Theory & Computation
JOSE ONUCHIC has led the biological physics community to devise an integrated picture of a variety of model biochemical and biological systems. His research has expanded across the scales of molecular-level interactions to cellular systems and multi-cellular structures. At Rice he has moved towards medical applications focusing on cancer. In protein folding, he introduced the concept of protein folding funnels. Convergent kinetic pathways, or folding funnels, guide folding to a unique, stable, native conformation. Energy landscape theory and the funnel concept provide the theoretical framework needed to pose and to address the questions of protein folding and function mechanisms. He also works on theory of chemical reactions in condensed matter with emphasis on biological electron transfer. He is also interested in stochastic effects in gene networks with connections to bacteria decision-making and cancer. Currently his group is also focusing on chromatin folding and function.