Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Amie Boal

Amie Boal

Main Content

  • Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
326 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 867-2863

Research Interests

Structural biology of metalloproteins

Graduate Programs


Research Summary

My research group focuses on problems at the interface between inorganic chemistry, medicine, and biotechnology. We use structural biology and biochemistry approaches to understand how transition metal reactivity is controlled by protein structure an dhow essential metal ions are acquired and mobilized in microorganisms. Specifically, we examine the relationships between structure and function in large metalloenzyme superfamilies to learn how to best harness or exploit the catalytic potential of these systems.

We also explore how specific metal ions are sensed and trafficked in bacteria, aiming to alter these pathways for improved efficiency in chemical or fuel production or to inhibit them in pathogens. The overarching goal is to be able to manipulate how metals are used in a given organism, either to control microbial growth for therapeutic benefit or to facilitate new and existing chemistry in biotechnology applications.

Selected Publications


  • Boal, A.K.; Grove, T.L.; McLaughlin, M.I.; Yennawar, N.H.; Booker, S.J.; Rosenzweig, A.C. “Structural basis for methyl transfer by a radical SAM enzyme.” Science 2011, 332, 1089-1092.
  • Boal, A.K.; Cotruvo, J.A., Jr.; Stubbe, J.; Rosenzweig, A.C. “Structural basis for activation of class Ib ribonucleotide reductase.” Science 2010, 329, 1526-1530.
  • Boal, A.K.; Rosenzweig, A.C. “Crystal structures of cisplatin bound to a human copper chaperone.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 14196-14197.
  • Boal, A.K.; Genereux, J.C.; Sontz, P.A.; Gralnick, J.A.; Newman, D.K.; Barton, J.K. “Redox signaling between DNA repair proteins for efficient lesion detection.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2009, 106, 15237-15242.
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