Dr. Balog teaches chemistry and biochemistry. Her research interests include protein biochemistry, biomaterials, and biophysics.
Ph.D., Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
University of California, Santa Cruz
California Institute of Technology
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Current research in the Balog lab is headed in two synergistic directions:
1. Protein-based materials for the study and control of angiogenesis and angiogenic signaling pathways
Blood vessel growth plays key roles in development, healing, and regenerative medicine, but our ability to direct proper assembly of new blood vessels is limited by our incomplete understanding of the underlying biochemical principles. Protein-based materials take the native ingredients that biological systems already use to control cell behaviors (such as growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins), and re-mix them into specific architectures to systematically interrogate the exact chemical and physical cues governing these behaviors and their underlying signal transduction dynamics. Through this research we hope to improve biomaterial therapeutics for wound healing, organ regeneration, and the effective treatment of cancer.
2. Protein repurposing, for big ideas on small scales
Proteins have evolved to possess diverse mechanical, structural, catalytic, and optical functionalities, all fundamentally encoded at the DNA level. We subscribe to the philosophy that proteins can do almost anything if given the opportunity. Some of our favorite proteins include: elastin (the protein that confers elasticity and resilience to our skin and blood vessels), crustacyanin (the protein responsible for the color change that occurs when you cook a lobster), bacteriorhodopsin (a light-driven proton pump), cyclin-dependent kinases (master information processors that may be capable of acting like computers), and more.
For a full list of publications or to learn more about research in the Balog lab at UNE, please visit http://blog.une.edu/baloglab/.
Dr. Balog’s research is interdisciplinary, integrating various aspects of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, materials science, and regenerative medicine, but fundamentally centered on protein-protein interactions and protein structure and function.
Balog, E. R. M.; Ghosh, K.; Park, Y.-I.; Hartung, V.; Sista, P.; Rocha, R. C.; Wang, H.-L.; Martinez, J. S. ‘Novel optical properties of a pH-sensitive p-phenylene vinylene oligomer in a thermosensitive biopolymer hydrogel context.’ submitted, 2015.
Ghosh, K.; Balog, E. R. M.; Kahn, J. L.; Shepherd, D. P.; Martinez, J. S.; Rocha, R. C. ‘Multicolor luminescence from conjugates of genetically encoded elastin-like polymers and terpyridine-lanthanides.’ Macromol. Chem. Phys. doi: 10.1002/macp.201500103 (2015)
Ghosh, K.; Balog, E.R.M.; Sista, P.; Williams, D.J.; Kelly, D., Martinez, J.S.; Rocha, R.C. ‘Temperature-dependent morphology of hybrid nanoflowers from elastin-like polypeptides.’ APL Mat., 2, 021101 (2014)
McGrath, D. A.*; Balog, E. R. M.*; Kõivomägi, M.; Lucena, R.; Mai, M. V.; Hirschi, A.; Kellogg, D.R.; Loog, M.; Rubin, S. M. ‘Cks confers specificity to phosphorylation-dependent Cdk signaling pathways. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol, 20 (1407–1414). http://doi.org/10.1038/nsmb.2707 (‘Science Signaling’ Breakthrough of the Year, 2013)
Kõivomägi, M.; Valk, E.; Venta, R.; Iofic, A.; Lepiku, M; Balog, E. R. M.; Rubin, S. M.; Morgan, D. O.; Loog, M. ‘Cascades of multisite phosphorylation control Sic1 destruction at the onset of S phage.’ Nature, 480 (128-131) (2011)
UNE receives $374K NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant for purchase of atomic force microscope
August 27, 2015
BIDDEFORD, Maine Eva Rose Balog, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, is the principal investigator of a recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation grant of $374,580 for the purchase of a state-of-the-art environmental atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument so powerful it can image the double helix structure of DNA.
The AFM is an extremely high-speed, high-resolution, versatile instrument for decoding and manipulating materials, and it processes at the "nanoscale" level. According to Balog, the nanoscale refers to what goes on at the scale of billionths-of-a-meter—about 90,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. This is the scale of atoms and molecules, including molecules like DNA strands and individual protein machines.
The new award was the product of teamwork involving College of Arts and Sciences faculty. In addition to Balog, James Vesenka, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, and Joseph Kunkel, Ph.D., research professor in the Department of Marine Sciences, partnered with investigators from the University of Maine, Orono (William Gramlich, Ph.D.) and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay (David Emerson, Ph.D.) to apply for the grant.
They plan to use the new AFM to explore a diverse array of research questions related to microbial biofilm and sheath formation, protein- and polymer-based nanomaterials, self-assembling DNA nanostructures and the architecture and composition of mineralized arthropod cuticle.
Also, in collaboration with Michael Vickery, adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Cynthia Curry, M.S.Ed., coordinator of Disability Services, the group plans to scale up AFM-imaged nanostructures using 3-D printing, enabling tactual exploration of the relationship between biomaterials structure and function.
The instrument will be housed in the Pickus Center for Biomedical Research on the Biddeford Campus, where it will enhance and complement UNE’s existing Microscopy Core Facility holdings.
Though the microscope will be physically situated at UNE, Balog is confident that the scientific community throughout the entire region will benefit. “The AFM will be a unique resource for materials characterization in northern New England,” said Balog. “The hope is that it will increase collaborative research in the region.”
Initial training on the microscope for UNE faculty, staff and students is scheduled for this winter and will be available online and in person. More training and an open-house style workshop/demonstration will be held in May.