Iwahara Lab

Lab News

November 2019 - Present

January 31, 2024: Prof. Iwahara gives a Silantes webinar
He give a talk titled "Easy 13C,15N-labeling of DNA through isothermal amplification: applications to G-quadruplex, aptamer, and DNAzyme" at the inaugural Silantes webinar.

January 25, 2024: 5-year renewal of NIH R35 grant
We have received a Notice of Award for the 5-year renewal of our NIH R35 project titled "Dynamics of DNA scanning and recognition by proteins."

January 4, 2024: Our JACS manuscript accepted
Our manuscript on isothermal amplification of G-quadruplex, DNA aptamer, and DNAzyme has been accepted by Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

December 25, 2023: Merry Christmas
Our lab is closed for the week of Christmas.

November 15, 2023: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at a Gulf Coast Consortia meeting
Prof. Iwahara gives a talk titled "Biomolecular Electrostatics by NMR Spectroscopy" at the Cellular and Molecular Biophysics meeting of the Gulf Coast Consortia.

October 19, 2023: Postdoctoral position available
A postdoctoral position is available in our lab. Ideal candidates are those who have expertise in biophysics or biochemistry and can write MATLAB or Python scripts. Contact Prof. Iwahara by email if you are interested.

September 20, 2023: Visitor student from Osaka University
Shuhei Sakurabayashi, a graduate student of Osaka University (Japan), conducts NMR research on DNA dynamics in our lab for 3 months.

September 3, 2023: Lab webpage updates
We made major updates on our lab webpages about our research

August 24, 2023: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at the International Society of Magnetic Resonance meeting
Prof. Iwahara gives a talk titled "Biomolecular Electrostatics by NMR Spectroscopy" at the International Society of Magnetic Resonance meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

July 3, 2023: Matthew Jeong starts summer research
A high school student, Matthew Jeong, has started his summer research in our lab. He participates in our NSF-supported research.

June 26, 2023: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at the Protein Electrostatics meeting
Prof. Iwahara gives a talk titled "Biomolecular Electrostatics by NMR Spectroscopy" at the Protein Electrostatics meeting held at Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy.

June 22, 2023: Our paper featured in a cover image of Nucleic Acids Research
The cover image of the latest issue (Volume 51 Issue 10) of Nucleic Acids Research features our paper!

May 1, 2023: Our new Research Associate, Jonathan Paz-Villatoro
Today, Jonathan Paz-Villatoro has joined our group. As a Research Associate, Jonathan will prepare proteins and DNA for our biophysical and biochemical experiments and participate in our research. He will also edit our manuscripts.

April 3, 2023: Summer research for high school students
Five UTMB labs, including ours, will host high school students for summer research in this year. The five high school students who will participate in the summer research have been selected among many applicants.

March 2, 2023: Prof. Iwahara gives an invited seminar at University of Utah
Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar titled "Electrostatics of proteins and DNA by NMR Spectroscopy" at Department of Chemistry, University of Utah.

February 13, 2023: Position available
Our lab has an open position. If you are interested in joining our lab, please let Prof. Iwahara know.

January 9, 2023: Our manuscript accepted as a Breakthrough Article in Nucleic Acids Research
We are excited that our manuscript titled "Negatively charged, intrinsically disordered region can accelerate target search by DNA-binding proteins" has been accepted for publication as a Breakthrough Article in Nucleic Acids Research. Breakthrough Articles represent the top 2-3% of NAR papers in terms of originality, significance and scientific excellence.

December 30, 2022: New paper accepted
Our manuscript titled "DNA base order parameter determination without influence of chemical exchange" has been accepted for publication in Methods

November 10, 2022: Our group's Twitter page
Recently, our group has gotten a Twitter page (@IwaharaLab). Check it out.

October 18, 2022: Prof. Iwahara gives an invited talk at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel
Prof. Iwahara was invited to the Protein-DNA Interactions meeting at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He gives a talk titled "Electrostatics of Proteins and DNA by NMR Spectroscopy" today.

October 7, 2022: It happened again: Two manuscripts accepted on the same day
Our two manuscripts have been accepted today. One ("DNA-mediated proteolysis by neutrophil elastase enhances binding activities of the HMGB1 protein") is for Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the other ("Measuring local electrostatic potentials around nucleic acids by paramagnetic NMR spectroscopy") is for Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

September 20, 2022: Our paper featured in New and Notable of Biophysical Journal
Our paper on the electrostatic influences of DNA on various cations was featured in New and Notable of today's issue of Biophysical Journal.

