Disulfide bonds play critical catalytic, structural and signaling roles throughout nature. However, little is known about what governs their reactivity at the molecular level. To gain insights into disulfide bonds, the National Science Foundation, has funded Professor Sean Elliott and his Research Group to use direct electrochemistry to characterize the influence of protein sequence and structure on the redox properties and reactivity of the thioredoxin superfamily.
The 4-year award, which is valued at nearly $700K will provide a new detailed understanding of how thioredoxins are used in Nature to maintain redox homeostasis. The broader impacts of this work will touch deeply on the interface of chemistry and biology. Whether in plant biochemistry, bioenergy sciences or microbial physiology – thioredoxins will provide insights on how disulfide bonds are used to achieve chemical change in life.
Illuminating this process in a fundamental way will translate into new appreciation of fundamental biology. At the same time, the research will advance the training of at all levels (undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral faculty fellows) to think quantitatively and chemically in the field of redox biochemistry.
Professor Sean Elliott has received a second Scialog Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. This very competitive award recognizes the highly innovative nature of his work and its potential to be transformative in solar energy conversion.
The project, “High Spatial Resolution Electrochemistry of Biological Inspired Systems,” is a collaboration between Professor Elliott and two other Scialog Awardees, Professor Stefan Lutz, Emory University, and Professor David Cliffell, Vanderbilt University.
Their goal is to address key bottlenecks in the development of biologically inspired systems for solar to fuel production.