David P. Goldberg
Johns Hopkins University
New Chemistry Building
3400 North Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
PhD - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NIH Post Doctoral Fellow - Northwestern University
Research efforts in our group involve inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. We are interested in metalloenzyme structure and function, synthetic biomimetic catalysts, the synthesis of new porphyrnoid macrocycles, high-valent metallomacrocyclic complexes, and dehalogenation reactions for environmental applications. We employ a variety of strategies that lie at the interface between inorganic coordination chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, and biochemistry.
In one area, we are synthesizing new small-molecule analogues of metalloprotein active sites. Metalloproteins exhibit exquisite control over the structure and reactivity of metal ions. How does a protein tune the reactivity of a metal center? We are preparing low molecular-weight complexes that are designed to address this question by mimicing the metal center found in certain metalloproteins.
For example, we have recently synthesized a series of stable, monomeric zinc(II), cobalt(II), nickel(II) and iron(II) complexes that contain a cysteine-like alkylthiolate ligand in the coordination sphere. Some of these compounds are among the best models to date of the hydrolytic enzyme known as peptide deformylase, which has a mixed His/Cys coordination environment. By developing a fundamental understanding of the structure and function of these biologically relevant complexes, we are determining the underlying principles that govern the reactivity of the related biological systems and discovering methods for designing synthetic catalysts for practical applications.
Other members of our group are preparing new metal-binding tetrapyrrolic macrocycles that are similar to the phthalocyanine/porphyrin family. In particular, we are interested in synthesizing unusual metallomacrocycles that can stabilize high-valent oxidation states and react with biologically relevant substrates such as dioxygen and H2O2. These synthetic efforts are driven toward developing new catalysts and sensors for a variety of applications including the dehalogenation of certain pollutants. This work is part of the NSF-sponsored center for Environmental Molecular Science here at Johns Hopkins University.