ChEMS Seminar: Effect of Surfaces in Modulating Protein Folding and Aggregation Mechanisms
Professor Joan-Emma Shea
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California, Santa Barbara
Protein-surface interactions are ubiquitous in the crowded cytosol, where proteins encounter a variety of surfaces, ranging from membrane surfaces, to the surfaces presented by chaperone molecules. Protein-surface interactions are also at the heart of a number of emerging technologies, including protein micro-arrays, biosensors and biomaterials. The effect of surfaces on protein structure and stability can vary substantially depending on the chemical composition of the surface. In this talk, I will present coarse-grained as well as detailed atomistic simulations of the folding of small proteins in the presence of surfaces of relevance to biology and biotechnology. Examples will range from the underwater adhesion of marine-mussels to globular protein adsorption on membrane-mimics.
Bio: Joan-Emma Shea received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from McGill University, Canada, in 1992 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from M.I.T in 1997. Her graduate research with Professor Irwin Oppenheim was in the field of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, with applications to granular flow processes. She pursued her postdoctoral studies at the Scripps Research Institute and at UC San Diego under the joint mentorship of Professor Charlie Brooks III and of Professor Jose Onuchic, where her research shifted to computational studies of protein folding. Joan-Emma Shea is currently a full professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of physics at UC Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on developing and applying techniques of statistical and computational physics and chemistry to the study of biological problems. She is particularly interested in chaperone-mediated protein folding and in understanding protein aggregation in relation to amyloid diseases. She has received several awards including NSERC graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, an NSF Career Award, an A. P. Sloan Award, and a David and Lucile Packard Award, and she is a fellow of the American Physical Society. Joan-Emma Shea is a senior editor at the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.