Alex Dickson

Alex Dickson

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering 
Room 316, Biochemistry Building
 603 Wilson Rd.
 (517) 355-1600


B.S., 2006, Chemical Physics (Minor in Mathematics), University of Toronto
M.S., 2007, Chemistry, University of Chicago
Ph.D., 2011, Chemistry, University of Chicago



The Dickson Lab’s core research efforts are directed at developing new methods for the simulation of rare events in molecular systems, and developing network models for the analysis of these simulations. Currently this research is focused on modeling long timescale protein-ligand binding pathways, and identifying the molecular interactions that govern ligand binding kinetics.  Another driving question is how ligand binding impacts protein structure and dynamics.  The Dickson Lab is developing computational tools to examine this impact, including how ligands modulate protein stability upon binding. Additionally, in a collaboration funded by the Human Frontiers Science Program, the Dickson Lab is developing mathematical models to report on chaperone activity inside living cells using the readout of a fluorescent biosensor that monitors protein foldedness.

Alex Dickson received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago under Professor Aaron Dinner. There he developed new computational approaches to enhance the sampling of simulations that are driven out of equilibrium. Applications spanned from biomolecular systems, such as an RNA unfolding in a flowing solvent, to model systems from physics, such as sheared Ising models.

In 2011, he began as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Charles L. Brooks III at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he continued developing new enhanced sampling methods for application to atomistic biomolecular systems.  A novel method, "WExplore," allows for enhancement of sampling in an undirected fashion, and has been used to observe a wide variety of rare biomolecular phenomena.  He also developed a set of analysis techniques that can help visualize the entire space of possible biomolecular conformations in a network plot.

As of August 2015 Alex has joined the Department of Computational Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering as a Assistant Professor.

•    Intrinsic disorder in molecular systems

•    Protein-protein interactions

•    Drug design

•    Molecular dynamics

•    Rare event modeling

•    Network theory

•    Non-equilibrium processes

Alex Dickson Lab

Scientific Leader: Dr Alex Dickson

Pharmacological biophysics / Network modeling / Rare event sampling methods

Optimal Allosteric Stabilization Sites using Contact Stabilization Analysis
June 7, 2017

The Journal of Computational Chemistry featured a new paper by Alex Dickson, Christopher T. Bailey, & John Karanicolas, on 5 June 2017.


Kinetics of Ligand Binding Through Advanced Computational Approaches: A Review
June 7, 2017

Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry featured a new paper by Alex Dickson, Pratyush Tiwary, & Harish Vashisth on 14 April 2017 for their work in Kinetics of Ligand Binding.


Multiple Ligand Unbinding Pathways and Ligand-Induced Destabilization Revealed by WExplore
June 7, 2017

The Biophysical Journal had published a paper by Alex Dickson & Samual D. Lotz, published on 28 February 2017 for their work on Ligand Pathways.


Ligand Release Pathways Obtained with WExplore: Residence Times and Mechanisms
May 30, 2016

Alex Dickson & Samuel D Lotz published a new paper for their work in Ligand Pathways on 26 May 2016. in J. Phys. Chem. B

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b04012


No courses for this academic year.

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