Inorganic Seminar- Prof. Joseph Cotruvo (Pennsylvania State University)

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1315 Seminar Hall
@ 3:30 pm

Title: Selective Recognition of Rare Earth Elements in Biology

Abstract: The discovery that certain lanthanides are specifically utilized by biological systems has catalyzed the development of novel biochemistry-based strategies for selective recovery and separation of rare earth elements (the lanthanides, plus yttrium and scandium) and actinides. In this talk, I will describe my group’s discovery of several dedicated lanthanide-binding proteins and the insights that characterization of these systems has yielded into the coordination chemistry and supramolecular chemistry underlying biology’s ability to differentiate between lanthanides. I will also illustrate how the principles illuminated by these natural systems can be leveraged towards the holy grail of efficient separation of adjacent lanthanides.

Bio: Joseph Cotruvo, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University. He graduated with an A.B. from Princeton University, and he received his Ph.D. with JoAnne Stubbe at MIT, where he was an NDSEG Fellow. After postdoctoral work with Chris Chang at UC Berkeley as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow, he began his independent career in 2016. His laboratory’s work has been honored by several awards, including DOE Early Career and NSF CAREER awards, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and most recently the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry. For more information see:

Faculty Host: Eszter Boros