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John Peters' lab Personnel

Mark Willis

Research Associate


Washington State University
Institute of Biological Chemistry
429 Clark Hall
Pullman, WA 99164




Research Interests


After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics from Andrews University in Michigan I moved to Australia to work for a couple years in biophysics labs at the University of New South Wales. With new interests on the structural side of molecular life sciences, I returned to the US to study protein structure and folding, earning a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. More protein structure/function work followed in Maryland before we moved to Pullman where I initially studied curcuminoid production in ginger and turmeric followed by transcriptomics in plants and insects. I’ve just started experimental work again, this time in the world of nitrogen fixation, which brings me back to my interests in protein structure, activity, and protein-protein interactions. What drives all this is the satisfaction of seeing multiple lines of evidence come together to tell a compelling scientific story.



  • 2003                      PhD, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
  • 1989                      BSc, Physics, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI.

Research Experience

  • 2018 – Present     Research Associate, John W. Peters lab, Washington State University
  • 2010 – 2018           Research Associate, David Gang Lab, Washington State University
  • 2000 – 2005           Postdoctoral Research Associate, Osnat Herzberg Lab, University of Maryland
  • 1990 – 1992          Technical Officer, Paul Curmi & Veronica James Labs, University of New South Wales



1. Willis, MA, Zhuang, Z, Song, F, Howard, A, Dunaway-Mariano, D, Herzberg, O. (2008). Structure of YciA from Haemophilus influenzae (HI0827), a Hexameric Broad Specificity Acyl-Coenzyme A Thioesterase, Biochemistry 47 (9):2797–2805.

2. Willis, MA, Song, F, Zhuang, Z, Krajewski, W, Chalamasetty, VR, Reddy, P, Howard, A, Dunaway-Mariano D, Herzberg, O. (2005). Structure of YciI from Haemophilus influenzae (HI0828) reveals a ferredoxin-like a/ß-fold with a histidine/aspartate centered catalytic site, Proteins 59 (3):648-52

3. Lehmann C, Pullalarevu S, Krajewski W, Willis MA, Galkin A, Howard A, Herzberg O. (2005). Structure of HI0073 from Haemophilus influenzae, the nucleotide-binding domain of a two-protein nucleotidyl transferase, Proteins 60 (4):807-11.

4. Willis, MA, Krajewski, W, Chalamasetty, VR, Reddy, P, Howard, A, Herzberg, O. (2002). Structure of HI1333 (YhbY), a putative RNA-binding protein from Haemophilus influenzae, Proteins 49 (3):423-6.

5. Willis, MA, Bishop, B, Regan, L, Brunger, AT. (2000). Dramatic structural and thermodynamic consequences of repacking a protein’s hydrophobic core, Structure Fold Des 8, 1319-28.