The Vecchio Laboratory @ UNL

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STRUCTURE & ASSEMBLY OF SMALL INTEGRAL MEMBRANE PROTEINS INTO SUPRAMOLECULAR MACHINES

Our research aims to elucidate structure/function relationships between membrane protein assemblies by determining 3D structures of their individual units and multimeric complexes in atomic-level detail using structural biology and biophysical methods, We quantify intermolecular interactions using bio-layer interferomentry (BLI) and focus specifically on X-ray crystallography and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM) for structure determination.

Research in the Vecchio Lab

Current projects focus on:

  1. Structural elucidation of human membrane and cytosolic proteins involved in endo- and epithelial cell:cell adhesion and intercellular transport.
  2. Biochemical and biophysical characterization of protein:protein interactions essential for macromolecular assemblies.
  3. Development of small or large biomolecular probes for investigating structure—function relationships between multi-protein complexes.

We do basic, interdisciplinary research employing classic and state-of-the-art techniques in the field of structural biology, with the goal of advancing fundamental understanding of and solve problems in human biology and health. The research interests of the lab specifically focus on elucidating the molecular bases for destruction and reconstruction of epithelial tight junctions, occurring both naturally and via disease-causing mechanisms. This work requires an understanding of molecular & cell biology, biotechnology & bioinformatics, and biochemistry & biophysics; as the answers to questions we investigate demand bridging gaps at the physics—chemistry—biology interface.