Wirth research group

back row: Kathryn Duffy, Tomika Bethea, Thai Le, Mary Wirth, Suping Zheng, John Lemon
front row: Eric Ross, Michael Legg, John Kirk, Scott Long, Takahira Tokimoto, Scott Cowell
(not shown: Ben Heitz, Barbara Mooney, Bongi Bishop)

Click here for more information on the students.

Our group is researching the analytical chemistry of membrane proteins.   Membrane proteins represent a frontier area of multidisciplinary research that is vitally important.  Membrane proteins are the targets of most pharmaceuticals, they are involved in photosynthesis, and they represent an opportunity for biomimetic design of nanomaterials.  The analytical techniques to separate and isolate them, and to determine their structures and functions, are all in their infancy.  We are combining chemistry, materials science, physics, and biology to create new analytical techniques for addressing these crucial needs.

Students in our group gain an understanding of an important and interesting research area, acquire a wide range of modern skills, develop the ability to work across scientific disciplines, and learn about real-world uses for their innovations.  The research is valuable for career paths than span many avenues of industry, academics, and government.  Our contacts in industry and government are exceptionally strong.

One question many students ask is what sort of background does one need in chemistry, materials science, physics, or biology for this research.  What a student needs is a solid academic background in any one of these, natural curiosity and a desire and ambition to work hard on something important.
We are recruiting a diverse group of students to bring us diverse expertise and viewpoints.  If you don't want to be pigeon-holed academically, if you want to have a spectrum of interesting career options, and if you believe the world is your oyster, this might be the group for you. 

Our research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.

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last updated: June, 2006