Bradley L. Nilsson

Bradley L. Nilsson

Associate Professor of Chemistry


Ph.D. 2003, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bioorganic, Protein and Biopolymer Engineering using Organic Synthesis

The Nilsson group has a strong interest in understanding and exploiting the principles of molecular recognition that give rise to the defined structure and function of proteins. Protein structure is determined by noncovalent interactions including hydrogen bonding, electrostatic forces, and Van der Waals interactions. The sum of these noncovalent interactions accounts for the observed tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. A variety of peptides and proteins are known to undergo aggregation and self-assembly as a result of abnormal folding, a process that is characteristic of amyloid diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes.

The Nilsson group is studying noncovalent interactions in the context of self-assembled peptides in an effort to elucidate the roles of peptide aggregation in disease. We are specifically focused on three areas of study:

  1. the characterization of noncovalent side-chain interactions that give rise to protein aggregation and fibril formation, with a focus on the Alzheimer’s disease amyloid-β peptide and other self-assembling peptides;
  2. the design of peptides that self-assemble under the control of small molecules or appended oligonucleotide sequences;
  3. the development of new methods for the chemical synthesis of proteins using oligonucleotide-templated strategies.

These research efforts utilize the tools of synthetic chemistry and biology to provide a highly innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of amyloid proteins.

Selected Publications

Olsen, J. S., DiMaio, J. T. M., Doran, T. M., Brown, C., Nilsson, B.L., Dewhurst, S.  "Seminal plasma accelerates SEVI fibril formation by the PAP[248-286] peptide,"  J. Biol. Chem.  2012Just accepted.
Doran, T. M., Anderson, E. A., Latchney, S. E., Opanashuk, L. A., Nilsson, B.L.  "Turn Nucleation Perturbs Amyloid-β Self-Assembly and Cytotoxicity,"  J. Mol. Biol.  2012Just accepted.
Doran, T. M., Anderson, E. A., Latchney, S. E., Opanashuk, L. A., Nilsson, B.L.  "An Azobenzene Photoswitch Sheds Light on Turn Nucleation in Amyloid-β Self-Assembly,"  ACS Chem. Neurosci.  2012Just accepted.
Doran, T. M., Kamens, A. J., Byrnes, N. K., Nilsson, B.L.  "Role of Amino Acid Hydrophobicity, Aromaticity and Molecular Volume on IAPP(20–29) Amyloid Self-Assembly,"  Proteins  201280In press.
Ryan, D. M., Nilsson, B.L.  "Self-Assembled Amino Acids and Dipeptides as Noncovalent Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering,"  Polym. Chem.  2012318-33.
Ryan, D. M., Doran, T. M., Nilsson, B.L.  "Complementary π-π Interactions Induce Multi-Component Coassembly into Functional Fibrils,"  Langmuir  20112711145-11156.
Bowerman, C. J., Liyanage, W., Federation, A. J., Nilsson, B.L.  "Tuning β-Sheet Peptide Self-Assembly and Hydrogelation Behavior by Modification of Sequence Hydrophobicity and Aromaticity,"  Biomacromolecules  2011122735-2745.
Ryan, D.M., Doran, T.M., Anderson, S.B., Nilsson, B.L.  "The Effect of C-Terminal Modification on the Self-Assembly and Hydrogelation of Fluorinated Fmoc-Phe Derivatives,"  Langmuir  2011274029-4039.
Easterhoff, D., DiMaio, J.T.M., Doran, T.M., Dewhurst, S., Nilsson, B.L.  "Enhancement of HIV-1 Infectivity by Simple, Self-Assembling Modular Peptides,"  Biophysical Journal  20111001325-1334.
Ryan, D.M., Doran, T.M., Nilsson, B.L.  "Stabilizing Self-Assembled Fmoc-F5-Phe Hydrogels by Co-Assembly with PEG-Functionalized Monomers,"  Chemical Communications  201147475-477.
Senguen, F.T., Doran, T.M., Anderson, E.A., Nilsson, B.L.  "Clarifying the Influence of Core Amino Acid Hydrophobicity, Secondary Structure Propensity, and Molecular Volume on Amyloid-β 16–22 Self-Assembly,"  Molecular BioSystems  20117497-510.
Senguen, F.T., Lee, N.R., Gu, X., Ryan, D.M., Doran, T.M., Anderson, E.A., Nilsson, B.L.  "Probing aromatic, hydrophobic, and steric effects on the self-assembly of an amyloid-β fragment peptide,"  Molecular BioSystems  20117486-496.
Olsen, J.S., Brown, C., Capule, C.C., Rubinshtein, M., Doran, T.M., Srivastava, R.K., Feng, C., Nilsson, B.L., Yang, J., Dewhurst, S.  "Amyloid Binding Small Molecules Efficiently Block SEVI and Semen Mediated Enhancement of HIV-1 Infection,"  Journal of Biological Chemistry  201028535488-35496.
Bowerman, C.J., Nilsson, B.L.  "A Reductive Trigger for Peptide Self-Assembly and Hydrogelation,"  Journal of the American Chemical Society  20101329526-9527.
Ryan, D.M., Anderson, S.B., Nilsson, B.L.  "The Influence of Side-Chain Halogenation on the Self-Assembly and Hydrogelation of Fmoc-Phenylalanine Derivatives,"  Soft Matter  201063220-3231.
Ryan, D.M., Anderson, S.B., Senguen, F.T., Youngman, R.E., Nilsson, B.L.  "Self-assembly and hydrogelation promoted by F5-phenylalanine,"  Soft Matter   20106475-479.
Bowerman, C.J., Ryan, D.M., Nissan, D.A., Nilsson, B.L.  "The effect of increasing hydrophobicity on the self-assembly of amphipathic β-sheet peptides,"  Molecular BioSystems   200951058-1069.
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Professor Nilsson's Contact Information...

Office: Hutchison 417
Phone: (585) 276-3053


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