July 19, 2016
It is with deep regret that we must inform you of Dr. Justine Roth's passing this week. She was an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Roth’s family, students, and departmental colleagues have been notified.
Dr. Roth began working at Johns Hopkins in 2003. Her research – described as relevant to health, energy and the environment – focused in part on metal containing radical enzymes involved in energy production in mammals and photosynthesis in plants, both processes essential to life. She also investigated the interactions of transition metals with various compounds of oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen in biological processes. She and her research group were working on ways to combine natural or synthetic catalysts with light to speed the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Dr. Roth was a recognized expert in her field, and during her time at Johns Hopkins, she was regularly invited as a speaker at national and international conferences. She received several prestigious awards, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, and the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award. Kenneth Karlin, chair of the department, said of Dr. Roth, “Justine was not only a colleague but also a friend to many in the department. We are terribly saddened by the news.”
She was a valued member of the Chemistry Department, and she will be greatly missed.
The Roth group conducts research relevant to health, energy, and the environment.
Radical Enzymes: Enzymes catalyze oxidative processes vital to life using transition metal ions found naturally in minerals and used in advanced materials as well as industrial processes. Proteins that act as enzymes, mediate coupled redox (often proton and electron transfer) reactions essential to life. These redox reactions are often coupled to gaseous reductions (respiration) in mammals and photosynthetic reactions in plants. We study naturally occurring molecules at the chemical and biological interface.
Heavy Atom Isotope Effects: Transition metals interact with small molecules such as CO2, N2, CO, NO and O2, in a range of physiological processes. Because of their relatively low molecular weights and the presence of natural occurring stable isotopes, 18O, 15N and 13C can be studied using highly precise isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) techniques. Currently, we are developing combined experimental and computational methods to investigate reactions that consume and produce O2. Natural and synthetic photocatalysts are being targeted to inform “water-splitting” efforts.
R. Sarma, A. M. Angeles-Boza, D. W. Brinkley, J. P. Roth* “Studies of the Di-Iron (VI) Intermediate in Ferrate-Dependent Oxygen Evolution from Water.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 15371-15286.
H. H. Danish, I. S. Doncheva, J. P. Roth* “Hydrogen Tunneling Steps in Cyclooxygenase-2 Catalysis.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 15846-15849.
A. Mukherjee, A. M. Angeles-Boza, G. S. Huff, D. W. Brinkley, J. P. Roth* “Catalytic Mechanism of a Heme and Tyrosyl Radical-Containing Fatty Acid α-(Di)oxygenase.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 33, 227-238.
J. P. Roth* Oxygen Isotope Effects as Probes of Electron Transfer Mechanisms and Structures of Activated O2.” Acc. Chem. Res. 2009, 42, 399-408.