Research in this graduate focus area spans the areas of structural biology, bioinformatics, ion channels, membrane transport, metallobiochemistry, optical biology, crystallography and protein folding. The research groups within this focus are actively involved in the area of investigating molecular function with the aid of high-resolution techniques. The tools used here vary among the breadth of established biophysical techniques.

State-of-the-art instrumentation is available for structural biology and molecular biophysics studies.  This includes a Rigaku 007 rotating anode CCD system for x-ray data collection, continually updated crystallographic and modeling software, and regular access to synchrotron x-ray data collection facilities.  Crystallization robots are available via collaboration. Laboratories maintain state-of-the-art 3D-graphics workstations and computing servers and have free access to campus-wide computing servers and clusters.  The UCI Biomolecular NMR facility includes a Varian Inova 800 MHz NMR spectrometer; NMR hardware is available for both liquid, semi-solid and solid-state samples.  A Biacore 3000 (SPR) instrument is installed in a dedicated spectroscopy room and is available to the UCI community.  Further instrumentation includes atomic force microscopy (AFM), dynamic light scattering (DLS), a Jasco J-720 circular dichroism (CD) spectropolarimeter, MSC titration calorimeter (ITC), a Microcal VP-DSC scanning calorimeter and differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF).

Featured Videos

Philip Kiser
Physiology & Biophysics
Physiology and structural biology of the first steps of vertebrate vision, retinoid and carotenoid metabolism, retinal disease and therapeutics

Rachel Martin
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
Solid state NMR spectroscopy of proteins

