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Diagram depicts in stereo the helical axis motion as DNA bends centered around the A-tract

Part of PH COSY NMR spectrum of a DNA oligonucleotide from which the phosphorus-hydrogen three bond coupling constants can be extracted.

The home biuilt 750 MHz NMR system at the Francis Bitter Magnet Lab at MIT routinely used by Professor Sarma's group.

The research areas in the Center include, but are not limited to, the dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids, the kinetic mechanism of protein function, structural characterization, protein-nucleic acid, protein-protein and protein-drug interactions, signal transduction pathways and drug design by chemical methods and combinatorial libraries. A short description of the individual research laboratories is as follows:

    Musah laboratory: Biophysical characterization of retroviral nucleocapsid proteins. Protein structure based drug design. Development of HIV-1 and HIV-2 nucleocapsid protein inhibitors as drugs. For details click here.

    Niu laboratory: Structure and function of cell surface receptor proteins involved in signal transduction; kinetic and molecular mechanism of drug-protein and protein-protein interaction, using rapid kinetic techniques, molecular biology and neurobiology, electrophysiology, fluorescence spectroscopy and biosensors. Drug design using combinatorial libraries. For details click here.

    Sarma laboratory: Conformation and dynamics of DNA and RNA oligo-nucleotides and their drug complexes, using a combination of multinuclear and multidimensional NMR spectroscopy, computer modeling and theoretical simulations. For details click here.

    Scholes laboratory: Biophysical research on the structure and function of proteins, primarily those that contain paramagnetic centers, using the techniques of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) but with significant use of other spectroscopic and kinetic methods. For details click here.

Various state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation are being used in these research efforts, including rapid kinetic measurements, modeling, spectroscopy, and biosensors. These research areas not only cover a wide range of biochemical and biophysical research, but also are at the interface of chemistry with several major disciplines such as biology and neuroscience.

The research programs in Biochemistry and Biophysics are a major strength of the overall graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry at SUNY-Albany. Together with other disciplines of chemical research, the Department graduate programs emphasize research in biological, bioorganic, biomaterials or bionanotechnological areas. Both Ph.D. and masters degrees are offered through graduate work in the department.

The research facilities in our department and here on campus are state-of-the-art. For instance, the Center for Biochemistry and Biophysics is equipped with EPR spectrometers with time resolved capability and laser photolysis instruments with the capability to do rapid kinetic measurements with a single cell. There are two other research centers that provide additional research instruments and facilities. One is the University at Albany Institute for Materials, and the other is the Comparative Functional Genomics Facility on the East Campus. These centers provide us with access to instruments such as an atomic force microscope, a nanofabrication and chip fabrication facility, a DNA sequencing laboratory, and a transgenic mouse facility. Our faculty members serve as either members of the research staff or routinely interact with these Centers. In the very near future, these Centers will purchase more state-of-the-art instruments, to include a BIACORE 3000 and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer. In addition, we have access to multi-dimensional NMR instrumentation (600 and 500 MHz) and a X-ray crystallography facility in the School of Public Health of SUNY-Albany. The NIH NMR facility at the Francis Bitter Magnet Lab, MIT with 750 MHz and 600 MHz NMR systems is being routinely used by Professor Sarma.

Earlier this spring, the construction of the $67 million Life Sciences laboratory building broke ground, and is due to be completed in 2004. Construction of this excellent research facility and fostering life science research are centerpieces of the university’s long-term growth plans.

Take me to Rabi Musah's Research Projects

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Prof. Li Niu, CBB, Department of Chemistry, The University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY USA 12222
phone: 518-442-4447; fax: 518-452-3462; email:
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