Leslie LaConte, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Research, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Research Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Dr. Leslie LaConte's research interests lie in the field of structural biology. Working with Dr. Konark Mukherjee, she is currently investigating proteins found in the presynaptic active zone of neurons. Active zone proteins are critically important for neurotransmission and plasticity, and mutations in such proteins are associated with disorders such as X-linked mental retardation and autism. Although many of these proteins have been identified, their roles in both signaling and scaffolding remain to be clearly determined. By studying interactions between these proteins in vitro, in cell culture, and in organisms such as Drosophila and mice, Dr. LaConte hopes to contribute to the development of a more complete picture of synaptic transmission. Techniques to be used in the study of such interactions include immunoprecipitation, molecular modeling, site-directed mutagenesis, targeted disruption by small molecules, and fluorescence spectroscopy.
In addition to her research, Dr. LaConte devotes time to teaching biochemistry and facilitating in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.
Education and Training
- Georgia Institute of Technology: Postdoctoral Fellowship
- University of Minnesota: Ph.D., Biochemistry
- Nitin N, LaConte L, Rhee WJ, Bao G. (2009). Tat peptide is capable of importing large nanoparticles across nuclear membrane in digitonin permeabilized cells. Ann Biomed Eng 37(10), 2018-27.
- LaConte LE, Nitin N, Zurkiya O, Caruntu D, O’Connor CJ, Hu X, Bao G. (2007). Coating thickness of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles affects R2 relaxivity. J Magn Reson Imaging 26(6), 1634-41.
- LaConte LE, Baker JE, Thomas DD. (2003). Transient kinetics and mechanics of myosin’s force-generating rotation in muscle: resolution of millisecond rotational transitions in the spin-labeled myosin light-chain domain. Biochemistry, 9797-803.
- LaConte LE, Voelz V, Nelson W, Enz M, Thomas DD. (2002). Molecular dynamics simulation of site-directed spin labeling: experimental validation in muscle fibers. Biophys J 83(4), 1854-66.
- Brust-Mascher I, LaConte LE, Baker JE, Thomas DD. (1999). Myosin light-chain domain rotates upon muscle activation but not ATP hydrolysis. Biochemistry 38(39), 12607-13.