September 15, 2022: Equipment supplement for our NIH project
For our NIH project, we have received a supplement fund for purchasing a gradient amplifier for a 750-MHz NMR spectrometer. Together with our diffusion probe hardware, this new gradient amplifier will produce magnetic field gradients up to ~1600 gauss/cm, which is ~30-fold stronger than typical NMR instruments can produce.

August 12, 2022: Prof. Iwahara becomes the SBB track director
Prof. Iwahara takes over the role of the Structural Biology & Biophysics (SBB) track director of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) graduate program at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

July 26, 2022: Two manuscripts on HMGB1 submitted
Recently, we have submitted two manuscripts on HMGB1. We are really serious about HMGB1 these days!

June 22, 2022: Two papers accepted on the same day
Our two manuscripts have been accepted today. One ("Slow rotational dynamics of cytosine NH2 groups in double-stranded DNA") is for Biochemistry, and the other ("Diffusion NMR-based comparison of electrostatic influences of DNA on various monovalent cations") is for Biophysical Journal.

May 23, 2022: Dr. Yu gives a talk at BMB "Progress in Research" Seminar
In the BMB "Progress in Researh" Seminar series, Dr. Yu presents his recent work on the NMR method to measure electrostatic potentials around biomolecules.

May 13, 2022: Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar at University of California Merced
Prof. Iwahara gives an invited seminar on target DNA search process at University of California Merced.

April 27, 2022: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at ENC
At the 63rd Experimental NMR Conference (ENC;  April 24-29, 2022 in Orlando Florida), Prof. Iwahara gives an invited talk titled "Biomolecular electrostatics by NMR."

April 8, 2022: New research grant from the Welch Foundation
We are excited to announce that the Welch Foundation has decided to provide us with a new 3-year grant for our research project titled Biomolecular electrostatics by NMR spectroscopy. It starts on June 1, 2022.

March 24, 2022: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at ACS Spring 2022
At the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2022 meeting, Prof. Iwahara gives a talk titled "NMR-based measurements of local electrostatic potentials around proteins: Examination of electrostatic theory."

March 8, 2022: Our PNAS paper recommended in Faculty Opinions 
Our PNAS paper on de novo determination of near-surface electrostatic potentials by NMR has been recommended in Faculty Opinions. 

February 25, 2022: Protein electrostatics by paramagnetic NMR for nonpolar groups
Our manuscript on investigations of protein electrostatics by paramagnetic NMR for nonpolar groups has been accepted by Journal of Physical Chemistry B. The submission was invited for the upcoming Special Issue "Biomolecular Electrostatic Phenomena". 

January 14, 2022: 23Na diffusion NMR spectroscopy reveals cation dynamics around DNA and protein
Our manuscript on the dynamic behavior of sodium ions around DNA and protein has been accepted for publication in Analytical Chemistry. Diffusion broadband NMR probe hardware capable of generating up to 270 G/cm gradients was used to characterize counterions of biomolecules.  

December 30, 2021: No summer research for high school students in 2022?
Due to the concern and uncertainty about the pandemic, we have removed the "Educational Outreach" tab from our lab webpage. We will post it again when our educational outreach activities become possible again.

November 15, 2021: Energy barriers for breaking hydrogen bonds between protein and DNA
Our manuscript on NMR investigations of energy barriers  for breaking hydrogen bonds between protein and DNA has been accepted for publication in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. In this work, we developed a novel NMR methods to measure kinetics of hindered rotations of NH2 groups.

October 15, 2021: Protein purification system upgraded
We have installed a sample pump for one of our AKTA Pure systems for protein purification. This will facilitate chromatographic purification of proteins from lysate samples. 

September 23, 2021: Prof. Iwahara gives a virtual seminar at Ohio State University
Prof. Iwahara gives a virtual seminar at Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio State University. The title of his seminar is "Biomolecular Electrostatics by NMR".

September 22, 2021: Marlen Mayorga-Flores joins our group
Dr. Marlen Mayorga-Flores joins our group as a postdoctoral fellow. Using NMR spectroscopy and some other tools, she will work on research on HMGB1.  