Jennifer Prescher
Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging


  • Geoff Abbott, abbottg@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Biology and pharmacology of voltage-gated potassium channels, voltage-independent potassium channels, and ion transporters
  • John Chaputjchaput@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Expanding the concepts of heredity and evolution to artificial genetic polymers with backbone structures that are distinct from those found in nature
  • Melanie Cocco, mcocco@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Conformations and dynamics of soluble DNA-binding proteins and development of new strategies to study membrane protein structures using NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical techniques; projects involve understanding cancer and repair of CNS damage
  • Paul Gershon, pgershon@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Mechanistic and structural characterization of vaccinia viral proteins, with an emphasis on specific mRNA synthetic and modification enzymes, using mass spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and crystallography
  • Alan L. Goldin, agoldin@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Physiology & Biophysics
    Sodium channel mutations and CNS disease; Localization of sodium channels in neurons
  • Steven A. Goldstein, sgoldst2@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Ion channels in health and disease
  • Shane Gonengonens@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Electron cryo-microscopy (Cryo-EM); Membrane proteins; Protein complexes; Computational protein design
  • Celia Goulding, celia.goulding@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Structural and biochemical studies of molecular assemblies in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Michael Greenm.green@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Chemistry
    Structure-function relationships in metalloproteins, protein engineering, and biological C-H bond activation
  • Steven Gross, sgross@uci.edu, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Laser tweezers; in vivo study of molecular motors
  • Allon Hochbaum, hochbaum@uci.edu, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    Biological and bioinspired materials; chemical and biophysical regulation of bacterial biofilms; supramolecular protein assembly
  • Todd Holmestholmes@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Phototransduction, non-image forming vision, circadian biology, voltage-gated potassium channels, neural circuit analysis, and behavior
  • Naoto Hoshi, nhoshi@uci.edu, Pharmacology and Physiology and Biophysics
    M-type potassium ion channel regulation through protein complex
  • Yilin Huyilinh@uci.edu, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Member, Biofuel Innovation Center
    Biofuel, activation and reduction of carbon dioxide, structure & function of metalloenzymes involved in methanogenesis, photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation
  • Lan Huanglanhuang@uci.edu,Physiology & Biophysics
    Defining the structure and function of protein complexes using cross-linking mass spectrometry and integrative modeling, Proteasomal biology, Ubiquitination, Chemical biology, Quantitative Proteomics, Protein-protein interactions; Regulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
  • Cholsoon Jang, choljang@uci.edu , Biological Chemistry  Understanding how what we eat maintains health and causes diseases using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and isotope tracing in disease animal models and human patients
  • Rongsheng Jin, r.jin@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Structure and function of synaptic proteins; neurotoxins and receptors; protein complexes; protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions; X-ray crystallography
  • Vladimir Kefalov, vkefalov@hs.uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics Functional analysis of rod and cone photoreceptor cells, mechanisms of light- and dark-adaptation, and photoreceptor degeneration
  • Philip Kiser, pkiser@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Physiology and structural biology of the first steps of vertebrate vision, retinoid and carotenoid metabolism, retinal disease and therapeutics
  • Wei Ling Lauwllau@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Vascular calcification, cerebral microbleeds, and chronic inflammation in chronic kidney disease
  • Chang Liu, ccl@uci.edu, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Engineered genetic systems for rapid evolution, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and cell biology
  • Ray Luo, rluo@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Computational structural biology, biomolecular recognition and biosynthesis, cancer biology, synthetic biology
  • Andrej Luptak, aluptak@uci.edu, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    RNA biology and chemistry
  • Rachel Martin, rwmartin@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Solid state NMR spectroscopy of proteins
  • Reginald “Reggie” McNulty, rmcnulty@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Macromolecular assemblies in inflammation and cancer using Cryo-EM and other approaches
  • Haik Mkhikian, hmkhikia@uci.edu, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
    Understanding the role of glycans in cell-surface biology, autoimmunity, and immunosenescence; Developing new tools/approaches to study glycobiology questions
  • Benjamin R. Morehouse, b.morehouse@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Exploring the evolutionary connections between diverse prokaryotic and eukaryotic immune systems using structural biology and biochemistry approaches 
  • Krzysztof Palczewski, kpalczew@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics  My research group uses multidisciplinary approaches aimed at developing a comprehensive understanding of vision, including gene expression and transcriptional regulation in phototransduction and the visual cycle to characterize the visual system in health and during diseases leading to blindness.
  • Medha Pathak, medhap@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    How mechanical forces shape neural stem cells behavior in vitro and in vivo; Transduction of mechanical forces by the Piezo1 ion channel
  • Thomas L. Poulos, poulos@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Physiology & Biophysics
    Protein engineering and crystallography on heme containing enzymes and related redox proteins, including nitric oxide synthase, cytochrome P450 and peroxidases
  • Jennifer Prescher, jpresche@uci.edu, Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging
  • Feng Qiao, qiao@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    Telomeres & telomerase and their roles in cancer and stem cell diseases; Structural, biochemical and molecular genetic analyses of nucleoprotein assemblies
  • Markus Ribbe, mribbe@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Chemistry Director, Biofuel Innovation Center
    Biofuel, artificial enzymes, assembly & function of enzymes containing complex metal cofactors
  • Donald F. Senear, dfsenear@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Interactions of proteins and DNA in transcriptional regulation using biophysical, chemical and molecular biological approaches
  • Xiaoyu Shi, xiaoyu.shi@ucsf.edu, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Interested in developing new in situ multiomics methods, by leveraging Super-resolution Microscopy, Expansion Microscopy and multiomics
  • Robert Spitalerspitale@uci.edu, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Francesco Tombola, ftombola@uci.edu, Physiology and Biophysics
    Molecular mechanisms of voltage-gated ion channel function
  • Sheryl Tsai, sctsai@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Drug design and crystallography of protein complexes
  • Gregory A. Weiss, gweiss@uci.edu, Chemistry and Molecular & Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Engineering proteins for therapeutics, continuous flow biosynthesis, and single molecule biophysics
  • Alvin Yu, alviny6@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Multiscale computer simulations of proteins and biological macromolecules

Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

  • Pierre Baldi, pfbaldi@ics.uci.edu, Computer Science, Biological Chemistry, and Development & Cell Biology
    Bioinformatics, computational biology, probabilistic modeling, and machine learning
  • Elizabeth N. Besselizabeth.bess@uci.edu, Chemistry
    Uncovering chemical reactions encoded in the gut microbiome to understand and treat human disease
  • Michael D. Cahalan, mcahalan@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    T cell activation: ion channels, calcium signaling, and gene expression
  • Michael Demetriou, mdemetri@uci.edu, Neurology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Molecular biology and glycobiology of T cell dysfunction in autoimmune demyelinating disease
  • Rozanne M. Sandri-Goldin, rmsandri@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Structure and functional analysis of a multifunction herpes virus regulatory protein
  • Albert Siryaporn, asirya@uci.edu, Physics & Astronomy and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Bacterial pathogenesis, mechanical signal transduction, and biofilm development
  • Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk, dorotask@hs.uci.edu, Ophthalmology and Physiology & Biophysics The focus of the lab is to understand the molecular mechanism of aging by studying the processes regulating age-related eye diseases, with an emphasis on coordinated changes in cellular, metabolic and transcriptional programs in conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Laboratory is a part of the Center for Translational Vision Research
  • Wenqi Wang, wenqiw6@uci.edu, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Signaling network in organ size control and cancer development