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Thirupathi Ravula

travula@umich.edu 
Biophysics
930 N. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

(734) 763-9318



Academic Background:

I received my PhD from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India. Currently working as post-doc in Prof. Ramamoorthy lab. My research interests includes nanomaterials, material chemistry, bionanomaterials, molecular self-assembly and computational chemistry.



Research:


Development of new polymer nanodisc : Nanodiscs are disc-shaped lipid bilayers surrounded by an amphiphilic protein and are inspired from high-density lipoproteins. Nanodiscs provide a near native like lipid membrane environment and enables the study of membrane proteins in its active formRecent advances in nanodiscs technology have allowed nanodiscs to be formed by scaffold proteins, amphiphilic peptide or polymer. The hydrolyzed form of styrene maleic anhydride copolymer was the first polymer shown to form nanodiscs (styrene maleic acid lipoparticles called as SMALPs), are versatile and promising tools in biophysical and biomedical research that can offer a detergent-free solubilization of membrane proteins maintaining their native lipid environment.  SMALPs have several disadvantages which limits their applications. In this lab we are developing new polymers that can form nanodisc for various applications.

Total internal reflection fluorescence (TRIF) microscopy showing the solubilization of  DMPC multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) containing DMPE-rhodamine B as a function of time after the addition of the SMA-EA polymer For details see :Bioinspired, Size-Tunable Self-Assembly of Polymer–Lipid Bilayer Nanodiscs



Solubilization of DMPC multilamellar vesicles ‎‎(MLVs)‎‎ with SMA-EA polymer





pH Resistant polymer nanodiscs: In spite of the recent advances in the development and usage of polymer lipid nanodisc systems, lack of control over size and poor tolerance to pH and divalent metal ions are major limitations for further applications. Recently we synthesized new polymer called SMA-QA which is capable to form monodispersed lipid bilayer nanodiscs that show ultra-stability towards a pH range of 2.5 to 10 and divalent metal ion concentration. 

Formation of pH-Resistant Monodispersed Polymer-Lipid Nanodiscs





Real-Time Monitoring of Lipid Exchange via Fusion of Peptide Based Lipid-Nanodiscs:The dynamic nature of peptide-based lipid-nanodiscs is investigated by high speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM), which is capable of acquiring several images per second. The real time monitoring of nanodiscs in unprecedented time and space resolutions provides evidence for nanodisc association and the time scale of their fusion. 





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