Principal Investigators

IBBR Scientists. Experts exploring new horizons. And advancing understanding.

IBBR unites distinguished scientists from the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Our principal investigators come together across disciplines and institutions to discover tomorrow's biotechnology solutions.

Name Profile
Alexander Andrianov
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Alexander Andrianov is a leader in the field of polyphosphazenes with a long-standing interest in applications of polymers for drug delivery systems and biomaterials. He has been involved in all aspects of technology development and commercialization, including product advancement from the research laboratory to manufacturing and clinical trials. Dr. Andrianov has served in various executive and managerial roles at a number of biotechnology companies focusing on drug delivery... more

William Bentley
Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Dr. William E. Bentley develops and uses molecular tools to engineer cells for enhanced function (synthetic biology) and to open “communication” pathways for innovative device design and fabrication (bioelectronics). His laboratory has engineered cells and small consortia of cells to execute advanced functions such as detecting and killing pathogens. His lab has also adapted natural bacterial signaling pathways to build components and systems that enable bidirectional... more

Robert Brinson
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Robert Brinson uses biophysical measurements to define structure and dynamics of nucleic acids, proteins, and glycoproteins, with a specific focus on biotherapeutics. In particular, he seeks to harmonize and to translate nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods for biopharmaceutical applications and to push the limits of NMR methodologies to define the critical quality attributes of higher order structure for protein drug products.

2D-NMR Method Development for... more

James Culver
Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture

The research focus in Dr. James Culver’s laboratory centers on understanding virus biology and its role in disease, and applying these insights into engineering viruses and other biological components for application in nano-based systems and devices. The Culver lab uses numerous scientific approaches and collaborates with scientists in fields ranging from structural biology to microfabrication. The lab’s primary goal is to utilize discoveries in virus biology to develop new approaches for... more

Frank Delaglio
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Frank Delaglio develops computational methods for extracting useful information from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) data to support development and manufacturing of drugs and vaccines, and to support basic research in structural biology. His current focus is on development of approaches for characterization of the high order structure of biologics, so that these important therapeutics can continue to be safe and effective, and become more available and affordable. In the NMR community... more

Edward Eisenstein
Fischell Department of Bioengineering

The Eisenstein laboratory is building next-generation bioenergy plants with enhanced capacity to manage biotic and abiotic challenges. Their strategy is to derive mechanistic information from multidisciplinary tools, ranging from molecular and structural biology, to plant, systems and synthetic biology, as well as protein design and engineering, to develop superior traits. These improvements are being introduced into plants via genome engineering in order to extend our diminishing supply of... more

Thomas Fuerst
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Dr. Fuerst’s research is focused on the development of next-generation vaccines and protein-based therapeutics for infectious disease and cancer. The Fuerst group brings together an assemblage of scientific disciplines including virology, immunology, analytical chemistry, cell biology, structural biology, computational biology, and protein engineering. The multidisciplinary programs include:  (1) a structure-based vaccine design program focused on enveloped viruses, (2) a scaffold-based... more

Travis Gallagher
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr.  Travis Gallagher’s research is focused on measurement strategies that provide atomic-level structural descriptions of proteins and their interactions. By combining diffraction-based methods with other biophysical tools, Dr.  Gallagher develops methods for imaging and analysis of biomolecules. Of particular interest are proteins with applications as healthcare measurement standards, and their conformational dynamics. Immunotherapies, and especially antibodies (Abs), are key areas of... more

Alexander Grishaev
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Alexander Grishaev’s laboratory focuses on integrative structural biology and deriving biomolecular structures by combining experimental data from several complementary, biophysical techniques within a computational framework that optimally restrains the conformation space. The lab’s primary experimental approaches are solution X-ray and neutron scattering, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. They aim to design methodologies for maximizing the information content and... more

S. Saif Hasan
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research in the Hasan laboratory, which will be established in February 2019, will focus on determining the atomic and molecular architecture of membrane protein complexes responsible for biological transport, disease, and virus assembly.

Biological membranes form organelles, which are intracellular compartments that perform specialized biochemical functions. These compartments communicate with each other through the transport of protons, electrons, ions, molecules, and large, supra-... more

Osnat Herzberg
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Osnat Herzberg is a structural biologist interested in the relationship between the function and structure of proteins and how protein-ligand interactions can guide drug discovery. The Herzberg lab uses X-ray crystallography and other biophysical, biochemical, and cellular approaches to better understand various experimental systems.

Current projects in this lab include studies of genetic factors that contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases; understanding the structure and... more

Jeffrey Hudgens
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Jeffrey Hudgens investigates the precision of hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) and its application to the measurement of protein-ligand and glycoprotein-ligand interactions, the dynamical structures of mAbs, lipid-protein complexes, and membrane protein interactions. In addition to these fundamental determinations of the relationship between biomolecular structure and function, Dr. Hudgens also invents new apparatus and methods that improve HDX-MS methodology,... more

Zvi Kelman
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Zvi Kelman’s research is focused on developing tools and reagents for the labeling of biomolecules with stable isotopes to support biophysical and bioanalytical measurements. The NIST Biomolecular Labeling Laboratory also provides support to external users through a proposal process. The Kelman laboratory has the equipment and reagents necessary for production, purification, and characterization of labeled proteins and other biomolecules, including peptides and nucleic acids. 

