Paul Harper

Paul Harper


  • BS in Physics, summa cum laude, Hope College, 1988
  • PhD in Physics, Princeton University, 1996

Professional experience

  • Associate Professor of Physics, Calvin College, 2000-present
  • Chair and Associate Professor of Physics, Grand Canyon University, 1998-2000
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Grand Canyon University, 1994-1997

Academic interests

My research focuses on the biophysics of lipid membranes, with goal of better understanding the physics of how membranes tear and reassemble.  In particular, we examine phase transitions between the lamellar and hexagonal phases formed by lipids.

Using laser light scattering, we measure the kinetics of these transitions for different model lipid systems.


Ke, K., Strango*, Z. I., Harper, P. E. & Zhao, M. Influence of Phosphatidylethanolamine Concentration and Composition on the Detection of Antiphosphatidylethanolamine Antibodies by ELISA. Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis 30, 689-696, doi:10.1002/jcla.21923 (2016).

Reese*, C. W., Strango*, Z. I., Dell, Z. R., Tristram-Nagle, S. & Harper, P. E. Structural insights into the cubic-hexagonal phase transition kinetics of monoolein modulated by sucrose solutions. PCCP 17, 9194-9204 (2015)

Cook*, P.L., Vanderhill*, J.L., Cook*, A.E., Van Norstrand*, D.W., Gordon*, M.T., Harper, P.E., Light scattering measurement and Avrami analysis of the lamellar to inverse hexagonal phase transition kinetics of the lipid DEPE. Chem. Phys. Lipids 165, 270-276. (2012)

David A. Mannock, Marcus D. Collins, Manfried Kreichbaum, Paul E. Harper, Sol.M. Gruner, Ronald N. McElhaney, "The thermotropic phase behaviour and phase structure of a homologous series of racemic b-d-galactosyl dialkylglycerols studied by differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction," Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 148, 26-50 (July 2007).

P.E. Harper, D.M. Mannock, R.N.A.H. Lewis, R.N. McElhaney, and S.M. Gruner, "X-Ray Diffraction Structures of Some Phosphatidylethanolamine Lamellar and Inverted Hexagonal Phases," Biophysical Journal, Vol 81 pg. 2693 (2001).

D.A. Mannock, P.E. Harper, S.M. Gruner, R.N. McElhaney, "The physical properties of glycosyl diacylglycerols. Calorimetric, X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform spectroscopic studies of a homologous series of 1,2 di-O-acyl-3-O-(beta-D-galactopyranosyl)-sn-glycerols," Chem. Phys. Lip. vol 111, pg. 139 (2001).

P.E. Harper and S.M. Gruner. "Electron density modeling and reconstruction of infinite periodic minimal surfaces (IPMS) based phases in lipid-water systems. I. Modeling IPMS-based phases." Eur. Phys. J. E.,2, 217-228, 2000.

P.E. Harper, S.M. Gruner, R.N.A.H. Lewis, and R.N. McElhaney. "Electron density modeling and reconstruction of infinite periodic minimal surfaces (IPMS) based phases in lipid-water systems. II. Reconstruction of D surface based phases." Eur. Phys. J. E.,2, 229-245, 2000.

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