03/04/21 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM
Department Seminar: Professor Julie A. Kovacs
Professor Julie Kovacs' research program is aimed at determining how cysteinates influence function in non-heme iron enzymes. Non-heme iron enzymes promote important biological reactions, including tumor suppression, the biosynthesis of antibiotics, scavenge reactive oxygen species, and detoxification of heavy metals. However, the mechanisms by which these reactions are carried out are not well understood.
Researchers in Kovacs' lab hope to elucidate the mechanism of oxygen-oxygen bond formation by creating synthetically tunable small molecule analogues to investigate the most prominent theories: the radical coupling (RC) mechanism wherein a MnIV-oxyl radical attacks a bridging oxo; and the nucleophilic attack (AB) mechanism, wherein a hydroxyl group attached to the OEC’s calcium atom attacks a MnV-oxo. They aim to spectroscopically characterize the intermediates formed in these reactions through a variety of methods, including X-ray crystallography, NMR, EPR, mass spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopies, resonance Raman spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry. The insights gained from studying these small molecule analogues will allow better study of the OEC itself, as well as provide information for creation of more effective artificial water oxidizing systems.
Julie Kovacs has been a bioinorganic and inorganic professor a the University of Washington since 1988. She earned her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, and her doctorate from Harvard University. She also was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.