Structural Biology

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Structural Biology

Structural biology is a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules, especially proteins and nucleic acids, how they acquire the structures they have, and how alterations in their structures affect their function. This subject is of great interest to biologists because macromolecules carry out most of the functions of cells, and because it is only by coiling into specific three-dimensional shapes that they are able to perform these functions. This architecture, the "tertiary structure" of molecules, depends in a complicated way on the molecules' basic composition, or "primary structures."

Biomolecules are too small to see in detail even with the most advanced light microscopes. The methods that structural biologists use to determine their structures generally involve measurements on vast numbers of identical molecules at the same time. These methods include:

Most often researchers use them to study the static "native states" of macromolecules. But variations on these methods are also used to watch nascent or denatured molecules assume or reassume their native states. See protein folding.

A third approach that structural biologists take to understanding structure is bioinformatics to look for patterns among the diverse sequences that give rise to particular shapes. Researchers often can deduce aspects of the structure of integral membrane proteins based on the membrane topology predicted by hydrophobicity analysis. See protein structure prediction.

In the past few years it has become possible for highly accurate physical molecular models to complement the in silico study of biological structures.

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Matching Structural Biology Colleges

Yeshiva University
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $34,200 average out-state tuition; $34,200 average in-state tuition
Baylor College of Medicine
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Structural Biology Scholarships

Name Amount Deadline
Monsanto STEM Fellowship Up to $50,000 May 01, 2017
Monsanto Graduate Student Scholarship Up to $25,000 May 01, 2017
FIRST Scholarship - University of Advancing Technology $10,000 May 24, 2017
Dean of Science Scholarship for Continuing Students - IUPUI Up to $2,500 May 15, 2017
Dean of Science Scholarship - IUPUI Up to $2,000 May 15, 2017
Ford Motor Company Future Leaders Scholarship $1,500 June 05, 2017
Novus Biologicals Scholarship $1,500 July 17, 2017
NDIA William Kauf Memorial Scholarship $1,000 May 31, 2017
Riley Thomas Greer Scholarship $1,000 June 01, 2017
Matheon Scholarship Up to $1,000 May 01, 2017