Chemistry Faculty/Staff Directory
Barbara A Lawrence
Professor - Physical Chemistry
Frequently Taught CoursesCHM 1310, 1410, 1510 - General Chemistry I, II
CHM 1315, 1415, 1515 - General Chemistry Laboratory I, II
CHM 3910 - Chemical Thermodynamcis & Kinetics
CHM 3915 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory
CHM 3920 - Quantum Chemistry
CHM 4770 - Molecular Spectroscopy
EducationB.S., University of California, Irvine, 1983
M.S., University of California, Irvine, 1985
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1990
Our research is focused on the use of NMR spectroscopy to study biological systems. We are working, at present, on two separate projects.
The first is an ongoing project to study the molecular structure of the proteins that make up spider silk using NMR and other biochemical techniques. Spider silk can exhibit a combination of potentially useful as well as fascinating properties: strength, elasticity and the ability to shrink when wet.
Each species of spider produces up to eight different silks. We are comparing silks within and among species. Most of our work to date has involved black widow and tarantula spiders; we have determined different silks can have very different molecular structures and material properties. We collaborate with two biologists in northern California and travel there each summer (myself and two Eastern students) in order to collect spiders and perform research.
Our second project involves the study of the ability of certain vertebrate species to tolerate cold. We are using C-13, H-1 and P-31 NMR spectroscopy to determine the concentrations of potential osmolytes and other compounds that enable animal species to avoid or tolerate freezing. We have studied Antarctic fish and North American tree frogs in collaboration with Dr. Marina Marjanovich from the Department of Biological Sciences.