Texas Tech University
TTU HomeDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry Faculty Dr. Joachim Weber

Dr. Joachim Weber

Title:

Associate Professor and Interim Chair

Education:

Ph.D., Medical University of Lübeck, Germany, 1990; Postdoctoral, University of Rochester, NY, 1990-1995; Research Assistant Professor, University of Rochester, NY, 1995-2003

Research Area:

Biochemistry

Office:

Phone:

Fax:

Email:

Chemistry 413-D

806-834-6379

806-742-1289

Joachim.Weber@ttuhsc.edu

 

Research Group

Principal Research Interests

ATP is the fuel for energy-requiring processes in all organisms.  Every day the human body produces approximately its own weight in ATP.  The enzyme ATP synthase is responsible for the bulk of ATP synthesis.  It uses a transmembrane proton gradient to synthesize ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate, and it hydrolyses ATP to transport protons across the membrane.  ATP synthesis/hydrolysis and proton translocation are tightly coupled by a unique mechanism, subunit rotation, making ATP synthase a very efficient rotary nanomotor.  The long-term goal of Dr. Weber’s research is to understand the mechanism of ATP synthase in molecular detail.

Dr. Weber’s current work focuses on the question how ATP binding and hydrolysis in the catalytic site drive subunit rotation, using a variety of approaches. The applied techniques range from molecular biology (site-directed mutagenesis) to biochemistry (protein chemistry, enzyme kinetics) to biophysical chemistry (fluorescence spectroscopy) and molecular modeling. Molecular dynamics simulations and torque measurements by single-molecule analysis are performed in collaboration with other laboratories. Noteworthy recent results of this research were (a) the identification of the catalytically-active nucleotide binding site, (b) the functional analysis of a unique hydrogen-bonding network between two subunits of the enzyme, and (c) further insight into the coupling mechanism between catalysis and rotation.

Research in Dr. Weber’s lab is supported by the NIH.

 

Representative Publications