Biomedical Engineering; Biophysical Modeling; Biophysics; Blood-Brain Barrier and Drug Delivery; Computational Biology; Drug Targeting; Genetic Pathology - Clinical, Molecular, Biochemical; Ion Transport; Lipid Homeostasis; Membrane Biophysics; Membrane Proteins; Microbial Pathogenesis; Molecular Basis of Disease; Molecular Imaging Techniques; Myelin Diseases; Nanoparticles; Neurodevelopmental Disorders; Protein Engineering; Protein Function and Structure; Protein Therapeutics; Signal Transduction; Structural Biology; Targeted Drug Delivery; Traumatic Brain Injury; X-ray Crystallography
The Vecchio laboratory does basic, interdisciplinary research that employs both classic and state-of-the-art techniques in the fields of structural biology, biochemistry, and biophysics—with the goal of advancing fundamental understanding of and solve problems in human biology and health. The research focus of the lab intends to elucidate the structures and assembly processes of small integral membrane protein-comprised supramolecular machines. Proper structure and assembly of these proteins leads to natural homeostatic physiology, while disruptions or disassembly cause disease. Our research requires an understanding of cell & molecular biology, biotechnology & bioinformatics, and biochemistry & biophysics—as the answers to questions we investigate demand bridging gaps at the physics/chemistry/biology interface.
Current research topics include: (1) 3D structure determination of small integral membrane proteins and their complexes by crystallographic & electron microscopic techniques; (2) Quantitative biochemical and biophysical characterization of membrane protein/protein interactions essential for supramolecular assembly; and (3) Development of biomolecular tools to investigate structure/function relationships between small multi-protein complexes and for enabling determination of their structures by cryogenic electron microscopy.