Loyola University Chicago

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Ballicora, Miguel

Title/s:  Professor
Department Chair

Office #:  FH-125

Phone: 773.508.7045

Email: mballic@luc.edu


Pharm.D., 1987, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ph.D., 1993, Leloir Institute, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Postdoctoral, 1993-2000, Michigan State University
Assistant Professor (Research), 2000-2005, Michigan State University

Research Interests

Starch & Enzyme Evolution

Our research focuses on the enzymes of the synthesis of glycogen in bacteria, and starch in plants, with a particular interest in their molecular evolution. These metabolic pathways are excellent candidates to study evolution of molecular function. They are related and developed early in evolution. In addition, they are regulated and composed by few enzymes. We intend to find how regulation appeared and evolved in this pathway, how catalysis was modified, and how specificity for substrates originated. We use molecular modeling, phylogenetic analysis, protein chemistry, enzyme kinetics, and recombinant DNA technology to address these questions.

Our projects are very important not only for the basic knowledge of the evolution of these pathways, but also for more immediate purposes. Starch is the most abundant energy storage compound used by plants and determines the yield of important crops. A deeper knowledge of the enzymes of this pathway allows the rational manipulation of starch production. There is an increasing interest in this field because of its impact. The fruits of this basic science would serve to attack a critical problem of mankind: malnutrition. Funded by National Science Foundation Grants MCB 0615982 and MCB 1024945.

Courses Taught

  • Advanced Enzymology
  • Current Concepts in Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry laboratory
  • Elementary Physiological Chemistry B
  • International Workshop in "Modern Techniques in Protein Science"
  • Modern Techniques in Protein Science
  • Science and Society
  • Bioethics

Selected Publications

Current Publications via PubMed

Miguel Angel Ballicora on ResearchGate

Hill BL, Mascarenhas R, Patel HP, Asencion Diez MD, Wu R, Iglesias AA, Liu D, Ballicora MA. (2019) "Structural analysis reveals a pyruvate-binding activator site in the Agrobacterium tumefaciens ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase." J Biol Chem.  294 (4): 1338-1348

Bhayani JA, Hill BL, Sharma A, Iglesias AA, Olsen KW, Ballicora MA.  (2019) "Mapping of a Regulatory Site of the Escherichia coli ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase."  Front Mol Biosci. 6: 89.

Ferrero DML, Asencion Diez MD, Kuhn ML, Falaschetti CA, Piattoni CV, Iglesias AA, Ballicora MA. (2018) "On the Roles of Wheat Endosperm ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase Subunits." Front Plant Sci. 9: 1498.

Figueroa CM, Kuhn ML, Hill BL, Iglesias AA, Ballicora MA. (2018) "Resurrecting the Regulatory Properties of the Ostreococcus tauri ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase Large Subunit." Front Plant Sci. 9:1564.

 Kuhn, M.L., Figueroa C.M., Aleanzi, M., Olsen, K.W., Iglesias, A.A., and Ballicora, M.A. (2010) "Bi-national and interdisciplinary course in enzyme engineering", Biochem. Mol. Biol. Ed., 38: 370-379.