Electron transfer reactions involving proteins are essential to the metabolism of all living organisms and are particularly important in phytosynthesis in plants and energy storage in animals. We are interested in understanding how the protein matrix, particularly hydrogen bond networks, modulates the rates of electron transfer reactions. We are also exploiting protein conformational changes as a means of creating molecular switches that can turn electron flow on and off and ultimately be used as components of molecular electronics devices.
Protein expression and purification for biochemical and biophysical studies, in particular nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Protein structure, function and dynamic, molecular mechanism of biological processes.
Our research is directed towards understanding the electronic structure, geometry, and dynamics of molecules of technological or fundamental interests. Ab initio or semi-empirical quantum mechanics and numerical approaches are developed to obtain desired results.
Development and application of chemical sensors for aquatic chemistry and carbon cycle research.
The Natale lab is interested in the role of chirality and conformational dynamics in bioactive small molecules. Specifically, the group has developed synthetic methodology which is applicable to the development of Structure Activity Relationships (SAR) for a number of isoxazole containing drug candidates.
Chemical characterization of particulate matter to determine origin. Identification and monitoring of chemical markers of wood smoke exposure. Analytical methods development.
Recovery and separation of valuable metals from acid mine drainage and sediments.
Research in the Ward lab involves studying the chemistry of air pollution, and how air pollution events, such as winter inversions and smoke from regional forest fires, impact respiratory health among the inhabitants of western Montana. Some of our latest research has dealt with determining the sources of PM2.5 in western Montana communities and developing the Air Toxics Under the Big Sky program in collaboration with western Montana high schools. The Ward lab has also recently begun to investigate the capacity of trees to serve as reservoirs for asbestos fibers.
Wildland fires emit large amounts of trace gases and aerosol and these emissions are believed to significantly influence the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the earth’s climate system. The wide variety of pollutants released by wildland fire include greenhouse gases, photochemically reactive compounds, and fine and coarse particulate matter (PM). Wildland fires influence climate both directly, through the emission of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and indirectly, via secondary effects on atmospheric chemistry (e.g., ozone formation) and aerosol and cloud microphysical properties and processes. Wildland fire emissions contribute to air pollution by increasing the atmospheric levels of pollutants that are detrimental to human health and ecosystems and degrade visibility, leading to hazardous or general nuisance conditions. The air quality impacts occur through the emission of primary pollutants (e.g., PM, CO, nitrogen oxides [NOx]) and the production of secondary pollutants (e.g., ozone and secondary organic aerosol [SOA]) when volatile organic compound.s
(VOC) and NOx released by fires undergo photochemical processing. Air quality can be degraded through local, regional, and continental scale transport and transformation of fire emissions.
The air quality and climatic impact of fires depends on meteorology, fire plume dynamics, the amount and chemical composition of the emissions, and the atmosphere into which the emissions are dispersed. Fresh smoke from burning wildland fuel is a complex mixture of gases and aerosols. The amount and composition of fire emissions depends on a wide range of variables related to fuel characteristics (type, structure, loading, chemistry, moisture) and fire behavior.