Inorganic chemistry is concerned with the properties and behavior of inorganic compounds, which include metals, minerals, and organometallic compounds. Inorganic compounds are used as catalysts, pigments, coatings, surfactants, medicines, fuels, and more. They often have high melting points and specific high or low electrical conductivity properties, which make them useful for specific purposes. Inorganic Chemistry research of interest by GGC faculty is described below.
Dr. Anagho’s research interests include the syntheses and characterizations of transition metal complexes with possible application in olefin polymerization processes and the syntheses of pure/mixed metal oxides for alkane partial oxidation to desirable oxygenates.
Dr. Kirberger’s primary research interests focus on the interaction between proteins and metal ions and how this relates to disease, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Approximately 40% of proteins bind metal ions as co-factors necessary for protein function. Metal toxicity is frequently associated with binding of non-physiological metal ions (e.g., lead, cadmium, mercury) with proteins through different binding modes. Using computational methods combined with data from statistical analyses, we can better understand the structural parameters associated with metal binding, and by extension, modify proteins to selectively bind certain ions with high affinity for directed purposes. For example, proteins can be modified to selectively bind gadolinium to function as an MRI contrast agent. Additionally, proteins can be modified to promote selective binding of radioactive metals to allow for targeted therapeutic remediation of cancer. Integration of a metal-binding site may be achieved either through mutation of key amino acids or by using a grafting approach whereby a binding motif is inserted at a select region in the peptide sequence. This research is highly-interdisciplinary, combining molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, statistics, bioinformatics, and prediction algorithm development. Various standard molecular biology techniques are used for cloning, protein modification and protein expression. Metal binding and structural analyses of proteins are conducted using Spectrofluorometry, ICP-OES and multi-dimensional NMR.
Dr. Morton’s past and current interests include work in environmental-heavy metal monitoring, development of applications for use in applied forensic science, chemical education through developing guides to help student learn and retain information, and the intersections of chemistry and art.