Eric May

Associate Professor

Molecular and Cell Biology / Structural Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics (SB3)

Education: Postdoctoral Study, University of Michigan; Ph.D. University of Florida; B.S. Bucknell University

Research Interests: Our research lab works in the general area of computational and theoretical biophysics and biochemistry, with an emphasis towards understanding conformational/phase transitions and the mechanical and thermodynamic properties of biological materials. These lines of research are intended to not only explain the underlying physical mechanisms in biology but to also identify principles that can be utilized in nanotechnology and biomedical applications. We are interested in informing and making strong connections to both single-molecule and ensemble averaged experimental measurements.

A major thrust in the lab is to understand how environmental stimuli can induce structural changes to non-enveloped viruses, which are critical in the infection process. Other areas of interest include membrane disruption/reconfiguration, protein folding, and structural predictions, antibody design, and nanoparticle design.

Selected Publications:

Jeffrey D. Tamucci, Nathan N. Alder, and Eric R. May, Peptide Power: Mechanistic Insights into the Effect of Mitochondria-Targeted Tetrapeptides on Membrane Electrostatics from Molecular Simulations, Mol. Pharmaceutics, 2023 Oct 30,

Asis K. Jana, Mahmoud Sharawy, Eric R. May, Non-equilibrium virus particle dynamics: Microsecond MD simulations of the complete Flock House virus capsid under different conditions, Journal of Structural Biology, Volume 215, Issue 2, 2023, 107964, ISSN 1047-8477,

Wayne Mitchell, Jeffrey D Tamucci, Emery L Ng, Shaoyi Liu, Alexander V Birk, Hazel H Szeto, Eric R May, Andrei T Alexandrescu, Nathan N Alder (2022) Structure-activity relationships of mitochondria-targeted tetrapeptide pharmacological compounds eLife 11:e75531

Sharawy, MPigni, NBMay, ERGascón, JAA favorable path to domain separation in the orange carotenoid proteinProtein Science20221– 14

Asis K. Jana, Eric May. 2021. Atomistic dynamics of a viral infection process: Release of membrane lytic peptides from a non-enveloped virus. Science Advances. Vol. 7, no. 16, eabe1761 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe1761

Asis K Jana, Eric R May. Structural and dynamic asymmetry in icosahedrally symmetric virus capsids. Current Opinion in Virology, Volume 45, December 2020, Pages 8-16

Jason G. Pattis and Eric R. May, Markov State Model of Lassa Virus Nucleoprotein Reveals Large Structural Changes during the Trimer to Monomer Transition, Structure (2020),

Jolanta Krucinska, Michael N. Lombardo, Heidi Erlandsen, Akram Hazeen, Searle S. Duay, Jason G. Pattis, Victoria L. Robinson, Eric R. May & Dennis L. Wright. Functional and structural basis of E. coli enolase inhibition by SF2312: a mimic of the carbanion intermediate. Sci Rep 9, 17106 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-53301-3

Shivangi Nangia, Kevin J. Boyd, Eric R. May, Molecular dynamics study of membrane permeabilization by wild-type and mutant lytic peptides from the non-enveloped Flock House virus, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes, 2019,183102, ISSN 0005-2736, doi:10.1016/j.bbamem.2019.183102 

Kevin J. Boyd and Eric R. May (2018). BUMPy: A Model-Independent Tool for Constructing Lipid Bilayers of Varying Curvature and Composition. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00765.

Friedman, R., Khalid, S., Aponte-Santamaría, C. et al. 2018. Understanding Conformational Dynamics of Complex Lipid Mixtures Relevant to Biology. J Membrane Biol.DOI:10.1007/s00232-018-0050-y.

Kevin J. Boyd, Nathan N. Alder, Eric R. May. (2018)  Molecular Dynamics Analysis of Cardiolipin and Monolysocardiolipin on Bilayer Properties. BiophysicalJournal,

Nangia, N., Pattis, J. G, May, E.R. (2018) Folding a viral peptide in different membrane environments: pathway and sampling analyses. Journal of Biological Physics,

Boyd, K.K., Alder, N.N., May, E.R. (2017) Buckling Under Pressure: Curvature Based Lipid Segregation and Stability Modulation in Cardiolipin Containing Bilayers.Langmuir , DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01185

Nangia, S., May, E.R. (2017) Influence of membrane composition on the binding and folding of a membrane lytic peptide from the non-enveloped flock house virus. BBA-Biomembranes (in press).

Ward, M.D., Nangia, S., May, E.R.(2017) Evaluation of the hybrid resolution PACE model for the study of folding, insertion, and pore formation of membrane associated peptides. J. Comput. Chem., DOI: 10.1002/jcc.24694 .

J.G. Pattis, E.R. May (2016). Influence of RNA Binding on the Structure and Dynamics of the Lassa Virus Nucleoprotein, Biophys. J., 110(6):1246-1254.

A. Aggarwal, E.R. May, C.L. Brooks III, W.S. Klug (2016) Nonuniform elastic properties of macromolecules and effect of prestrain on their continuum nature, Phys. Rev. E 92, 012417.

Boyd, K.J., Bansal, P., Feng, J., May, E.R. (2015) Stability of Norwalk virus capsid protein interfaces evaluated by in-silico nanoindentation. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 3:00103

Wowor, A.J., Yan, Y., Auclair, S.M., Yu, D., Zhang, J., May, E.R., Gross, M.L., Kendall, D.A. and Cole, J.L. (2014) Analysis of SecA Dimerization in Solution. Biochemistry, in press, DOI:10.1021/bi500348p

E.R. May (2014) Recent developments in molecular simulation approaches to study spherical virus
capsids, Molecular Simulation, DOI: 10.1080/08927022.2014.907899

E.R. May, C.L. Brooks III (2012) On the Morphology of Viral Capsids: Elastic Properties and Buckling Transitions, J. Phys. Chem. B 116:8604-8609.

E.R. May, J. Feng, C.L. Brooks III(2012) Exploring the Symmetry and Mechanism of Virus Capsid Maturation via an Ensemble of Pathways, Biophys. J. 102(3):606-612.

W.H. Roos, I. Gertsman, E.R. May, C.L. Brooks III, J.E. Johnson, G.J.L. Wuite (2012) The Mechanics of Bacteriophage Maturation, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109(7):2342-7.

E.R. May, A. Aggarwal, W.S. Klug, C.L. Brooks III (2011) Viral Capsid Equilibrium Dynamics Reveals Nonuniform Elastic Properties, Biophys. J. 100(11):L59-61.

E.R. May, C.L. Brooks III (2011) Determination of Viral Capsid Elastic Properties from Equilibrium Thermal Fluctuations, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106(18):188101.

E.R. May, R.S. Armen, A.M. Mannan, C.L. Brooks III (2010) The Flexible C-terminal Arm of the Lassa Arenavirus Z-Protein Mediates Interactions with Multiple Binding Partners, Proteins 78(10):2251-64.

E.R. May, D.I. Kopelevich, A. Narang, (2008) Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Phase Transitions in Mixed Lipid Systems Containing LPA, DOPA, and DOPE Lipids, Biophys. J. 94(3):878-90.

E.R. May, A. Narang, D.I. Kopelevich, (2007) Role of Molecular Tilt in Thermal Fluctuations of Lipid Membranes, Phys. Rev. E: Stat. Nonlin. Soft Matter Phys. 76(2 Pt 1):021913.

Eric May
Contact Information
Mailing Address91 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3125, Storrs, CT 06269-3125
Office LocationBiology/Physics Building 305