U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 Contact Info

Tel: 301-594-9229
Email: travisb@mail.nih.gov

 Select Experience

  • Staff ScientistNIDDK, NIH2009–present
  • Postdoctoral FellowNIDDK, NIH2003–2009
  • Ph.D.University of Missouri2003
  • B.S.Missouri University of Science and Technology1995

 Related Links


Travis Barnard, Ph.D.

  • Structural Biology
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research in Plain Language

Proteins are essential to life. They are involved in all types of biological processes in all species of plants, animals, and bacteria. Our laboratory’s research program focuses on understanding how proteins function by analyzing their three-dimensional structure. We determine the structure of proteins using a technique called x-ray crystallography, which allows us to visualize their atomic arrangement in three-dimensional space. Our lab is specifically interested in proteins present on the surface of bacteria that are involved in transport, secretion, and adhesion processes. The proteins that we study are either required for bacterial survival or play critical roles in strengthening organisms that cause disease. Since these proteins are found on the surface of bacteria, vaccines and drugs can reach them more easily, making them good targets for the development of medical treatments to fight infectious diseases. If we can determine the structure of these particular proteins, that knowledge may greatly enhance efforts to make effective treatments that specifically interact with infectious bacteria cells and not a patient’s own cells.