Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2012
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Steven Boxer (Chemistry) and Vijay Pande (Chemistry)

Research Title: Extreme electric fields drive chemical catalysis in an enzyme active site

Research Description: We frequently invoke anthropomorphic terms to describe the functions of proteins. For instance, we speak of hemoglobin knowing when it’s time to pick up or let go of oxygen; however, proteins cannot think, so a longstanding question in biophysics has been to understand how proteins’ "intelligence" emerges from the laws of motion that govern molecular matter. Stephen's research seeks to address this by piecing together spectroscopic techniques that spy on proteins at work with molecular dynamics simulations that model molecular movements that are too subtle to actually detect. By creating a dialogue between experimental and computational approaches, his research aims to build a more rigorous understanding of protein function, which will allow us someday to engineer proteins with new functions altogether.


Stephen is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Departments of Chemistry and Biophysics. His lab develops new approaches to explore protein folding globally, sensitively, and in vivo using mass spectrometry proteomics.