R. Andrew Byrd, Ph.D.

R. Andrew  Byrd, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Head, Macromolecular NMR Section

Dr. Byrd has been prominent in developing NMR-based structural biology for the study of proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides, and protein complexes. Current research focuses on deciphering allosteric mechanisms in the ubiquitination pathway regulating protein degradation/homeostatis and the roles of ADP ribosylation factors and GTPase activating proteins in regulating membrane trafficking. Dr. Byrd served as Chief of the Structural Biophysics Laboratory from 1999-2017 and continues as Head of the Macromolecular NMR Section. His group contributes to the development and impact of structural biology within the CCR and conducts an active, multidisciplinary research effort utilizing biophysics and NMR spectroscopy to provide mechanistic understanding of complex biological processes.

Areas of Expertise

1) NMR, 2) structural biology, 3) biophysics, 4) ubiquitination

Contact Info

R. Andrew Byrd, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Bldg. 538/Room 110
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
Ph: 301-846-1407

The Structural Biophysics Laboratory (SBL) focuses on solution structural biology and biophysics aimed at understanding and regulating the mechanism of action of proteins and nucleic acids. The major structural tool for the SBL is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and the Laboratory has a very strong interdisciplinary approach to understanding biochemical and biological mechanisms. Technologies incorporated in the research program include solution X-ray scattering, fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, calorimetry and novel binding methodologies including SPR and microscale thermophoresis. Research in the Byrd laboratory (Macromolecular NMR Section) focuses on protein-protein interactions in the ubiquitin-proteasome regulation pathway and the area of ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf) family of GTP-binding proteins and their regulators, the Arf GTPase-activating proteins (Arf GAPs). We seek to provide detailed structural and mechanistic insight, which we combine with collaborations in molecular and cell biology to inform and modulate biological function

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Structural Biology
  1. Li Y, Soubias O, Li J, Sun, S, Randazzo PA, Byrd, RA
    Biochemistry. 58(10): 1432-39, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Li J, Zhang Y, Soubias O, Khago D, Chao FA, Li Y, Shaw K, Byrd RA
    J. Biol Chem. 295(9): 2664-75, 2020. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Das R, Liang YH, Mariano J, Li J, Huang T, King A, Tarasov SG, Weissman AM, Ji X, Byrd RA.
    EMBO J. 32: 2504-16, 2013. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Chakrabarti KS, Li J, Das R, Byrd RA
    Structure. 25(5): 794-805, 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Chao F-A, Li Y, Zhang Y, Byrd RA
    J Am Chem Soc. 141(30): 11881-91, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Byrd received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, specializing in high-resolution biomolecular NMR. He was a postdoctoral fellow and subsequently a research officer in the Molecular Biophysics Laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada, where he investigated biological membranes by solid-state NMR. Following a period as a senior investigator at the Center for Drugs and Biologics/FDA, he established the Macromolecular NMR Section of the ABL-Basic Research Program at the NCI-Frederick in 1992. He chaired the Experimental NMR Conference in 1992 and co-chaired the International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems in 1996. Dr. Byrd served as Chief of the Structural Biophysics Laboratory in the Center for Cancer Research, NCI from 1999-2017. He has served on multiple drug discovery panels for NCI and served as the Director of the Molecular Discovery Program from 2009-2011. Dr. Byrd continues his work as a Senior Investigator in the Center for Structural Biology. He has been very active with the Protein Data Bank (PDB), serving on the Advisory Committee of the world-wide PDB 2004-present, chair of this committee 2015-2018, and on the Advisory Committee of the RCSB PDB since 2009.

Name Position
Jess Li Ph.D. Biologist
Ian J. Fucci Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Domarin Khago Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Kristen Snitchler B.Sc. Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Olivier Soubias Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Yue Zhang Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Fa-An Chao Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2020)

Scientist - LEIDOS Ras Initiative, Frederick, MD

Yifei Li Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2019)

Scientist - Wanxin Pharmaceutical Technology, Suzhou, China

Cameron McGlone, B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow (2015-2017)

Medical School - University of Ohio


Michelle Gill, Ph.D. Research Fellow (2014-2016)

After spearheading the NUS project and development of NESTA-NMR, she is shifting into a new career path in data science


Eric Shon, B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow (2013-2015)

Dental School – Columbia University


Kaylan Chakrabarti, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-2014)

Max Planck Institute, Goettingen, Germany


Shangjin Sun, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2014)

Proctor and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio


Tao Huang, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2013)

Novo Nordisk, Beijing, China


Yinghua Chen, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2012)

Research Associate-Protein Expression Purification and Crystallography Core, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve


Shan Liu, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2011)

Shan transitioned from research science into patent law. She is currently attending law school at George Washington University and works in patent law with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Washington, D.C.


