Chemistry Professor Denyce Wicht Secures National Science Foundation Grant

Funds will allow students to conduct high-level research

Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Denyce Wicht is the corecipient of a $294,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research proteins involved in extracting sulfur from naturally occurring organic molecules.

She and UMass-Boston Chemistry Professor Daniel Dowling will conduct a joint research effort that will provide opportunities for student researchers to gain experience with enzymology, biochemistry, and protein crystallography.

“This is an exciting opportunity to involve our undergraduate students in high-level research and hone practical skills in their areas of study,” says Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Chair Rachael Kipp.

According to the NSF, the project — entitled "Research at Undergraduate Institutions: Biophysical Characterization of Reduced Flavin-Dependent Two Component Monooxygenase Sulfur Assimilation Enzymes: SfnG, MsuC, and MsuD" — will advance the understanding of how living organisms (including humans) play a role in moving sulfur-containing substances among earth's water, atmosphere, and land components.

Citing the researchers’ commitment to undergraduate students in the research setting, as well as planned outreach activities to middle school students, the NSF praised the “strong scientific mentorship provided by … Wicht and … Dowling [which] contributes to the development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.”

Research Published

A manuscript based on this National Science Foundation-funded research titled "Structure and function of the two-component flavin-dependent methanesulfinate monooxygenase within bacterial sulfur assimilation" has been published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The coauthors are Suffolk Professor Denyce Wicht and UMass-Boston Professor Daniel Dowling, with undergraduate and graduate students who conducted research.
See the research manuscript