The response to low [O2] (hypoxia) is crucial for cellular growth, proliferation, and proliferative disease states. My group focuses on the HIF hydroxylases, FIH and PHD, which are human O2-sensing enzymes that hydroxylate specific protein residues on the HIF transcription factor.
These HIF-hydroxylases are nonheme Fe, aKG-dependent oxygenases, but their unique role leads to interesting mechanisms. In addition to mechanistic studies to identify novel intermediates, we combine spectroscopy, crystallography, and medium-throughput assays to screen for inhibitors.
Surface Enhanced Raman (SERS):
Detecting metals, metabolites, and biochemical processes with high sensitivity. We are synthesizing compounds to use as hybrid SERS sensors via conjugation of designed molecules onto nanoparticles.
Explosives detection is of great interest, as well as being an excellent theme to explore chemical sensing approaches. We are developing fluorescent Zn(salophen) complexes for new explosives-detection strategies. This work also tests Zn(salophen) complexes that show promise for cellular imaging.