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Structural biology, a field of molecular biology that enables researchers to visualize biological molecules at atomic level resolution, plays a key role in defining the molecular architecture of life, leading to fundamental insights into the function and biology of macromolecules. Importantly, the structural study of macromolecules interfaces with and lends itself to collaborative studies within all fields of biology, including the Programs of Excellence established here at the College of Medicine – Cardiovascular, Cancer, Infectious Disease, and Neuroscience. Largely through the efforts of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) faculty, the College of Medicine has been a national leader in structural biology. In the 1990s, a world class NMR facility was established and then in the early 2000s MCB invested in X-ray crystallography by purchasing an X-ray generator/detector and recruited excellent structural biology faculty including Drs. Rhett Kovall and Tom Thompson who successfully developed strong externally funded research programs. More recently, single particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has revolutionized structural biology and emerged as an indispensable method for structural determination of proteins and molecular complexes of unprecedented size and complexity. It has become increasingly evident that expertise and instrumentation in cryo-EM is an essential component of any nationally recognized program in structural biology and to that end the Department recently welcomed Drs. Tom Seegar and Xiaowei Hou to lead this effort. Moreover, MCB is positioning itself as the hub for a regional cryo-EM consortium that includes Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Miami University, and University of Kentucky in order to provide expertise and access to cryo-EM instrumentation.
More information on faculty with research interests in structural biology and biochemistry can be found here.
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