Department of Chemistry
College of Arts & Sciences
Dr. Columbus’ laboratory investigates the structural determinants of bacterial pathogen - host interactions mediated by membrane proteins. Specifically, her lab is interested in bacterial membrane proteins that hijack human cell functions (e.g. phagocytosis) that would be desirable to engineer in therapeutic delivery systems. Currently, her group focuses on cellular uptake of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The Columbus lab uses a variety of biophysical and structural biology approaches, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), fluorescence spectroscopy, and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), to probe questions about bacterial membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics and their interactions with host receptors.