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Geoffrey P. F. Wood

Ph.D, Chemistry
University of Sydney, Australia (2007)

B.Sc (Hons I), Chemistry
University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2002)


Current Research:

My Research interests lie in the area of human health and disease. In particular I use molecular models to study reactions and molecules of biological interest. For example one of the projects I am currently undertaking is investigating the isomerization process involved in human immunoglobulin molecules. Usually once a protein folds on the endoplasmic reticulum it permanently remains in that configuration held together by a number of covalent and non-covalent interactions. One of the stronger stabilizing interactions is the disulfide bond, which link two distal parts (in amino acid sequence) of a protein together covalently (with bonds strengths of about 250 kJ/mol). As Anfinsen's experiments on ribonuclease A demonstrated the possible number of disulfide bond connectivities can be very large but a protein always picks one unique connectivity. It was therefore suprising to learn that the IgG2 class of antibodies exhibited more than one connectivity (see Figure below). We are using molceular models to understand what effect the different connectivities have on the propteries of this class of antibodies.

Disulfide Isoforms of Human IgG2 antibodies

In another project we have investigated the Amyloid-&beta protein, which has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease. In the Figure below the intermediate structures are difficult to probe experimentally but they have been found to exhibit a random coil structure in solution with little or no secondary structure. In this project we have calculated the NMR signals of such a disordered peptide and showed that care needs to be exercised when assigning secondary structure to peptides that do not have one unique fold.

Structural transformations of the Amyloid-&beta protein

Contact Info:

Address:
Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave., Room E19-528
Cambridge, MA 02141

Phone: (617) 253-6675
Fax: (617) 253-2272
Email: gwood (at) mit.edu