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Reed College Chemistry Professor Arthur Glasfeld Receives National Institutes of Health Grant

NIH award of $150,000 supports Glasfeld’s research on manganese.

Portland, OR (February 1, 2007) – Reed professor of chemistry Arthur Glasfeld has received a three-year grant of $150,000 from the National Institutes of Health for a project on mechanism and specificity in manganese homeostasis. Manganese, an important metal-ion nutrient for all forms of life, is closely linked to the virulence of a number of pathogenic bacterial species. With NIH-AREA (Academic Research Enhancement Award) support, Glasfeld is studying bacterial proteins that act as manganese sensors by turning genes on and off in response to variations in manganese concentration.

The project investigates the means by which the sensor proteins are capable of selectively responding to manganese, even in the presence of other competing metal ions, such as iron and zinc. Glasfeld will also study how these proteins communicate the presence of manganese via structural changes that affect the interaction of the protein with relevant genes. The project builds on research on manganese binding regulatory proteins completed under a previous NIH-AREA grant.

Arthur Glasfeld, a member of the Reed faculty since 1989, earned a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of several articles on the manganese transport regulator, appearing in Biochemistry and Nature Structural Biology, and was a visiting scientist at Oregon Health and Science University in both 1995 and 2002. At Reed, Glasfeld teaches courses in structural biochemistry and bioinorganic chemistry.