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Lutz Maibaum

Lutz Maibaum

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 2005

(Theoretical Physical Chemistry)

(206) 221-3931


Maibaum group website


Research Interests

The Maibaum group focuses on the interaction of the cell membrane with other cellular components. In particular, we are interested in the physical principles that govern the aggregation of membrane-associated proteins and peptides, and the changes such growing aggregates can induce in the cell membrane. Using computer simulations and the theoretical framework of statistical mechanics, we investigate both structural and dynamical properties of membrane-protein systems that perform important biological functions.


Membrane Sculpting Proteins

Many biological processes, such as cell motility or endocytosis, require deformations of the cellular membrane. Such deformations can be induced, controlled, and sensed by proteins that interact with the membrane in a shape-dependent way. We study the physical principles that determine the conformations and the deformation dynamics of such membrane-protein aggregates.


Cell Penetrating Peptides

Biological cells are protected by their membrane from uncontrolled material exchange with the environment. This barrier can be weakened by a class of peptides that have been shown to cause perforation and other spatial reorganization of membranes and lipid bilayers. We are interested in the mechanisms by which assemblies of such peptides induce pores or other topological transitions in membranes.

Representative Publications


Sapp, K.; Maibaum, L. Suppressing membrane height fluctuations leads to a membrane-mediated interaction among proteins. Physical Review E 2016, 94, 052414.


Kingsland, A.; Samai, S.; Yan, Y.; Ginger, D. S.; Maibaum, L. Local Density Fluctuations Predict Photoisomerization Quantum Yield of Azobenzene-Modified DNA. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2016, 7 (15), 3027.


Sapp, K.; Shlomovitz, R.; Maibaum, L. Seeing the Forest in lieu of the Trees: Continuum Simulations of Cell Membranes at Large Length Scales. Annual Reports in Computational Chemistry 2014, 10, 47. 


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