Mark Foster

Mentor Faculty
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry


Research Description:

Understanding how the structure and mobility of biological molecules influence their function is one of the most exciting and rewarding research objectives in biochemistry, and is the main focus of my laboratory's efforts. Biological processes are coordinated via complex molecular interactions involving proteins, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) and small molecules. These molecules are not rigid, but rather undergo dynamic conformational changes to achieve their functions. High-resolution NMR spectroscopy is ideally suited to our principle objective of understanding these motions, as it is the only method that allows us to study both the structural and dynamic properties of macromolecules at atomic resolution. Our group enjoys access to outstanding NMR facilities, including spectrometers operating at 600 and 800 MHz, housed in a state-of-the-art Structural Biology Center. While NMR spectroscopy is one major research tool in the laboratory, our projects are fundamentally multidisciplinary and collaborative, merging components of molecular biology, protein engineering and biochemistry, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and computation. As a result, members of the laboratory have the opportunity and are encouraged to become competent in diverse creative approaches for solving biochemical problems. Group members obtain rigorous training in basic research by studying the fundamental principles that govern biomolecular function, and emerge with scientific skills to pursue careers in either academics or private industry.

  • Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry, University of Utah, 1993

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