August 25, 2021: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at 22nd ISMAR Conference
At the 22nd International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR) Conference (August 22-27, 2021), Prof. Iwahara gives an oral presentation on our recent work on de novo determination of near-surface electrostatic potentials by NMR.  

August 13, 2021: Summer Research Program for high school students concluded
Our Summer Research Program for high school students has been concluded with research presentations by Kyle Tan and Johnluke Glover. Through this program, the participants learned various concepts and tools for research and made significant contribution to our NSF project.

July 27, 2021: Our recent PNAS paper highlighted
Our recent PNAS paper on determination of near-surface electrostatic potentials by NMR has been highlighted in the Commentaries section of this week's issue of PNAS. We thank Dr. Frans Mulder for the nice commentary on the importance of the work.

July 12, 2021: Our JMB paper on HMGB1 published
Our paper on dynamic autoinhibition of HMGB1 has been published in Journal of Molecular Biology. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Yaakov Levy's group of Weizmann Institute of Science.

July 5, 2021: Summer Research Program for high school students begins online
Two students, Kyle Tan and Johnluke Glover, start taking part in our NSF project. In this year, the summer research program is online due to the pandemic. Using their computer, the students will conduct research using MATLAB and bioinformatic tools under the supervision of Dr. Wang and Prof. Iwahara.

June 15, 2021: Karina Bien joins our group
Karina Bien has started working in our lab as a Research Associate. Her main role is to prepare proteins and DNA for our biophysical and biochemical experiments.

June 3, 2021: 35Cl NMR has become possible
Thanks to technical support of Bruker Biospin, we have become able to run 35Cl NMR experiments using our diffusion BBO NMR probe (capable of generating PFGs up to ~250 gauss/cm) for the 750-MHz spectrometer. With this capability of the NMR equipment, we can study the behavior of Cl- ions around biological macromolecules.

May 12, 2021: Dr. Yu under the spotlight
Our Research Scientist, Dr. Binhan Yu, is featured in BMB Spotlights.

May 5, 2021: Our new PNAS manuscript accepted for publication
Our new manuscript titled "De novo determination of near-surface electrostatic potentials by NMR" has been accepted by PNAS. In this paper, we have demonstrated that electrostatic potentials around biomolecules can be measured directly by NMR. This work adds a new capability to NMR spectroscopy. 

April 27, 2021: Experimental approaches for investigating ion atmospheres
Dr. Yu and Prof. Iwahara have summarized experimental approaches for investigating ion atmospheres around nucleic acids, proteins, and their complexes. This review covers conventional methods and our recent NMR-based methods.

March 24, 2021: Prof. Iwahara gives a talk at the Protein Electrostatics Webinar series
Prof. Iwahara gives a presentation titled "Quantifying and visualizing weak interactions between ions and biomolecules" at the Protein Electrostatics Webinar series.

February 12, 2021: 23Na diffusion NMR experiments have become feasible
Our diffusion BBO NMR probe (capable of generating PFGs up to ~250 gauss/cm) for the 750-MHz spectrometer has finally become operational and we have confirmed that it allows us to precisely measure 23Na diffusion. This will greatly facilitate our research on the ion atmosphere around DNA, RNA, proteins, and their complexes.

February 11, 2021: Position opening
As Dr. Nepravishta is going back to Italy in this month, we are recruiting for an opening position in our lab.

February 4, 2021: Lab Members webpage updated
The "Members" page of our lab website has been updated.

January 31, 2021: Michael Atwood starts research in our lab
A first-year medical student, Michael Atwood, starts research on HMGB1 inhibition in our lab.

January 28, 2021: Our PNAS paper recommended in Faculty OpinionsFaculty Opinions (formerly known as "F1000Prime") has recommended our recent PNASpaper on anion-protein interactions as being of special significance in the field.

January 14, 2021: Our Biophysical Chemistry review recommended in Faculty Opinions
Our recent review on kinetic models for target DNA search by proteins has been recommended in Faculty Opinions (formerly known as "F1000Prime").

December 14, 2020: Review on kinetic models for target DNA search by proteins
Prof. Kolomeisky, the chair of Chemistry Department of Rice University, and Prof. Iwahara jointly publish a review article on discrete-state stochastic kinetic models for target DNA search by proteins.

