My group studies the structures of many different types of protein complexes. These include multiprotein complexes, RNPs, metalloproteins, and drug-like molecules bound to proteins. Predominantly we use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spetroscopy, but also routinely employ X-ray crystallograhic, proteomic, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques. We use these analyses of complex structures to understand how inter-molecular complexes function in cell biology and disease. More recently we have also begun analyzing how proteins interact with synthetic polymers to try to understand the mechanisms of fouling and non-canonical polymerization by enzymes. The following topics are current areas where I am recruiting undergraduate and masters student level researchers:
Ribonucleoprotein structures associated with tumor specific long non-coding RNAs (NIH R15 7R15GM110678-03) and La protein recognition of mRNAs (in collaboration with Andrea Berman at UPitt, NIH R01 5R01GM116889-02).
Enyzmatic prolymerization of new materials, in particular conjugated polymers. This is a collaboration with Christopher Ziegler at the University of Akron.
Polymer binding by proteins, specifically polymers that form liquid-liquid phase separations called coavervates that may be useful for therapeutic/theranostic protein delivery. This is a collaboration with Abraham Joy's group at the University of Akron.
Articles published since arrival at KSU are listed below; For a full list of publications (H-index 16), see the following link: TCLeeper at google scholar.
Recent publications (published since joining KSU):
"Efficient Protein Encapsulation within Thermoresponsive Coacervate-Forming Biodegradable Polyesters" MA Cruz, DL Morris, JP Swanson, M Kundu, SG Mankoci, TC Leeper, A Joy, (2018) ACS Macro Letters 7: 477-481.