Mary Grace Galinato, Ph.D.

Mary Grace Galinato
Undergraduate Coordinator, Chemistry
Associate Professor, Chemistry
32 Hammermill

Mailing Address:
PENN STATE BEHREND
1 PRISCHAK BUILDING
ERIE PA 16563
  • Associate Professor (promoted with tenure), 2017 - Present
    Penn State Behrend, Erie, PA
    • Undergraduate Coordinator for Chemistry
    • Studies the mechanistic and structural properties of heme proteins; and energetics and dynamics of foldamers.
    • Received funding from two research and teaching granting agencies.
    • Teaches general and physical chemistry.
    • Mentored over 15 undergraduate research students.
  • Assistant Professor, 2011 - 2017
    Penn State Behrend, Erie, PA
    • Studies the mechanistic and structural properties of heme proteins; and energetics and dynamics of foldamers.
    • Published 6 original articles and 1 review article.
    • Received funding from 6 research/teaching granting agencies.
    • Teaches general and physical chemistry.
    • Mentored 15 undergraduate research students.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2007 - 2011; Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, 2009 - 2010
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (Advisor: Nicolai Lehnert)
    • Elucidated the electronic and vibrational spectra of different heme and non-heme enzymes using different spectroscopic and computational methods.
    • Published 5 original articles and 1 book chapter.
    • Taught general chemistry, and chemical principles & introduction to quantum chemistry.
    • Trained students on various spectroscopic techniques and enzyme expression & purification.
  • Graduate Research Assistant, 2003 - 2007; Teaching Assistant, 2002 - 2003
    University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (Advisor: Harry A. Frank)
    • Investigated the spectroscopic properties of carotenoids in proteins and polyenes in solution.
    • Published 4 original articles.
    • Taught general chemistry lab.
    • Trained undergraduate students on chromatography and spectroscopy techniques.
  • Instructor, 1999 - 2002
    ​University of the Philippines Mindanao, Davao City, Philippines
    • Taught general, introductory organic and analytical chemistry.

Teaching

Teaching Specialties

  • Physical Chemistry (Quantum and Thermodynamics)
  • General Chemistry
  • Biophysical Chemistry

Teaching Statement

Apart from the satisfaction that I obtain from teaching chemistry, a subject that has consumed the greater part of my life, I take pleasure in those moments when my students succeed, and replace potential with realization. Regrettably, my passion for chemistry is seldom shared by that of my students. In fact, for most recent high school graduates, chemistry is understandably difficult and discouraging, full of foreign symbols, concepts, techniques, and theories. I therefore consider it a key objective to capture students’ attention by translating chemistry into something more relevant and appealing, worthy of their time and tuition. I do not want them to be limited in their capacity to learn due to their tendency to resist challenging material. Rather, I want to uncover and extend the ability in each so they are better prepared to succeed in class and beyond.


Research 

Research Interests

  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Metals in Biology
  • Heme enzymes

Broadly speaking, my lab focuses on two systems: naturally- and artificially-occurring heme enzymes; and synthetic oligourea foldamers, a group of polymers which model the secondary structures of enzymes. 

  1. Nitrite reductase activities of globin and related enzymes
    Nitric oxide (NO), a signaling molecule, plays critical roles for proper body functions at the right amounts but is implicated in various health problems when present in excess. The delicate balance of NO concentrations in the body is controlled by enzymes that eliminate this molecule when in excess, and generate it when required. One group of enzymes that has gained recent attention for its unique role in producing NO through NO2- reduction is the globin family, in particular myoglobin (Mb) and hemoglobin (Hb). Although the mechanism of the reaction between deoxyMb (deoxyHb) and nitrite is unclear, it is postulated to follow that of cd1 nitrite reductases. Our group aims to investigate the fundamental chemistry between globins and nitrite. Results generated from our lab ultimately allows us to design enhanced catalysts based on the nitrite reductase activity of Mb in particular, providing a novel means for controlled generation of nitric oxide.
     
  2. Organosulfur oxidation catalyzed by sol-gel encased artificial manganese porphyrins
    This project aims to study the effect of the N-donor axial ligand on the rate of sulfoxidation reactions in silica sol-gel artificial manganese hemoproteins. Manganese porphyrins in protein scaffolds are distinctively appealing because they do not bind O2, but instead participate in crucial reactions involving high valent Mn=O intermediates. The protein scaffold aids in the sulfoxidation chemistry by preventing the dimerization of the porphyrin, while the sol-gel stabilizes the system without compromising its spectroscopic or catalytic properties.
     
