• Brian Van Dyke headshot
    Sandi Yanisko

Brian Van Dyke

About our research

With Dr. Reig, I investigate the ability of de novo designed Due Ferri single-chain (DFsc) proteins to bind copper(II) cations for two electron oxidation catalysis. Several variations on the DFsc design, such as G4DFsc and 3-His G4DFsc, effectively model diiron oxidase kinetics. G4Dfsc is similar to several di-metal oxidase active sites, including tyrosinase, a dicopper enzyme involved in tissue damage and repair pathways. Because of this structural similarity and previous catalytic behavior, G4DFSc mutants may be an effective dicopper oxidase model. Enzyme oxidation assays and CD spectroscopy suggest that some variants are able to bind copper and oxidize catecholic substrates. 

Recently, we are collaborating with Dr. Walvoord to design and synthesize a fluorescent turn-on probe for more sensitive oxidation assays.

I have been working with Dr. Reig since fall of my sophomore year, and I have to say that research is the best experience I ever had. I was really fortunate to be placed on a new project my first semester, which has fostered a strong sense of ownership in my work. I also had the opportunity to do full-time independent research in summer 2016 through the Summer Fellows program. Dr. Reig emphasizes independent  work and  communication in her lab, regularly encouraging students to make individual decisions about their projects and attend regional and national conferences. I had the opportunity to present my work in poster sessions at the 253rd National ACS Meeting and the UMBC regional conference.

What was valuable about the experience?

Research is an opportunity to apply classroom material to a real situation where failure is always an option. This practical application makes my education mean something more than notes, lectures, and tests. My experience exposed me to new science, new techniques, and required a level of independent thought that just can’t be obtained through regular coursework.


Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Jazz band, Tutoring, Lab Teaching Assistant

Life After Ursinus

I plan to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I was inspired to become a scientist by the self-healing liquid metal Terminator (T-1000) in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It was (and still is) the coolest thing ever. Ideally, I want to research new materials for regenerative tissue implants.