Biological chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at MIT is vibrant and covers a wide range of research interests uniquely positioned at the chemistry/biology interface. Our faculty, students, and post-doctoral researchers participate in many fundamental and applied research initiatives. Biological chemistry is highly multidisciplinary and benefits from the most modern technologies. Thus, many initiatives at MIT cross the traditional boundaries and intersect with organic, inorganic, and physical chemistries as well as other scientific disciplines at MIT. Our department and the biological chemistry core offer something for everyone interested in pursuing groundbreaking investigations at the chemistry/biology interface.


Current research in biological chemistry at the MIT Department of Chemistry includes:


Cellular imaging – visualization of molecular processes through biophysical methods, including fluorescence spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy; new technologies for the study of endogenous proteins in living cells with preservation of spatiotemporal information; design and utilization of small molecules and proteins for cellular imaging applications


Drug discovery and delivery – antibiotic, antitumor, and antiviral therapeutic discovery based on small molecules, peptides, proteins and polymers; mechanistic investigations of therapeutics; new drug delivery approaches based on infectious agents, small-molecules, and materials


Environmental bioinorganic chemistry – biological CO2 fixation, enzymatic environmental remediation, benign design


Enzymology – enzyme mechanisms; studies of metalloproteins with novel cofactors, macromolecular protein complexes involved in glycosylation, DNA replication and repair, and methanol production; structure/function analysis of enzyme superfamilies; directed evolution and other strategies for engineering new enzymatic function


Metalloprotein biochemistry – biochemical, inorganic, and spectroscopic approaches to understanding the biology of transition metal ions, including studies metalloenzymes and metal-chelating proteins


Natural product biosynthesis – structural and mechanistic evaluation of biosynthetic enzymes; chemical synthesis of natural product scaffolds for practical applications


Peptide chemistry – new bioconjugation chemistry, fast-flow synthesis of biomolecules, mirror-image protein biology, and non-natural amino acids


Protein folding, structure, and function – application of the chemical biology toolkit to elucidate cellular protein folding and remedy protein misfolding in health and disease; application of high-frequency NMR, solid-state NMR, and EPR to elucidate the structures of amyloid proteins and fibrils