Chemistry Experts

Robert E. Dempski

Associate Professor
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
United States of America


Education: BS Bucknell University 1997 PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2003 Our research focus is to combine biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of two classes of membrane proteins. In the first instance, we are investigating the mechanism of a zinc transporter, hZIP4. This protein has been implicated in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. Despite the central role of this protein in cellular homeostasis, the mechanism of cation transport is not well understood. Secondly, we have been investigating the molecular determinants that help to define the functionality of opsin proteins.

Research Interest

Channelrhodopsin-2 function, Solute Linked Carriers, Human ZIP4 transporter, Optogenetics


  • Computational modeling and functional studies suggest that hZIP4 is a structural and functional homolog of the CDF and MFS families - 2015

  • The large intracellular loop of hZIP4 is an intrinsically disordered zinc binding domain - 2015

  • Elucidating the permeation pathway of channelrhodopsin-2 through cysteine scanning mutagenesis - 2015

  • A Zn2+ photocage for investigating homeostasis and biological signaling based on a decarboxylation metal ion release mechanism - 2015

  • From phototaxis to biomedical applications: Investigating the molecular mechanism of channelrhodopsins - 2015

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