Research News

Read about Thiru's Polymer Nanodisc in the News!

Michigan news wrote up an article - read it here!

Watch Katie's Video about her recent Sci. Reports Paper! July 17, 2017

For more details, check out the paper! Kinetic and Structural Characterization of the Effects of Membrane on the Complex of Cytochrome b5 and Cytochrome c

Watch Kyle's Video about his recent JBC Paper! May 26, 2017

For more details, check out the paper! Reduced Lipid Bilayer Thickness Regulates the Aggregation and Cytotoxicity of Amyloid-B

Upcoming Protein Misfolding Diseases Symposium! July 31 - August 3, 2017

For more details, check out the symposium website -

Watching detox enzymes work could lead to better medicines

March, 2016

An article has been published in Michigan News about the research ongoing in the Cytochrome Team - specifically Meng's recent paper in Angewandte Chemie!!

Read the article - Here!

Read the paper - Here!

Congrats Meng!

Congratulations to Amit - His paper has been recommended by Faculty 1000 Prime! February, 2016

Read the paper here!

Access the recommendation on F1000Prime

Chemical Communication's Cover Art is from Kyle's recent amyloid paper! January, 2016

Read the article that inspired the art! Link

Bacterial curli protein and amyloid sequences September 30, 2014

Prof. Ramamoorthy gives an update on the impact of this research, a year after publication of the article titled "Bacterial curli protein promotes the conversion of PAP248-286 into the amyloid SEVI: cross-seeding of dissimilar amyloid sequences" which has already been cited several times, on the PeerJ blog and can be found here.

Preventing Diabetes Damage: Zinc's Effects On a Kinky, Two-Faced Cohort July 05, 2011

Read the ScienceDaily Science News article published on Samer's recent paper: here.

We also wish Samer farewell and wish him the best in medical school!

The JACS Image Challenge #106 was drawn from Pieter's recent dendrimer publication! September 22, 2010

Try to see if you can solve the challenge here!

You can also access the original publication here.

Avanti Polar Lipics, Inc. Begins Selling a New Type of Lipids Based on Research Done in Our Lab! August 23, 2010

Avanti is now selling 14:0 PE-DTPA(Cu) lipids. The addition of these lipids to their catalog was inspired by exciting research performed in our lab! This is outstanding vallidation that the research done in the Ramamoorthy lab is extremely important and relevant in both the NMR and biological fields. A detailed pdf brochure can be downloaded by following this link.

"Inclusion of copper (Cu2+) ions in bicelles in the form of a lipid chelate resulted in a 10-fold T1 reduction and 2.7-fold increase in S/N of spectra for static experiments. This improvement would allow 2D experiments on membrane proteins in aligned lipid bilayers that typically take 3 days to be completed in <1.5 days. The technique is particularly beneficial to the study of membrane disrupting/permeating systems (such as antimicrobial peptides, toxins, amyloid peptides, and fusion peptides) whose concentration cannot be increased, as they result in nonlamellar conditions."

"Security guard" zinc is off-duty in diabetes July 12, 2010

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—In type 2 diabetes, a protein called amylin forms dense clumps that shut down insulin-producing cells, wreaking havoc on the control of blood sugar. But in people without diabetes, amylin doesn't misbehave; it actually pitches in to help with blood sugar regulation. What accounts for the difference?

Read more here.

- Covered in the News Service of the University of Michigan

A little magic provides an atomic look at bone December 04, 2009

Featured in "Nanotechnology Now." (See full article here)

"The research by scientists at the University of Michigan is reported in the Dec. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

'If people think of bone at all—and they usually don't, until they have a fracture—they think of it as an inert material,' said Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, professor of chemistry and of biophysics. 'But like everything else, bone is also made up of molecules whose behavior is reflected in its structure, toughness and mechanical strength, making bone really exciting in terms of its chemistry and its contribution to health and well-being.'

Understanding the structure and structural changes of bone, a highly heterogeneous material with a complex hierarchical architecture, continues to be a significant challenge even for high-resolution solid-state NMR spectroscopy. While it is known that dehydration affects mechanical properties of bone by decreasing its strength and toughness, the underlying structural mechanism at the atomic level is unknown. Solid-state NMR spectroscopy, controlled dehydration, and H/D exchange were used for the first time to reveal the structural changes of an intact piece of bovine cortical bone."

Link to Journal of the American Chemical Society Paper: Time-Resolved Dehydration-Induced Structural Changes in an Intact Bovine Cortical Bone Revealed by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy

Enigmatic viral promotion December 01, 2009

"An enigmatic component of human semen, SEVI, semen-derived enhancer of virus infection, boosts infectivity of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes AIDS. Since its discovery in 2007, researchers have been hoping to learn more about its structure with the aim of inhibiting its infection-promoting activity; NMR spectroscopy has now produced new clues.

Sexual intercourse is the major route to HIV transmission, but identifying the various biochemical and physical factors that allow some people to become infected with the virus more readily than others is an important focus of research into this potentially lethal disease.

In 2007, Frank Kirchhoff of the Institute of Virology, University Clinic of Ulm, in Germany, and colleagues reported in Cell (2007, 131, 1059-1071; 10.1016/j.cell.2007.10.014) screened a complex peptide/protein library derived from human semen and demonstrated that naturally occurring fragments of the abundant biomarker prostatic acidic phosphatase (PAP) can form tiny fibres of amyloid material..."

See full article at:

Hybrid molecules show promise for exploring, treating Alzheimer's November 26, 2009

Featured in Science Daily and the University of Michigan News Service

"University of Michigan researchers have developed new molecular tools that can be used to investigate the process. The molecules also hold promise in Alzheimer's disease treatment. The research, led by assistant professor Mi Hee Lim, was published online this week in the Journal of the American Chemical Society..."

An Atomic Look at SEVI, an HIV Accomplice November 19, 2009

Featured in the University of Michigan News Service, Biocompare, The Medical News, and Internet Chemistry

We have solved the atomic-level resolution structure of the SEVI precursor PAP248−286 using NMR spectroscopy in SDS micelles, which serve as a model membrane system. PAP248−286, which does not disrupt membranes like most amyloid proteins, binds superficially to the surface of the micelle, in contrast to other membrane-disruptive amyloid peptides that generally penetrate into the core of the membrane. The structure of PAP248−286 is unlike most amyloid peptides in that PAP248−286 is mostly disordered when bound to the surface of the micelle, as opposed to the α-helical structures typically found of most amyloid proteins.

Related Links:

Journal of the American Chemical Society paper, "NMR Structure in a Membrane Environment Reveals Putative Amyloidogenic Regions of the SEVI Precursor Peptide PAP248-286

Biophysical Journal paper, "Helical Conformation of the SEVI Precursor Peptide PAP248-286, a Dramatic Enhancer of HIV Infectivity, Promotes Lipid Aggregation and Fusion"

Turmeric: India's 'Holy Powder' Finally Reveals Its Centuries-old Secret April 20, 2009

Featured in Science Daily

"Scientists in Michigan are reporting discovery of the secret behind the fabled healing power of the main ingredient in turmeric — a spice revered in India as "holy powder.'..."

Turmeric Ingredient Makes Membranes Behave For Better Health March 6, 2009

Featured in Science Daily

"Revered in India as 'holy powder,' the marigold-colored spice known as turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and other health problems. In recent years, research into the healing powers of turmeric's main ingredient, curcumin, has burgeoned, as its astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties has been revealed..."

Protein's role examined in Type 2 diabetes mechanics November 21, 2008

Featured in The University Record

"By comparing the human form of IAPP to the rat version, which does not cause cell death, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and co-workers showed that a difference of a single amino acid (protein building block) at a position designated as residue 18 accounts for the difference in toxicity..."

New insights into cause of diabetes emerge from U-M research May 07, 2008

Featured in the University of Michigan News

"Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and co-workers show in the new study that membrane damage can occur independently of amyloid formation and that the protein involved, known as Islet Amyloid Polypeptide Protein (IAPP), has separate regions responsible for amyloid formation and membrane disruption..."

Football illustrates biological interactions April 07, 2008

Featured in The University Record and the University of Michigan News Service

"When is a biological membrane like a U-M football game? Always, if you ask associate professor of chemistry and biophysics and diehard football fan Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, who illustrates his lectures and scientific papers with maize-and-blue, gridiron-inspired images..."

New plastic is strong as steel, transparent October 4, 2007

Featured in Science Daily and The University Record

"By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent..."

Revealing the workings of 'Mother Nature's blowtorch' September 14, 2007

Featured in Science Daily and The University Record

"Using atom-level imaging techniques, University researchers have revealed important structural details of an enzyme system known as "Mother Nature's blowtorch" for its role in helping the body efficiently break down many drugs and toxins..."

Fluorous peptides get ready to heal September 10, 2007

Featured in Science/Technology ACS Meeting News

"WHAT DO YOU GET when you cross a frog with a nonstick frying pan? The answer: antibiotics with fluorinated amino acids..."

Natural antibiotics yield secrets to atom-level imaging technique March 5, 2007

Featured in The University Record

"Frog skin and human lungs hold secrets to developing new antibiotics, and a technique called solid-state NMR spectroscopy is a key to unlocking those secrets. That's the view of U-M researcher Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, who was scheduled to discuss his group's progress toward that goal March 3 at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in Baltimore, Md..."

$2.5M grant supports use of nanotechnology to fight cancer October 25, 2005

Featured in The University Record

"U-M researchers will develop a module to deliver drugs directly to tumor cells, using a manmade polymer molecule called a dendrimer that is small enough to slip through tiny openings in cell membranes. The dendrimer module will be joined to another polymer, which will allow researchers to target cancer cells for imaging or treatment..."