Taylor Colburn receives a 2016 CLAS Undergraduate Summer Enrichment Scholarship | About | Beckstein Lab

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Taylor Colburn receives a 2016 CLAS Undergraduate Summer Enrichment Scholarship

Taylor Colburn receives a 2016 CLAS Undergraduate Summer Enrichment Scholarship

Undergraduate student Taylor Colburn received a ASU CLAS Undergraduate Summer Enrichment (USE) Scholarship. The scholarship initially provides $1,500 for Taylor to carry out research in the Beckstein Lab over the summer 2016. Additional incentives (up to $500 in total) will be paid out if the research is presented at local meetings and successfully transitioned into scholarship (e.g. presentation at regional/national meeting, paper, or grant application). The scholarship is funded through ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED).


Taylor will work on Simulations of transporters with the same fold but different function. Active transport of ions and small molecules across the cell membrane is catalyzed by secondary active transporters. Their role is vital in cell homeostasis and dysfunction is associated with complex diseases ranging from cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity to autism. Research on Transporters in this Lab and elsewhere has elucidated some key aspects of the molecular mechanisms involved in transport. Different transporter families perform different physiological roles (e.g. some function as symporters, others as antiporters) despite sharing a similar molecular architecture (“fold”). This somewhat puzzling realization contradicts the widely held belief that similar fold implies similar function and mechanism. We will simulate the functionally important conformational transition between “inward facing” and “outward facing” conformations for a number of transporters using the dynamic importance sampling molecular dynamics method1. Using our recently developed path similarity analysis (PSA) method2 we will determine in how far similar fold implies similar functionally relevant protein motions.


  1. a J. R. Perilla, O. Beckstein, E. J. Denning, and T. Woolf. Computing ensembles of transitions from stable states: Dynamic importance sampling. J. Comp. Chem., 32 (2):186–209, 2011. doi: 10.1002/jcc.21564
  2. a Seyler SL, Kumar A, Thorpe MF, Beckstein O (2015) Path Similarity Analysis: A Method for Quantifying Macromolecular Pathways. PLoS Comput Biol 11 (10): e1004568. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004568

Discuss: “Taylor Colburn receives a 2016 CLAS Undergraduate Summer Enrichment Scholarship”

April 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

Congratulations, Taylor, well done! I look forward to the summer!

Posted by  Oliver Beckstein

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