Ranabir Das, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow and Staff Scientist (2005-2014)

Assistant Professor, National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India


Mary Starich, Ph.D. Staff Scientist (2000-2010)

Transitioned to self-employment


Amanda S. Altieri, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow and Staff Scientist (1993-2011)

Assistant Research Scientist, Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research


Ravi Amphapathi, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2007-2009)

Assistant Professor, CSIR-Central Drug Institute, Lucknow, India


Catherine Deatherage, B.S. Postbaccalaureate Fellow (2007-2009)

Graduate student at Vanderbilt University (2009-2016)
Postdoctoral Fellow Yale University (2016-)


Hana Krizova, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2008)

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama-Huntsville


Robert L. McFeeters, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2008)

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama-Huntsville


Sandra Loss, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2001-2002)

Bruker Biospin, Applications Scientist


Andrew Fowler. Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2000-2004)

Biomolecular NMR Facility Manager, University of Colorado (2004-2007)
Associate Director NMR Facility/ Assistant Research Scientist, University of Iowa – Carver College of Medicine (2007-present)


Vadim Gaponenko, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (2000-2006)

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics


Elan Eisenmesser, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-2000)

Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Denver


Barbara Dancheck, B.S. Summer Student & Senior Thesis (1998-1999)

Ph.D. at Brown University (2010)
U.S. Agency for International Development (2011-present)


Eva Meirovitch, Ph.D. Visiting Fellow (1995-1996)

Professor Emeritus, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel


Siddhartha Sarma, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (1996-1998)

Professor, Molecular Biophysics Unit, Division of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India


Hongjun Zhou, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (1996-1999)

Director NMR Facility, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California Santa Barbara


David A. Horita, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (1994-2000)

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Wake Forest University (2000-2013)
Scientific Grant Writer, Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (2013-present)


Donna Baldisseri, Ph.D. Staff Scientist 1992-1996

Research Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine (1996-2002)
Bruker Biospin, Senior Applications Scientist (2003-present)


Byrd Group 2018

Byrd Group 2018

Jess Li publishes paper on protein engineering and segmental labeling using variants of Srt A J. Biol. Chem.295(9):2664-2675 (2020).

The Arf1:ASAP1 project (collaboration with the Randazzo lab) utilizing nanodisc methodology advances with recent publications: Li et al., Biochemistry 58(10):1432-1439 (2019) and Roy et al. J. Biol. Chem., 294(46):17534-17370 (2019)

Group represented with two posters (Domarin Khago and Andy Byrd) at the joint Euromar/ISMAR conference in Berlin, Germany, August 2019

Adiabatic relaxation dispersion methodology and applications developed and extended to methyl reporters in recent papers led by Fa-An Chao: J. Magn. Res. 277:8-14 (2017); Emerging Topics in Life Sciences. 2:93-105 (2018); JACS 141(30):11881-11891 (2019); J. Biomol. NMR, in press (2020).

Frank Chao gives promoted lecture on geometric approximation and HARD (Heteronuclear Adiabatic Relaxation Disperson) at Computational Aspects of Biomolecular NMR – Gordon Research Conference, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, June 2019.

Group represented with two posters (Chao: geoHARD and Zhang: ASAP1 PH domain and Nanodiscs) at 60th Experimental NMR Conference, Asilomar, CA, April, 2019

Dr. Byrd awarded August-Wilhelm Schneer Gastprofessor (second term) by the Technical Universität München, spends August-November 2018 at TUM, host Prof. Franz Hagn. Invited lectures at the Murnau Conference on Structural Biology, Murnau, Germany, Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge Univ., Cambridge, UK, and Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Medical Univ. of Graz, Austria.

Group represented with poster (Chakrabarti et al.) at XXVIII ICMRBS, Dublin, Ireland, August 2018.

Dr. Byrd gives invited lecture on “NMR Dynamics and Allostery in the Ubquitin Pathway” at the IBBR-NMR Day for local Washington area NMR groups, May 2018

Group represented with poster (Jess Li and Domarin Khago) at the Keystone Conference on Ubiquitin Signaling, January 2018.

Olivier Soubias joins the group as a Staff Scientist. Olivier brings expertise in membranes, lipids, and solid-state NMR that will contribute to all the projects, especially the nano disc work.

Group represented at XXVIIth ICMRBS, Kyoto, Japan: two posters and lecture by R.A. Byrd.

Fa-An Chao’s geoHARD paper published in J. Am.Chem. Soc. 2016: “Geometric approximation: a new computational approach to characterize protein dynamics from NMR adiabatic relaxation dispersion experiments”.  JACS 138(23):7337-7345 (2016).

Group represented at 57th ENC, Pittsburgh: three posters and lecture by R.A. Byrd.

Dr. Byrd interviewed regarding research and NMR technology: Inhibiting Cancer Cells Using NMR (Bruker Corp.)

Collaborative work on ASAP1 PH domain with groups of Di Xia and Paul Randazzo group published:  Structure 23(11):1977-88 (2015).

Dr. Byrd awarded August-Wilhelm Schneer Gastprofessor by Technical Universität München, spends January – March 2016 at TUM, host Profs. Michael Sattler and Franz Hagn.

New approach for analyzing dynamics in Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs) published by Michelle Gill in collaboration with Art Palmer, Columbia University: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18(8):5839-49 (2016).

Dr. Byrd serving as Chair, wwPDB Advisory Committee (2015-2017).

Group publishes new Non-Uniform Sampling software NESTA-NMR for reconstruction of NUS NMR data, work of Shangjin Sun and Michelle Gill: J. Biomol. NMR 62(1):105-17 (2015).