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Bioanalytical & Biophysical Chemistry

Research at UIC has created a hydrogen sulfide sensor that changes color in the presence of the gas.

Stephanie Cologna studies the intersection of chemistry, biology and human medicine. Specifically, she is interested in using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and allied analytical techniques to answer chemical and biological questions important to understanding and treating human diseases. Mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful tool to study a range of biomolecules including peptides, proteins, lipids among others.  With recent developments in ionization techniques and mass analyzers, the high-throughput detection and quantification of analytes has become feasible. To this end, she is interested in understanding neurodegenerative disorders including a subset of diseases called lysosomal storage diseases.

Luke Hanley studies a wide array of problems at the interface of surface analysis, biomaterials, and bacterial biofilms. He has been developing new methods of three dimensional imaging of biological materials by laser desorption postionization mass spectrometry and related methods. His work also includes X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and the application of synchrotron radiation for photoionization and photoemission. His current research projects include surface chemical modification and analysis of biomaterials, probing antimicrobial transport from biomaterials into bacterial biofilms, and development of organic-inorganic nanocomposite films for nonlinear optical and photovoltaic applications.

Justin Lorieau's group research works at the interface of biophysics, physical chemistry and biochemistry. With biophysical solution NMR, solid-state NMR and protein biochemistry, the Lorieau group studies proteins and biomolecules from multiple perspectives. Research in the Lorieau group focuses on protein structure and dynamics, membrane protein biophysics and new computational and theoretical tools for biophysics.

Xiaojing Yang performs research that centers on a fundamental question - how living organisms perceive, convert, and integrate physical and chemical signals into biological signals at the molecular level? To address this question, we focus on three areas of research: 1) signaling mechanisms of bacterial sensor proteins in response to light and oxygen; 2) structures and dynamics of circadian photoreceptors in plants and animals; 3) light harvesting and photosynthesis in cyanobacteria. Our research aims to gain mechanistic understanding of important biological processes via an integrated approach of crystallography, spectroscopy and biochemistry. We are also committed to further development and wide applications of dynamic crystallography that aims at direct observations of transient molecular events and reaction intermediates at the atomic resolution.

The Zhou group combines theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches to study protein biophysics. Theoretical problems of interest include protein-ligand and protein-protein binding kinetics. Computational studies have addressed allosteric communications in proteins, functional mechanisms of ion channels, and thermodynamic properties of proteins in crowded cell-like environments. Experimentally, binding kinetics of disordered proteins and liquid-liquid phase separation of proteins are of particular current interest.