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James Moody

Assistant Professor
Biochemistry Research, Chemistry and Biochemistry

C206 BNSN - Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602


I completed my undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University. Initially I planned to go to medical school. I took a molecular biology course from Dr. Laura Bridgewater in the College of Life Sciences. In my molecular biology textbook, I saw my first protein, a ribbon diagram of a DNA binding protein. As a kid, all I ever wanted for Christmas or birthdays were Legos. Once I learned about proteins, I knew that I wanted to engineer proteins to solve biological problems, in the same way you might build something out of Legos. I chose to go to graduate school and studied computational protein design with David Baker at the University of Washington. I engineered protein-based inhibitors to target the polycomb repressive complex (involved in epigenetic regulation) and Mdm2/Mdmx (involved in p53 regulation). Then, at Montana State University, I studied radical SAM enzymology with Joan Broderick and protein crystallography with Martin Lawrence. I developed a variant of pyruvate formate-lyase activating enzyme that readily forms diffraction-quality crystals and solved its structure with various ligands bound to the active site. In the middle of all of this, my wife, Amelia, and I had two daughters, Genevieve and Giselle. To pay for all of that, I usually had multiple jobs on the side. I tutored and managed an apartment complex while in graduate school and I was a part-time school bus driver during my postdoctoral work. When I’m not doing protein engineering, I enjoy spending time with my family, singing, drawing, running, hiking, camping, and playing with Legos with my daughters.

Research Interests

My research interests include computational and experimental engineering of novel protein tools and materials, time-resolved macromolecular crystallography and crystallographic methods, enzyme structure, function, and engineering, Cryo-electron microscopy, and microelectron diffraction.

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests include biochemistry, structural biology, molecular biology, cell biology, enzymology, and related disciplines.

Courses Taught