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Blake Mertz, Ph.D.

Principal Scientist, Modulus Discovery

Mertz Group Website


Ph.D., Iowa State University

NIH Ruth Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona

The Mertz group is focused on using computational biophysics to investigate the structure-function relationships of membrane proteins. These insights can be used along with experimental observations to allow us to investigate membrane protein behavior on multiple time- and length-scales.

Teaching Fields

Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry

Courses Offered

  • CHEM 342 (Experimental Physical Chemistry)
  • CHEM 593 (Computational Chemistry)
  • CHEM 115 (General Chemistry)


Gupta, C., Ren, Y., M ertz, B. "Cooperative Non-bonded Forces Control Membrane Binding of the pH-Low Insertion Peptide pHLIP". Biophys. J. 2018, 115, 2403-2412. 

Faramarzi, S., Feng, J., Mertz, B. "Allosteric effects of the proton donor on the microbial proton pump, proteorhodopsin".  Biophys. J. 2018 115, 1240-1250. 

Gupta, C., Mertz, B. Protonation enhances inherent helix-forming propensity of pHLIP.  ACS Omega  2017 2,  .

Faramarzi, Sadegh, Bonnett, B., Scaggs, C.A., Hoffmaster, A., Grodi, D., Harvey, E., Mertz, B. "Molecular dynamics simulations as a tool for accurate determination of surfactant micelle properties".   Langmuir 2017 33, 

Cai, M., Marelli, U.K. Mertz, B., Beck, J.G., Opperer, F., Rechenmacher, F., Kessler, H., Hruby, V.J. "Structural Insights into Selective Ligand-Receptor Interactions Leading to Receptor Inactivation Utilizing Selective Malenocortin 3 Receptor Antagonists". Biochemistry 2017 56, 4201-4209. 

Prince, N., Popp, B., Mertz, B., Gupta, C., Boyd, J. A "Novel Approach to Battlefield Wound Assessment and Treatment for Forward Surgical Teams". HDIAC Journal 2017 4, 40-45.

Lee, C., Mertz, B. Theoretical Evidence for Multiple Charge Transfer Pathways in Bacteriorhodopsin.  J. Chem. Theory Comput.  201612, 1639-1646.

Feng, J., Mertz, B. “Proteorhodopsin activation is modulated by dynamic changes in hydration.”  Biochemistry  201554, 7132-7141.

Mertz, B., Feng, J., Corcoran, C., Neeley, B. “Explaining the mobility of retinal in activated rhodopsin and opsin”.  Photochem. Photobiol. Sci.  2015 DOI: 10.1039/C5PP00173K

Feng, J; Mertz. B. “Novel Phosphotidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate Binding Sites on Focal Adhesion Kinase”.  PLoS ONE  201510, e0132833.

Feng, J.; Brown, M.F.; Mertz, B. “Retinal Flip in Rhodopsin Activation?”  Biophys. J.  2015108, 2767-2770.

Leioatts, N.; Mertz, B.; Martínez-Mayorga, K.; Romo, T.D.; Pitman, M.C.; Feller, S.E.; Grossfield, A.; Brown, M.F. “Retinal ligand mobility explains internal hydration and reconciles active rhodopsin structures.”  Biochemistry  201453, 376-385.

Mertz, B.; Struts, A. V.; Feller, S. E.; Brown, M. F. “Molecular simulations and solid-state NMR investigate dynamical structure in multi-scale rhodopsin activation”,  BBA-Biomembranes  20121818, 241-251.  

Mertz, B.; Lu, M.; Brown, M. F.; Feller, S. E. “Steric and electronic influences on the torsional energy landscape of retinal”,  Biophys. J.  2011101, L17-L19.

Mertz, B.; Gu, X.; Reilly, P. “J. Analysis of functional divergence within two structurally related glycoside hydrolase families”,  Biopolymers  200991, 478-495.

Fushinobu, S.; Mertz, B.; Hill, A. D.; Hidaka, M.; Kitaoka, M.; Reilly, P. J. “Computational analyses of the conformational itinerary along the reaction pathway of GH94 cellobiose phosphorylase”,  Carb. Res.  2008343, 1023-1033.

Mertz, B.; Hill, A. D.; Mulakala, C.; Reilly, P. J. “Automated docking to explore subsite binding by glycoside hydrolase family 6 cellobiohydrolaess and endoglucanases”,  Biopolymers  200687, 249-260.

Mertz, B.; Kuczenski, R. S.; Larsen, R. T.; Hill, A. D.; Reilly, P. J. “Phylogenetic analysis of family 6 glycoside hydrolases”,  Biopolymers  200579, 197-206.