Kara L. Bren
University of Rochester
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Kara L. Bren is the Richard S. Eisenberg Professor in Chemistry in the School of Arts & Sciences and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rochester. Professor Bren's research interests lie in the fields of bioinorganic and biophysical chemistry. The Bren group has developed new methods for engineering and characterizing metalloproteins in the cytochrome c family, advancing our understanding of how protein structure dictates protein dynamics and function, with an emphasis on electron transfer reactions. Ongoing efforts of the Bren group focus on developing metalloprotein- and metallopeptide-based catalysts with relevance to energy conversion. Metallobiomolecular catalysts offer a number of advantages including being water soluble and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the use of protein engineering facilitates the preparation of multifunctional and modular structures and the manipulation of catalyst active site microenvironment. Another major project is the development of living bio-nano systems for artificial photosynthesis. By coupling organisms that perform extracellular electron transfer with photocatalytic nanoparticles, we have developed novel hybrid materials that produce hydrogen in the presence of visible light using substances available in wastewater as nutrients.