Research Interests

My research interests focus in the area of inorganic and structural chemistry, particularly as relevant to the role of metal ions in biological systems. A common theme in our research is the development of new technological tools which utilize synchrotron x-rays to study structure and function at the atomic level. We have made contributions in the development and chemical applications of x-ray absorption spectroscopy (edge and EXAFS) which have provided new means to explore the electronic and structural properties of metal ion active sites in complex biomolecules. We have pioneered applications of synchrotron radiation to macromolecular crystallography and helped develop the use of multiple wavelengths to solve the classic "phase problem" for protein crystallographic structure solution (the so-called "MAD" approach). We are currently engaged in new directions using x-ray free electron lasers for imaging of biological and non-periodic nanostructured materials and for studying structural dynamics on the femtosecond time scale. The scientific focus of much of our work has been, and remains, on fundamental problems in bioinorganic chemistry. Our understanding of key structural aspects of the active sites of metalloproteins, including those responsible for the fixation of nitrogen (nitrogenase) and the oxidation of hydrocarbons (the methane monooxygenases), have been obtained from our research.

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Primary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology

Secondary Section

Section 14: Chemistry