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Edward O'Brien

Professor of Chemistry and of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences


Professional Appointments and Affiliations

Professor of Chemistry and of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences


Post-doc, University of Cambridge, 2013

Ph.D. Chemical Physics, University of Maryland College Park, 2008

B.S. Biochemistry, University of the Sciences, 2002

Honors and Awards

Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (2019)

American Chemical Society OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry (2018)

National Institutes of Health R35 MIRA (2017-2022)

Priestly Undergraduate Teaching Award (2016)

National Science Foundation - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft CAREER Supplement (2016-2019)

National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2016-2021)

Elected Program Chair, 60th Biophysical Society National Meeting, "Biopolymers In Vivo" subgroup (2016)

Human Frontier's Science Program Grant Recipient (2015-2018)

Biotechnology and Biology Sciences Research Council (UK) David Phillips Fellowship (2013) – Declined

The Royal Society (UK) University Research Fellowship (2013) – Declined

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) Grant recipient (2012-2013)

National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2012)

National Science Foundation EAPSI Fellow (2007)

National Institutes of Health GPP Biophysics Fellow (2003-2008)

Selected Publications

S. Leininger, K. Narayan, C. Deutsch and E. P. O’Brien*. “Mechanochemistry in translation.” Biochemistry, 2019. Read MoreA. K. Sharma, N. Ahmed, P. Sormani, P. Ciryam and E. P. O’Brien*. “A chemical kinetic basis for measuring initiation and elongation rates from ribosome profiling data.” PLoS Comp. Bio., 2019. 15(5): e1007070.

S. Leininger, D. Nissley, F. Trovato and E. P. O’Brien*. “Domain topology, stability, and translation speed determine mechanical force generation on the ribosome.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2019. 116, 5523-5532  

B. Fritch, A. Kosolapov, P. Hudson, D.A. Nissley, L. Woodcock, C. Deutsch, and E. P. O’Brien. “Origins of the mechanochemical coupling of peptide bond formation to protein synthesis.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018. 140, 5077-5087.

A. K. Sharma, N. Ahmed and E. P. O’Brien, “Determinants of translation speed are randomly distributed across transcripts resulting in a universal scaling of protein synthesis times.” Phys. Rev. E., 2018. 022409.

A. J. Samelson, E. Bolin, S. M. Costello, A. K. Sharma, E. P. O’Brien and S. Marqusee. “Kinetic and structural comparison of a protein’s cotranslational- and re-folding pathways.” Sci. Adv., 2018. 4, eaas9098.

A. K. Sharma and E. P. O’Brien*. “Non-equilibrium coupling of protein structure and function to translation dynamics.” Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol., 2017.

A. K. Sharma and E. P. O’Brien*. “Increasing Protein Production Rates Can Decrease the Rate at Which Functional Protein Is Produced and Their Steady-State Levels.” J. Phys. Chem. B, 2017. 121(28), 6775-6784.

K. Döring, N. Ahmed, T. Riemer, H.G. Suresh, Y. Vainshtein, M. Habich, J. Riemer, M. P. Mayer, E. P. O’Brien, G. Kramer and B. Bukau.  “Profiling of Ssb interactions with nascent proteins reveals principles of Hsp70 assisted co-translational folding”. Cell, 2017. 170(2), 298-311.e20.

F. Trovato and E.P. O'Brien. "Fast protein translation can promote co- and posttranslational folding of misfolding-prone proteins" Biophys. J., 2017. 112(9), 1807-1819.

F. Trovato and E. P. O’Brien. “Insights into co-translational nascent protein behavior from computer simulations” Annu. Rev. Biophys., 2016. 45, 345-371.

D. A. Nissley and E. P. O’Brien. “Altered co-translational processing plays a role in Huntington’s pathogenesis — A hypothesis” Front. Mol. Neurosci., 2016. 9:54.

D. A. Nissley, A. K. Sharma, N. Ahmed, U. Friedrich, G. Kramer, B. Bukau and E. P. O’Brien. “Accurate prediction of cellular co-translational folding indicates proteins can switch from post- to co-translational folding” Nat. Commun., 2016. 7, 10341.

A. K. Sharma, B. Bukau, E. P. O’Brien. “Physical origins of codon positions that strongly influence cotranslational folding: A framework for controlling nascent-protein folding.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016. 138(4), 1180-1195.

O. B. Nilsson, R. Hedman, J. Marino, S. Wickles, L. Bischoff, M. Johansson, A. Muller-Lucks, F. Trovato, J. D. Puglisi,

E. P. O’Brien, R. Beckmann and G. von Heijne. “Co-translational protein folding inside the ribosome exit tunnel” Cell Rep., 2015. 12, 1533-1540

L. Caniparolli and E. P. O’Brien. "Modeling the effect of codon translation rates on co-translational protein folding mechanisms of arbitrary complexity" J. Chem. Phys., 2015. 142, 145102.

D. Nissley and E. P. O'Brien. "Timing is everything: Unifying codon translation rates and nascent proteome behavior" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014. 136, 17892-17898.