School of Medicine


Structural Biology

Dr. Sunyoung Kim (
— Associate Professor
Dr. Kim is studying how protein structure determines protein function. Dr. Kim performs biochemical and biophysical analyses of proteins with related structures but different functions to search for the fundamental physical and chemical properties that allow them to perform their respective binding and catalytic activities. By studying dynamic chemical and structural changes in enzymes with innovative spectroscopic tools, her laboratory continues to gain insight into the mechanisms behind how distinct protein families involved in DNA repair, cell cycle, and signal transduction, exhibit similar structures, yet perform different, cellular roles. Click here to learn more about Dr. Kim's research.

Dr. David Worthylake (
— Associate Professor
Dr. Worthylake's research utilizes a structural approach to focus on the molecular mechanisms that destabilize cell-cell junctions, a necessary step in cancer metastasis. To accomplish his studies Dr. Worthylake uses recombinant protein that is expressed and purified from bacteria. The purified proteins are studied to identify novel binding partners in cells. The proteins and their binding partners are tested for their ability to crystallize alone and in complexes. X-ray crystallography is used to determine the three-dimensional structures of crystallized proteins. Site directed mutagenesis is employed to identify molecular interactions that are required for binding and biological activity. Click here to learn more about Dr. Worthylake's research.

Dr. Edward N. Wojcik (
— Associate Professor
Extra centrosomes are commonly seen in cancer cells where they have been shown to contribute to genetic instability. The biochemical pathway that regulates centrosome duplication is poorly understood. Dr. Wojcik is using both genetic and biochemical analyses of specific proteins involved in centrosome duplication to learn more about centrosome and cytoskeletal regulation during cell division. His laboratory performs molecular and genetic analyses of Drosophila melanogaster coupled with biochemical and biophysical analysis of protein function. Click here to learn more about Dr. Wojcik's research.