Biochemistry at the University of Missouri is about understanding life processes at the molecular level, both under normal physiological conditions and when stressed by drought or disease. We seek to know the fundamentals of how things work; how to understand, prevent and treat disease in both plants and animals; and how these advances could underpin improved agricultural production or medical advances.

The nature of biochemistry is interdisciplinary, spanning the disciplines of biology and chemistry. In the same spirit, Mizzou Biochemistry bridges the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Our campus is also unique in that it houses medicine, agriculture, engineering, veterinary medicine, an interdisciplinary life sciences research center, and the highest-powered academic research reactor in the country all on one campus. Thus, there are many opportunities to bring together scientific resources and expertise to meet important challenges.

We are home to thirty research groups, and our faculty provide expert leadership for several of the university’s core facilities in Electron Microscopy, Metabolomics (by Mass Spectrometry), Molecular Interactions (including X-ray crystallography), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and Proteomics. Much of our research, in-house or collaboratively, is about applying state-of-art technology to projects with agricultural or biomedical significance.

Core and Joint Faculty Research Areas

Michael Baldwin, PhD
Bacterial pathogenesis, membrane biochemistry, structural biology

Lesa J. Beamer, PhD
Structural biology: X-ray crystallography of metabolic enzymes; biophysical studies of disease-related missense variants

Zachary Berndsen, PhD
Molecular biophysics, structural immunology, Cryo-EM

Donald H. Burke, PhD
Ribozyme mechanism and evolution; drug resistant HIV-1

Michael S. Chapman, PhD
Structural Biology: Viral-Host Interactions and Enzyme Dynamics

Shi-Jie Chen, PhD
Computational RNA folding and small molecule interaction; RNA nanotechnology

Peter V. Cornish, PhD
RNA folding and dynamics, single molecule fluorescence

Clarissa Durie, PhD
Protein complex structure and function in bacterial pathogenesis: Cryo-EM, protein translocation, enzyme kinetics

Barry Edwards, PhD
Phage display, peptide and antibody thernostics

William R. Folk, PhD
Gene expression and replication; plant medical uses; science education

Kent S. Gates, PhD
DNA damage by antitumor agents, toxins and mutagens

Stephanie Gates, PhD
Protein Quality Control; structural biology, biochemistry and single molecule biophysics; cancer and neurodegeneration

Mark Hannink, PhD
BTB-Kelch substrate adaptor family in development, oncogenesis and neurodegeneration

Antje Heese, PhD
Protein trafficking in immune signaling; plant-pathogen interaction

Xiao Heng, PhD
Virus:host interactions during the early replication of HIV-1; RNA structural biology

Gavin M. King, PhD
Single molecule biophysics

Abraham J. Koo, PhD
Biotic interactions, stress signaling, lipid metabolism in plants

Thomas P. Mawhinney, PhD
Carbohydrates in cancer and bacterial infection; cystic fibrosis

Scott C. Peck, PhD
Signaling in host-pathogen interactions; proteomics of stress responses

Brenda A. Peculis, PhD
RNA processing, stability, turnover, and decapping enzymes; snoRNPs required for ribosome biogenesis

Michael J. Petris, PhD
Regulation of metal nutrition; impacts of copper on cancer and infectious disease

Charlotte L. Phillips, PhD
Inherited and acquired disorders of muscle and bone; medical genetics

Craig A. Schenck, PhD
Metabolism, pathway discovery, evolution, comparative genomics, biotechnology

Lloyd W. Sumner, PhD
Metabolomics technology development and applications, plant metabolism

John J. Tanner, PhD
Structure-based drug discovery targeting cancer and eukaryotic pathogens

Jay J. Thelen, PhD
Proteomics and phosphoproteomics of seed development, metabolism in oilseeds

Steven R. Van Doren, PhD
Biophysical enzymology, NMR, metabolomics of pulmonary disease

Gary A. Weisman, PhD
Nucleotide receptors in inflammation, cardiovascular and autoimmune disease

Adam Yokom, PhD
Mechanisms of cellular homeostasis; autophagy; membrane structural biology; neurodegeneration

Shuqun Zhang, PhD
MAP kinases and signaling in plant defense responses

Xiaoqin Zou, PhD
Computer-aided drug design; structure-function modeling of membrane proteins