Riina Tehver

Riina Tehver

Associate Professor
Chair of Physics & Astronomy
Position Type
- Present

I came to Denison in 2010 after a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Maryland.  I enjoy teaching a broad range of courses including introductory physics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and laboratories. I also really enjoy doing research with students.

My research field is computational biophysics. In the broadest sense, my group wants to understand how biological complexity arises from basic physical principles. Specifically, our goal is to understand how biomolecules perform their cellular functions. We use numerical analysis and computational modeling to connect protein structures via their dynamics to their operation. Proteins are responsible for most tasks that make life happen: they create motion, support cellular structures, enable chemical reactions, and so on. We study how proteins can perform these biological tasks. We are currently working on a class of proteins called motor proteins. We build theoretical and computational models that allow us to understand the connection between the structures of the proteins, their internal dynamics, and, how to connect that to their operation.

B.S., Tartu University; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University


Computational research on molecular machinery, biocomplexity, and the physics of cellular functions. Current emphasis is on chaperonins and molecular motors, studying the connection between the machines’ structure, internal dynamics, and function.




  • M. Hinczewski, R. Tehver, and D. Thirumalai, Design principles governing the motility of myosin V, PNAS 110, E4059 (2013).
  • M. Jayasinghe, P. Shrestha, X. Wu, R. Tehver, G. Stan, Weak Intra-Ring Allosteric Communications of the Archaeal Chaperonin Thermosome Revealed by Normal Mode Analysis, accepted to Biophys. J. (2012)
  • R. Tehver, D. Thirumalai, Rigor to Post-Rigor Transition in Myosin V: Link between the Dynamics and the Supporting Architecture, Structure 18, 471 (2010).
  • R. Tehver, J. Chen, D. Thirumalai. Allostery Wiring Diagrams in the Transitions that Drive the GroEL Reaction Cycle, J. Mol. Biol. 387, 390 (2009)
  • R. Tehver, D. Thirumalai. Kinetic Model for the Coupling Between Allosteric Transitions in GroEL and Substrate Protein Folding and Aggregation. J. Mol. Biol. 384, 1279 (2008)