Research in Structural Biology at UVA seeks to acquire a thorough understanding of biological function by gaining a detailed knowledge of the structure of the macromolecules that comprise the machinery of life.Students interested in Structural Biology pursue research designed to determine the 3D structures of proteins and nucleic acids using a variety of methods, including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy.  Through the use of these different structural methodologies, we are able to gain unique and complementary information about the structure of macromolecules.  These structures, in turn, provide important insights into the molecular basis of function and provide a framework for the design of experiments to address biological processes involving the macromolecules under investigation.  Structures of medically relevant targets can also play a critical role in accelerating the process of drug design through the use of structure-based lead compound discovery.

Structural biology laboratories at the University of Virginia have established strengths in integral membrane proteins, structural genomics, cell signaling factors, as well as macromolecular assemblies such virus particles and filaments.


  • David S. Cafiso
    Molecular Mechanisms for Membrane Transport and Cell Signaling
  • Linda Columbus
    Biophysical Chemistry: Membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics
  • Zygmunt S. Derewenda
    Structure-function relationships in proteins
  • Edward H. Egelman
    Structure and Function of Macromolecular Complexes Using Electron Microscopy
  • Robin A. Felder
    Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology. Medical Automation Research. Neurotransmitters, cell surface receptors and intracellular second messengers.
  • Barbie Ganser-Pornillos
    The Structural Biology of HIV assembly
  • Peter M. Kasson
    Mechanisms of cell entry by influenza; Viral glycan recognition; drug resistance; molecular dynamics simulation; distributed computing.
  • Mark Kester
    Nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery
  • Xiaowei Lu
    Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
  • Wladek Minor
    Structure-Function Relationships in Macromolecules; Infectious Diseases and Drug Discovery; Bioinformatics and Big Data; Scientific Reproducibility
  • Kristen Naegle
    Regulation and function of tyrosine phosphorylation in complex networks
  • Robert K. Nakamoto
    Structure-Function of Active Transporters
  • Jason Papin
    Systems biology, infectious disease, cancer, toxicology, metabolic engineering
  • Owen Pornillos
    Structure and assembly of HIV Virus/host interactions; Structural biology of the innate immune system
  • David M. Rekosh
    Human Immunodeficiency; Virus Gene Expression
  • Lukas K. Tamm
    Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
  • Michael C. Wiener
    Structure/function of integral membrane proteins; structural biophysics; enzymology and virology of ZMPSTE24; sparse-constraint structure determination; technology development
  • Mark Yeager
    Cardiac Gap Junction Membrane Channels / Integrins Water Channels / Rotavirus / Reovirus / Retrovirus
  • Jochen Zimmer
    Transport of biopolymers across biological membranes with a particular interest in polysaccharide and protein translocation.