Our Research and Education

Our research group employs experimental and computational tools to explore the protein sequence-structure-dynamics-function relationships in proteins and enzymes of biomedical and biotechnological interests. Our laboratory is located at the Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (IIBM) from P. Universidad Católica de Chile, and we are also members of the Millenium Institute of Integrative Biology (iBio).

Our research is mainly funded by the National Agency for Research and Development of Chile (ANID) and focuses on:

  1. Elucidating the mechanism of structural interconversion of metamorphic proteins involved in bacterial infections (virulence factor RfaH), circadian cycles (cyanobacterial protein KaiB) and human diseases (P subfamily of Fox transcription factors) – FONDECYT 2020 Regular Grant 1201684.
  2. Discovery, functional and structural characterization and engineering of metagenomic enzymes that degrade PET, a widely used plastic that accumulates as waste at similar rates to its production – ANID-FAPESP International Cooperation Grant 2019/13259-9.
  3. Development, production and optimization of open-source kits (RT-PCR/RT-LAMP/RPA) based on public domain enzymes for the molecular detection of viral infections, such as COVID-19, for their potential use in diagnostics – ANID-CONCYTEC International Cooperation Grant covbio0012.
Our collaborations include the Biomolecular and Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Facility (BPMSF) and the Komives Lab at University of California San Diego, the Artsimovitch Lab at Ohio State University, the Group of Crystallography at the Sao Carlos Institute of Physics from Universidad de Sao Paulo, the labs of Molecular Microbiology and Single-Molecule at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the Protein Physiology Lab at Universidad de Buenos Aires, the Díez Lab and Open Technology Lab at P. Universidad Católica de Chile and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Lab at Universidad de Chile. 

We are also one of the organizers of the Latin American conference Protein Biophysics at the End of the World.

Principal Investigator

Cesar A. Ramirez-Sarmiento
Assistant Professor, Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (IIBM), P. Universidad Catolica de Chile

Adjunct Researcher, Millenium Institute for Integrative Biology (iBio)

BS in Biology – Universidad de Chile

PhD in Biological Sciences – Universidad de Chile

Meet our Research Team

Maira Rivera

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD in Biochemistry, U. de Chile
Working on: Biophysics and function of the cyanobacteria circadian clock protein KaiB

Amparo Nuñez

Research Assistant

Msc in Biochemistry, U. de Chile
Working on: Characterization of metamorphic proteins and PET-degrading enzymes

Paula Blazquez

Graduate Student

PhD in Engineering Sciences, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: Characterization of Antarctic polyester hydrolases

Javiera Reyes

Graduate Student

PhD in Engineering Sciences, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: In vivo biophysics of RfaH fold-switching

J. Alejandro Molina

Graduate Student

PhD in Engineering Sciences, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: Generation of metamorphic biosensors

Pablo Galaz-Davison

Graduate Student

PhD in Engineering Sciences, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: Biophysics & evolution of metamorphic traits in RfaH

Ignacio Retamal

Master Student

Master of Science in Engineering, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: Computational biophysics of KaiB

Aransa Griñen

Undergraduate Student

Biochemistry, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
Working on: Metagenomic identification of PET hydrolases

Felipe Engelberger

Undergraduate Student

Biochemistry, U. de Chile
Working on: Modeling and structural dynamics of enzymes and membrane proteins

Latest News

Have a blast in UCSD, Maira!

Our postdoctoral superstar, Maira Rivera, successfully applied for a PROLAB (Promoting Research Opportunities for Latin American Biochemists) fellowship, funded by ASBMB, IUBMB and PABMB. She will be visiting the laboratory of our long-standing collaborator and Read more…