Rachel Narehood Austin

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Professor Rachel Narehood Austin  


Brief biography and lecture program

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Dr. Rachel Narehood Austin  is known for her interdisciplinary and highly collaborative research program, which involves chemical synthesis, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, material science, and chemical engineering. Professor Austin was recently appointed the Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry at Barnard College, Columbia University.



Professor Austin received her BA degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a PhD in 1995 from The University of North Carolina in Environmental Bioinorganic Chemistry. Dr. Austin joined the faculty of Bates College in Lewiston Maine in 1995 and moved to NYC in 2015. Her laboratory has a longstanding interest in understanding the mechanisms of metalloproteins, especially those important in the global cycling of elements and neurochemistry, and developing and characterizing heterogeneous catalysts that can be used for green chemistry, biofuels upgrading, or environmental remediation.  Funding for her lab has been received from NSF, NIH, HHMI, the Merck/AAAS research fund, Pfizer, DOE, and the Dreyfus Foundation in the form of a Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award.   She is the past chair (together with co-Chair Ariel Anbar) of the 2010 Environmental Bioinorganic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference and a current editorial board member of the journals Metallomics and the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry and a reviewing editor for the journal Frontiers in Microbiological Chemistry


Her lab currently works on three different projects.  She is leading a long-standing project to understand structure-function relations in metalloenzymes that are critical in catalyzing the oxidation of alkanes in oil spills with a particular emphasis on the metalloenzymes alkane monooxygenase (AlkB) and cytochromes P450 (CYPs).  She also studies the neurochemistry of lead and, more recently, zinc.  Finally she is the head of a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary program to rationally design and test heterogeneous catalysts for biofuels upgrading. 


Professor Austin will give lectures during her stay at the chemistry department, Lecture room E012. See the program below.

May 3, 16:15 - 18:15 An overview of bioinorganic chemistry “Bioinorganic Chemistry: Understanding, Controlling, and Learning from Metals in Biology”

May 10, 16:15 - 18:15 Metalloneurochemistry

May 16, 16:15 - 18:15 Environmental Bioinorganic Chemistry

May 17 16:15 - 18:15 Strategies for oxygen insertion and deoxygenation


Conferences : 

-May 15, 11 am, C-O bond breaking and bond forming strategies: lessons from biology and heterogeneous biofuels catalysts, CulturChem, Université Paris 6, Auditorium Astier.

-May 19, 10:30 am, Bridging scales: A biophysical perspective on selected problems in environmental bioinorganic chemistry, Fédération des Sciences Chimiques de Marseille, EGIM Sud





Unité de rattachement: 
UMR 7203
Equipe de rattachement 7203: 
Equipe 1
Columbia University
Nom de l'hote: 
Prof. POLICAR Clotilde