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David J. Vanderah

My research interests at NIST have centered on modification of surfaces for optimization of biosensors, protein arrays, protein structure-function studies, and ultrathin film metrology. Currently, much of my work is directed toward the synthesis of lipidic anchor molecules that form the basis of tethered bilayer lipid membranes (tBLMs) for the study of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). The lipidic tether compounds contain an oligo(ethylene oxide) [OEO] motif to provide a flexible, polar segment capable of supporting an aqueous submembrane reservoir of the tBLM, a condition necessary for optimal IMP functional reconstitution. The tBLMs enable a wide range of metrology, including neutron scattering techniques, to further probe IMP structure and function. Other work has focused on understanding the control of protein adsorption. We have shown that, for the OEO motif, loosely packed, conformationally mobile, uniformly-distributed, surface-bound molecules are the necessary and sufficient conditions for inhibition of nonspecific protein adsorption. Synthetic targets are those in which the optimal spacing between OEO segments and lateral stabilization interactions result directly from the molecular structure.

Originally from Iowa, I am married with three kids (all grown now) and assorted pets. Although replaced hips have stopped my (previous) sport interests (handball, running, hiking, skiing), I am a strong advocate of fitness through exercise and nutrition. I teach a cycle class.

Selected Publications:

D. J. McGillivray, G. Valincius, F. Heinrich, J. W. F. Robertson, D. J. Vanderah, W. Febo-Ayala, I. Ignatiev, M. Lösche, J. J. Kasianowicz "Structure of Functional Staphylococcus aureus -Hemolysin in Tethered Bilayer Lipid Membranes" Biophys. J. 2009, 96, 1547-1553. 

V. I. Silin, E. A. Karlik, K. D. Ridge, D. J. Vanderah, "Development of Surface-based Assays for Trans-membrane Proteins: Selective Immobilization of Functional CCR5, a G-Protein-coupled Receptor", Anal. Biochem. 2006, 349, 247-253.

D. J. Vanderah, H. La, J. Naff, V. Silin, K. A. Rubinson "Control of Protein Adsorption: Molecular Level Structural and Spatial Variables" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 31639-31641.

D. J. Vanderah, G. Valincius, and C. W. Meuse "Self-Assembled Monolayers of Methyl 1-Thiahexa(ethylene oxide) for the Inhibition of Protein Adsorption" Langmuir 2002, 18, 4674-4680. 

V. Silin, H. Weetall, D.J. Vanderah, "Surface Plasmon Reasonance (SPR) Studies of the Non-Specific Adsorption Kinetics of Human Immunoglobulin (IgG) and Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) on Gold Surfaces Modified by Self-Assembled Monolayers (SAMs)" J. of Colloid & Surface Science 1997, 185, 94-103.

An illustration of a model of a membrane.
NIST Membrane Model May Unlock
Secrets of Early-Stage Alzheimer's

A photo of Dave Vanderah.


Research Chemist
Biochemical Science
Macromolecular Structure and Function

Employment History:

1977 – 1979 Assistant Professor, Kalamazoo College

1979 – 1984 Assistant Professor, Chatham College

1984 – 1987  Associate Professor, Chatham College

1987 – 1993 Research Chemist, Research Department, Chemistry Division, Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, CA

1994 – present Research Chemist, Macromolecular Structure and Function Group, Biochemical Science Division, National Institute of Standards & Technology


Ph.D. Organic Chemistry (Marine Natural Products) University of Oklahoma, 1975

B.S. Chemistry Loras College, 1968 


Phone: 240-314-6266
Fax: 240-314-6225