Gerd John Prehna

    Email Address:
    College: Medicine Department: Microbiology and Immunology
    Title: Research Assistant Professor
    Office: Center for Structural Biology, 1100 South Ashland Phone: 312-355-4827
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: No

    Research Interest:
    Structural Biology, Microbiology - Protein X-ray crystallography and Protein NMR spectroscopy

    My research at the Center for Structural Biology focuses on the biochemical and structural characterization of proteins. The projects in my lab are divided between my personal research interests and collaborations with faculty from several departments.

    The main focus of my work is to solve protein structures at the molecular level using either X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. From these structures we can reveal enzymatic mechanisms, protein function, and explore protein motions as they relate to biology. These structures can also be the basis for drug design and modelling protein-protein interactions.

    Current projects in my lab include:

    1. Understanding how Streptococcus (pathogenic bacteria that causes Strep throat, dental plaques, tooth decay) regulate their own ability to uptake DNA from the environment.

    2. Understanding how Listeria monocytogenes (pathogenic bacteria from food-borne illness) secrete proteins into the environment during infection

    3. Understanding how a small predatory bacteria invades and "eats" other bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella.

    4. Protein purification strategies for membrane proteins for NMR assignment

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 8

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Requirements: I'm looking for a student that's interested in learning about the fields of structural biology and biochemistry, and that's interested in taking part in active research.

    To apply please have a strong GPA and have completed BIOS100 (Biology of Cells and Organisms) and have completed or be enrolled in CHEM232 (Organic Chemistry).

    Those interested in microbiology are especially encouraged to apply.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    You would engage in research as my direct assistant and receive one-on-one training and supervision from myself.

    Work assignments and training would include:

    1. Laboratory maintenance
    2. Molecular Cloning
    3. Protein Purification
    4. Biophysical Characterization of studied proteins

    Additional experience could include attending journal clubs and seminars in the Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics department.

    This experience will give you hands on training in a biochemistry and biomedical laboratory environment, and give you an appreciation for the fields of structural biology, microbiology, and biochemistry.

    NOTE: This researcher is currently not accepting applications for the Undergraduate Research Experience program.

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