NC State Physics Logo


Keith Weninger

University Faculty Scholar


Professor Weninger received his PhD in 1997 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). After postdoctoral appointments at UCLA (1997-2000) and Stanford University (2000-2004), he joined the faculty of North Carolina State University in 2004 as an assistant professor.

He characterized many of the extreme conditions leading to sonoluminescence, the conversion of sound into light by the non-linear oscillations of a bubble within a liquid. With light scattering he resolved the Mach 4 implosion of the bubble leading to flashes of light. The structure of those 30 ps long light flashes was resolved spectrally and temporally. Upon switching into biophysics research, he developed the use of single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer to characterize the conformational dynamics of multimeric protein complexes. Other research accomplishments include the use of single particle tracking to determine the infection pathway of alphaviruses and the discovery of icoseconds charging effects from the friction of mercury rolling on glass.

Select Publications

R. Qiu, M. Sakato, E.J. Sacho, H. Wilkins, X. Zhang, P. Modrich, M.M. Hingorani, D.A. Erie, K.R. Weninger "MutL traps MutS at a DNA mismatch",PNAS, (2015).

Y. He, Y. Chen, S.M. Mooney, K. Rajagopalan, A. Bhargava, E. Sacho, K. Weninger, P.N. Bryan, P. Kulkarni, J. Orban "Phosphorylation-Induced Conformational Ensemble switching in an Intrinsically Disordered Cancer/Testis antigen",J. Biol. Chem, ,(2015).

D.A. Erie, K.R. Weninger "Single molecule studies of DNA mismatch repair",DNA Repair,20,71-81 (2014).

V.C. DeRocco, L.E. Sass, R. Qiu, K.R. Weninger, D.A. Erie "Dynamics of MutS-mismatched DNA complexes are predictive of their repair pheontypes",Biochemistry,53,2043-2052 (2014).

S.M. Mooney, R. Qiu, J.J. Kim, E.J. Sacho, K. Rajagopalan, D. Johng, T. Shiraishi, P. Kulkarni, K.R. Weninger "The Cancer/Testis antigen PAGE4, a regulator of c-Jun transactivation, is phosphorylated by Homeo-domain interacting protein kinase 1, a component of the stress-response pathway",Biochemistry, 53,1670-1679 (2014).

U.B. Choi, K.R. Weninger, M.E. Bowen "Immobilization of proteins for single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements of conformation and dynamics", Methods Mol Bio, 896, 3-20 (2012).

R. Qiu, V.C. DeRocco, C. Harris, A. Sharma, M.M. Hingorani, D.A. Erie, K.R. Weninger "Large conformational changes in MutS during DNA scanning, mismatch recognition and repair signalling", The EMBO Journal, 31, 2528-2540 (2012).

Shahzad Khalid, B. Kappus, K. Weninger, S. Putterman "Opacity and transport measurments reveal that dilute plasma models of sonoluminescence are not valid", Physical Review Letters, 108,104302 (2012).

K. R. Weninger, "Complexin arrests a neighbor", Nature Strucutral and Molecular Biology, 18, 861 (2011).

U.B. Choi, J.J. McCann, K. Weninger, M. Bowen, "Beyond the random coil: Stochastic conformational switching in intrinsically disordered proteins", Structure, 19, 566 (2011).

A.T. Brunger, P. Strop, M. Vrljic, S. Chu, K. Weninger, "Three-dimensional molecular modeling with single molecule FRET", Journal of Structural Biology, 173, 497 (2011).

Honors & Awards

He received the Career Award at the Scientific Interface for his work in biophysics from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.