Linda Columbus


  • BA, Smith College
  • PhD, University of California Los Angeles

Primary Appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Chemistry


Research Interest(s)

Biophysical Chemistry: Membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics

Research Description

Biophysical Chemistry: Membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics

Membrane proteins facilitate the transfer of information across lipid bilayers, comprise approximately 25% of a typical proteome, and represent over half of all drug targets. The membrane proteins that mediate interactions between bacterial pathogens and hosts are of particular interest to our laboratory. Invasive bacterial pathogens are responsible for many lethal diseases and epidemics, including plague and meningitis. Although these bacteria have diverse mechanisms of cellular invasion, all of the pathways rely upon interactions between host and bacterial membrane proteins.

Our lab seeks to determine the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins involved in bacterial pathogenesis and to develop tools to accelerate membrane protein structure determination using a combination of site-directed spin labeling (SDSL), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography.

Selected Publications

  • Kroncke B, Columbus L. Backbone (1)H, (13)C and (15)N resonance assignments of the α-helical membrane protein TM0026 from Thermotoga maritima. Biomolecular NMR assignments. 2012. PMID: 23011877 | PMCID: NIHMS410416
  • Kroncke B, Columbus L. Identification and removal of nitroxide spin label contaminant: impact on PRE studies of α-helical membrane proteins in detergent. Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society. 2012;21(4): 589-95. PMID: 22389096 | PMCID: PMC3375759
  • Dewald A, Hodges J, Columbus L. Physical determinants of β-barrel membrane protein folding in lipid vesicles. Biophysical journal. 2011;100(9): 2131-40. PMID: 21539780 | PMCID: PMC3149260
  • Beuck C, Szymczyna B, Kerkow D, Carmel A, Columbus L, Stanfield R, Williamson J. Structure of the GLD-1 homodimerization domain: insights into STAR protein-mediated translational regulation. Structure (London, England : 1993). 2010;18(3): 377-89. PMID: 20223220 | PMCID: PMC2837851
  • Columbus L, Lipfert J, Jambunathan K, Fox D, Sim A, Doniach S, Lesley S. Mixing and matching detergents for membrane protein NMR structure determination. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2009;131(21): 7320-6. PMID: 19425578 | PMCID: PMC2751809