Corry Group - Transport proteins and computational biophysics

Protein conformations

Our research examines the structure and function of a family of pore forming proteins known as ion channels. We aim to understand the mechanisms by which these proteins can identify and transport molecules across the cell membrane, and how the pores open and close to control this transport. In addition we are interested in studying transport in other kinds of pores, be they in proteins, crystaline materials or synthetic membranes. Gaining a fundamental understanding of the operation of biological pores has allowed us to design synthetic porous membranes that can be used for the desalination of sea water or to remove dangerous contaminants from water supplies.

Proteins and macromolecules can be difficult to study due to their size, functioning at the interface of microscopic molecular behaviour and macroscopic mechanical behaviour. To investigate them we use a combination of computational techniques including quantum calculations, molecular dynamics, and macroscopic modelling. In addition we utilise FRET microscopy (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer) to experimentally study the conformational changes of proteins as they function.



Ben Corry

Ben Corry
Ben Corry graduated with a PhD in Physics from ANU, before taking up an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship and subsequent ARC Research...

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Selected publications

  • K Walczewska-Szewc, B Corry. Do bifunctional labels solve the problem of dye diffusion in FRET analysis? Phys Chem Chem Phys. In press, 2014.
  • LJ Martin, B Corry. Locating the route of entry and binding sites of benzocaine and phenytoin in a bacterial voltage gated sodium channel. PLoS Comp. Biol. , 10(7): e1003688.  
  • K Walczewska-Szewc, B Corry. Accounting for dye diffusion and orientation when relating FRET measurements to distances: three simple computational methods. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 16: 12317-12326, 2014.
  • M Thomas, B Corry. Thermostat Choice Significantly Influences Water Flow Rates in Molecular Dynamics Studies of Carbon Nanotubes. Microfuidics and Nanofluidics. In Press, 2014.
  • B Corry, S Lee, CA Ahern. Pharmacological Insights and quirks of bacterial sodium channels. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. 221: 251-268, 2014.
  • NE Smith, A Vrielink, PV Attwood, B Corry. Binding and Channelling of Alternative substrates in the Enzyme DmpFG: A Molecular Dynamics Study. Biophys. J. 106:1681-1690, 2014.
  • NM Smith, K Swaminathan Iyer, B Corry. The Confined Space Inside Carbon Nanotubes Can Dictate The Stereo- And Regioselectivity of Diels-Alder Reactions. Phys Chem Chem Phys , 16, 6986-6989, 2014.
  • J Kaczmarski, B Corry, Investigating the size and dynamics of voltage-gated sodium channel fenestrations: a molecular dynamics study. Channels , In Press, 2014.
  • Z He, B Corry, X Lu, J Zhou. A mechanical nanogate based on a carbon nanotube for reversible control of ion conduction. Nanoscale , 16: 6986-6989, 2014.
  • LJ Martin, R Chao, B Corry. Molecular dynamics simulation of the partitioning of benzocaine and phenytoin into a lipid bilayer. Biophys Chem , 185: 98-107, 2014.
  • M Thomas, B Corry, T Hilder. What Have We Learnt About the Mechanisms of Rapid Water Transport, Ion Rejection and Selectivity in Nanopores From Molecular Simulation? Small , 10: 1453-1465, 2014.
  • T Hilder, B Corry, SH Chung. Multi- versus single-ion conduction mechanisms can yield current rectification in biological ion channels. J Biol Phys , 40: 109-119, 2014.
  • Thomas, Michael; Jayatilaka, Dylan; Corry, Ben, An entropic mechanism of generating selective ion binding in macromolecules, Plos Computational Biology, 9:2 FEB 2013
  • He, Zhongjin; Zhou, Jian; Lu, Xiaohua; et al, Bioinspired graphene nanopores with voltage-tunable ion selectivity for Na+ and K+ Acs Nano, 7:11 pp10148-10157 NOV 2013
  • Richards, Laura A.; Richards, Bryce S.; Corry, Ben; et al, Experimental energy barriers to anions transporting through nanofiltration membranes Environmental Science & Technology, 47:4 pp1968-1976
  • Thomas, Michael; Jayatilaka, Dylan; Corry, Ben, How does overcoordination create ion selectivity? Biophysical Chemistry, 172 pp37-42 FEB 2013
  • He, Zhongjin; Zhou, Jian; Lu, Xiaohua; et al. Ice-like water structure in carbon nanotube (8,8) induces cationic hydration enhancement Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117:21 pp11412-11420
  • Smith, Natalie E.; Tie, Wan Jun; Flematti, Gavin R.; et al,. Mechanism of the dehydrogenase reaction of DmpFG and analysis of inter-subunit channeling efficiency and thermodynamic parameters in the overall reaction International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 45:8 pp1878-1885
  •  Corry, Ben, Na(+)/Ca(2+) selectivity in the bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel NavAb., PeerJ, 1 pp16 2013
  •  Mustafa, Sanam; Hannagan, John; Rigby, Paul; et al., Quantitative Forster resonance energy transfer efficiency measurements using simultaneous spectral unmixing of excitation and emission spectra Journal of Biomedical Optics, 18:2 FEB 2013
  • Richards, Laura A.; Richards, Bryce S.; Corry, Ben; et al, Response to comment on "experimental energy barriers to anions transporting through nanofiltration membranes" Environmental Science & Technology, 47:15 pp8987-8988AUG 6 2013
  • Corry, Ben, Selectivity between sodium, calcium and potassium ions in bacterial sodium and calcium channels, Biophysical Journal, 104:2 pp135A JAN 29 2013.

All publications

News & events


New research from The Australian National University (ANU) has drilled down to the molecular level to find similarities across six pharmaceutical drugs used in pain relief, dentist anaesthetic, and treatment of epilepsy, in a bid to find a way to reduce unwanted side-effects.
Ben Corry was awarded a grant from the Cancer Council of Western Australia, along with collaborators at UWA.
New insights into pain relief
The precise knowledge of how the drug molecules attach to proteins in the nerve cell give a springboard for redesigning drugs without the side-effects that current drugs bring with them.


Dr Ben Corry

Ben Corry

Following his passion for science, Ben Corry graduated with a PhD in Physics from ANU and is now a senior lecturer in the Research School of Biology.
Ben Corry at NCI

Meet Raijin, the local supercomputer at the National Computational Infrastructure

The ANU's super computer at the National Computational Infrastructure cost 50 million to build and 12 million a year to run.
Meet the Thought Leaders: Dr Ben Corry

Meet the Thought Leaders: Dr Ben Corry

Discover why ANU is such a fascinating place to be for young scientists.

Updated:  19 March 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB