Dr. Thomas completed a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of N.H. During the next four years at MIT he contributed to experiments which led to the first successful in vitro assembly of a bacterial virus from purified components. He discovered that proteins previously identified as being required only for genome injection into the host, were in fact catalytic for assembly in vitro and produced viral particles indistinguishable from those formed in vivo. This led to his PhD studies in Biophysics at Brandeis University. His thesis project involved the structural analysis of the bacterial flagellar rotary motor. The discovery of multiple rotational symmetries within single motors and the clear mismatch in symmetry between the rotor and fixed proton channels which powered the motor advanced the hypothesis that symmetry mismatch is an important property of biological motors. Symmetry mismatch minimizes the number of strong subunit interactions which would present barriers to motion be it rotation or stepping.
Most of his career has been spent in Germany first as post-doc at EMBL in Heidelberg, studying the assembly and organization of HIV and Tick Bourne Encephalitis. Later as a senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry he worked on structural determination of Insulin-like growth factor I receptor, an important anti-cancer target, mitochondrial membrane proteins and circadian rhythm complexes. An expert in Cryoelectron microscopy and image processing. He has presented at numerous international meetings, regularly acted as a reviewer and editor, and has a great deal of experience editing articles, grants and theses written by non-native English speakers. He is also experienced in translation of scientific documents from German to English. Biochemistry, virology, electron microscopy, image processing, structural biology, microbiology, and the assembly of macromolecular complexes are his main areas of expertise.
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