Affiliation: University of California-Irvine
Seminar title, "Molecular Complexity and Inorganic Chemistry: Utilizing Non-Covalent Interactions to Control Function"
Host: Dr. Shiyu Zhang
Location matters…no compound operates in isolation without interacting with its local environment.
Metalloproteins are example systems whose active sites contain intricate structures that aid the
performance of specific functions with high selectivities and efficiencies. The complexity of these
systems complicates the study of their function and the understanding of the properties that give rise to
their reactivity. One approach that has contributed to the current level of knowledge is the study of
synthetic constructs that mimic one or more aspects of the native metalloproteins. These systems allow
for analysis of individual components of structure and how they affect function. We are thus able to
establish structure-function correlations that are necessary for evaluating mechanisms. Using key
architectural features from active sites of metalloproteins as inspiration, my group has developed design
approaches to prepare systems that regulate local environments around a metal center. These systems
are used to study the activation of small molecules (e.g., O2 and H2O) and the functionalization of C–H
bonds which are essential in maintenance of human health. This presentation will highlight our
molecular designs from small synthetic complexes to the use of larger, more diverse protein hosts.