Ligands of Renown

by Michael Mullaney on January 31, 2012

Congratulations are in order for chemical engineering professors Steven Cramer and Shekhar Garde, who recently had their research featured on the cover of the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. The paper, which features beautiful scientific imagery and renderings, combines Cramer’s prowess in chromatography with Garde’s mastery of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.

In the paper, Cramer and Garde report on new ways to probe the fundamental nature of how multimodal ligands bind to proteins. It is still largely unknown how these ligands—which are having a major impact on the field of bioprocessing—actually interact with the surfaces of proteins. Using MD simulations, Cramer and Garde gleaned new insights about the little-understood binding process. The resulting MD data corroborated with data Cramer has captured in the past using different methods including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and chromatography with protein libraries.

Down the road, this work could help inform new techniques and technologies for separating proteins from other proteins that are extremely similar but not identical—a hugely important concern for pharma companies because of its implications in the process of refining and purifying biopharmaceutical drugs. This work also holds the potential to impact other fields such as biosensors and drug design.

See the journal cover above, and see below for some of the paper’s many wonderful figures: