The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is pleased to announce that Sunshine Silver, a graduate student working with Prof. Joan Broderick, and Ramon Tusell, a graduate student working with Prof. Pat Callis, have received the 2008-2009 Kopriva Fellowship.The Kopriva Fellowship was established in 1990 by Phil C. Kopriva to award a graduate student in the MSU College of Letters and Sciences who is studying in a broad range of biomedical-related disciplines. Each student will receive $5000. that may be used for travel to meetings or classes, books, supplies, or any other materials or services in support of their Ph.D. research.Sunshine is studying the resistance of spore forming organisms to UV radiation by focusing on the [4Fe-4S] cluster of the enzyme, spore photoproduct lyase (SPL). Using spectroscopic methods and performing experiments to elucidate the mechanism of this SPL enzyme, which rapidly repairs the UV damaged spore forming bacteria, the Broderick group hopes to provide a better understanding of how to address this risk to humans and other animals.As part of the Callis research group, Ramon is using hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanics modeling simulations to predict from first principles, the fluorescence intensity of tryptophan. Tryptophan fluorescence is one of the most commonly used experimental tools used to probe protein folding. Ramon is hoping to improve and apply the method to small commonly studied fast-folding proteins, for example villin HP35 and TrpCage, for which considerable experimental data and mechanistic proposals exist in the literature.Each student will deliver a Kopriva Student Research Lecture later this year.
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