Welcome to the Robertson Lab!

Our research investigates how the physical forces of nature drive a simple string of amino acids into a stable, conformationally defined protein - in the lipid membrane.  For soluble proteins, the burial of hydrophobic groups away from aqueous interfaces is a major driving force, but membrane-embedded proteins cannot experience hydrophobic forces, as the lipid bilayer lacks water. A fundamental conundrum thus arises: how does a greasy protein surface find its greasy protein partner in the greasy lipid bilayer to fold faithfully into its native structure? In our lab, we measure the energetics of membrane protein assembly, in lipid bilayers, using the homodimeric Cl-/H+ antiporter CLC- ec1 as a model system. We approach this curious question with a variety of experimental techniques including membrane protein purification and functional reconstitution, electrophysiology, x-ray crystallography, single-molecule TIRF microscopy and computational modeling.

Robertson Lab Members

Principal Investigator:

Janice L. Robertson
Faculty Profile

Postdoctoral Research Associates:

Venkatramanan Krishnamani
Alejandro Gil Ley

Graduate Student:

Kacey Mersch

Assistant Research Scientist:

Rahul Chadda

Research Assistant:

Marley Brimberry

Co-operative Education Student:

Lucy Cliff

Recent Publications

Condon SGF, Mahbuba DA, Armstrong CR, Díaz-Vázquez G, Craven SJ, LaPointe LM, Khadria AS, Chadda R, Crooks JA, Rangarajan N, Weibel DB, Hoskins AA, Robertson JL, Cui Q, Senes A. The FtsLB sub-complex of the bacterial divisome is tetramer with an uninterrupted FtsL helix linking the transmembrane and periplasmic regions. J Biol Chem. 2017 Dec 12. pii: jbc.RA117.000426. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.000426. 
PMID: 29233891

Leisle L, Chadda R, Lueck JD, Infield DT, Galpin JD, Krishnamani V, Robertson JL, Ahern CA. Cellular encoding of Cy dyes for single-molecule imaging. Elife. 2016 Dec 12;5. pii: e19088. doi: 10.7554/eLife.19088.
PubMed PMID: 27938668; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5207767.

Chadda R, Robertson JLMeasuring Membrane Protein Dimerization Equilibrium in Lipid Bilayers by Single-Molecule Fluorescence MicroscopyMethods Enzymol. 2016;581:53-82. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2016.08.025.
PubMed PMID: 27793292.

Chadda R, Krishnamani V, Mersch K, Wong J, Brimberry M, Chadda A, Kolmakova-Partensky L, Friedman LJ, Gelles J, Robertson JL. The dimerization equilibrium of a ClC Cl(-)/H(+) antiporter in lipid bilayers. Elife. 2016 Aug 3;5. pii: e17438. doi: 10.7554/eLife.17438.
PubMed PMID: 27484630; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5010387.

Robertson JL, Kolmakova-Partensky L, Miller C. Design, function and structure of a monomeric ClC transporterNature. 2010 Dec 9;468(7325):844-7. doi: 10.1038/nature09556.
PubMed PMID: 21048711; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3057488.

All Publications

Contact Us

Office Location

5-612 BSB
51 Newton Rd.
Iowa City, 52242
Phone: 319-335-7844
Email: janice-robertson@uiowa.edu

Campus Map

Lab Location

5-611 BSB
51 Newton Rd.
Iowa City, 52242
Phone: 319-335-7869

Laboratory Opportunities

Please email Dr. Robertson a letter of interest including your CV and future research interests. Applicants should outline specifically why they are excited by our research program.

Prospective rotation students should familiarize themselves with our research and contact Dr. Robertson directly.
Please include a CV, describe your research interests and explain why you are interested in our lab and research program.
Dr. Robertson is currently affiliated with the following programs: