We are pleased to present Associate Professor Joseph Cotruvo Jr to speak on New Principles in the selective recognition of rare earth elements in biology.

When: Thursday 13th July 2023

Where: AIBN Level 1 Seminar room or online via zoom. https://uqz.zoom.us/j/84905769928

Time:11am - 12pm


The separation of the rare earth elements (the lanthanides, La-Lu, as well as yttrium and scandium) is notoriously difficult, owing to the subtle differences in ionic radius and coordination number between these elements. The discovery that certain lanthanides are specifically utilized by biological systems has opened new avenues for development of novel biochemistry-based strategies for highly selective recovery and separation of rare earth elements and actinides. In this talk, I will describe our discovery of several dedicated lanthanide-binding proteins and the insights that the characterization of these systems has yielded into the coordination chemistry and supramolecular chemistry underlying biological recognition of lanthanides. I will describe how picometer-scale differences in ionic radii can be propagated to large-scale protein conformational changes that impart non-linearities in affinity profiles. Finally, I will illustrate how the principles illuminated by these natural systems can be leveraged to enhance the performance of biomolecule-based separation processes.



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 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was an NDSEG Fellow. After postdoctoral work with Chris Chang at the University of California, Berkeley as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow, he began his independent career in 2016. His laboratory’s work has been honored by Early Career awards from the US Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, a Sloan Research Fellowship, the Ed Stiefel Young Investigator Award, as well as other awards.



About AIBN Seminar Series

The AIBN Seminar series showcases a range of seminars across different topics and disciplines


AIBN Level 1 Seminar room or online via zoom https://uqz.zoom.us/j/84905769928