Troy C. Messina
Associate Professor of Physics and Biophysics (since 2007)
Gus S. Wortham Chair of Engineering (since 2008)
University of Texas at Austin, B.S.,1996; M.A., 1999, Ph.D., 2002
- tel: 318.869.5217
- Physics I (PHYS 104)
- Physics I Laboratory (PHYS 114)
- Physics II (PHYS 105)
- Physics II Laboratory (PHYS 115)
- Modern Physics I (PHYS 204/214)
- Modern Physics II (PHYS 305)
- Thermal Physics (PHYS 321)
Research Project Flavors
Centenary students: Contact me in person or by email if you want to work in my lab!
- Molecular Dynamics Lab in Genetics
- Portable Gait Monitor
- Musical Staircase
- Tail Flick Analgesic Apparatus
- Proteins - experimental and computational
- Solvent and Amino Acid Interactions with Organic Fluorophores
- Literature Searching (Educational)
- Centenary Bikeswipe Project
- Wind Tunnel
- Associate Professor of Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 2007-present
- NIH NRSA Ruth L. Kirschstein Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University, 2003-2007
- Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics, Princeton University, 2003
- Graduate Research Assistant, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Physics, 1995-2002
- Semiconductor Research Intern, International 300 mm Initiative/International Sematech, Austin, TX, 1997-2000
- Contract Scientist, Xidex Corporation, Austin, TX, 1999-2000
Our group uses a variety of techniques to better understand how proteins' chemical and physical makeup allow them to perform very specific functions. Sometimes energetics allow proteins to reconfigure themselves in very deleterious ways. This can cause big problems like amyloid formation implicated in diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Type-II diabetes. Our hope is to understand the full range of structure for proteins by purposefully manipulating them through chemical and physical interactions. We primarily use fluorescence and computer simulations, but sometimes other tools are necessary to get a full understanding.
Many physical approaches to biology are new or at least being analyzed in more quantitative ways than in the past. This often requires someone to develop methods to properly deal with data. Here is one example of how we have done this using probability to develop hidden Markov model analysis techniques.
Past and Present Students
Matt Blam at ACS (Anaheim) 2011
Francis Pettito at the Protein Society (Stockholm) 2011
Brandi Candler at SPS (Centenary) 2011
Jessica Garza at ACS (Salt Lake) 2009
James Nolan at SPS (Rhodes) 2008
Roland Womack & Richard Lopez at SPS (Rhodes) 2008
Marco Reyes in the lab 2008
A. Otto, G. Q. Butcher, and T. C. Messina, "Design plans for an inexpensive tail flick analgesia meter," submitted to Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE) Fall 2011.
C. W. Miller, M. D. Chabot, T. C. Messina, "A Student's Guide to Literature Searching Using Online Databases," Am. J. Phys. 77 (2009).
T. C. Messina and D. S. Talaga, "Free energy landscapes remodeled by ligand binding," Biophys. J. 93 579-585 (2007).
T. C. Messina, C. W. Miller, and J. T. Markert, "Observation of steric quenching of the switchable mirror effect in Y1-zSczHx," Phys. Rev. B 75 104109-10411 (2007).
T. C. Messina, H. Kim, J. T. Giurleo, D. S. Talaga, "Hidden Markov Model Analysis of Multichromophore Photobleaching," J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 16366-16376 (2006).