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Dr. Nina Goodey’s lab conducts research in three areas that all fall under the umbrella of understanding the detailed structure and function of enzymes: Theme 1: Relationship between motion and catalysis in enzymes; Theme 2: Identification of dihydrofolate reductase enzymes from novel organisms; and Theme 3: Use of phylogenetics in predicting protein-drug interactions.

Theme 1: Relationship between motion and catalysis in enzymes
Understanding how the flexibility inherent in protein structures is related to their amazing catalytic power is a timely question that has applications in drug development and protein design. Her review in 2008 in Nature Chemical Biology discusses this concept extensively. She and her students are working on understanding this important problem in two model systems: Dihydrofolate reductase from Geobacillus stearothermophilus (DHFR) and Indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase from Sulfolobus solfataricus (IGPS). Working on one of these projects, a student will be trained in mutagenesis, protein expression and purification, attachment of probes to proteins, enzyme kinetics, ligand binding measurements and computational modeling of enzyme kinetics.

Theme 2: Identification of dihydrofolate reductase enzymes from novel organisms
Dr. Goodey and MSU students have successfully purified and established the activity of a previously unknown dihydrofolate reductase enzyme from the fresh water snail Helisoma trivolvis. Next, we will isolate H. trivolvis mRNA and use cloning technology and degenerate primers to fish out the cDNA sequence of the gene that codes for this enzyme.

Theme 3: Use of phylogenetics in predicting protein-drug interactions
The goal of this collaborative project between Dr. Goodey and Professor Katherine Herbert (MSU) is to establish the relationship between ligand binding and local sequence similarity in the dihydrofolate reductase enzyme family. This relationship will be used to predict the binding between existing DHFR drugs to targets in pathogenic organisms that cause tropical illnesses. She and her students will test and analyze these interactions in the laboratory.

Research interests

Enzymology, Soil Enzymes, Chemistry Education

Scholarly Interests

Enzymology, enzyme kinetics, protein engineering, analyzing protein-ligand interactions

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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