I commenced my PhD program in Chemistry here at Michigan Tech in the Fall of 2018 under the direction of Dr. Christo Z. Christov and Dr. Tatyana G. Karabencheva-Christova. Before joining Michigan Tech, I obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, respectively, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Also, I received the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree (EMJMD) in Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modelling (TCCM) from the University of Porto, Portugal, and the University of Valencia, Spain, in summer 2018.
My doctoral research focuses on the use of computational modeling approaches to understand the structure-function relationships, conformational flexibility, collective motions, catalytic mechanisms, and the electronic structures of non-heme Fe(II) and 2-oxoglutarate dependent enzymes, such as AlkB, AlkBH2, TET2 and KDM4E that are involved in DNA repair, epigenetic regulation, and histone demethylation.
During my PhD program, I worked on an NIH-funded project on matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) enzyme, where I explored the early catalytic events of the enzyme necessary for its collagenolytic activity. In this project, I studied the processes of formation of the catalytically productive enzyme-substrate complex of MMP-1 and the associated changes in the coordination states of the catalytic Zn(II) site during the conformational transition to the productive complex. Moreover, I have worked on applying external electric fields (EEFs) to enhance the specificity of KDM4E enzyme for C—H activation over N—H activation during the histone N-methyl arginine demethylation. I was also involved in a collaborative project on artificial metalloenzyme with experimental groups at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, where we studied the use of YfeX hemoprotein, naturally a peroxidase, as a carbene transferase to mediate some organic reactions.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to my co-advisors, Dr. Christo Z. Christov and Dr. Tatyana G. Karabencheva-Christova, PhD committee members (Dr. Tarun Dam, Dr. Haiying Liu, and Dr. Stephen Techtmann), and the Department of Chemistry for their continuous support. I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Dean for awarding me the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This fellowship will afford me the opportunity to focus on completing my PhD dissertation and preparing for my defense.