May 2016: Congratulations to Pri Prakash on winning first place Dean’s Excellence in Research Postdoctoral Award. Well done Pri! April 2016: Congratulations to Mike McCarthy on his award for podium presentation at the CRB retreat. Way to go Mike! April 2016: Abdallah and Jin's paper accepted in JPCB. Congratulations! March 2016: Pri's paper in BJ highlighted as “New and Notable”; see the accompanying article by Prof M. Buck and colleagues

Allosteric interaction of potential K-Ras inhibitor Drug Design
Ras self-assembely in raft membraneRas Nanoclustering
Ras membrane interaction Protein-Membrane Interactions
Development of Ras inhibitors Drug Discovery
Effects of Ras and cholesterol concentrations on nanocluster propertiesRas Nanoclustering
pMD-membrane: A method for ligand binding site identificationDrug Discovery
Confocal imaging and FCS analysis of Ras in cellsRas Aggregation
Determination of ligand-binding preference to allosteric sitesMethods Development
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Aiming at new treatment modalities for unsolved health challenges, our laboratory combines computer simulations with cell biology and biophysical experiments to study the basic principles of bio-molecular function. These include such key cellular phenomena as organization of cell signaling components, interfacial interactions and allostery. Our studies encompass the atomic, molecular and supra-molecular levels of detail, with our primary current focus being the Ras family of lipid-modified enzymes that regulate a variety of cell signaling pathways. We work towards elucidating how dynamics and lateral distribution of Ras and related G-proteins on membrane surfaces regulate signaling events, and leverage insights from our basic research to design novel anti-cancer drugs. Other interests of the group include membrane biophysics, transient signaling complexes, and partitioning of specific drugs into membranes.

Recent Publications

  1. Sayyed-Ahmad A, Cho K-J, Hancock JF and Gorfe AA, "Computational Equilibrium Thermodynamic and Kinetic Analysis of K-Ras Dimerization through an Effector Binding Surface Suggest Limited Functional Role" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2016, In Press.
  2. Prakash P, Zhou Y, Liang H, Hancock JF and Gorfe AA, "Oncogenic K-Ras binds to an anionic membrane in two distinct orientations: A molecular dynamics analysis" Biophysical Journal, 2016, 110 (5), 1125–1138.
  3. Lin X, Li Z and Gorfe AA, "Reversible Effects of Peptide Concentration and Lipid Composition on H-Ras Lipid Anchor Clustering" Biophysical Journal, 2015, 109(12):2467-70.
  4. Prakash P, Sayyed-Ahmad A and Gorfe AA, "pMD-membrane: A method for ligand binding site identification in membrane-bound proteins" PLoS Comput Biol 2015, 11(10): e1004469.
  5. McCarthy M, Prakash P and Gorfe AA "Computational Allosteric Ligand Binding Site Identification on Ras Proteins" Acta Biochim Biophys Sin, 2015, 1–8.
  6. Prakash P, Hancock JF and Gorfe AA "Binding hotspots on K-Ras: Consensus ligand binding sites and other reactive regions from probe-based molecular dynamics analysis" Proteins 2015, 83(5): 898-909

Open positions

We have potential openings for upto two postdoctoral fellows to work on (1) computational structural biology and (2) biophysical and cell assays of protein-ligand interactions. Interested applicants may contact Dr Gorfe with a detailed CV and statement of research interests. We also accept applications from graduate and undergraduate students for thesis or summer research

Major support