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Dr. Stephen Mills

Metals in Enzymes? Why?

The main research focus in the Mills lab is the study of how enzymes work, particularly enzymes that utilize metals or whose function has not been determined. Research in my lab addresses how to evaluate what an enzyme does, how do metals get into proteins and what do they do once they are there. We use a variety of techniques to evaluate protein function, including enzyme kinetics, UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopies, metal analysis, and gel-shift assays. Most of the proteins we are studying are not available for purchase, so we express and purify the proteins ourselves.


Students doing research with me will get extensive training in enzyme kinetics, and protein expression and purification. They will learn molecular biology techniques such as PCR, gene cloning, DNA purification, restriction analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and bacterial transformation. They will use various spectroscopic techniques such as UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. They will be exposed to basic Bioinformatics techniques and software. They will learn strategies for metal replacement proteins and analysis of metal content in proteins. Also, they will learn some basic techniques for working with proteins anaerobically.