Group Member Since 2015
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2014
Thesis Title: The Bioinorganic Energy Conversion Puzzle: Pieces from a [NiFe]-Hydrogenase Ligand Scaffold
My current work involves understanding the mechanistic aspects of [NiFe] hydrogenases, which are enzymes that catalyze the reversible heterolytic cleavage of hydrogen. This involves utilizing and developing steady state and transient spectroscopic techniques, as well as gas chromatography and electrochemical methods.
In particular, I am investigating efficient proton transport to and from the [NiFe] active site. Although much work, both computationally and experimentally, has been invested in understanding how the active site and amino acid residues transport protons, there is no indirect or direct evidence that has led to an agreed model. Steady state and transient absorption spectroscopy measurements on wild type and mutant enzyme allows will allow us to propose a probable pathway. Looking forward, the development and implementation of IR spectroelectrochemical and low temperature cryogenic FTIR will further support conclusions regarding efficient proton transport and other mechanistic aspects of [NiFe] hydrogenases. The motivation for such work is vast. This includes a better understanding of how nature operates, developing efficient biomimetic hydrogen production catalysts, and designing cheap and efficient fuel cells.
My path to this research has been a great experience. Early in my undergraduate career, I participated in an REU program at Caltech regarding gravitational wave physics. This was a rewarding experience that led to my passion for laboratory research. My interests later shifted to physical and inorganic chemistry as applied to renewable energy. Because of this, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics, and joined the Dyer lab at Emory because of its interdisciplinary solar fuels project.
During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends, running, hiking, and playing basketball.
Vansuch, G. E.; Wu, C.-H.; Haja, D. K.; Blair, S. A.; Chica, B.; Johnson, M. K.; Adams, M. W. W.; and Dyer, R. B. “Metal-Ligand Cooperativity in the Soluble Hydrogenase-1 from Pyrococcus furiosus.” Chemical Science 2020, 11(32), 8572 – 8581.
Yang, W.; Vansuch, G. E.; Liu, Y.; Jin, T.; Liu, Q.; Ge, A.; Sanchez, M. L. K.; Haja, D. K.; Adams, M. W. W.; Dyer, R. B.; and Lian, T. “Surface-Ligand “Liquid” to “Crystalline” Phase Transition Modulates the Solar H2 Production Quantum Efficiency of CdS Nanorod/Mediator/Hydrogenase Assemblies.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2020, 12(31), 35614 – 35625.
Zhao, J.; Su, H.; Vansuch, G. E.; Liu, Z.; Salaita, K.; and Dyer, R. B. “Localized Nanoscale Heating Leads to Ultrafast Hydrogel Volume-Phase Transition.” ACS Nano 2019, 13(1), 515 – 525.
Rivera, S.; Young, P. G.; Hoffer, E. D.; Vansuch, G. E.; Metzler, C. L.; Dunham, C. M.; and Weinert, E. E. “Structural Insights into Oxygen-Dependent Signal Transduction within Globin Coupled Sensors.” Inorganic Chemistry 2018, 57(22), 14386 – 14395.
Greene, B. L.; Vansuch, G. E.; Chica, B. C.; Adams, M. W. W.; and Dyer, R. B. “Applications of Photogating and Time Resolved Spectroscopy to Mechanistic Studies of Hydrogenases.” Accounts of Chemical Research 2017, 50(11), 2718 – 2726.
Greene, B. L.; Vansuch, G. E.; Wu, C.-H.; Adams, M. W. W.; and Dyer, R. B. “Glutamate Gated Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Activity of a [NiFe]-Hydrogenase.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138(39), 13013 – 13021.
Greene, B. L.; Wu, C.-H.; Vansuch, G. E.; Adams, M. W. W.; and Dyer, R. B. “Proton Inventory and Dynamics in the Nia-S to Nia-C Transition of a [NiFe] Hydrogenase.” Biochemistry 2016, 55(12), 1813 – 1825.
Rivera, S.; Burns, J. L.; Vansuch, G. E.; Chica, B.; and Weinert, E. E. “Globin Domain Interactions Control Heme Pocket Conformation and Oligomerization of Globin Coupled Sensors.” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 2016, 164, 70 – 76.