Research in my lab is biophysical in nature – essentially using physical and chemical techniques to answer biological questions about the cell membrane, the selectively permeable structure that separates a cell’s interior from its surroundings. This structure serves many purposes ranging from functioning as a filter to serving as a recognition site by containing transmembrane proteins that trigger biochemical events within cells. The membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer; our lab uses several model systems to study basic intermolecular interactions between the phospholipids contained in the layer, as well as the effects of other relevant biomolecules. Two-dimensional lipid monolayers at the air/water interface are models of the outer leaflet of the cell membrane and allow control over composition and surface density of the biological components. In addition to monolayers, we create and image with fluorescence microscopy more physiologically relevant giant unilamellar vesicles, essentially spherical lipid bilayers that model a cell membrane without any cellular contents. With access to several cell membrane models and a variety of biophysical techniques, current projects in Lipid lab focus on measuring interactions of exogenous biological agents (nanoparticles, huntingtin protein and frog spit are examples) with the cell membrane – including how the agent affects the membrane and how the membrane affects the agent.

X Gao, WA Campbell*, M Chaibva, P Jain, AE Leslie, SL Frey, and J Legleiter. Cholesterol modifies huntingtin binding to, disruption of, and aggregation on lipid membranes. Biochemistry, 2016; 55:92-102.

SL Frey, J Todd, E Wurtzler, CR Strelez*, and D Wendell. A non-foaming proteosurfactant engineered from Ranaspumin-2. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 2015; 133: 239-245.

SL Frey and KYC Lee. Number of sialic acid residues in ganglioside headgroup affects interactions with neighboring lipids. Biophysical Journal, 105(6), 1421-1431 (2013)

KA Burke, KJ Kauffman*, CS Umbaugh, SL Frey, and J Legleiter. The Interaction of Polyglutamine Peptides with Lipid Membranes is Regulated by Flanking Sequences Associated with Huntingtin. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288, 14993-15005 (2013).

SL Frey, R El-Khouri, A Szmodis, E Hall*, K Kauffman*, TE Patten, KYC Lee, and A Parikh. A stripe-to-droplet transition driven by conformational transitions in a binary lipid-lipopolymer mixture at the air-water interface. Langmuir, 27(5), 1900-1906 (2011).



Shelli  Frey

Shelli Frey
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Phone: (717) 337 - 6259

Box: Campus Box 0393

Address: Science Center
Room 356
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400

BS Haverford College, 2001
MS University of Chicago, 2003
PhD University of Chicago, 2008

Academic Focus:
biophysical chemistry;

Visit Prof. Frey's website