Professor of Physics  

    Campus Information

  Office Hours: posted on office door

PHYS 321
 PHYS 486
 SCIC 201
 SSFT 212



Research Interests:

Structure and Function of Cytochromes P450
The 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
I’m 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 students.

Structure and Function of Damaged DNA
In my postdoctoral fellowships, I studied how heterocyclic amine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds bind to DNA. These compounds are carcinogens: they are metabolized in vivo and 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:
B.S. (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 National Laboratory 
 Associate of the Center in Molecular Toxicology (1999-present), Vanderbilt Univ.

Additional Study: Ames Lab, Iowa State University; Lawrence Livermore National Lab; Calvin College.

Interests and Hobbies:

Astronomy, gardening, photography