Project Title: Visualizing epigenetic modifications noninvasively

Faculty Sponsor: Justin Massing

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry



Project Description: Mononuclear nonheme iron enzymes that activate molecular oxygen catalyze crucial oxidative transformations (e.g., DNA demethylation). Despite their diverse chemistries, these metalloenzymes share a characteristic 2-His-1-carboxylate facial triad that supports a high-spin iron(IV)-oxo intermediate responsible for substrate oxidation. Synthetic strategies to generate this electronic structure, however, utilize nitrogen-rich ligand platforms that omit the 2-His-1-carboxylate structural motif. To better understand the features controlling iron(IV)-oxo reactivity, we are constructing weak-field oxygen-rich ligands that will structurally mimic mononuclear nonheme iron enzyme active sites.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Students will be trained to carry out synthetic procedures and expected to maintain a detailed laboratory notebook. Additional responsibilities include preliminary evaluation of proposed agents and subsequent collaboration. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to present their findings at relevant conferences and to assist with manuscript preparation.

Minimum Student Qualifications: