Research Opportunities in Chemical and Structural Biology

 

The Meiler laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee has openings for interns, Ph.D. students, and post-doctoral fellows interested in chemical and structural biology. Projects are available in all research areas using a wide variety of tools and techniques. Please contact Jens Meiler at info@meilerlab.org or go to www.meilerlab.org.

Research in our laboratory seeks to fuse computational and experimental efforts to investigate proteins, the fundamental molecules of biology, and their interactions with small molecule substrates, therapeutics, or probes. We develop computational methods with three major ambitions in mind:

 

1) To enable protein structure elucidation of membrane proteins the primary target of most therapeutics and large macromolecular complexes such as viruses.

 

2) Design proteins with novel structure and/or function to explore novel approaches to protein therapeutics and deepen our understanding of protein folding pathways, and

 

3) Understand the relation between chemical structure and biological activity quantitatively in order to design more efficient and more specific drugs. Crucial for our success is the experimental validation of our computational approaches      which we pursue in our laboratory or in collaboration with other scientists.

 

Current research applications focus on new approaches to a) drug and probe development for neurodegenerative disorders and diseases including Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson’s, b) understanding the structural determinants of antidepressant binding to neurotransmitter transporters, c) cardiac arrhythmia as caused by the complex interplay of potassium channel regulation and drug interactions, d) multidrug resistance in cancer and bacterial cells related to multidrug transporter proteins, and e) structural basis of viral infections and antibody activity.

Vanderbilt is an internationally recognized research university that offers undergraduate programs as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The combination of cutting edge research, liberal arts, and a distinguished medical center creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals, and researchers collaborate to solve complex problems affecting our health, culture and society. From 2001 to 2006, Vanderbilt had a compound annual growth rate of 16.4% in NIH grants, the fastest growing academic medical center program in the country. Vanderbilt is now ranked 12th nationally. Seven of the School of Medicine’s departments were ranked in the top 10 among comparable medical school departments in receipt of NIH funding in 2005. Vanderbilt is an independent, privately supported university. The campus is a park-like setting, with more than 300 tree and shrub varieties, and was designated a national arboretum in 1988.

Vanderbilt’s hometown of Nashville is a vibrant, engaging city known proudly as “Music City, U.S.A.” The city was settled in 1779 and permanently became the state capital in 1843. The city proper is 533 square miles with a population of nearly 570,000. Nashville typically enjoys a mild and pleasant climate with only a few days of very hot or very cold conditions each year. Nashville has been named one of America’s friendliest cities for three years in a row.