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Oliver Beckstein

Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1504
Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1504
PHY - Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1504
Biography

Oliver Beckstein leads a computational research group in the Center for Biological Physics and in the Department of Physics at Arizona State University.

He obtained his undergraduate degree (Diplom Physik) from the Department of Physics at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany and his doctoral degree (DPhil) from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. He held a Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford and worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Tom Woolf at Johns Hopkins University and Mark Sansom in Oxford.

Beckstein's research group uses and develops computational methods to better understand the molecular mechanisms of biological processes. A special focus is on the quantitative prediction of the function and activity of proteins from the knowledge of their structures alone. The group has special expertise in transmembrane transport processess catalyzed by membrane proteins such as secondary active transporters and ion channels. The group contributes to the fields of structural biology, physiology, nanobiotechnology, and drug discovery. Professor Beckstein has also broad interests in computational method and software development, including the development of novel algorithms to sample and analyze molecular systems. He is a co-founder and core developer of the widely used open source MDAnalysis library for the analysis of biomolecular simulations.

Education
  • D.Phil. Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK 2005
  • Diplom (Physik). Physics, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany 1999

 

Research Interests

The focus of the research in the lab is in applying computational methods to understand the molecular mechanisms of biological processes, in particular transport across the cell membrane.

Many proteins in the living cell can be understood as molecular machines that use a source of energy to produce mechanical or chemical work. The lab's primary interest is in those proteins located in the cell membrane that move nutrients, signalling molecules, or waste products into and out of the cell. We study their molecular mechanisms of action by detailed molecular dynamics simulations, which provide a "movie" of full atomic detail of a working protein.Current areas of interest focus on the mechanisms of secondary active transport; methods to accurately simulate macromolecular transitions that are crucial in understanding ligand binding, gating in ion channels, or the translocation of substrates through the cell membrane; and the role of water in confined geometries, for instance in ion channel gating mechanisms or ligand discrimination.

Research Group

See the Beckstein Lab for current members and more about recent activities of the research group.

Research Activity

See the Beckstein Lab web page for recent news.

Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 194Special Topics
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 499Individualized Instruction
PHY 792Research
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 494Special Topics
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 495Project Research
NAN 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 792Research
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 799Dissertation
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 494Special Topics
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 495Project Research
NAN 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 799Dissertation
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 493Honors Thesis
PHY 494Special Topics
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 495Project Research
NAN 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Summer 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 799Dissertation
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 493Honors Thesis
PHY 494Special Topics
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 495Project Research
NAN 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 542Topics in Biophysics
PHY 792Research
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
PHY 315Quantum Physics II
PHY 493Honors Thesis
PHY 495Project Research
PHY 792Research
PHY 799Dissertation
Editorships

European Biophysics Journal (Advisory Editorial Board)

Professional Associations

Biophysical Society, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, British Biophysical Society, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft

Graduate Faculties / Mentoring History

Graduate faculty in the Department of Physics, Graduate faculty in the School of Molecular Sciences, Barrett, the Honors College faculty