Structure and Function of Cytochromes P450
cytochromes P450 are a related group of enzymes that
metabolize drugs and carcinogens so that they may be
eliminated from the body. By far the most important of
these, P450 3A4, metabolizes half of all known drugs on the
market and so is of very great interest to researchers in
pharmacology. In collaboration with Vanderbilt University’s
F. Peter Guengerich, the discoverer of this enzyme, I’ve
been applying fluorescence spectroscopy methods, including
quenching studies, fluorescence lifetime studies, and
Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) to study how
cytochromes P450 are regulated by the molecules that it
binds and metabolizes.
To perform this research, I have a state-of-the-art
fluorescence spectrometer at Grove City College and I
actively mentor undergraduates in independent projects.
One of the things I like to do is have students present
their data at national meetings.
Explorations in Faith and Science
interested in explorations
how Christian theological assumptions in Western
Civilization historically drove the formation of modern
science. How, for example, do the attributes of God pertain
to the scientific inquiry? In the summer of 1998, at Calvin
College, I studied under John Polkinghorne as part of a
five-week seminar entitled “theology and the New Physics.”
This has led me to explore how indeterminacy in nature,
exemplified by quantum mechanics and chaos theory, can be
understood in light of Christian theology. I also have an
interest in astrobiology and its theological implications.
Since coming to Grove City College, I’ve also been highly
involved in the creation of a new course, Studies in
Science, Faith, and Technology, required of all GCC
Structure and Function of Damaged DNA
my postdoctoral fellowships, I studied how heterocyclic
amine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds bind to
DNA. These compounds are carcinogens: they are metabolized in
readily damage DNA, inducing mutations and potentially
cancer. To help understand how this might occur, I applied
many methods in fluorescence spectroscopy, including a
sophisticated laser-based technique called Fluorescence
Line-Narrowing Spectroscopy (FLNS).
At Vanderbilt University I’ve been collaborating
with Prof. F. Peter Guengerich, who is well-known for his
studies of DNA damage and for his work in characterizing
enzymes important in drug metabolism. For this
collaboration, we applied mass spectrometry to study how
methylene chloride, a common industrial solvent, damages
DNA. We showed that a human enzyme called glutathione
tranferase causes DNA damage by methylene chloride, and we
identified the nature of that DNA damage.
Education and Affiliations:
(1983), Physics, Clemson University
Ph.D. (1990), Molecular Biophysics, Florida State Univ.
Alexander Hollaender Postdoctoral Fellow (1990–1992),
Iowa State University
Postdoctoral Fellow (1992-1996), Lawrence Livermore
Associate of the Center in Molecular Toxicology
(1999-present), Vanderbilt Univ.
Additional Study: Ames
Lab, Iowa State University; Lawrence Livermore National Lab;
Interests and Hobbies: