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Blake Mertz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Mertz Group Website


Ph.D., Iowa State University

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


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 doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b02666

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.