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Spaller, Brian

B. Logan Spaller

Graduate Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant MBS
Molecular Biosciences, Biology Instruction Office

Elucidating Protein Homeostasis and Genetic Integrity

Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

My research interests span the biochemical, biophysical, and molecular regimes with a broad focus in understanding protein homestasis and genetic integrity. From 2011-2013, I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Paulo Almeida's lab at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. There, I studied the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of membrane-active peptides, in hopes of developing ones that are good translocators to act as cargo delivery systems for drugs and other therapeutics.

In August, 2013 I moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked in Dr. Dorothy Erie's lab from 2013-2017. The Erie lab primarily focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying DNA mismatch repair, the pathway that corrects DNA replication errors. Using atomic force microscopy, I characterized two hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer mutants of the mismatch repair initiation protein, hMutSa. My research ultimately led to a better understanding of the aberrant activities of these mutants that cause deficient mismatch repair phenotypes.

After receiving a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017, I moved to Austin, Texas to join the Biochemistry Ph.D. program in the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. I currently work in Dr. Andreas Matouschek's lab, where I study the ubiquitin proteasome system, which helps control cellular protein levels by degrading them. There are two primary components that determine if a substrate will be targeted to the proteasome: ubiquitination and a disordered initiation region. I use in vivo methods to study the interactions of these two targeting factors to better understand how the proteasome controls substrate specificity.

Ablan, F.D.O., Spaller, B.L., Abdo, K.I., Almeida, P.F. [2016] Charge Distribution Fine-Tunes the Translocation of alpha-Helical Amphipathic Peptides across Membranes, Biophysical Journal. Aug 30, 2016. Published.

Wheaten, S.A., Ablan, F.D.O., Spaller, B.L., Trieu, J.M., and Almeida, P.F. [2013] Translocation of Cationic Amphipathic Peptides across the Membranes of Pure Phospholipid Giant Vesicles, Journal of the American Chemical Society. Oct 23, 2013. Published.

Spaller, B.L., Trieu, J.M., and Almeida, P.F. [2013] Hemolytic activity of membrane-active peptides correlates with the thermodynamics of binding to 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine bilayers, Membr Biol. Jan 18, 2013. Published.