November 13, 2020: Drs. Xi Wang and Binhan Yu give presentations at departmental retreat
We attend the virtual BMB retreat on November 13th and 14th. Our group members, Dr. Xi Wang and Dr. Binhan Yu, present their recent biophysical studies.

November 4, 2020: Our PNAS manuscript accepted for publication
Our manuscript titled "Quantifying and visualizing weak interactions between anions and proteins" has been accepted by PNAS. In this work, we used NMR spectroscopy to detect and characterize anions weakly interacting with proteins.

October 7, 2020: Diffusion BBO probe arrived
A diffusion BBO (DiffBB) probe for a 750-MHz NMR spectrometer has arrived. This broadband NMR probe is capable of generating a strong magnetic field gradient (up to 250 gauss/cm) and will allow us to measure diffusion for various nuclei, including 7Li, 19F, 23Na, 31P, 113Cd, 195Pt, 207Pb, etc.

September 9, 2020: New AKTA Pure ordered
A new Cytiva AKTA Pure system with column selection valves has been ordered. This will be used to purify various proteins for biophysical and biochemical experiments.

August 10, 2020: Our Accounts of Chemical Research manuscript accepted for publication
Our manuscript titled "Dynamics of ionic interactions at protein-nucleic acid interfaces" has been accepted for publication in Accounts of Chemical Research, which is one of the most prestigious review journals in the field of Chemistry (Impact factor, 20.8).

July 2, 2020: Dr. Nepravishta gives a BMB seminar
Our Research Scientist, Dr. Ridvan Nepravishta, gives a presentation titled "Numerous reconciliations before divorce: the dynamic interactions of transcription factors with DNA". This is an online seminar via zoom.

July 1, 2020: Prof. Iwahara has become a regular member of NIH MSFB study section
Prof. Iwahara has become a regular member of NIH's Macromolecular Structure & Function B (MSFB) study section. His term is until June 30, 2024.

July 1, 2020: NSF-BSF project starts in September!
We have received an official notice of award for an NSF-BSF project titled "Dynamic protein autoinhibition as a mechanism for rapid DNA recognition". This is an international collaborative research project with Prof. Yaakov Levy's group (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel). The project will start on September 1, 2020.

May 18, 2020: Full-time operations
Our lab has resumed full-time operations.

April 27, 2020: Resume the lab work up to a 50% level
While working from home in the past 3 weeks, our team has been productive in writing manuscripts. We resume our lab work up to a 50% level of full-time operations, following UTMB's updated guidelines.

April 3, 2020: Lab shutdown due to COVID-19
Complying with UTMB's guidelines, we shut down our lab until further notice. We will come back strong!

March 25, 2020: Adjusting our activities
We are adjusting our research activities to shift to a remote mode, complying with UTMB's current guidelines.

February 25, 2020: New space
Now, the room MRB 5.116 is officially a part of the Iwahara lab. This makes the lab space continuous and more convenient for our experiments. We thank BMB for making it happen.

January 10, 2020: Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar at University of Liousville
Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar titled "Dynamics of ionic interactions involved in protein-DNA association" at Department of Chemistry, University of Liousville.

January 6, 2020: Dr. Yu gives a SCSB community seminar
Our Research Scientist, Dr. Binhan Yu, gives a seminar titled "Electrostatic interactions between proteins and nucleic acids" at a SCSB community seminar.

December 13, 2019: First explicit evidence of SIPs as metastable states for biomolecular ion pairs
Our study shows the first explicit evidence of solvent-separated ion pairs as metastable states in electrostatic interactions of biological macromolecules. This work was published in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

December 11, 2019: Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar at University of Houston
Prof. Iwahara gives a seminar titled "Dynamics of DNA recognition by proteins" at Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Houston.

December 5, 2019: The "Protein-DNA Interactions" workshop
Our group attend the "Protein-DNA Interactions" workshop at Rice BRC Auditorium (December 5-6, 2019). Prof. Iwahara is one of the organizers of this event.

November 18, 2019: Our Angewandte Chemie manuscript accepted for publication
Our manuscript on the ion atmosphere around DNA and the release of counterions upon protein-DNA association has been accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie, which is one of the most prestigious journals in chemistry (Impact factor, 12.2).

November 16, 2019: Lab webpage renewal
Our webpage has been renewed with great help from UTMB & SCSB IT teams. We welcome comments on the updated contents.