UTSA Alamo CIMA Mentor

Dr. Lorenzo Brancaleon

Dye-Mediated, Light-Induced Conformational Changes in Globular Proteins

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 1) better understand the relationship between function and structure of certain proteins and 2) prompt conformational changes capable to produce non-native (i.e., artificial) properties in proteins. The project will focus on characterizing physical and chemical changes in the proteins using optical spectroscopy and mass spectrometry.


  • Physical Sciences or Life Science major