Darryl Bornhop Receives Chancellor's Award for Research
Darryl J. Bornhop, Professor of Chemistry, has received a 2012 Chancellor's Award for Research. The Chancellor's Awards for Research recognize excellence in research, scholarship, or creative expression. A major area of Professor Bornhop's research focuses on the development of backscattering interferometry (BSI), an analytical technique that detects minute changes in the refractive index of a solution. BSI has the capactity to measure binding interactions of proteins with their ligands at picomolar concentrations. The Chancellor's Award for Research recognizes Prof. Bornhop's recent work showing that BSI can accurately quantify ligand-receptor binding affinities in a variety of membrane environments. This work has major implications in in the field of chemical biology. Although membrane proteins are ubiquitous within all living organisms and represent the majority of drug targets, a general method for direct, label-free measurement of ligand binding to native membranes has not been reported. The simple and low-cost hardware, high sensitivity and label-free nature of BSI should make it readily applicable to the study of many membrane-associated proteins of biochemical and pharmacological interest.