IBBR Fellows

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 Fellows come together across disciplines and institutions to discover tomorrow's biotechnology solutions.

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Name Profile
Alexander MacKerell
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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 methodology development. The MacKerell lab works closely with experimentalists in the area of drug development to provide detailed interpretation of experimental data while simultaneously refining and developing novel theoretical approaches.

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 supports biopharmaceutical development and regulation.

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). 

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. Such measurements allow comparisons of protocols and determination of mechanisms of action. Dr. Meuse’s work focuses on the development and standardization of methods to characterize biologically active states, to measure structural changes, and to explore physical processes such as aggregation and binding that contribute to biological inactivation of proteins. 

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.

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; using novel neural network architectures derived from deep biological knowledge to probe aspects of disease mechanism, including the evaluation of potential drug targets and the best choice of drug for any patient, given their genome sequence; and conducting large-scale community experiments to assess and advance the state of the art in areas of computational biology, particularly genome interpretation and protein structure modeling

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, they are rapidly cleared from the body and are less effective. Therapeutic molecules can be modified for improved targeting by attaching them to nanoscale carrier molecules like antibodies, peptides, or nanoparticles. These modifications allow therapeutic molecules to enter specific cells through the endocytic vesicular transport system and can improve the delivery of therapeutic agents within cells and across cellular layers of tissues or organs.