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NGUYEN Andy, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Peptide frameworks as microcosms of metalloproteins


Professor Andy Nguyen obtained his B.S. from UC Irvine and Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, with Prof. T. Don Tilley, he developed metalloclusters as structural and functional models for the oxygen-evolving center of photosystem II. In a postdoctoral fellowship at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with Dr. Ron Zuckermann, he gained expertise in peptide and peptidomimetic chemistry, developing strategies to use peptoids as ligands for metal coordination.

Since 2020, Prof. Nguyen’s group at the University of Illinois Chicago has examined porous frameworks formed by self-assembling peptides that can be used to model the active sites of metalloproteins. His program is aimed towards elucidating the mechanisms by which a protein-like environment confers exceptional properties to base metals. In particular, how do metals cooperate with the secondary sphere? Towards this goal, his group has developed novel peptide frameworks, mapped out their chemistry, and determined their structures with single crystal X-ray diffraction, providing blueprints for their use in bioinorganic chemistry.