Wayne L. Hubbell

Wayne L Hubbell

Professor, Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles

(310) 206-8830

Laboratory Address:

Lab Number:
(310) 206-8831

Mailing Address:
Mail Code: 700819

Fax Number:
(310) 794-2144

Work Address:
JSEI 3-118

Wayne L. Hubbell, Ph.D., holds the Jules Stein Chair in Ophthalmology.


Lab Director, Hubbell Lab
Jules Stein Professor of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology
Associate Director, Stein Eye Institute
Member, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology GPB Home Area, Brain Research Institute, Molecular Biology Institute
Researcher, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Research Interests

The function of many membrane proteins is mediated by long -range structural changes that take place on a millisecond time scale. Examples include the activation of receptor by physical or chemical signals, the active transport of matter across membrane, and the gating of voltage-dependent channels. These events involve transmembrane proteins whose conformation are coupled to ligant binding, energy sources, and transmembrane electrostatic potentials, respectively. To study these processes requires techniques that provide information on the structure of the proteins at the level of the backbone fold and its evolution in time during function. To this end, we are developing a technology called site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) that is based on the combined application of the electron paramagnetic resonance “spin labeling” and site-directed mutagenesis. Recent results with SDSL demonstrated that this strategy is capable of providing detailed structural information on both soluble and membrane proteins with real-time resolution in the millisecond range. Current applications to membrane proteins include the photoreceptor rhodopsin, the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin and the channel forming proteins colicin E1 and diphtheria toxin. In addition, SDSL is ideally suited to the study of supramolecular systems and protein folding, Examples of current applications in these areas are the structures of protein-chaperon complexes and folding in T4-lysozyme and apomyoglobin.


During his graduate and postdoctoral work with Harden McConnell at Stanford University, Wayne Hubbell used spin label technology to first describe the fluidity and fluidity gradient in biological membranes, landmark discoveries of broad impact in cell and membrane biology.

In 1970, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley where his laboratory designed new surfactants, pioneered the molecular characterization of reconstituted membrane proteins, and developed a series of unique spin label probes to study membrane electrostatics.

In 1983, Prof. Hubbell moved his laboratory to UCLA where he became the first Jules Stein Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Soon after arriving, he combined unrelated technical advancements in molecular biology and EPR spectroscopy and pioneered the powerful new technology of site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) for the determination of structure and conformational dynamics in both soluble and membrane proteins.

For his development and application of SDSL, Prof. Hubbell has received numerous honors and awards including the Gold Medal of the International EPR/ESR Society, the International Zavoisky Award from the Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Bruker Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry-ESR Group, and the Elisabeth Roberts Cole from the Biophysical Society (US). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected to the first class of fellows of the Biophysical Society and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Pécs, Hungary.