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High-Resolution Structural Biology

Detailed mechanistic understanding of biological processes benefits greatly from high-resolution structures of biological macromolecules.

Traditionally, X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy have been the main methods for obtaining high-resolution structures but challenges remain especially for studies of membrane-interacting systems. Since recently, cryo-electronmicroscopy (cryo-EM) is now also producing structures at very high resolutions and without some of the limitations faced by crystallography and NMR. Finally, computational methods for structure prediction have advanced and can increasingly offer models that are competitive with structures at experimental resolution.

MSU's biophysics group is at the forefront in all of these areas of modern structural biology with leaders in membrane protein structure determination, cryo-electronmicrosopy, solid-state and solution NMR spectroscopy, and high-resolution protein structure refinement via computation.