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Yuxing Li
Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Yuxing Li’s lab studies how B cells, a critical part of the immune system, respond to viral infection, and applies these findings toward antibody discovery and the development of vaccines and therapeutics to treat viral infections.

Dr. Li’s work has focused on defining broadly neutralizing antibody responses elicited by HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins during natural infections and in animal models. These findings contributed substantially to the in-depth understanding of HIV broadly... more

Alexander MacKerell
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Alexander MacKerell’s research involves the development and application of computational methods to investigate the relationships of structure and dynamics to function in a range of biological and chemical systems. These efforts include empirical force field development, implementation of novel sampling methodologies, understanding the physical forces driving the structure and dynamics of proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, and computer-aided drug design (CADD) studies and... more

John Marino
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. John Marino’s research is focused on developing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other biophysical measurements to accurately and precisely define the conformational structure, stability, and dynamics of biomolecules and their interactions at a molecular level.

In addition to enabling fundamental insights into biomolecular structure and function, Dr. Marino’s work provides innovative, yet practical methods that can form the basis for a robust measurement infrastructure that... more

Roy Mariuzza
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Research in Dr. Roy Mariuzza’s laboratory focuses on understanding how immune system cell surface receptors recognize molecules. Several classes of recognition molecules are under study: antibodies, T cell receptors (TCRs), natural killer (NK) cell receptors, and variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs). 

T cell recognition of self-antigens in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS)... more

Curtis Meuse
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Curt Meuse’s research focuses on the development of accurate and precise techniques for the characterization of higher order structure of biopharmaceuticals.

Biopharmaceuticals represent a valuable and important sector of the US economy. Advanced methods are required to quantify the molecular composition and conformation of industrially relevant protein products such as protein biopharmaceuticals, protein arrays, membrane proteins for research purposes, and protein standards.... more

Ella Mihailescu
Biomolecular Measurement Division

Dr. Ella Mihailescu’s research is focused on developing biophysical methods for investigations of the structural interactions of membrane proteins, membrane-active peptides, and lipophilic drug molecules with lipid membranes. A major effort in the Mihailescu laboratory is directed toward advancing precision measurement of membrane protein structures in engineered lipid platforms.


The Mihailescu lab utilizes their unique experimental expertise... more

John Moult
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Research in Dr. John Moult’s laboratory is focused on computational modeling of biological systems, including:     

  • Investigating the effects of missense single nucleotide variants on protein structure and function to elucidate their role in human disease
  • Integrating knowledge of the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between human genetic variation and disease, particularly complex trait diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease... more
Silvia Muro
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Silvia Muro’s research focuses on how molecules are transported within cells using intracellular transport systems, and applications of this research are being used to develop controlled delivery of therapeutics to precise disease targets.

Targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds is critical to improving the effectiveness of drugs and reducing undesirable side effects. Currently, most therapeutics do not have the ability to specifically target tissues or cells and, as a result... more

Angus Murphy
Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture
Daniel Nelson
Department of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Nelson is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of antimicrobial discovery. The alarming increase of multidrug-resistant bacteria, the emergence of new pathogens, and the desire to reduce/eliminate antimicrobial use in agriculture products have prompted new antimicrobial discovery initiatives. Researchers seek to identify and develop alternative antimicrobial therapeutics that are not susceptible to traditional antibiotic resistance mechanisms. 

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Vincent Njar

Dr. Vincent Njar has a long-standing interest in the rational discovery and development of small molecules as anti-cancer agents. He is a leading medicinal chemist and oncopharmacologist who has made significant discoveries in the development of novel small molecules with potential for the treatment of a variety of cancers – in particular, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. Dr. Njar invented novel chemical reactions for the synthesis of novel inhibitors of a number of important anti-... more

David O'Brochta
Department of Entomology

As an insect molecular geneticist, my research interests focus on the development of genetic technologies and their application to the study of insects. Research in my laboratory primarily focuses on insect vectors of disease with particular interest in Anopheles mosquitoes. Current research programs include efforts to understand the physiological genetics of insect blood cells and salivary glands. These two tissues play a variety of important roles in the life of mosquitoes and their... more

Gilad Ofek
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Gilad Ofek’s research interests lie in understanding the structural organization of viruses and their recognition and neutralization by molecules of the immune system. Of particular interest are the Ebola and HIV-1 viruses. The Ofek lab employs the tools of structural biology to better understand immunological function and the pathways by which effective, and ineffective, antibody responses develop against these viruses in the context of natural infection and vaccination. Durable,... more

John Orban
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Orban’s research interests focus on the area of protein structural biology and design, particularly in understanding how the malleability of protein folds relates to biological function. High field solution NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical and biochemical methods are employed in my laboratory.

Protein switches

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Gregory Payne
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

The last century witnessed spectacular advances in both microelectronics and biotechnology yet there remains considerable opportunity to create synergies between the two.  The Payne laboratory aims to fabricate high-performance material systems to span the capabilities of biology and information technology. Through an extensive network of international collaborations their group focuses on two primary areas of research.

