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You are here: Home Administration Chemistry & Biochemistry Department Events 2019 March Biochemistry Seminar: Kara L. Bren, "Engineered Biomolecular Catalysts for Fuel Production"

Biochemistry Seminar: Kara L. Bren, "Engineered Biomolecular Catalysts for Fuel Production"

Kara L. Bren, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, NY, "Engineered Biomolecular Catalysts for Fuel Production"
When Mar 27, 2019
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where CUNY ASRC Main Auditorium
Contact Name
Contact Phone 212-650-8803
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The development of hydrogen (H2) as an environmentally friendly fuel requires catalysts capable of efficient aqueous proton reduction. Ideally, these catalysts would be active in water near neutral pH, insensitive to oxygen, and amenable to incorporation into systems for light-driven catalysis. Biomolecules are attractive scaffolds for engineering artificial hydrogenases because of their compatibility with aqueous media and the wide range of derivatives that can be accessed using site-directed mutagenesis and biochemistry. Here, our development and investigation of engineered biomolecular hydrogen evolution catalysts will be presented. One class contains cobalt porphyrin active sites that display high activity at neutral pH in the presence of oxygen. Furthermore, peptide folding has been used to lower overpotential of some of these catalysts. Another class of catalyst consists of easily assembled metallopeptides proposed to have a proton shuttle site. To demonstrate successful solar energy storage, photosensitizers are paired with catalysts to yield hydrogen with turnover numbers exceeding 100,000 in some cases. Ongoing work toward understanding mechanism and enhancing activity will be presented.

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