Acting Chief: Robert Tycko

About the Lab

Current research in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics is primarily concerned with fundamental experimental, theoretical, and computational problems involving the structure, dynamics, and function of biological macromolecules, as well as their relation to human diseases that include Alzheimer’s and sickle cell diseases, AIDS, and COVID-19.

Current Research

Scientists in the lab study diverse topics in chemical and biological physics. These include:

  • fundamental aspects of the mechanism of protein folding;
  • new techniques and approaches for determining the structure and dynamics of bioactive molecules;
  • the structure and dynamics of proteins, protein-protein complexes, and protein-nucleic acid complexes using multidimensional NMR spectroscopy;
  • solid-state NMR methods for structural studies of amyloid fibrils
  • the gap between theory and experiment; and
  • the relationships between protein structure, dynamics, and function using ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Experimental techniques include solution and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), time-resolved X-ray crystallography and optical spectroscopy, rapid kinetics methods, and single molecule spectroscopy. The development of fundamental aspects of experimental and theoretical techniques is an active area in the laboratory.


Five of the seven tenured PI’s in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics have now been elected members of prestigious academic societies: Adriaan Bax, Marius Clore, William Eaton, Attila Szabo, and Robert Tycko to the US National Academy of Sciences, Marius Clore to the British Royal Society (founded in 1663) and William Eaton to the Accademia dei Lincei (the Academy of the Lynx, founded in 1603).  In addition, LCP scientists have received numerous highly prestigious awards, including the 2018 Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry to Adriaan Bax, the 2020 Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics to Robert Best, and the 2022 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry to William Eaton.