DINESH YERNOOLAssistant Professor
Biological membranes form selectively permeable barriers that play a central role in maintaining the unique chemical environment of cells and subcellular compartments. Proteins embedded in membranes enforce selective permeability, thus they facilitate the spatial and temporal separation of physiological activities central to normal cell function and multicellular organization. Membrane proteins mediate crucial processes such as signaling between cells, transport across membranes, and energy transduction. Consistent with their essential roles, defects in membrane proteins result in a variety of pathological conditions. Consequently, these proteins are the focus of numerous pharmaceutical drug development programs, and more than 50% of drugs in use today target membrane proteins. Despite their importance, we lack a structural and mechanistic understanding of the various processes mediated by membrane proteins. One of the big questions is â€œhow do ions, molecules and information traverse membranes? We seek answers to this question by studying specialized membrane proteins such as receptors, ion channels, and transporters using x-ray crystallographic, biochemical and biophysical approaches.
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1999
- Invited speaker, Gordon Research Conference on Membrane Transport Proteins, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, October 2004, Structure of a glutamate transporter homolog from Pyrococcus horikoshii
- Invited speaker, Gordon Research Conference on Proteins, Holderness School, USA, June 2005, Structure and mechanism of glutamate co-transport
- Invited speaker, Symposium on Molecular Approaches to Membrane Transport, Stockholm, Sweden, August 2005, Structural insights into mechanism of aspartate and glutamate transport
Professional Faculty Research
(Biophysics, Biochemistry and Structural Biology) Membrane protein structure and function; transport of ions and molecules across membranes; signal transduction.