Neale

molecular biophysics

Research Training

I began my scientific training as an experimental biologist, with emphasis on molecular biotechnology. My interest in computers led me to a summer internship under the mentorship of Julie Forman-Kay, where I developed theoretical approaches to characterize residual structural features in intrinsically disordered proteins. During this research, I developed a profound interest the link between the dynamic structures of proteins and their functions, which led me to conduct Ph.D. research under the mentorship of Régis Pomès. There, I learned to use computational models, built on the principles of physics, to obtain mechanistic insights into the structure and dynamics of proteins and cell membranes. Subsequently, I pursued postdoctoral training with Russell Bishop, where I developed complex models of bacterial outer membranes and studied their modulation of integral membrane protein function. I am currently a Director's postdoctoral fellow with Angel García at the Center for Nonlinear Studies in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where I have learned new enhanced sampling techniques and have embarked upon my own research program focusing on G protein-coupled receptors.

Although I am now a theoretical scientist, my 3 years of pre-Ph.D. wet-lab experience studying G protein-coupled receptors (AstraZeneca) and signal transduction pathways (Ontario Cancer Institute), and my more recent experimental research with Rachel Sterne-Marr at Siena College in New York provide me with a deep understanding of experimental research, which was immensely useful as I collaborated extensively with experimentalists throughout my Ph.D. and postdoctoral research. During this time, I developed successful and rewarding collaborations with 8 experimental research groups involving cell biologists, biochemists, X-ray crystallographers, NMR spectroscopists, and experts in atomic force microscopy and the quantification of structure in lipid bilayers.

In my work, I am deeply committed to experimental assessment of theoretical results and the application of rigorous methodological approaches to ensure that theoretical results are free from systematic sampling biases. Furthermore, I am an expert in designing and implementing massively parallel computational studies to systematically assess the role of structural change in molecular function. I have begun to garner recognition in this field as shown by invitations to speak at workshops and conferences (see my CV). This expertise advantageously positions me to obtain precise molecular insights into complex biochemical interactions in future research within my own group, and in collaboration with other groups.