Joanna K. Krueger, Ph.D.

Joanna K. Krueger
Associate Professor
Burson 144

Website: Krueger Research Team

Biophysical Chemistry: Structural information on bio/nano-molecular associations using spectroscopic techniques; in particular, light scattering (UV-VIS, X-ray and neutron), FTIR, Circular Dichroism and visualization of those associations through the use of molecular modeling.

A protein is a polymeric molecule, a long chain of individual units linked covalently together. In the case of a protein polymer, it is of a specific length and unit sequence. Every living system creates ~3000 different proteins, which function to do the chemical work required to sustain life. For proteins to function, those chains must fold up into a unique, often globular, form. Sometimes protein function is regulated (turned on or off) by other molecules through shape changes. The protein you see above is regulated by calcium ions, and its shape changes dramatically when calcium binds to it. Our research will provide structural insights into the shape changes that are involved in activating or de-activating a protein. This regulatory process is referred to by biologists as ‘signal transduction’. There are a myriad of signal transduction mechanisms that work to keep living systems alive. Our scientific approach can provide a structural understanding of how a living system receives and responds to environmental information to elicit an appropriate response.