BIST Colloquium Series: Dr. Serena deBeer

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: ICIQ - Auditorium
  • Address: Avinguda dels Països Catalans, 16, 43007 Tarragona

Dr. Serena deBeer is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Germany. She will be giving a colloquium at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) on April 9th at 9:30am, as part of the BIST Colloquium Series.

The BIST Colloquium Series consists of monthly lectures and discussion sessions with internationally recognized researchers, providing a broad exposure to multidisciplinary research in experimental sciences. The main aim of the Colloquia is to provide attendees direct contact with inspirational speakers and leaders, who will talk about cutting-edge challenges in contemporary research.

Title: X-ray spectroscopic studies of biological methane oxidation

Abstract: Soluble methane monooxygenases (sMMO) enable the biological conversion of methane to methanol. Nature’s ability to directly affect this conversion under ambient conditions is a subject of great interest in energy research, particularly for the economic utilization of natural gas. To enable this conversion, biology employs a dinculear iron active site, in which the key intermediate, known as “Q”, is able to directly cleave the strong non-polar C–H bonds of methane. The nature of Q has been the subject of intense research for more than two decades, with arguments made for both “open” or “closed” Fe2O2 core confirmation. Most recently, resonance Raman studies have argued that Q is best described as a symmetric closed diamond core structure. However, additional spectroscopic evidence is desirable in order to corroborate this finding. Recently, we have utilized high-energy resolution fluorescence detected x-ray absorption spectroscopy (HERFD XAS) to study MMO-Q and related model complexes. The seminar will start with a brief tutorial on both standard and advanced X-ray spectroscopic approaches. I will then discuss how these approaches have been utilized to obtain new insights into the mechanism of biological methane oxidation.

Biography: Serena DeBeer is Professor and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany. She is also an Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, an honorary faculty member at Ruhr University in Bochum, and the group leader of the PINK Beamline at the Energy Materials In‐Situ Laboratory at Helmholtz Zentrum in Berlin. Serena received her B.S. in Chemistry at Southwestern University in 1995, and her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2002. From 2002-2009, she was a staff scientist at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, before moving to her faculty position at Cornell.
Serena is the recipient of a Sloan Fellowship (2011), a Kavli Fellowship (2012), a European Research Council Consolidator Award (2013), the 2015 SBIC Early Career Award Winner and was honoured with the Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award (2016). Serena is the author of more than 170 scientific articles in journals of chemistry, biochemistry and physics. Her primary research interests include the development and application of X-ray based spectroscopy to examine small molecule activation (N2, O2, CO2) in both chemical and biological catalysis.

Attendance is free and open to anyone who is interested.