Dr. Nicholas Panasik

Dr. Panasik organizes the University’s Nobel Laureate Series and is a regular contributor to the National Science Foundatin’s Review Panels.


Dr. Panasik specializes in protein structure and functin with emphasis on the structural basis for folding specifiity and thermodynamic stability of the α/β barrel (TIM) enzyme. He organizes the University’s Nobel Laureate Series and is a regular contributor to the National Science Foundatin’s Review Panels. Dr. Panasik has been the recipient of the National Science Foundation's Early CAREER Award and several teaching excellence awards including being named a Distiguished Professor of South Carolina in 2011.


  • Post Doctoral Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD
  • Ph. D. degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Pennsylvania State University, University Park PA.
  • B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison WI

Research Interests

The a/b barrel (TIM) enzyme fold is the largest family of protein folds (representing at least 10% of all known protein structures) and has the widest range of enzyme functions. My research focuses on elucidating the structural basis for folding specificity and thermodynamic stability in this class of enzymes and the future application of those principles in protein design. My past work using directed evolution techniques and crystallographic analysis has led to the proposal of specific determinants of protein stability in this class of enzymes. In my current research, I use random PCR mutagenesis to create a library of genetic variants for low or high temperature adapted beta-galactosidases and study the effect of such mutations on protein structure. Using ab initio Monte Carlo simulations, estimations of steric exclusion and the contribution of steric exclusion to main chain and side chain entropy can be made leading to the identification of general classes of substitutions and new models of protein thermostabilization through entropy.

Activities and Honors

  • Named a Distinguished Professor of South Carolina by Gov Nikki Haley (2011)
  • National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award (2011)
  • James E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010)
  • School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Award for Outstanding Teaching (2009)

Dr. Panasik
Dr. Nicholas Panasik
Associate Professor of Biology/Chemistry
  • School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
JST 221