  3. Conformational preferences of oligourea foldamers
    Another thrust in my research lab involves the investigation of foldamers, a synthetic group of polymers that folds into well-defined secondary structures in solution, and have biomedical, material science, and catalytic applications. Our group aims to elucidate the conformational properties and dynamic behavior of foldamers, both of which influence their structural organization. In particular, we focus on oligourea foldamers whose basic motif consists of repeating units of substituted N,N’-diphenylurea. A systematic study of the monomeric units with varying structural features will allow us to determine the driving forces that induce a particular conformation within a specific solvent environment. We approach this study by using combined experimental and computational studies, providing quantitative structural information, energetics, and conformational preferences in solvents with varying polarity. 

Funded Projects, Grants, and Awards 

  • 2020-2023 Petroleum Research Fund (American Chemical Society)
  • 2019 College Equipment Grants Program (Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh) "Probing Fast Kinetics Reactions in the Undergraduate Lab by Utilizing Flash Photolysis Spectrophotometry"
  • 2015 American Association of University Women Fellowship (rescinded)
  • 2014 Schreyer Institute Teaching Project Grant (Penn State University)
  • 2014 Research Grant Development Program Award (Penn State Erie, The Behrend College)
  • 2014 Graduate Women in Science Conference Travel Award 
  • 2014 Gordon Research Conferences Predominantly Undergraduate Institution Fund
  • 2013 Monique Braude Fellowship (Sigma Delta Epsilon-Graduate Women in Science). “Elucidating the Nitrite Reductase Activity of Myoglobin by Tweaking Key Components in its Active Site” 
  • 2013 College Equipment Grants Program (Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh) “Monitoring Chemical Reactions in the UV-visible Region Using Absorption Spectroscopy: Enhancing the Undergraduate Learning Experience”

Dr. Galinato is a biophysical/bioinorganic chemist by training. Her research interests include the structural, mechanistic, and dynamic nature of naturally- and artificially-occurring heme enzymes, and synthetic oligourea foldamers.

Influence of heme propionates on the nitrite reductase activity of myoglobin, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry - January, 2022
Collaborators: Anthony Rodland, Student Author; Zhouyan Si; Jaclyn Gowen, Student Author

Spectroscopic and electrocatalytic studies on the reaction of NOx with human serum albumin-heme complex, Current Topics in Biochemical Research - September, 2021
Collaborators: Ashley Lombardo, Student Author; Emily Luteran, Student Author; Kevin Kang, Student Author; Robert Fogle, Student Author; Amanda Dynoske, Student Author; Gary Fye, Student Author; Jason Bennett, Co-Author

Elucidating the electronic structure of high-spin Mn(III)TPPCl using magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy, Inorganic Chemistry - 2020
Collaborators: Emily Brocious; Florian Paulat, Co-Author; Sherri Martin, Co-Author; Joshua Skodack; Jill Harland; Nicolai Lehnert, Author

Cross-species analysis of serum albumin: towards understanding function based on evolutionarily unique amino acids, Current Topics in Biochemical Research
Collaborators: Sean Artello, Student Author; Emily Luteran, Co-Author; Alexandra Alfonso Castro, Co-Author; Michael Campbell, Co-Author

The Periodic Table as a word search (word find) puzzle, Chemical Educator
Collaborators: Kellie Brosius, Author; Alan Jircitano, Co-Author

Modulating the nitrite reductase activity of myoglobin by varying the heme substituents, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry - January, 2016
Collaborators: Robert Fogle, Student Author; Amanda Stetz, Co-Author; Jhenny Galan, Primary Author

Conformational elucidation of diphenylureas in varying solvent environments, Abstracts of Papers, 249th ACS National Meeting - 2015
Collaborators: Dominick Ali, Student Author; Jhenny Galan, Author

Effect of heme enzyme electronic structure modification on their nitrite reductase functionality, Abstracts of Papers, 250th ACS National Meeting - 2015
Collaborator: Emily Luteran

