Inhibitor Binding Impact on Protein Motions: Solvent Exchange Measurements

Student in lab looking through microscope.

Looking for a hands-on experimentalist to reveal the physical underpinnings of biocatalysis. Curious molecular biologists to engineering physicists welcome! 

Project description

Proteins are the machines of life, however the role of their unique structures in biological function is still not understood. In this project we will determine how enzyme structural dynamics contribute to substrate binding. Students will grow and characterize protein crystals using the newly patented method, anisotropic terahertz microscopy. Through these studies we will map out the vibrations for free and inhibitor bound lysozyme.

Project outcome

Results will be presented at professional conferences (i.e., American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, Biophysical Society, etc.) as either a poster or oral presentation. Students are encouraged to write a senior thesis based on their research for graduation with honors designation. Previous undergraduates have published their work in peer reviewed journals. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment More than one year
Start time Beginning of semester or winter/summer sessions
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Research experience; academic credit
Who is eligible Undergraduates who have taken first-year biology and physics

Core partners

  • Jeffrey A. McKinney
  • Deepu K. George
  • TJ Lafave
  • RCSB Protein Data Bank
  • ProDy: Protein Dynamics and Sequence Analysis 

Project mentor

Andrea Markelz



239 Fronczak Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2739


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase.