Gibney Research Laboratory

Metalloprotein Design Laboratory


Our research focuses on the role of metal ions in biological systems, bioinorganic chemistry. Our current research is centered on the role of zinc in controlling gene expression in human cancer and in the role of heme proteins in heart disease. We utilize the tools of de novo protein design to construct simplified metalloproteins from first principles to test fundamental hypothesis about natural metalloproteins. In the case of zinc finger transcription factors, we have developed a method to parse apart the Gibbs free energy of metal-ion binding from the free energy cost of protein folding. In the case of heme proteins, we have delineated the relationships between the electrochemistry of a heme protein, and the affinity of the protein scaffold for ferric and ferrous heme, as well as the difference in global folding free energy between the ferric and ferrous heme protein.