Research Areas

I. Iron-Sulfur Clusters in NO Signaling

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that is involved in cell-cell communication, blood pressure regulation, neurotransmission, and antimicrobial activity, as well as pathologic effects such as DNA damage. Over the past ten years, several iron-sulfur containing regulatory proteins have been identified as the targets of NO, where gene transcription can be initiated upon reactions with NO. However, at present, little is known about how this modification occurs and what the modified products are. Using small synthetic molecules, our research elucidates the relevant chemistry of [Fe-S] clusters with NO in order to better understand a central dogma of [Fe-S] mediated NO signaling. Students in this progect are exposed to an exciting and diverse research experience in chemical synthesis, structural characterizations, spectroscopic techniques and biochemical assays.



II. Bio-inspired Molecular Catalysts

Nature utilizes high-valent metal oxo species to carry out a wide variety of critical catalytic processes, including nitrate and carbon dioxide reduction. Dimethylsulfoxide reductase (DMSOR) family of oxotransferase enzymes efficiently catalyze oxygen atom transfer (OAT) reaction through Mo and W centers. Our group develops bio-inspired molecular OAT catalysts using discrete Mo and W complexes to carry out important O- and S- atom transfer chemistry. Typical research methods include synthesis of the molecular catalysts, IR, UV-Vis, and NMR spectroscopic characterizations of the reaction intermediates and products, along with cyclic voltammetry and isotopic labeling studies.