Effects of heme ruffling on vibrational dynamics, electronic structure, and electronic coupling, Abstracts of Papers, 249th ACS National Meeting - 2015
Collaborators: Kara Bren, Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Author; Paul Champion; Sean Elliot

Electronic structure and electrochemical elucidation of human serum albumin-heme complex, Abstracts of Papers, 249th ACS National Meeting - 2015
Collaborators: George Tomoiaga, Student Author; Emily Luteran, Student Author; Kevin Kang, Student Author; Robert Fogle, Student Author; Jason Bennett, Primary Author

Influence of the second-sphere coordination on the nitrite reductase activity of globins, Abstracts of Papers, 249th ACS National Meeting - 2015
Collaborators: Anthony Rodland, Student Author; Jaclyn Gowen, Student Author

Effects of protein structure on iron-polypeptide vibrational dynamic coupling in cytochrome c, Biochemistry - December 22, 2015
Collaborators: Sarah Bowman, Co-Author; Jesse Kleingardner, Co-Author; Sherri Martin, Student Author; Jiyong Zhao; Wolfgang Sturhahn; E. Ercan Alp; Kara Bren, Primary Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author

Exploring vibrational dynamics and catalytic functions of heme proteins: the case of cytochrome c and myoglobin, Abstracts of Papers, 45th Central Regional Meeting of the ACS - November, 2014
Collaborators: Nicolai Lehnert, Author; Kara Bren, Author; Jesse Kleingardner, Student Author; Sarah Brown, Student Author; Ercan Alp; Jiyong Zhao; Wolfgang Sturhahn; Amanda Stetz, Student Author; Robert Fogle, Student Author

Conformational propensities and dynamic behavior of aromatic oligourea foldamers, Abstracts of Papers, 248th ACS National Meeting - August, 2014
Collaborators: Jhenny Galan, Author; Edward Germany, Student Author; Pawlowski Amanda, Student Author

Theoretical and spectroscopic analysis of N,N'-diphenylurea and N,N'-dimethyl-N,N'-diphenylurea conformations, Journal of Physical Chemistry A - June 27, 2014
Collaborators: Jhenny Galan, Primary Author; Edward Germany, Co-Author; Amanda Pawlowski, Co-Author; Lynette Strickland, Co-Author

Conformational propensities and dynamic behavior of aromatic oligourea foldamers, Abstracts of Papers, 69th Southwest Regional Meeting of the ACS - November, 2013
Collaborators: Jhenny Galan, Author; Pawlowski Amanda, Student Author; Lynette Strickland, Student Author; Edward Germany, Student Author

Controlling nitric oxide generation: Effect of heme electron density on the rate of myoglobin nitrite reduction, Abstracts of Papers, 40th Great Lakes Regional Meeting of the ACS - June, 2013
Collaborator: Robert Fogle, Student Author

Binding interaction of hypocrellin B to myoglobin: a spectroscopic and computational study, Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy - June 27, 2013
Collaborators: Robert Fogle, Student Author; Jhenny Galan, Primary Author

Coupling between iron and polypeptide dynamics in cytochrome c revealed by nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy, Abstracts of Papers, 245th ACS National Meeting - April, 2013
Collaborators: Kara Bren, Author; Jesse Kleingardner, Student Author; Sarah Brown, Student Author; Ercan Alp; Jiyong Zhao; Nicolai Lehnert, Author

Naturally and artificially generating nitric oxide, Trends in Inorganic Chemistry - September 20, 2012
Collaborator: Robert Fogle, Student Author

Ligand recruitment and spin transitions in the solid-state photochemistry of Fe(III)TPPCl, Journal of Physical Chemistry A - August 8, 2012
Collaborators: Aaron Rury, Primary Author; Lauren Goodrich, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Co-Author; Roseanne Sension, Primary Author

Heme-protein vibrational couplings in cytochrome c provide a dynamic link that connects the heme-iron and the protein surface, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - June 5, 2012
Collaborators: Jesse Kleingardner, Student Author; Sarah Brown, Student Author; Kara Bren, Primary Author; Ercan Alp; Jiyong Zhao; Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author

Mutation in the FMN domain modulates MCD spectra of the iNOS ferric cyano complex in a substrate-specific manner, Inorganic Chemistry - June 30, 2011
Collaborators: Joseph Sempombe, Primary Author; Bradley Elmore, Co-Author; Weihong Fan, Co-Author; J. Guy Guillemette, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Co-Author; Martin Kirk, Co-Author; Changjian Feng, Primary Author

