John Portman

molecular biological physics



My research is in the general area of molecular biological physics. Conformational flexibility and dynamics of protein molecues is often the key connection between the structure of a protein and its biological function. My research group is developing analytical and computational approaches to understand the mechanisms controlling large-scale (main-chain) structural changes in proteins. Examples include protein folding, allostery, and conformational changes induced from interactions with molecular surfaces.

This research employs a variety of theoretical concepts from statistical mechanics of phase transitions, soft condensed matter physics, and physical chemistry. It aims to bridge the gap between analytical theory, simulation, and experimental measurements to understand structure, dynamics and function of biomolecules. For students, this effort provides truly interdisciplinary research experience at the interface between physics, chemistry, and biology.

John Portman