J. Thomas Gerig

Professor Emeritus

Contact Phone

(805) 893-2113

Office Location

Chem 2123


Biophysical Chemistry


Dr. Gerig received his Ph.D. from Brown University and spent two years doing postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology before joining the UCSB faculty in 1966. He has been a PHS Research Career Development Awardee and is a Fellow of the AAAS and the Japan Association for the Promotion of Science. He retired in 2006 but remains active in his research.


Research Group Website: http://www.chem.ucsb.edu/~gerig/

Research Objective

Addition small molecules, such as an alcohol or an osmolyte, to aqueous solutions of peptides and proteins often alters the dominant conformation of these biomaterials. Why these effects occur is not always apparent, although at least in some cases it appears that selective interaction with the small molecules is involved. Over the past few years, we have used heteronuclear 1H{19F} and homonuclear 1H{1H} intermolecular NOE experiments to examine such solvent-biopolymer interactions.

Interpretation of results of these NOE experiments has been done using a model of the system of interest that treats all molecules as non-interacting hard spheres. This approach can produce predicted outcomes that agree with experimental results. Unusual solvent-solute interactions are indicated when such agreement is absent. A hard spheres model is not necessarily appropriate for use with molecules as complicated as a protein and it is difficult to generate understanding of any solvent-solute system at the molecular level when the hard spheres model fails. For these reasons, we are developing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the systems of interest to aid in interpretation of experimental observations previously reported from our lab.

Current efforts are focused on an analog of the peptide hormone angiotensin II, the mini-protein Trp-cage and melittin, a component of bee venom. Conformation-altering small molecules under study include various hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon alcohols and the osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)


Selected Research Publications

Y. Suzuki, T. Asakura, J. T. Gerig, NMR Study of Interactions Between A Silk Model Peptide and Fluorinated Alcohols for Preparation of Regenerated Silk Fiber, Macromolecules 43 (2010), 2364-2370.

R. C. Neuman, Jr., J. T. Gerig, Interaction of Alcohols with [Val5]angiotensin in Alcohol-Water Mixtures, J. Phys. Chem. B 114 (2010), 6722-6731.

D. P. Chagolla, J. T. Gerig, Conformations of Betanova in Aqueous Trifluoroethanol, Biopolymers 93 (2010), 893-903.

R. C. Neuman, Jr., J. T. Gerig, Interactions of 2,2,2-Trifluoroethanol with Melittin, Magn. Reson. Chem. 47 (2009), 925-931.

J. T. Gerig, NOE Studies of Solvent-Solute Interactions, Annu. Rep. NMR Spectrosc. 63 (2009), 295-344.

R. C Neuman, Jr., J. T. Gerig, Solvent Interactions with the Trp-Cage Peptide in 35% Ethanol-Water, Biopolymers 89 (2009), 862-872.

J. T. Gerig, Solvent Interactions with [Val5]angiotensin II in Ethanol-Water, J. Phys. Chem. B 112 (2009), 7967-7976.

Submitted or in press:

  • J. T. Gerig, Nuclear Spin Relaxation in Liquid Acetonitrile, J. Comput. Chem.
  • J. T. Gerig, Cross Relaxation in Liquid Methanol, J. Magn. Reson.
  • R. C. Neuman, Jr., J. T. Gerig, Interaction of Non-protonic Organic Solvents with [Val5]angiotensin, J. Phys. Chem.