Gateway Park 4023
+1 (508) 8315000 x4193
Affiliated Department or Office
Interactive Media and Game Development
Neuroscience Program
BS Bucknell University 1997
PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2003

Our research integrates investigating the structure and function of targeted membrane proteins with development of mixed reality tools for workforce development. We combine biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of two classes of membrane proteins. In the first instance, we are investigating the mechanism of a zinc transporter, hZIP4. This protein has been implicated in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. Despite the central role of this protein in cellular homeostasis, the mechanism of cation transport is not well understood. Secondly, we have been investigating the molecular determinants that help to define the functionality of opsin proteins.

More recently, we have designed, developed, implemented and assessed mixed reality programs for the life science space. As part of our emphasis in improving outcomes for various stakeholders, we have built an augmented reality-based safety training program shown to be more effective than traditional lectures in this area. Also, we have designed smartphone apps for protein structure visualization. Most recently, we have built a flow chemistry app for industry partners. 

Scholarly Work

Channelrhodopsin C1C2: Photocycle kinetics and interactions near the central gate. van Gordon, M., Prignano, L., Dempski, R.E., Rick, S. and Rempe, S. Biophysical Journal. (2021) 120 (9) 1835-1845

Channelrhodopsin-2 function is modulated by residual hydrophobic mismatch with the surrounding lipid environment. Richards, R., Mondal, S., Weinstein, H. and Dempski, R.E. Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering. (2019) 9 (13) 2674.

Quantifying the Oligomeric State of hZIP4 on the Surface of Cells. Ahern, M.E., Bafaro, E.M., Cowan, A. and Dempski, R.E. Biochemistry. (2019) 58 (13) 1705-1708.

Concomitant disorder and high affinity zinc binding in the hZIP4 intracellular loop. Bafaro, E.M., Maciejewski, M., Hoch, J. and Dempski, R.E. Protein Science. (2019) 28 (5) 868-880.

Increasing enthusiasm and enhancing learning for biochemistry-laboratory safety with an Augmented-Reality Program. Zhu, B., Feng, M., Kesselman, J. Harrison, L., and Dempski, R.E. Journal of Chemical Education. (2018) 95, 1747-1754.