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Sarah Pope

BMMB Graduate Student - Boal Lab
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The Boal Lab

About Me

I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and graduated from Wheaton College with a B.S. in Biology. While an undergraduate, I completed an REU in neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I investigated neurogenesis in mice using optogenetics. I also spent a semester at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. While there, I researched the protistan and bacterial ecology of an oxygen-stratified lake. I love learning about the world through science and teaching others through science outreach activities.


Research Interest

I study bioinorganic chemistry, specifically enzymes that use transition metal complexes to catalyze reactions. 


Research Summary

I am exploring a newly defined family of bacterial metalloenzymes called the heme-oxygenase-like diiron oxidases/oxygenases (HDOs). The most well-studied member of this family, SznF, uses two separate active sites to catalyze difficult, iron-dependent reactions. I currently use workflows optimized in the Boal lab to examine novel HDOs implicated in natural product biosynthesis. I am using bioinformatics, x-ray crystallography, and spectroscopy to investigate HDO structure, function, and reaction mechanism.


Programs and Training Centers


University Committees

  • Outreach co-chair - Graduate Women in Science, 2020-2021


Selected Publications

  • McBride, M. J., Pope, S. R., Hu, K., Okafor, C. D., Balskus, E. P., Bollinger, J. M., and Boal, A. K. (2021) Structure and assembly of the diiron cofactor in the heme-oxygenase–like domain of the N-nitrosourea–producing enzyme SznF. PNAS118.