UTSA COS Summer Research Experience
Mentors and Research
Binding of a Porphyrin Dye to a Model Protein and the Effects that the Laser Irradiation of the Dye Produces on the Structure of the Protein in Aqueous Solution
Energy in the form of photons, whether from solar, lasers or other light sources, is a fantastic trigger for many biophysical events. Some of these events are natural (e.g., photosynthesis) but other are nature-mimicking so that photon energy can be converted into other events such as mechanical or electrical mechanisms. Our group has been pioneering the use of visible light to prompt conformational changes in proteins mediated by non-covalently docked dyes. The function of proteins is intimately related to their structure. The goal of these studies is to use the conformational changes to i.) better understand the relationship between function and structure of certain proteins and ii.) prompt conformational changes capable to produce non-native (i.e., artificial) properties in proteins. For instance prompt novel enzymatic activity in non-enzymatic proteins. Students working on this project would be engaged in a highly innovative area that could lead to potential transformative concepts regarding the biomedical and biomaterial application of naturally occurring proteins. During the project the student will familiarize with a series of spectroscopic techniques that include absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence decay and circular dichroism. In addition the student will be introduced to some of the computational aspects (docking, molecular dynamic simulations, etc.) that are related to the analysis and interpretation of the spectroscopic data.