Vadim Gaponenko

    Email Address:
    College: Medicine Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Office: 1160 MBRB M/C 669 Phone: 312-355-4965
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Membrane proteins are important targets for therapeutic intervention and are of significant interest to biomedical research in the area of cancer biology. My lab is interested in understanding how protein molecules acquire and perform their function. Functional characteristics of these proteins are encoded in their structure and are revealed in their interactions with other molecules. Membrane binding is undoubtedly involved in determining the structure of membrane proteins and in selecting their functional specifications. A multidisciplinary effort to characterize these interactions in living cells and the ways of their modulation through conformational flexibility will allow efficient therapeutic intervention. My long-term objective is to develop an integrated approach to study macromolecular interactions that involve membrane proteins. This approach will provide answers to such fundamental questions as why biomolecules interact in a specific but versatile manner and how their functions are established in living organisms. In this research my lab utilizes a battery of biochemical and biophysical techniques including solution state NMR, X-ray crystallography, surface plasmon resonance, isothermal titration calorimetry, as well as cell biology approaches. Currently, the research in my lab focuses on two main areas: (i) structure-functional relationships of human proto-oncogene K-Ras, which is a peripheral membrane protein, and (ii) understanding structural plasticity guided mechanisms of peptide inhibitors of human chemokine receptor CXCR4.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 15

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Junior or senior level students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry. Minimum GPA: 3.2.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Students will work under the direction of senior graduate students or senior research assistants. They will learn laboratory techniques in biochemistry, biophysics, and cell biology, how to design experiments relevant to their projects, and how to communicate their research at lab meetings and in writing. The students who will benefit the most from their reasearch experience in the lab are the ones who are interested in graduate school in biomedical sciences, medical school or MD PhD programs. We expect the students to be committed to spending several semesters in the lab with the aim to produce and publish high quality research.

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