Robert D. Renthal, Ph.D.
Areas of Specialization
- Biochemistry and Biophysics of Cell Membranes
- Insect Chemical Communication
- Lanthanide Tags in Live Bacterial Cells
Ph.D. in Biochemistry; Columbia University
A.B. in Chemistry; Princeton University
Research in Dr. Renthal’s lab is focused on the following areas:
- Biochemistry and biophysics of cell membranes - What are the biophysical mechanisms of folding and oligomerization of membrane-embedded proteins? How do oligomeric channels form in membranes?
- Chemical communication by insects and ticks - How do ant colonies establish and maintain interaction networks? What semiochemicals and chemoreception-related proteins are involved in mate and host identification by tick and fly vectors of human diseases?
- Tick immune system - Why do tick vectors harbor pathogenic bacteria, such as Lyme disease spirochetes, instead of killing or expelling them? How do Lyme disease bacteria evade the tick immune system?
Fluorescence spectroscopy - membrane protein oligomerization is measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), using artificial membrane patches known as nanodiscs. Functions of chemoreception-related proteins are studied by fluorescence spectroscopy.
Lipidomics and proteomics - cuticular lipids, sensory appendage proteins, salivary/midgut proteins, and hemolymph proteins are analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography coupled to a high resolution tandem mass spectrometer. Individual glands and sensory appendages are examined by imaging mass spectrometry.