Principal Investigator


2004 NIH postdoctoral research fellow, University of California at Berkeley

2000 Stanford University, Ph.D., Chemistry

1995 Cornell University, B.S., Biochemistry

Contact: [email protected]

Post Docs


Arnab Kumar Nath, NIH postdoctoral research fellow

Research Interest: My research interests span two projects. In the first, I am focusing on understanding the enzymes and pathways involved in the anaerobic metabolism of heme by organisms in the human microbiome. In the second, I am working on a novel bacterial carboxylase that catalyzes the coupling of atmospheric carbon dioxide to acetone. 

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Ronivaldo R. da Silva, NIH postdoctoral research fellow

Research interest: Bacteroidetes are sensitive to host dietary iron restriction but proliferate in heme-rich environments. Little is known about heme metabolism in obligate anaerobic bacteria, which supports the interest in understanding the fate of heme in GI-tract microbial species. In my project, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a Gram negative anaerobic and heme auxotrophic bacterium, that is often used as a model human gut symbiotic strain, has been used. I am focusing on (i) metabolomic study to identify the fate of heme in this GI-tract species, using stable isotope labeled heme (NMR and MS), and (ii) discovering the enzymes and metabolic pathways in this bacterium that depend on heme (proteomic and transcriptomic approaches).

Graduate Students


Jessica Lusty Beech, 5th year PhD student in Biochemistry 

Research Interest: I have had the intense honor of being able to work alongside our phenomenal collaborators at focusing on enzymatic degradation and upcycling of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) plastic. Currently, I focus on describing the structural and kinetic limits a multimeric, metallocofactor containing Rieske oxygenase that plays a critical role in the conversion of xenobiotic PET monomers to biologically compatible metabolites. Using a recombinant E. coli protein expression system, I produce and purify both the Rieske oxygenase, TPAdo, and the obligate reductase, TPAred. My characterization of these proteins has involved kinetic assays monitored by both UV-Vis and HPLC, solution phase structural analysis using temperature dependent SAXS, and thermodynamic characterization of structural dissociation using CD, DSC, and DLS. Improving this enzyme is critical for practical application of an enzyme-based solution to removing plastic waste.


Victoria Adedoyin, 2nd year PhD student in Biochemistry 

Research Interest: My research interest lies in employing cutting-edge bioanalytical methods to explore metabolomics in health and disease. Specifically, I focus on utilizing multi-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high-resolution mass spectrometry to monitor metabolites in model gastrointestinal microbial species. Currently, my project delves into the intricacies of iron metabolism, examining the uptake and fate of heme in these symbiotic species. By shedding light on these processes, I aim to contribute valuable insights into the dynamic relationship between microbial metabolomics and host health, with potential implications for identifying therapeutic targets.


Emmanuel Akpoto (Manny), 2nd Year PhD Student in Biochemistry

Research Interest: I specialize in the interdisciplinary field of proteomics and engineering, with a specific emphasis on leveraging structure-based models to investigate the mechanisms underlying heme metabolism uptake proteins, such as HmuS, and the Terephthalic dioxygenase – reductase pair, belonging to the Reiske Oxygenase enzyme family. My research methodology involves the integration of spectroscopy, cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM), molecular biology techniques, and bioinformatics. Through this comprehensive approach, I aim to advance our understanding of the intricate molecular processes governing these proteins, contributing to the broader knowledge in the field of structural biology and enzymology.





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ACS-NORM 2023!!
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