After less than three years at The Ohio State University, Steffen Lindert, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is already pleased with the work he is able to do here. He recently received both the National Science Foundation CAREER award and his first R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health, which are aiding work in his lab, the Lindert Research Group.
“It’s been fantastic,” says Lindert, who was hired by TDAI and the Department Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2015. “Ohio State has phenomenal resources and students, which allow me to take my research to the next step.”
Lindert, who received a MSc in physics from the University of Leipzig in 2006, and a PhD in chemical and physical biology from Vanderbilt University in 2011, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, before coming to OSU. He started the Lindert Research Group, which specializes in computational biochemistry, shortly after his arrival.
Lindert’s lab focuses on several types of projects. One is protein structure prediction, which is aided by his CAREER grant. “It gives us enough time to really properly develop the methodology,” Lindert said of the grant funding. “There are a lot of people who use structural mass spectrometry experiments who get a little bit of data, but they would really like to have a tool where you put in a bit of data and get a structure prediction.”
The research group is utilizing the R01 grant to study the protein dynamics of muscle contraction—work that might help better identify drugs to treat heart failure. “It is a very interesting field of research because not much has been done on it. It would be good to have a better quantitative understanding of how these processes work, to have a better understanding of calcium binding and the small molecules that increase contraction.”
Another focus for Lindert is computer-aided drug discovery, in particular to treat “superbugs” that have grown resistant to existing antibiotics. Large datasets of potential drug compounds can be computationally screened, with the ones showing the best potential then selected for testing.
In addition to a postdoctoral researcher, Lindert employs a diverse range of students, from undergraduates to PhD candidates in his lab, and highlights their professional achievements on the lab’s website. “It’s fantastic to have that mix of undergraduate, graduate students and post-docs,” he says. “People can always help each other, and it’s a mentoring opportunity for the graduate students. It’s a nice dynamic.”