Vesicle and Membrane Biophysical Chemistry

Gillmor Group...the move!


The cell membrane is a complex assortment of actors. Also, as the gateway and guardian to the interior cell, it accommodates ever changing physical and chemical environments. The lipids and cholesterol components form a fluid matrix for the various transmembrane proteins and receptors to inhabit. The relationship between the lipid bilayer and membrane proteins is not well-understood even ~35 years after Singer and Nicolson first described the structure. (1) Lipid organization in rafts, clusters or nano-domains, or lack there of, is the subject of constant debate with many competing theories.(2-8)

This lab focuses on understanding lipid membrane dynamics and their interactions in biological settings.  Cell membranes are complex, dynamic structures that serve several vital functions beyond their architectural boundary between the cytosol and extracellular space.  We have pursued several strategies to understand membrane behavior.  Taken together, these projects are driven by my longer-term goal of studying and targeting lipids to manipulate membrane behavior. 

Membrane Curvature

Lipid Cross-linking

Antimicrobial Peptides and Membranes

Nanoparticle Surface Chemistry


1. S. J. Singer, G. L. Nicolson, Science 175, 720 (1972).
2. K. Simons, E. Ikonen, Nature 387, 570 (1997).
3. K. Simons, W. L. C. Vaz, Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure 33, 269 (2004).
4. J. Y. Huang, G. W. Feigenson, Biophysical Journal 76, 2142 (Apr, 1999).
5. H. M. McConnell, A. Radhakrishnan, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-Biomembranes 1610, 159 (Mar 10, 2003).
6. H. M. McConnell, M. Vrljic, Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure 32, 469 (2003).
7. W. K. Subczynski, A. Kusumi, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 1610, 231 (2003).
8. Paper presented at the Probing Membrane Microdomains, Asilomar, California October 28-31, 2004.