I received my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Ohio Wesleyan University, and then
my doctorate in computational chemistry at the University of Cincinnati. After that
I did two post doctoral research projects, one at Duke and one at North Carolina State
University. I am passionate about inclusive and accessible teaching methods, which
is important to me as a first generation student who also happens to be dyslexic.
I also have fun working on active learning activities and hands-on models for my classes.
I joined the SUNY Plattsburgh faculty in August 2018.
Outside of class I enjoy reading lots of books, as well as painting and photography
(though I’m not particularly great at the last two). I also like spending time with
my pet rabbit, Bigwig (he’s named after a character from Watership Down by Richard
Adams, one of my favorite books growing up).
My research focuses on determining the mechanical stability of proteins by unfolding
simulations, and how drug compounds can change this stability. The main system under
study now is FtsZ, a bacterial protein that is crucial to cell division. The FtsZ
protein is a possible antibiotic target, particularly for the MRSA and VRSA infections
that have become so prevalent in hospitals. In the cell, FtsZ monomers form filaments
that wrap around the cell circumference and then constrict to start the division process.
The stability and bending properties of these long filaments have not been studied
computationally yet due to the amount of processing power required. My lab uses coarse-grained
simulations run on graphics cards to overcome this barrier. We are also using docking
programs to investigate the binding of drug candidates to the FtsZ protein. Our future
work will include simulating the effects of these drug candidates on the dynamics
of the full FtsZ filament.
Structure of the Francisella response regulator QseB receiver domain, and characterization
of QseB inhibition by antibiofilm 2-aminoimidazole-based compounds. Milton, M.E.,
Allen, C.L., Feldmann, E.A., Bobay, B.G., Lucas, J.L., Stephens, M.D., Melander, R.J.,
Theisen, K.E., Zeng, D., Thompson, R., Melander, C., and Cavanagh, J. Mol. Microbiol., 2017, October, 106 (2): 223-235, DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13759
Nucleotides regulate a mechanical hierarchy between subdomains of the nucleotide binding
domain of the Hsp70 chaperone DnaK. Bauer, D., Merz Jr., D.R., Pelz, B., Theisen, K.E., Yacyshyn, G.*, Mokranjac, D., Dima, R.I., Rief, M., Zoldak G. Proc. of the Natl. Acad. of Sci., 2015, August 18, 112 (33): 10389-10394, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1504625112
Molecular investigations into the mechanics of a muscle anchoring complex. Bodmer,
N.K., Theisen, K.E., and Dima, R. I. Biophys. J., 2015, May 5, 108 (9): 2322-2332, DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2015.03.036
Tubulin bond energies and microtubule biomechanics determined from nano-indentation
in silico. Kononova, O., Kholodov, Y., Theisen, K.E., Marx, K.A., Dima, R.I., Ataullakhanov, F.I., Grishchuk, E.L., Barsegov, V. J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2014 Nov 12; 136 (49):17036-17045, DOI: 10.1021/ja506385p
Exploring the mechanical properties of filamentous proteins and their homologs by
multiscale simulations. Theisen, K.E. Doctoral Dissertation, Submitted and Approved November, 2013
Mechanics of severing for large microtubule complexes revealed by coarse-grained simulations.
Theisen, K.E., Desai, N.J.*, Volski, A.M.*, and Dima, R.I. J. Chem. Phys. 2013 September 28; 139: 121926- 1 to 12, Special issue: “Applications of Physical Principles to Problems
in Biology” DOI: 10.1063/1.4819817
Multiscale modeling of the nanomechanics of microtubule protofilaments. Theisen, K.E., Zhmurov, A., Newberry, M.E.*, Barsegov, V., and Dima, R.I. J. Phys. Chem. B 2012 July 26; 116 (29):8545-8555; Special issue: “Macromolecular Systems Understood through Multiscale
and Enhanced Sampling Techniques” DOI: 10.1021/jp212608f
Exploring the contribution of collective motions to the dynamics of forced-unfolding
in tubulin. Joshi H., Momin, F.*, Haines, K.E., Dima, R.I. Biophys. J. 2010 Feb 17; 98 (4):657-66, DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.10.043