chemistry head shot
Dr. Larry DeLucas
Director, Center for Structural Biology
and Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering
Professor, School of Optometry 
Senior Scientist, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Office - (205) 934-5329 or Main - (205) 934-0550 

Areas of focus:
Protein Crystallography/Structure-based Drug Design/Protein Crystal Growth 

My work involves the determination of protein structures of biological interest. For those proteins implicated in various diseases, the structural information is used to design pharmaceutical compounds that may serve as useful clinical drugs for the treatment of complications associated with these diseases. A second aspect of my research involves understanding fundamental mechanisms for protein crystal growth processes and designing new crystallization systems that may enhance the quality of macromolecular crystals. In addition, my lab is involved in the development of a novel technology to solubilize and stabilize aqueous and membrane proteins. My lab is currently investigating the crystallization and structure determination of several membrane proteins including the cystic fibrosis trans-membrane regulator protein (CFTR), human growth hormone receptor, syndecan-1 (a membrane protein that interacts with integrins and is implicated in tumor metastasis), the chemokine receptor CCR-1 and the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). In addition, I am involved in the structure-based design of novel inhibitors for the deubiquinating protein USP2a, implicated in prostate cancer. My lab also has a long history developing and commercializing novel biotechnology tools including nano-crystallization systems, automated crystal imaging and analysis and most recently a high-throughput protein solubilization system.

Biographical Sketch:

Dr. DeLucas was born in Syracuse, New York in July 1950. He received five degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, including a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry; a B.S. in Physiological Optics; O.D. from the School of Optometry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Upon completion of both his undergraduate and graduate training at UAB he took a faculty position in the School of Optometry. He currently serves as the Director of the Center for Structural Biology (formerly called the Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering) and the Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center X-Ray Crystallography Shared Facility.  He holds a primary appointment in the Department of Optometry and secondary appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He is a Senior Scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, The UAB Vision Sciences Research Center and the UAB Institute of Oral Health.  Dr. DeLucas flew as a payload specialist on the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 flight, Mission STS-50, in June 1992 after which he served as the NASA Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA headquarters until 1995. He was appointed Associate Director of the Center for Macromolecular Crystallography (CMC) in 1985, Deputy Director in 1992, and has served as the Director of the Center for Structural Biology (formerly named the Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering) since 1994. His work is currently funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, NASA and various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Education:

1982           University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (Ph. D., BioChemistry)

1981           University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (O.D., School of Optometry)

1979           University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (B.S., Physiological Optics)

1974           University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (M.S., Chemistry)

1972           University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (B.S., Chemistry)

 Administrative Responsibilities:

Director, The Center for Structural Biology (*part of The Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering)
Director, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Structural Biology Shared Facility
Professor, Department of Optometry

Teaching:

  • Secondary Structure, Tertiary Structure, Protein Purification, Fundamentals in Enzyme Regulatory Strategies, Amino Acid Metabolism and Synthesis, Proteolysis, GBS Series Fall 2013
    Prime Lectures in Undergraduate Medical Education: Amino Acids and Proteins, Protein Structure and Dynamics, July 2013
Webpage:

Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering

 Recent Publications: 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=delucas

1. Microgravity Protein Crystallization. McPherson A and DeLucas LJ. npj Microgravity 1, 15010, 2015 Sep 3 [Epub ahead of print]

2. LRRK2 autophosphorylation enhances its GTPase activity.Liu Z, Mobley JA, DeLucas LJ, Kahn RA, West AB.FASEB J. 2015 Sep 22. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26396237

3. Expression and Purification of the Alpha Subunit of the Epithelial Sodium Channel, ENaC. Reddy BG, Dai Q, McNicholas CM, Fuller CM, Kappes JC, DeLucas LJ. Protein Expr Purif. 2015 Sep 19. (15) [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26394093

4. Erratum to: A Stable Human-Cell System Overexpressing Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Recombinant Protein at the Cell Surface. Hildebrandt E, Ding H, Mulky A, Dai Q, Aleksandrov AA, Bajrami B, Diego PA, Wu X, Ray M, Naren AP, Riordan JR, Yao X, DeLucas LJ, Urbatsch IL, Kappes JC. Mol Biotechnol. 2015 May; 57(5):406. PMID: 25808031

5. A stable human-cell system overexpressing cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator recombinant protein at the cell surface. Hildebrandt E, Ding H, Mulky A, Dai Q, Aleksandrov AA, Bajrami B, Diego PA, Wu X, Ray M, Naren AP, Riordan JR, Yao X, DeLucas LJ, Urbatsch IL, Kappes JC. Mol Biotechnol. 2015 May; 57(5):391-405. PMID: 25577540

6. Unique functional and structural properties of the LRRK2 protein ATP-binding pocket. Liu Z, Galemmo RA Jr, Fraser KB, Moehle MS, Sen S, Volpicelli-Daley LA, DeLucas LJ, Ross LJ, Valiyaveettil J, Moukha-Chafiq O, Pathak AK,
Ananthan S, Kezar H, White EL, Gupta V, Maddry JA, Suto MJ, West AB. J Biol Chem. 2014 Nov 21;289(47):32937-51 Epub 2014 Sep 16. PMID: 25228699

7. Protein solubilization: a novel approach. Johnson DH, Wilson WW, DeLucas LJ. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2014 Nov 15; 971:99-106. Epub 2014 Sep 16.PMID: 25270058

8. A survey of detergents for the purification of stable, active human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Hildebrandt E, Zhang Q, Cant N, Ding H, Dai Q, Peng L, Fu Y, DeLucas LJ, Ford R, Kappes JC, Urbatsch
IL. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Nov;1838 (11):2825-37. Epub 2014 Jul 24. PMID: 25065669

9. Applications of the second virial coefficient: protein crystallization and solubility. Wilson WW, Delucas LJ. Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2014 May; 70(Pt 5):543-54. Epub 2014 Apr 30. PMID: 24817708

10. 1.55 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure of Rv3902c from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Reddy BG, Moates DB, Kim HB, Green TJ, Kim CY, Terwilliger TC, DeLucas LJ. Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2014 Apr; 70(Pt 4):414-7. Epub 2014 Mar 25. PMID: 24699730

11. Membrane protein stability can be compromised by detergent interactions with the extramembranous soluble domains. Yang Z, Wang C, Zhou Q, An J, Hildebrandt E, Aleksandrov LA, Kappes JC, DeLucas LJ, Riordan JR, Urbatsch IL, Hunt JF, Brouillette CG. Protein Sci. 2014 Jun; 23(6):769-89. Epub 2014 May

Other Appointments:

Senior Scientist, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Senior Scientist, Vision Science Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Senior Scientist, UAB Institute of Oral Health Research, School of Dentistry

Secondary Appointment, UAB Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Secondary Appointment, UAB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Secondary Appointment, UAB School of Engineering

Faculty, UAB Graduate School, Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS)

Sparkman Center Scholar, School of Public Health, UAB

Adjunct Professor, UAB School of Biomedical Engineering

Adjunct Professor, UAB Department of Chemistry

Adjunct Professor, UAB Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Adjunct Professor, Materials Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Adjunct Professor, Materials Science, University of Alabama


 

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