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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

Sunny Zhou

Professor Zhaohui Zhou (pronounced like Joe), a.k.a. Sunny, received his B.S. in chemistry from Peking University, Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute under Professor Donald Hilvert (now at ETH), and did postdoctoral research in enzymology and biochemistry with Professor Rowena G. Matthews at the University of Michigan. He is an editor of the journals mAbs and Therapeutic Antibodies.

Jeffrey Agar

The Agar group characterizes post-translational modifications of proteins and changes in protein, peptide, and lipid expression that occur during ALS, and then determines which of these changes have structural or toxic consequences. Because ALS begins with the death of a single type of cell, the motor neuron, we have developed numerous methods for the analysis of single cells by mass spectrometry. The Agar group specializes in mass spectrometry, including ultra-high mass resolution “top-down” mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry imaging methods, and has developed both analytical methods (“Matrix solution fixation” introduced by Agar YR 2007, automated funnel-skimmer dissociation, Karabacak 2008 and Cobb 2010, single-cell mass spectrometry imaging of mammalian cells, Agar YR 2010 and Boggio 2011) and computational tools (Karabacak 2008 introduced “Big Mascot” or Mascot TD database search engine, Li 2008 and 2010 introduce isotope calculator, a suite for mass spectrometry imaging applications is functional and to-be-submitted).

Prof. Agar is a joint appointment between the College of Science and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

Heather Clark

Heather Clark is a Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemistry at Northeastern University. She received her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Michigan, and completed a postdoc in the Center for Cell Analysis & Modeling at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Dr. Clark’s research focuses on the development of nanosensors to measure concentrations of ions and small molecules at the cellular level, as well as in vivo. She has received awards for both research and teaching, including the DARPA Young Faculty Award. Her work has been featured in a live CNN interview, the Wall Street Journal, WIRED magazine and MIT Technology Review.

Alexander Ivanov

Prof. Ivanov earned his Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow in 2000.  He initially joined Northeastern University as a postdoctoral fellow at the Barnett Institute (2000 – 2003).  Then he joined Harvard University first as Assistant Director and then he was promoted to Associate Director of the Harvard NIEHS Center for Environmental Health Proteomics Facility at the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases (GCD) of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).  Dr. Ivanov continued his tenure at Harvard University becoming Director of the HSPH Proteomics Resource in 2008.  Dr. Ivanov re-joined Northeastern as Research Associate Professor at the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis in 2011.  In 2017, he accepted a position of an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Faculty Fellow at the Barnett Institute of Chemical & Biological Analysis.

Prof. Ivanov’s research focuses on the development of microscale liquid phase separation- and mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic technologies for solving challenging biomedical problems. The areas he is currently working on include: (1) deep proteomic profiling of limited biological samples (e.g., rare circulating cells, microdissected cells from tissue microscale biospecimens) using ultra-low flow liquid phase separation techniques, including capillary electrophoresis (CE) and ultra-narrow bore column liquid chromatography (LC) interfaced with advanced MS; (2) comprehensive characterization of protein isoforms, modifications (e.g. post-translational modifications, chemical modifications, sequence variants, charge variants), and protein complexes (in their native non-denatured states), including characterization of biopharmaceuticals, using a combination of bottom-up, middle-down, top-down and native proteomic approaches; (3) development of ultra-low flow liquid phase separation techniques, including CE and ultra-narrow monolithic and porous layer open tubular column LC for high sensitivity (attomole and low zeptomole level) MS analysis; and (4) isolation and characterization of extracellular vesicles, including circulating exosomes and microparticles, as potential sources of biomarkers for disease diagnostics and therapy delivery vehicles. He has been actively involved in national and international initiatives enabled under the umbrella of the ABRF to develop standards for proteomics research and standardize proteomic practices. Dr. Ivanov’s expertise involves advanced sample preparation, liquid phase separation, MS and bioinformatics techniques.

John Engen

Current research projects in his laboratory include (1) investigations of kinase conformation to understand regulation and aberrant signaling in various disease states including cancer, (2) analysis of the conformation of viral accessory proteins from HIV, (3) studies of protein conformation at biological membranes, and (4) optimization and methods development in hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry.

Leila Deravi

The Biomaterials Design Group at Northeastern University works at the interface of bio-analytical chemistry, materials science, and design. We investigate fundamental mechanisms behind systems in biology and use our understanding to better inform the design new classes of protein-based biomaterials that may interface with or enhance the performance of humans. Thus, a key aspect of our research is developing strategies to build the structure dependent function of biomolecules into macromolecular materials. A summary of our ongoing projects to support this goal are described here:

  • Fibrillogenesis. We investigate how natural and synthetic polymers come together and assemble into a fibrous network. Inspired by how cells build their extracellular matrix, we develop experimental strategies to induce fibrillogenesis across multiple spatial scales (nano- to centi- meter). Based on the structure and composition of the self-assembling protein or polymer network of interest, we explore applications that can range from tissue engineering to textile design.
  • Bionics. Engineering at the biotic-abiotic interface by modifying the natural function and composition of the extracellular matrix will not only provide alternative substrates for wearable or implantable electronics that are flexible but also introduce new materials that are capable of chemically coupling to tissues and organs in vivo. We adapt additive manufacturing techniques to build customizable protein based materials. We are developing chemistries that will enable us to re-purpose protein binding domains towards these applications.
  • Bio-optics.  Cephalopods such as squid, octopus, and cuttlefish are capable of rapid (~100 msec) and adaptive changes in coloration by varying the local distribution of dermal pigments and proteins to reflect, absorb, and transmit light. We study the molecular mechanism that regulates this process, where we focus specifically on the role of their pigment-containing nanoparticles in absorbing and scattering light across the ultraviolet through short-wave infrared regions. We build materials inspired by the cephalopods designed to enhance these characteristics for wearable applications. We also dedicate time to optimizing and innovating methods to harness the pigments and proteins found in cephalopod tissue. More information specific to our squid dissections can be found here.