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Christina Payne and Nathan Jacobs Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Christina Payne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 2007

“Glycoside Hydrolase Processivity and Substrate Recognition Mechanisms”

Glycoside hydrolases are enzymes responsible for breaking down biomass such as cellulose or chitin into soluble sugars. The most efficient glycoside hydrolases are capable of processive hydrolysis (or processivity), where the enzyme repeatedly cleaves the covalent bonds that hold the biomass together. Dr. Payne’s proposed research focuses on developing a molecular-level understanding of the mechanisms governing glycoside hydrolase processivity through molecular modeling and thermodynamic calculations backed by experimental biochemical characterization – the latter carried out in collaboration with a team of researchers in Norway, Sweden and Estonia.

 

Nathan Jacobs, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science
Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis, 2010

“Learning and Using Models of Geo-Temporal Appearance”

Billions of geotagged and time-stamped images are publicly available via the Internet, providing a rich record of the appearance of materials, objects and scenes across the globe. These images are a largely untapped resource that could improve our understanding of how the world changes over time.  Dr. Jacobs’ research seeks to extract useful information from this imagery and fuse it into high-resolution global models that capture geo-temporal trends. His proposal presents a unified research, education, outreach and collaboration plan that will fill many important gaps in this area.