The Solution Biophysics Laboratory (SBL), located in room 6.656 on the sixth floor of the Basic Science Building (BSB), was established in 1995. The purpose of the lab is to enhance solution biophysics research of SCSBMB core faculty members and UTMB collaborators. Instruction is given in the use of a variety of SBL instrumentation, including:
- analytical ultracentrifugation
- circular dichroism
- dynamic light scattering
- surface plasmon resonance
- thermal denaturation high throughput analysis
SCSBMB faculty includes prominent researchers in the field of molecular biophysics and thermodynamics, and this core facility promotes the use of these techniques to solve research problems of a fundamental nature that may lead to a translational research objective. Solution molecular biophysics and thermodynamic techniques are used both as a primary research tool as well as means to structural studies (for example in the exploration of conditions for crystallization of proteins). Analytical ultracentrifugation studies of cytochrome p450 orthologues led to the successful crystallization and structure solution of the first open-form of a p450 (1).
Among the many research problems that can benefit from such studies include:
- structure and function characterization of macromolecules
- molecular mechanisms
- protein stability issues
- ligand binding thermodynamics
- assay development
- high throughput screening of protein or nucleic acid ligands
UTMB also pioneered the use of osmolytes in the stabilization of intrinsically unstructured regions of proteins (2) and the SBL has a long tradition of the use of protecting osmolytes in biophysical studies (3).