  • Biofabrication of the Bio-device Interface... more
Brian Pierce
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Brian Pierce’s laboratory develops and applies computer algorithms to better understand how the immune system recognizes pathogens and cancer, and his lab is particularly interested in antibodies, T cell receptors, and vaccine design. 

Recent efforts have focused on studying the structure of hepatitis C virus (HCV) to inform the design of novel vaccine candidates. This work includes the development of a pioneering epitope-based vaccine for HCV that elicits neutralizing antibodies... more

Edvin Pozharskiy
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Pozharski's area of scientific expertise is structural biology, with a major focus on protein X-ray crystallography. Throughout his career as a protein crystallographer, Dr. Pozharski has focused on structural mechanisms of molecular recognition in a range of biomolecular systems, including small molecules, protein-DNA, and protein-protein interactions. He has also contributed to methodological aspects of protein crystallography, including computational methods, structure validation, and... more

Prasad Reddy
Biomolecular Measurement Division

In the area of microbial forensics and bioterrorism, we are working on the characterization of virulence factors to understand the molecular basis of pathogenesis in Yersinia pestis (plague causing bacteria) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis disease). We use adenylyl cyclase (AC), one of the virulence factors in Bacillus anthracis (anthrax disease), as a model system to understand the AC’s role in other bacterial pathogens. Adenylyl cyclases (ACs) are classified into four major... more

John Schiel
Biomolecular Measurement Division

John leads an analytical biochemistry team co-located at NIST and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR)  He is leading the LC, CE-, and MS-based biomanufacturing research efforts; developing a suite of fundamental measurement science, standards, and reference data to enable more accurate and confident characterization of product quality attributes. John is the coordinator for protein reference materials related to the biopharmaceutical industry, including the... more

Vitalii Silin
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research
Arlin Stoltzfus
Biosystems & Biomaterials Division

The Stoltzfus group focuses on issues in molecular evolution, bioinformatics, and evolutionary theory, using computer-based approaches.  We explore models and to test hypotheses about the evolution of genes, proteins, and genomes. We also develop software and participate in community efforts to improve interoperability of software and data used in evolutionary analysis. Current projects focus on: evaluating the role of mutation bias in parallel evolution; building a system to disseminate... more

Eric Toth
Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research

Dr. Eric Toth applies biochemical and biophysical techniques, including X-ray crystallography, to accelerate the development of agents that modulate the function of a wide array of potential therapeutic targets.  These efforts include the development of next-generation protein therapeutics, novel vaccines, and small molecule inhibitors of biologically important proteins.

Therapeutic Protein Design and Development

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Illarion Turko
Biomolecular Measurement Division

The lab is focused on the mass spectrometry-based quantitative techniques to assess age-related proteomic changes in brain and retina.

Current scientific interests include:

  1. Multiple Reaction Monitoring Measurements for proteins involved in the generation, disposal, and function of oxysterols in the senescent retinal pigmented epithelium.
  2. Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry for analysis of structural changes in cytochrome P450s during interactions with... more
David Vanderah
Biomolecular Measurement Division

My research at NIST have centered on the preparation of organic materials for the modification of surfaces for optimization of biosensors, protein arrays, protein structure-function studies, and ultrathin film metrology. Currently, much of my work is directed toward the synthesis of lipidic anchor molecules that form the basis of tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs), increasingly being used for the study of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). Some of my work has focused on understanding... more

Kristen Varney
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
David Weber
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

As Director of the Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics (CBT) located within IBBR, Dr. Weber manages state-of-the-art scientific studies that investigate mechanisms involved in disease states and develops drugs to treat them.  His laboratory is one of many in the CBT developing small-molecule inhibitors geared toward treating cancer, diabetes, and infectious disease. 

One such project involves studies of the structure, function, and inhibition of the S100 family of calcium-binding... more

Paul Wilder
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Louisa Wu
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics

Dr. Louisa Wu’s laboratory studies immunity using the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) genetic model system.  The lab has identified genes involved in immunity against bacteria and plans to apply the knowledge gained from its Drosophila studies to identify novel human genes that are critical for bacterial immunity.


Regulation of immune signaling in Drosophila

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Shunyuan Xiao
Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture

Dr. Xiao’s research interests center on understanding and engineering plant resistance against fungal pathogens.  Globally, up to 15% of crop losses are due to pathogens, including fungi.  The Xiao lab has developed model systems to study powdery mildew on diverse plant species including barley, grape, strawberry, tomato, and Arabidopsis.  These pathosystems have given the Xiao lab the ability to conduct molecular, genetic, and evolutionary studies of plant-powdery mildew... more

Wenbo Yu
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

I develop and use computational methods to study protein-protein, protein-small molecule complex systems and explore their conformational changes, interaction profiles and thermodynamic properties. Currently at CBT and IBBR, I focus on development and application of computer-aided drug design (CADD) approaches for drug discovery, especially for cancer related targets. Collaborate with experimentalists, we are studying new therapeutic targets, improving drug performances and exploring... more