Andrei Tokmakoff is an experimental physical chemist known for his use of ultrafast spectroscopy to study molecular dynamics in solution. He is primarily recognized for the development of two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy with applications to water and protein dynamics. He joined the University of Chicago in 2013 as Henry G. Gale Distinguished Service Professor with appointments in the Department of Chemistry, the James Franck Institute, and the Institute of Biophysical Dynamics. Prior to this, he was a Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology starting in 1998. Tokmakoff earned his Ph.D. from at Stanford University in 1995, and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Munich, the University of Chicago, and UC Berkeley. His awards include the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology, the Ellis R. Lippincott Award, and the Ernest K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy.

Research Interests

The Tokmakoff group studies the molecular dynamics of water, aqueous solutions, and conformation dynamics involving proteins and DNA. Tokmakoff's long-term research objective is to directly visualize time-dependent molecular structures in these systems in real time at the molecular level. To achieve this goal, Tokmakoff's group develops and applies 2D IR spectroscopy, which uses sequences of ultrashort mid-infrared light pulses to capture snapshots of molecular structure with a picosecond shutter speed. Working with collaborators, they apply theoretical and computational tools to enable atomic visualization of the underlying dynamics. This toolset has been used to investigate the dynamics of hydrogen bond rearrangements as water flows, the structure and transport of hydrated protons, protein folding, protein-protein interactions, the structure of intrinsically disordered peptides, and DNA hybridization.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry