James Berger, Ph.D.
Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry
The Berger Lab's research is focused on understanding how multi-subunit assemblies use ATP for overcoming topological challenges within the chromosome and controlling the flow of genetic information. A long-term goal is to develop mechanistic models that explain in atomic level detail how macromolecular machines transduce chemical energy into force and motion, and to determine how cells exploit and control these complexes and their activities for initiating DNA replication, shaping chromosome superstructure and executing myriad other essential nucleic-acid transactions. Our principal approaches include a blend of structural (X-ray crystallography, single-particle EM, SAXS) and solution biochemical methods to define the architecture, function, evolution and regulation of biological complexes. We also have extensive interests in mechanistic enzymology and the study of small-molecule inhibitors of therapeutic potential, the development of chemical approaches to trapping weak protein/protein and protein/nucleic acid interactions, and in using microfluidics and single-molecule approaches for biochemical investigations of protein dynamics.