Amy Palmer
Associate Professor

Department of Biochemistry
UCB 596; Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building
University of Colorado
Boulder , Colorado 80309

Our research lies at the interface of chemistry and biology, where the application of chemical and physical principles provides a unique opportunity to better understand the fundamental biochemistry of living cells. Cells are complex entities that must integrate internal and external signals in order to coordinate diverse functions. Living cells are also dynamic, and this dynamism is key to understanding the mechanisms of cause and effect for biological processes. Deciphering the molecular details of how cellular constituents define healthy and diseased states, and how dynamics propagate from the cellular to the organismal level, is one of the great challenges in modern biology. Our lab develops new technologies to interrogate signaling cascades in cells to understand how the actions of specific proteins, molecules, and ions contribute to cellular function. We combine in vitro spectroscopic and biophysical techniques with protein design and engineering to develop novel fluorescent probes and use long-term time-lapse fluorescence microscopy to elucidate the mechanisms of cellular signaling pathways. Longitudinal single-cell analyses also allow us to explore the origins and consequences of heterogeneity in biological systems. We are specifically interested in how cells regulate metal ions, how pathogens alter cell biology, and how to engineer improved photophysical properties in fluorescent proteins. To learn more about specific projects, please visit our research page.