniques, including three-dimensional super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, to explore the molecular and structural refinement of developing circuits. By applying high-performance computing approaches to automated image analysis, we are working to extract new biological findings from big data.

Kimberly Stroka

Assistant Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Office: 3110 A. James Clark Hall
Phone: +1 (301)314-1813
Email: kstroka@umd.edu

Research Interests: Quantitative cell mechanobiology; biomechanics; microfluidic devices for modeling physiological systems; nano/microtechnology; live cell imaging

Sergei Sukharev

Professor and Director of Maryland Biophysics Graduate Program Department of Biology; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 3216 Biology-Psych Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-6923, 301-314-9358(FAX)
Email: sukharev@umd.edu

Research Interests: Biophysics of mechano-sensation and osmoregulation, structure-function relationships and conformational transitions in mechano-sensitive channels, lipid-protein interactions and surface modifications of membranes that affect mechano-transduction and signaling.

Pratyush Tiwary

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 1115A Inst. for Phys. Sci. & Tech. Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-2148
Email: ptiwary@umd.edu

Research Interests: I use classical and quantum mechanical simulations to study the kinetics and thermodynamics of complex biological and engineering materials, especially at laboratory timescales of milliseconds and longer, with the aim of bridging the gap between theory and experiments. Since such timescales are far beyond the fastest available computers, my work entails developing and applying a variety of statistical mechanics based enhanced sampling algorithms.

Arpita Upadhyaya

Associate Professor, Department of Physics; Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 0110 Inst. for Phys. Sci. & Tech. Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-9939, 301-314-9404(FAX)
Email: arpitau@umd.edu

Research Interests: Physics of cross linked biopolymer networks; force generation in cells of the immune system and cancer; mechanics of cellular cytoskeleton and cell membrane; how biochemistry and signaling networks determine physical responses of the cell and cytoskeleton. Techniques include high resolution fluorescence imaging, magnetic manipulation, traction force microscopy.

John Weeks

Distinguished University Professor, Institute for Physical Science and Technology

Office: 1108 Inst. for Phys. Sci & Tech. Bldg.
Phone: +1-301-405-4802
Email: jdw@umd.edu

Research Interests: Theoretical Studies of inhomogeneous and confined fluids. Have developed a new Local Molecular Field (LMF) theory of nonuniform liquids.