Melanie J. COCCO

Melanie J. Cocco is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of California, Irvine.
She has a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry awarded from The Pennsylvania State University and received her postdoctoral training in Biophysics at Yale University. Her expertise in structural biology and membrane protein biochemistry lead her to develop a laboratory with research devoted to issues of membrane protein structure and stability.

In collaboration with Drs. Jean-Luc Popot and Luis de la Maza, she is working to develop vaccine formulations using membrane proteins solubilized in amphipols.


Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
University of California
1218 Natural Sciences I
Irvine, CA 92697-3900
Mail : mcocco(at)
Lab Web page:

Selected Articles:

  1. Multiple conformations of the cytidine repressor DNA-binding domain coalesce to one upon recognition of a specific DNA surface. Biochemistry. Moody CL, Tretyachenko-Ladokhina V, Laue TM, Senear DF, Cocco MJ. 2011 Aug 9;50(31):6622-32.
  2. Amphipols stabilize the Chlamydia major outer membrane protein and enhance its protective ability as a vaccine. Tifrea DF, Sun G, Pal S, Zardeneta G, Cocco MJ. , Popot JL, de la Maza LM.Vaccine. 2011 Jun 20;29(28):4623-31.
  3. Protein folding at the membrane interface, the structure of Nogo-66 requires interactions with a phosphocholine surface. Vasudevan SV, Schulz J, Zhou C, Cocco MJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 13;107(15):6847-51.
  4. pH dependence of sphingosine aggregation. Sasaki H, Arai H, Cocco MJ. , White SH. Biophys J. 2009 Apr 8;96(7):2727-33.
  5. Synthesis, structure, and activities of an oral mucosal alpha-defensin from rhesus macaque. Vasudevan S, Yuan J, Osapay G, Tran P, Tai K, Liang W, Kumar V, Selsted ME, Cocco MJ. J Biol Chem. 2008 Dec 19;283(51):35869-77.

Selected Reviews:

  1. Amphipols from A to Z. Popot JL, et al., Annu Rev Biophys. 2011 Jun 9;40:379-408.