The University of Iowa

Amnon Kohen

Amnon Kohen
Professor
Phone: 
319-335-0234
Office: 
E274 CB
Biosketch: 
  • B.Sc., Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel (1989)
  • D.Sc., Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (1994)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California at Berkeley (1995-1999)
Keywords: 

Bioorganic Chemistry; studying the mechanisms by which enzymes activate C-H and N2 bonds. Examination of protein structure, dynamics and function relationship. Pursuing medical and technological applications of biological catalysts.

Research Interests: 

We study enzymes that are important in many biological processes such as de novo DNA synthesis. Many antibiotic and chemotherapeutic drugs target these enzymes. We employ an interdisciplinary approach to study enzyme mechanisms using various techniques in chemistry and molecular biology. Our group has a broad research interest in various aspects of enzyme catalysis: (1) we develop experimental methods to investigate the role of protein motions and quantum mechanics in enzyme catalyzed reactions; (2) we study molecular mechanisms of the recently discovered enzymes as attractive targets for novel antibiotic drugs; (3) we develop clinical applications of enzyme mechanisms, such as development of new P.E.T. imaging probes based on in vivo enzyme activities.

In addition to common kinetic assays (e.g. UV-Vis spectroscopy, quench-flow experiments), we often use kinetic isotope effects (KIEs), structure and dynamics measurements (e.g. X-ray crystallography, NMR, 2D-IR measurements), and computer simulations to study enzymes. Students in the group will gain knowledge and hands-on experience in organic synthesis, molecular biology and protein purification, structural biology and drug design, enzyme assays and kinetics, isotope effect measurements, and theoretical calculations on enzyme catalysis.

Recent Publications: