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Department ofBiology


Michelle McCully
Michelle E. McCully
Associate Professor


B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Ph.D. in Bioengineering, University of Washington

IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California San Francisco

McCully Lab Web Page 

Research and Teaching Interests

My research at Santa Clara University investigates how proteins function and move. Proteins are large molecules made in all organisms and perform countless jobs in cells. I am particularly interested in the differences between the proteins that organisms make naturally and proteins that scientists design in the lab. The McCully Lab uses a combination of experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate the relationships between these proteins’ shapes, movements, and functions.

Teaching biology using innovative techniques is one of my passions. My students are active in the classroom, solving problems and discussing biological phenomena in groups. I encourage students to connect their own experiences to the biological processes they are studying, and they regularly discuss the importance of increasing gender, racial, and socioeconomic diversity in the fields of science and medicine.


BIOL 18 - Exploring Biotechnology L&L

BIOL 1C - Systems L&L

BIOL 172 - Molecular Modeling L&L

Selected Publications

Ferreira PHB, Freitas FC, McCully ME, Slade GG, Oliveira RJ. The Role of Electrostatics and Folding Kinetics on the Thermostability of Homologous Cold Shock Proteins. J Chem Inf Model 60:546-561, 2020.

Gill M and McCully ME.  Molecular dynamics simulations suggest stabilizing mutations in a de novo designed α/β protein. Prot Eng Des Sel 32:317-329, 2019.

Nguyen C,* Young JT,* Slade GG, Oliveira RJ, McCully ME. A dynamic hydrophobic core and surface salt bridges thermostabilize a designed three-helix bundle. Biophys J 116:621-632, 2019.

Gianni S, McCully ME, Malagrinó F, Bonetti D, De Simone A, Brunori M, Daggett V.  A carboxylate to amide substitution tunes fold switching in a protein domain.  Angew Chem Int Ed 57:12795-12798, 2018.

*Authors contributed equally to this work
SCU undergraduate coauthor

Full list of publications on Google Scholar