University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign B.S. 1998-2002
University fo California Berkeley Ph.D. 2002-2007
California Institute of Technology Postdoc. 2007-2010
compounds of amazing complexity for biological, medical, and materials research, but the efficiency by which molecules are prepared, and thus the speed at which they are applied toward societal problems, is limited by a number of factors. Of these, extended synthetic sequences, isolation of intermediates, wasteful protection and deprotection steps, and low catalyst activity are particularly notable. Research in the Lewis group focuses on identifying solutions to these problems through the development of new catalysts for a variety of key chemical transformations. We are particularly interested in systems that can ultimately be integrated into biological systems (e.g. living cells) to augment the biosynthetic capability of life. Projects relevant to the Biophysics program at the University of Chicago include structure guided and directed evolution of natural enzymes and artificial metalloenzymes and structure-activity relationships on these engineered systems.
Developing these new catalyst systems requires a dynamic and highly interdisciplinary research environment and is well suited for the collaborative nature of the Biophysics program. There are opportunities for rigorous training in organic and organometallic synthesis, protein engineering and evolution, molecular biology, structural and biophysical characterization of proteins, X-ray crystallography, molecular dynamics simulations, and computational modeling. Students are encouraged to exploit all of these tools in collaboration with other members of the Biophysics program to develop new catalysts for fundamentally important chemical transformations.