Dr. Balog teaches chemistry and biochemistry. Her research interests include protein biochemistry, biomaterials, and biophysics.
Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, New Mexico)
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/.
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)
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.