Structural Biology

Tina Iverson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Vanderbilt University Medical Center 23rd Ave @ Pierce, Nashville, TN, 37232-6600
(615) 322-7817 (office)

Research Description

The fundamental ability of an organism to respond to information in the environment is critical to many broad areas of biology. For example, during organ and tissue development, how do cells determine when to grow or when to die? How does a host know that a pathogen is present, and how does a pathogen identify an appropriate host? Proteins commonly store information, and these proteins may respond to changes in information via changes in shape (conformational changes) or by changes in oligomerization. To reveal how information is encoded and transferred, we use a molecules-to-organisms approach where we first identify structures of the proteins that regulate any given process. We then investigate how these structures change in the presence of a signal. We develop hypotheses for how the information is encoded, and test these in vitro, in cells, and sometimes in whole organisms. We find that there are distinct guiding principles for information encoding that may be common to many signaling systems.


Selected Publications