Katherine Davis, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of John T. Groves, the Hugh Stott Taylor Chair of Chemistry, has received an NIH “Pathway to Independence” award, designed to assist early-career researchers in making the transition from postdoctoral research to independent academic appointments. Davis’ proposal uses sophisticated x-ray methods to characterize the concerted atomic and electronic changes that facilitate catalysis in two medicinally-relevant iron-containing metalloenzymes: one an immunosuppressant, the other involved in the biosynthesis of potent antibiotics. To facilitate these investigations, she will work to develop and apply a laser pump/x-ray probe setup for the simultaneous collection of x-ray crystallographic and spectroscopic data in real time.
The award provides generous funding for research over a five-year period, and is administered in two phases – initially mentored, then independent. Davis will work with both Groves and Amie Boal, a professor of chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University, during the mentored phase of the grant before transitioning to an independent career.