Graduate STEM Fellow Profile
Initiating New Science Partnerships in Rural Education (INSPIRE)
Thesis: Enzyme Modeling: Metal-Substituted Human Carbonic Anhydrase II
College/University: Mississippi State University
Research Advisor: Joseph P. Emerson
Degree Sought: Ph.D., Chemistry
Research Focus: Kinetic and Thermodynamic studies of metal-substituted Human Carbonic Anhydrase II
Teaching Partner(s): Kelli Dawkins
Description of Research
My research interests revolve around studying the function of metals in biological systems. More specifically, I study and model metalloenzyme active sites and their structure/function relationships. My current project is aimed to substitute different transition metals into human carbonic anhydrase and characterize their new reactivities. These enzymatic systems have been shown to support industrially important catalytic processes in an environmentally benign fashion. This is striking reactivity considering the biological role of this enzyme is to activate water to attack and remove, ultimately, carbon dioxide from the blood.
Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
A major component of my research is the chromatography I use to isolate my protein. At the beginning of the semester, the students were learning about mixtures. I introduced my research, and discussed with them how important the separation of mixtures is in my research. Then, I brainstormed with them to come up with some other areas of science and technology in which the separation of mixtures might be important (i.e. drug analysis, environmental analyses, medical devices like blood glucose meters, etc.) Following that, the students were tasked with separating ink mixtures with different solvents in the lab.