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3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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Marie Heffern is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, Davis, where she started in August 2017. She obtained a dual degree in Chemistry (B.S.) and Religion (B.A.) from the University of Southern California where she researched low-temperature synthetic routes to perovskite nanocrystals with Richard L. Brutchey. She earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern University with Thomas J. Meade investigating metal complexes as protein inhibitors. Following her graduate studies, she trained with Christopher Chang at the University of California, Berkeley, researching in vivo imaging probes for redox-active metals. Her young and growing research group focuses on interdisciplinary approaches within the field of bioinorganic chemistry with a particular emphasis in metals in medicine. Specifically, the team is investigating the impact and applications of metals in the endocrine system.

"Illuminating the Bioinorganic Chemistry of Hormone Biology"

As the body’s primary communication network from one organ to another, the endocrine system requires coordination of dynamic biochemistry from the molecular level to the whole organism. The Heffern lab is seeking to uncover the roles and applications of metals in the endocrine system, and more generally, in the extracellular spaceWith an interdisciplinary approach and diverse expertise, we are working togain insightanddeveloptherapeuticsolutionsto endocrine disorders spanning diabetes, liver disease, and cancer. The work presented here investigates the interaction of metal micronutrients with specific peptide hormones. The studies aim to elucidate which metals may interact with these hormones, how they interact, and the biological and structural consequences of this interaction in both normal physiology and disease states. 


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