The MPID Center has assembled a team of interdisciplinary researchers, each of whom has outstanding records in their fields. With the collaborative effort, we hope to successfully accomplish our major goals in a systemic and efficient manner.

Dr. Petra Fromme, Principal Investigator

The principal investigator, Dr. Petra Fromme is responsible for the overall coordination of the MPID Center. She oversees all activities of the center and fosters interactions between the members of the center.
Dr. James Allen, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Allen is the leader of the Crystallization and Structure Determination team.

Dr. Giovanna Ghirlanda, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Ghirlanda participates in the biophysical characterization of membrane proteins.

Dr. Brenda G. Hogue, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Hogue assumes responsibility for the expression and functional analysis of projects directed toward determining the structures of coronavirus proteins, their receptors, other viral viroporins and other viral targets appropriate to her expertise on RNA viruses.

Dr. Sudhir Kumar, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Kumar is responsible for directing the team involved in the development of the database, software, and evolutionary bioinformatics analysis. He supervises a web/database specialist who is responsible for maintaining the database as well as developing the web-interface and a server support individual who is responsible for developing server side applications as well as maintaining server applications (and assisting its users).

Dr. Joshua LaBaer, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. LaBaer manages and oversee the team of Scientists dedicated to the construction and cloning of genes.

Dr. Tsafrir Mor, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Mor is the leader of the Gene Construction, Expression and Protein Production Team. He coordinates execution of tasks concerning expression vector construction, transformation of plants and bacteria and transfection of animal cell cultures. He oversees the establishment of purification protocols for targets and purification to provide material for biophysical and biochemical characterization and crystallization efforts. Dr. Mor manages the efforts concerning HIV1 protein targets (and corresponding cellular proteins) including binding assays, immunological tests etc.

Dr. S. Banu Ozkan, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Ozkan will oversee as the subtask leader for the modeling part of the center. Furthermore, she will lead the efforts on the development of new tools for ab initio prediction of membrane protein structures.

Dr. Kathryn Sykes, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Sykes is the leader of the Innovations and Technology Team. She is involved in gene synthesis and works on the development of peptides that specifically bind functionally folded proteins, which is important for the development of new methods for the isolation and characterization of the target protein and also may support the crystallization efforts. Sykes is responsible for the design, direction and analyses of the synthetic gene and in vitro protein synthesis activities. She also directs the activities related to innovative peptide ligand and conventional antibody production and testing. This will include the analyses of microarray screens. She oversees all aspects of these activities and convey them to the other program co-PIs/PI.

Dr. Rebekka Wachter, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Wachter is the leader of the team of investigators that is responsible for the Biophysical and Biochemical characterization of the protein targets. In addition, she plays an essential role in the design of GFP-tagged constructs useful for screening of in vitro and in vivo expression systems of membrane proteins. Utilizing genetic methods, several well-characterized GFP variants and their homologs will be attached to the membrane proteins of interest, targeting at a number of different sites within the linear amino acid sequence.

Dr. Neal Woodbury, co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Woodbury's expertise is focused on the Biophysical characterization of the target expression and folding with fluorescence spectroscopy.

Dr. Martin Caffrey, co-Principal Investigator

Responsibilities within MPID include crystallizing membrane proteins in lipidic systems including the cubic phase and bicelles, and structure determination using macromolecular crystallography.


Name Category
Catherine Cormier Scientific Liaison
Mike Gaskin Automation Scientist
Jason Steel Production Manager


Name Category
Tina Esquerra Manager
Preston Hunter Data Manager
Liqing Chen X-Ray Facility Manager
Sasha Daskalova Faculty Research Associate
Katerina Dörner Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jose Martin-Garcia Postdoctoral Research Associate
Debbie Hansen Associate Research Professor
Avani Patel Research Specialist
Nevin Gerek Research Technologist
Zhen Gong Graduate Students
Ho-Hsien Lee Graduate Students
Chenda Seng Graduate Students
James Zook Graduate Students
Kristyn Gerold Undergraduate Students

Former Members

Sarah Kessans