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Heavy Element Biological Coordination: A Fundamental Take on the Intersection of Waste Management, Decontamination and Nuclear Medicine: Nano Seminar series

September 23, 2:00 pm3:00 pm PDT

Prof. Rebecca Abergel, UC Berkeley, Nuclear Engineering

From potential contamination of individuals with radioactive fission products after a nuclear accident to the therapeutic use of radio-isotopes for cancer diagnostics and treatment, the coordination and biological chemistry of actinides have become increasingly relevant to a number of applied problems. Understanding the fundamental bonding interactions of selective metal assemblies presents a rich set of scientific challenges and is critical to the characterization of f-element coordination chemistry in environmentally and biologically relevant species, and to the development of highly efficient separation reagents or new therapeutic agents. Our approach to these challenges uses a combination of biochemical and spectroscopic studies on both in vitro and in vivo systems to characterize the selective binding of f-block metal ions by natural and biomimetic hard oxygen-donor architectures and the subsequent macromolecular recognition of the resulting assemblies.

Luminescence sensitization, UV-Visible, X-ray absorption, and X-ray diffraction spectroscopic techniques as well as transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy allow us to tune specific actinide coordination features by ligands that drive the differentiation of different metals through stabilization in specific oxidation states and provide information on their respective electronic structures. These studies will be discussed with a focus on emerging applications in separation, isotope production, and medicine.

Rebecca Abergel did her PhD in Chem here at UCB (Go Bears!) and spent several years at LBNL, joining our Nuclear Engineering Dept in 2018. Early career awards include the ACS WCC Rising Star and an MIT Innovator Under 35-France. She was elected a AAAS Fellow in 2019 and is assoc editor of Radiation Biology.

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180 Tan Hall


Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute
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