Youzhong Guo
Associate Professor
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
Faculty/Staff picture
  •   BioTech One, Suite 212, Room 223
  • School of Pharmacy - Dept of Medicinal Chemistry
    BioTech One, Suite 205
    800 E. Leigh St.
    Box 980540
    Richmond, VA 23298-0540
  •  (804) 828-9482
    (894) 827-3664
My research lab is located in BioTech One, Suite 212, lab number 2-215.

Area of Focus

  • Membrane Protein Structural Biology and Drug Discovery


  • Ph.D., Structural Biology/Medicinal Chemistry (University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, 2010)
  • M.S., Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai, China, 2000)
  • B.S., General Biology (Henan Normal University, Xinxiang, Henan, China, 1997)

Post-Graduate Training

  • Postdoc - Membrane Protein Structural Biology (Columbia University, 2016)

Professional Experience

  • (2016 - Present) Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry, VCU School of Pharmacy
  • (2016 - Present) Member, Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery & Development
  • (2016 - Present) Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University
  • (2002 - 2004) Research Assistant, Louisiana State University
  • (2000 - 2002) Research Assistant, Chinese Academy of Science

Professional and Scholarly Interests

  • Tryptophan-rich TSPO proteins
  • Ligand-gated Ion Channels
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
  • ECF-type ABC Transporters
  • Major Facilitator Superfamily Transporter
  • Novel Membrane Proteins

Research Interests

  • 1) Structural Biology of Membrane Proteins
  • Research in our laboratory is focused on selected biomedically important membrane proteins implicated in cognitive diseases, cancers, cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases. We perform our research at the atomic level using comprehensive modern biophysical, biochemical and computational approaches including but not limited to X-Ray Crystallography, Single-Particle Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Nuclear Resonance Spectroscopy, Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Microscale Thermophoresis, Circular Dichroism, and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance.
  • 2) Membrane Protein Crystallography
  • High-resolution structures of membrane proteins are in high demand but still rare. We have successfully solved multiple high resolution crystal structures, some of them even down to 1.7 Å. Method development is crucial to our success. We are interested in developing new strategies for membrane protein crystallization.
  • 3) Drug Discovery and Development
  • Structure based drug design is a vital component of precision medicine. We take the advantage of high-resolution structures of membrane proteins for drug discovery and development.


PubMed Search
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Recent Publications

  • Horia Negulescu, Youzhong Guo, Thomas P. Garner, Octavia Y. Goodwin, Gregg Henderson, Roger A. Laine and Megan A. Macnaughtan. (2015) A Kazal-type serine protease inhibitor from the defense gland secretion of the subterranean termite Coptotermes Formosanus Shiraki. PLoS ONE 10 (5): e0125376 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125376.
  • Youzhong Guo, Ravi C. Kalathur, Qun Liu, Brian Kloss, Renato Bruni, Christopher Ginter, Edda Kloppmann, Burkhard Rost and Wayne A. Hendrickson. (2015) Structure and activity of tryptophan- rich TSPO proteins. Science 347: 551-554.
  • Tingting Yang, Qun Liu, Brian Kloss, Renato Bruni, Ravi C. Kalathur, Youzhong Guo, Edda Kloppmann, Burkhard Rost, Henry M. Colecraft and Wayne A. Hendrickson. (2014) Structure and selectivity in bestrophin ion channels. Science 346: 355-359.
  • Qun Liu, Youzhong Guo, Yanqi Chang, Zheng Cai, Zahra Assur, Filippo Mancia, Mark I. Greened and Wayne A. Hendrickson. (2014) Multi-crystal native SAD analysis at 6 keV. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 70: 2544- 2557.
  • Youzhong Guo, Hector Serrano,Gerrit J. Poelarends, William H, Johnson, Jr., Marvin L. Hackert, Christian P. Whitman. (2013) Kinetic, Mutational, and Structural Analysis of Malonate Semialdehyde Decarboxylase from Coryneform Bacterium Strain FG41: Mechanistic Implications for the Decarboxylase and Hydratase Activities. Biochemistry 52: 4830–4841.
  • Youzhong Guo, Hector Serrano, William H, Johnson, Jr., Steven Ernst, Marvin L. Hackert, Christian P. Whitman (2011) Crystal structures of native and inactivated cis-3-chloroacrylic acid dehalogenase: Implications for the catalytic and inactivation mechanisms. Bioorg Chem. 39:1-9.