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Bryan Thurtle-Schmidt


Postdoctoral University of California, San Francisco (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (Molecular and Cell Biology)
B.S., B.A. Indiana University at Bloomington (Biochemistry, History)


As a biochemist I am interested in the relationship between protein structure and function. In particular, I focus on large proteins I like to think of as "molecular machines."

I have worked on proteins ranging from the tiny confines of the nucleus to the outer reach of the plasma membrane, with functions ranging from the cutting and re-arranging of DNA to the carrying of small molecules across the cell membrane. What these diverse proteins share in common is their possession of multiple regions that must move in precise harmony with one another to carry out a complex function. I've explored these motions and their relationships with protein function through a combination of structural biology, biochemistry and genetics.

Biochemistry is a field that is advancing rapidly, and in my courses we keep up-to-date with advances in the scientific literature. My courses combine interactive lectures with discussions of journal articles and investigative labs designed to resemble genuine laboratory research.


My laboratory investigates a membrane protein family involved in the transport of anions. In humans, a protein named Band 3 is responsible for carrying bicarbonate (a derivative of carbon dioxide) across the membranes of red blood cells. Band 3 activity thus enables us to breathe. In plants, a related protein named Bor1 transports borate, an essential plant micronutrient that is necessary to support plant growth but toxic in excess levels. Students in my lab will perform biochemical experiments to probe how this protein family functions to move their substrates across membranes.


BIO 303 Biochemistry