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Steven Boxer
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Contact Information  
Steven Boxer

Steven G. Boxer
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305-5012

(650) 723-4482

Education   Employment

University of Chicago
Degree: Ph.D. December 1976
Field: Physical and Physical-Organic Chemistry
Research Advisor: Professor Gerhard L. Closs

Tufts University
Degree: B.S. with Honors, June 1969
Major: Chemistry

June 2000 to Present
Camille and Henry Dreyfus
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
September 1988 to 1999
Chair, Stanford Biophysics Program
September 1986 to Present
Professor of Chemistry,
Stanford University
September 1982 to August 1986
Associate Professor of Chemistry,
Stanford University
December 1976 to August 1982
Assistant Professor of Chemistry,
Stanford University
Atomic Energy Commission Pre-doctoral Fellow (1972-1976)
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1979-1983)
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Fellow (1980-1985)
Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1982)
Presidential Young Investigator Award (1984-1989)
American Society for Photobiology Research Award (1992)
Five-College Lecturer in Chemistry (1993)
NIH MERIT Award (1994-2004)
American Chemical Society Arthur Cope Scholar Award (1995)
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1997)
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1997)
Fellow, Biophysical Society (2007)
Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy (2008)
Member, National Academy of Sciences (2008)
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2009)
American Chemical Society E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy (2013)
Murray Goodman Memorial Prize (2014)
Named Lectureships    

Guthikonda Lecture, Columbia University, November 2015

Hush Foundation Lecture, University of Sydney, October 2015

Pittsburgh Conference Lectures, University of Akron, March 2015

Johannes Coetzee Memorial Lecture, University of Pittsburgh, March 2014

Vasser-Wooley Lecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, February 2014

UCC Distinguished Chemistry Lecturer, Northwestern University (invited by undergraduates), May 2012

33rd Musselman Lecture Series, Gettysburg College, November 2011

Peter C. Reilly Lectures, Notre Dame, April 2010

Moses Gomberg Lecture, University of Michigan, May 2009

The James D. and Julia P. Morrison Lecture, Carleton College, April 2008

Hirschmann Lectures, University of Pennsylvania, March 2008

Craig Lecturer, Research School of Chemistry, Canberra, November 2007

Max Tishler Award Lecturer, Tufts University, March 2007

J. Clarence Karcher Lecturer, University of Oklahoma, March 2006

Henry Bull Lecturer in Biophysics, University of Iowa, April 2004

ICI Distinguished Lecturer, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, October 2003

Merck Lecturer, University of California, San Diego, May 2002

Ehrenfest Colloquium, University of Leiden, May 2001

H. Willard Davis Lecture, University of South Carolina, Columbia South Carolina, March 1998.

Five-College Lecturer in Chemistry, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, April, 1993.

Physical Sciences Colloquium, IBM J. T. Watson Research Laboratories, Yorktown Heights, New York, October, 1990.

Dr. George W. Raiziss Biochemical Rounds, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, April, 1987.

Weissberger-Williams Lecturer, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York, March, 1988

Ephriam and Wilma Shaw Roseman Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, November, 1987.

Scientific Advisory Committee for Center for Laser and Computational Biophysics, State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy, East China Normal University (2013–2015)
Scientific advisory boards, Synamem, Apton
PULSE External Advisory board, SLAC

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (2005–2008)
External Advisory Board, CSEM-MRSEC Caltech (2001–2005)
Scientific Review Board, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1998–2006)
Scientific Review Board, Member NIH Study Section, BBCB (2000–2004)
Scientific advisory board, MCM Laboratories
Scientific advisory board, Salutar, Inc.
Scientific advisory board, Pharmacyclics, Inc.
Scientific advisory board, Signature BioSciences, Inc.
Scientific advisory board, ACLARA BioSciences, Inc.
Consultant, Darwin Molecular Technology, Inc.
Consultant, Polaroid
Personal Information  
Married to Linda M. Boxer, Professor, Department of Medicine, Chief of Hematology & Vice Dean Stanford Medical School

Children: Lisa and George.
Research Interests    

My laboratory investigates the structure and function of biological systems using many tools and methods, always with a strong physical perspective. Four interconnected themes are being pursued.

First, we are broadly interested in electrostatics in proteins and how electrostatics affect function. Our current work uses vibrational probes whose sensitivity to electric fields can be calibrated by Stark spectroscopy. Probes are introduced on inhibitors, by modification of amino acids and by incorporation of unnatural amino acids, and these are used to map electric fields for comparison with simulations and as probes of the role of protein electrostatics in enzymatic catalysis.

Second, we use supported lipid bilayers as mimics for cell surfaces and as tools in biotechnology. A broad vision is to engineer interfaces between hard surfaces and soft materials, ultimately leading to sophisticated biocompatible interfaces that can be used to control, interrogate or organize complex living systems. Recent work addresses the formation of domains and protein associations with these domains, interactions of DNA, proteins and cells with supported bilayers, and the mechanism of vesicle fusion. This work has motivated the development of advanced optical microscopy methods for probing the interface between membranes on solid supports and cell membranes. A novel type of imaging mass spectrometry is being applied to characterize the lateral organization and composition of bilayers and associated membranes with 50 nm resolution.

Third, we have a long-standing interest in the mechanism of light-driven, long-distance electron transfer in photosynthetic reaction centers, one of the fastest known reactions. This is being studied by femtosecond fluorescence and transient absorption spectroscopy, site-specific mutagenesis and vibrational Stark spectroscopy.

Fourth, related methods are also being used to probe excited state dynamics, solvation, and electronic structure in variants of green fluorescent protein (GFP), widely used in cell biology. Recent work focuses on discoveries of photo-association and -dissociation of split GFPs that can be used to modulate complex functions using light, novel GFPs with alternative folds, and the mechanism(s) of ground and excited state proton transfer.

Please visit our research page for more information.

The Boxer LaboratoryStanford UniversityDepartment of Chemistry • 380 Roth Way, Stanford, California, 94305-5012 • (650) 723-4482
Questions about this website may be directed to Debra Frank. • Website updated March 2012.