Our Centers / Applied Structural Discovery

Uncovering protein structure and function 

Proteins in plants and animals carry out tasks critical for survival, including metabolism and tissue repair, immunological responses, and capturing and using energy from sunlight to produce the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. Recognizing how proteins accomplish this requires an understanding of their structure, dynamics, and physical and chemical processes at the molecular and atomic scales.  

The Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery brings together researchers from diverse disciplines to develop groundbreaking technologies and methods to accelerate discoveries involving the structure and functions of biomolecules, especially proteins. Breakthrough knowledge will spark innovations that improve human health and provide clean energy and food for future generations. 


Petra Fromme

Petra Fromme is an international leader in photosynthesis, protein macromolecular crystallography using synchrotrons and protein nanocrystallography using X-ray Free Electron Lasers. She has vast experience unravelling the structure and function of Photosystem I and II proteins and ATP synthase. Specifically, she studies the structure-to-function relationship of membrane proteins involved in bioenergy conversion and infectious diseases. Fromme contributed to the development of serial femtosecond nanocrystallography for analyzing proteins using high-intensity XFEL.

Meet our center’s experts

Our center is supported by a knowledgeable team of researchers, staff and visionary leaders who are at the leading edge of their fields.


For questions about collaborations and center administration, please contact:

profile picture for Christopher LaMay

Christopher LaMay

Assistant to the Director

Support the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery

Using revolutionary techniques to uncover fundamental biological processes and make visionary discoveries impacting bioenergy, enzyme catalysis and drug discovery.