Research Interests:

Molecular Biophysics

We, The Molecular Biophysics Laboratory, are developing advanced biophysical methods in vibrational spectroscopy combined with advanced techniques in biomolecular engineering to understand the molecular mechanisms of membrane protein function. The group focuses primarily on rhodopsins, a large family of integral membrane proteins involved in animal vision and photo-sensing and ion transport in bacteria and algae. One important application of this work is the development of optogenetic proteins for use in neuroscience research, such as elucidating the functioning of complex neural circuits and understanding the basis for neurodegenerative diseases.

Selected Publications:

“Structural Changes in an Anion Channelrhodopsin: Formation of the K and L Intermediates at 80 K.” Yi, A., Li, H., Mamaeva, N., Fernandez De Cordoba, R. E., Lugtenburg, J., DeGrip, W. J., Spudich, J. L., and Rothschild, K. J. (2017) Biochemistry 56, 2197-2208

“The early development and application of FTIR difference spectroscopy to membrane proteins: A personal perspective.” Rothschild, K. J. (2016) Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging 5, 231-267

“Proton transfers in a channelrhodopsin-1 studied by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectroscopy and site-directed mutagenesis.” Ogren, J. I., Yi, A., Mamaev, S., Li, H., Spudich, J. L., and Rothschild, K. J. (2015) J Biol Chem 290, 12719-12730

“Vibrational spectroscopy of bacteriorhodopsin mutants: light-driven proton transport involves protonation changes of aspartic acid residues 85, 96, and 212.” Braiman, M. S., Mogi, T., Marti, T., Stern, L. J., Khorana, H. G., and Rothschild, K. J. (1988) Biochemistry 27, 8516-8520

“Nanometer molecular lithography” Douglas, K., Clark, N. A., and Rothschild, K. J. (1986). Appl. Phys. Lett. 48, 676-678

For a full list of publications, please see the attached CV.


  • Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Fellow of the Sloan Research Foundation