The Owens laboratory is very interdisciplinary and conducts research at the interface of inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. We currently focus on two research areas:
(1) We are investigating regulation of the metalloenzyme nitrogenase in nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Nitrogenase contains several unique metal cofactors and is responsible for the biological conversion of inert nitrogen gas into ammonia, a critical nitrogen source for plants. By deepening our understanding of nitrogenase regulation, we aim to uncover ways of increasing biological ammonia production for agricultural applications.
(2) In a separate project, we are studying how bacteria acquire iron with the aim of exploiting bacterial iron uptake for antibiotic development.
Biological nitrogen fixation, nitrogenase, bacterial iron uptake, hemophore, bioinorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, structural biology