Bradley Dickson, Ph.D.

Rothbart Laboratory
Bradley Dickson, Ph.D.
Computational biophysicist, Rothbart Laboratory


Dr. Brad Dickson received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Clemson University, where he studied enhanced sampling algorithms for molecular dynamics simulations. After studying path sampling techniques at UT Austin, in 2009 Brad began working with adaptive bias methods as a postdoctoral researcher at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Brad has deployed these adaptive schemes to probe kinase dynamics while at Purdue University, and to inform drug discovery efforts against epigenetic targets while working in the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In 2015, Dr. Dickson joined the Rothbart Laboratory at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), where he used computational biophysics to inform on the complex mechanics underlying chromatin accessibility, interaction and function. He is now a staff scientist at VARI.

Research focus

Improving the efficiency and applicability of adaptive biasing for free energy computation, and deploying such technologies in the study of chromatin biology and drug discovery.


Ph.D. in chemistry, Clemson University (Steven Stuart’s Lab)
Postdoc: with Graeme Henkelman and Dmitrii Makarov, University of Texas at Austin
Postdoc: with Paul Fleurat-Lessard, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
Postdoc: with Carol Post, Purdue University
Postdoc: with Stephen Frye, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Selected publications

Cornett EM, Dickson BM, Krajewski K, Spellmon N, Umstead A, Vaughan RM, Shaw KM, Versluis PP, Cowles MW, Brunzelle J, Yang Z, Vega IE, Sun ZW, Rothbart SB. 2018. A functional proteomics platform to reveal the sequence determinants of lysine methyltransferase substrate selectivity. Sci Adv.

Shah RN, Grzybowski AT, Cornett EM, Johnstone AL, Dickson BM, Boone BA, Cheek MA, Cowles MW, Maryanski D, Meiners MJ, Tiedemann RL, Vaughan RM, Arora N, Sun ZW, Rothbart SB, Keogh MC, Ruthenberg AJ. 2018. Examining the roles of H3K4 methylation states with systematically characterized antibodies. Mol Cell.
*Video abstract

Dickson BM, de Waal P, Ramjan Z, Xu HE, Rothbart SB. 2016. A fast, open source implementation of adaptive biasing potentials uncovers a ligand design strategy for the chromatin regulator BRD4. J Chem Phys.      Article

Stuckey JI, Dickson BM, Cheng N, Liu Y, Norris JL, Cholensky SH, Tempel W, Qin S, Huber KG, Sagum C, Black K, Li F, Huang XP, Roth BL, Baughman BM, Senisterra G, Pattenden SG, Vedadi M, Brown PJ, Bedford MT, Min J, Arrowsmith CH, James LI, Frye SV. 2016. A cellular chemical probe targeting the chromodomains of Polycomb repressive complex 1. Nat Chem Biol 12:180–187.          Article

Dickson BM. 2015. μ-tempered metadynamics: Artifact independent convergence times for wide hills. J Chem Phys 143.        Article

Rothbart SB, Dickson BM, Raab JR, Gryzbowski AT, Krajewski K, Guo AH, Shanle EK, Josefowicz SZ, Fuchs SM, Allis CD, Magnuson TR, Ruthenberg AJ, Strahl BD. 2015. An interactive database for the assessment of histone antibody specificity. Mol Cell 59(3):502–511.          Article

Rothbart SB, Dickson BM, Ong MS, Krajewski K, Houliston S, Kireev DB, Arrowsmith CH, Strahl BD. 2013. Multivalent histone engagement by the linked tandem Tudor and PHD domains of UHRF1 is required for the epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation. Genes Dev 27(11):1288–1298.         Article

Dickson BM. 2011. Approaching a parameter-free metadynamics. Phys Rev E 84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.84.037701          Article