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Copley, Shelley Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • Research in the Copley lab centers on the molecular evolution of catalysts and metabolic pathways. Enzymes in metabolic pathways are superb catalysts, accelerating chemical reactions by up to 16 orders of magnitude. Many enzymes also catalyze adventitious secondary reactions, simply because active sites are loaded with highly reactive acids, bases, nucleophiles, metal ions, and cofactors. Although these “promiscuous” activities are inefficient, they provide a repertoire of activities that can be drawn upon if conditions change and catalysis of a secondary reaction becomes important for fitness. Projects in the lab seek to identify biochemical and physiological factors that influence the potential for evolution of novel activities from promiscuous enzymes. Other projects focus on the assembly of promiscuous activities into novel combinations that allow microbes to degrade a novel carbon source or bypass a metabolic block caused by a genetic lesion.

keywords

  • molecular evolution of enzymes and metabolic pathways, the evolutionary potential of promiscuous enzymes in the context of complex metabolic and regulatory networks, mechanistic enzymology

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • MCDB 4310 - Microbial Genetics and Physiology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Examines the physiology and genetics of bacteria, Archaea and viruses. Particular emphasis will be on metabolism, regulation of gene expression and protein function, mechanisms of interactions with and manipulation of the environment, and evolution in response to environmental pressures. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 3135 and MCDB 3145 (minimum grade C-) and recommended corequisite of CHEM 4611. Same as MCDB 5310.
  • MCDB 4980 - Honors Research
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Provides faculty-supervised research for students who have been approved by the departmental honors committee. Normally taken during the semester before completion of the honors thesis. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 4840 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.20.
  • MCDB 5310 - Microbial Genetics and Physiology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Examines the physiology and genetics of bacteria, Archaea and viruses. Particular emphasis will be on metabolism, regulation of gene expression and protein function, mechanisms of interactions with and manipulation of the environment, and evolution in response to environmental pressures. Same as MCDB 4310.
  • MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. Open only to MCDB graduate students. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.

Background

International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

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