Elucidating the role of the proximal cysteine hydrogen-bonding network in ferric cytochrome P450cam and corresponding mutants using magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy, Biochemistry - January, 2011
Collaborators: Tatyana Spolitak, Co-Author; David Ballou, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author

Favorable protonation of the (m-edt)[Fe2(PMe3)4(CO)2H-terminal] hydrogenase model complex over its m-H counterpart: a spectroscopic and DFT study, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry - January 20, 2011
Collaborators: C. Whaley, Student Author; Dean Roberts; Peng Wang; Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author

The role of heme-nitrosyls in the biosynthesis, transport, sensing and detoxification of nitric oxide in biological systems, The Porphyrin Handbook - December, 2010
Collaborators: Nicolai Lehnert, Author; Timothy Berto, Co-Author; Lauren Goodrich, Co-Author

Vibrational analysis of the model complex (μ-edt)[Fe(CO)3]2 and comparison to iron-only hydrogenase: the activation scale of hydrogenase model systems, Inorganic Chemistry - March 12, 2010
Collaborators: C Whaley, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author

Nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy applied to [Fe(OEP)(NO)]: the vibrational assignments of five-coordinate ferrous heme-nitrosyls and implications for electronic structure, Inorganic Chemistry - March 26, 2010
Collaborators: Nicolai Lehnert, Primary Author; Florian Paulat, Co-Author; George Richter-Addo, Co-Author; Wolfgang Sturhahn; Nan Xu, Co-Author; Jiyong Zhao

Characterization of high-spin and low-spin ferric cytochrome P450 WT and mutants using magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy, Abstracts of Papers, 237th ACS National Meeting - March, 2009
Collaborators: Tatyana Spolitak, Co-Author; David Ballou, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Author

Friction and stability of carbon onions films in vacuum - March, 2009
Collaborators: Raed Al-Duhaileb, Primary Author; Benjamin Jacobs, Co-Author; Martin Crimp, Co-Author; Virginia Ayres, Primary Author; Atsushi Hirata, Co-Author; Mitsumi Horikoshi, Co-Author; Nicolai Lehnert, Co-Author

Energies of low-lying excited states of linear polyenes, Journal of Physical Chemistry A - November 13, 2008
Collaborators: Ronald Christensen, Primary Author; Emily Chu, Student Author; Jason Howard, Co-Author; Richard Broene, Co-Author; Harry Frank, Primary Author

Cation radicals of xanthophylls, Photosynthesis Research - July 19, 2007
Collaborators: Dariusz Niedzwiedzki, Co-Author; Cailin Deal, Student Author; Robert Birge, Co-Author; Harry Frank, Primary Author

Symmetry control of radiative decay in linear polyenes: low barriers for isomerization in the S1 state of hexadecaheptaene, Journal of the American Chemical Society - January 19, 2007
Collaborators: Ronald Christensen, Primary Author; Emily Chu, Student Author; Ritsuko Fujii, Co-Author; Hideki Hashimoto, Co-Author; Harry Frank, Primary Author

Spectroscopic properties of carotenoids in and out of proteins, Proceedings of the 18th Japanese Carotenoid Society Conference on Carotenoids - June, 2005
Collaborators: Harry Frank, Author; Robielyn Ilagan, Student Author; Emily Chu, Student Author; Timothy Chapp, Student Author; George Gibson, Co-Author; Ronald Christensen, Co-Author

Factors controlling light-harvesting by carotenoids in photosynthetic organisms, Abstracts of Papers, 229th ACS National Meeting - March 13, 2005
Collaborators: Harry Frank, Author; Emily Chu, Student Author; Ronald Christensen, Co-Author

Polyene excited states: Implications for carotenoid functions - February, 2005
Collaborators: Harry Frank, Author; Emily Chu, Student Author; Ronald Christensen, Co-Author

Linear polyenes: models for spectroscopy and photophysics of carotenoids, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics - March 16, 2004
Collaborators: Ronald Christensen, Primary Author; Elizabeth Barney, Co-Author; Richard Broene, Co-Author; Harry Frank, Primary Author

Ph D, Chemistry, University of Connecticut

BS, Chemistry, University of the Philippines