Research in the Popescu lab is centered
on the chemistry of some life processes involving iron, such as hydrogen
activation and biological oxidation. We study aspects of the mechanism,
structures of the intermediates and model complexes. The bulk of our
experimental work involves Mössbauer and EPR spectroscopy. Our Mössbauer
spectroscopy laboratory was established in 2004 with funds from an NSF-MRI
grant (Popescu, 2004-07). We have been fortunate to be hosted often by
Professors Eckard Münck and Michael Hendrich and their lab members during
research visits to Carnegie Mellon University, where we record high-field Mössbauer and EPR spectra and have also been learning more
The following are the three current
which are pursued with undergraduates at Ursinus and funding from NSF (NSF-RUI
2010-13, renewed in 2013). Other exciting projects are in various degrees
of planning or accomplishment. For the latter, see our
1. The study of novel complexes that aim
to model the active site of hydrogenase enzymes.
2. Characterization of novel Fe(I) and
other unusual bio-inspired complexes.
3. Studies of the dual-function enzyme
dehaloperoxidase (DHP) from Amphitrite ornata.
4. Studies of model complexes of Fe(III)-radical
model complexes for aminophenol oxidases.
These projects combine spectroscopic
characterization of iron bio-inspired complexes with the analysis of enzyme
active sites, calculations and biochemical characterization of enzymes, such as
DHP. These collaborative projects involve world-class scientists, both
synthetic chemists and biochemists, from University of Delaware, Texas A&M,
Marquette University and
North Carolina State University (Raleigh). For details, please follow the
links on the right.