Dr. Borovik's research focuses on understanding the roles of metal ions in biology. Nearly one-third of all proteins utilized metal ions (e.g., Fe) to perform chemical reactions that are essential for maintaining human health. Understanding these processes, especially those related to the utilization of O2 during respiration, are the central focus of his research program. The Borovik research group uses architectural features found in natural proteins to design and prepare new types of synthetic compounds and artificial proteins as next generation tools for accomplishing chemical reactions that are economically and environmentally beneficial.
Dr. Borovik became interested in metal ions in biology as a summer fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution when he was an undergraduate student. He received his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Berkeley. He was on the faculty at Ithaca College, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas before moving his research group to UCI in 2006.
Many of the key biochemical processes that occur in life are assisted by metal ions. Proteins are one class of biomolecules that utilized metal ions to perform difficult chemical transformations such as the binding and cleavage of O2 during respiration. How these metalloproteins work is still emerging but the locations of the metal ions within proteins are determining factors for productive function. Dr. Borovik is addressing these research problems using a molecular design approach to develop artificial molecules and proteins that replicate the requisite structural features found in metalloproteins. He will discuss his approaches, the molecules they have produced, and their links to biology.