University of Richmond
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
University of Richmond
D-300 Gottwald Center for the Sciences
Richmond, VA 23225
My research focuses on the design of fluorescent protein biosensors. Nature has provided a vast array of proteins which bind efficiently to molecules which my research group is interested in detecting. One of the goals of my group is to design a biosensor for glucose. The constructed optical biosensor may be used to measure glucose concentrations in complex media such as blood serum. A second main project in my lab, and in collaboration with Sabatino D'Auria (Institute for Protein Biochemistry, Naples, Italy), involves the characterization of an arginine binding protein from Thermotoga maritima. Finally, my lab collaborates with Dr. Malcolm Hill (UR Biology) on a chemical ecology project. Our goals are to isolate and characterize secondary metabolites from the symbiotic microbes associated with the Chesapeake Bay sponges, Clathria prolifera and Halichondria bowerbanki. We are interested in linking the biosynthetic genes and pathways with the corresponding microbial pigments in these organisms. I also teach courses in both chemistry and biochemistry that incorporate facets of science outreach, thereby encouraging students to take ownership of their learning to enhance the community in a meaningful way.
Dattelbaum Lab Website
About CHEM 326- Biochemistry Outreach Project
Community-based learning extends the learning experience for students outside the classroom through interactions with the public. The process for developing a community-based learning experience began as part of a biochemistry laboratory section I was teaching as a first-year faculty member. The goal was to provide a complementary learning experience for students and not to replace specific laboratory material. I wanted to challenge the biochemistry lab students to take part in community-based service where biochemistry plays a role. The pilot project asked students to complete at least three hours of service in the Richmond community at one of four selected organizations: the American Lung Association of Virginia, the CrossOver Clinic, the March of Dimes' Central Virginia Division and the National Kidney Foundation of the Virginias. While the students participated in a variety of activities depending on the needs of the organizations, the connecting force was the interaction students had with clients at each site, allowing for personal observations of diseases, conditions and situations. For their efforts, students received the equivalent of one problem set toward the laboratory grade in the course. To assess this activity, I designed a report sheet that asked each student to provide a short paragraph describing his or her experience and to reflect on how biochemistry was involved.
This course was featured in the September 2011 issue of ASBMB Today.