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Pamela Riggs-Gelasco

Chair and Mebane Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Address: SSMB 324
Phone: 843.953.7455


University of Michigan
Ph.D., 1995

Albion College
B.S., 1989

Research Interests

Metal cluster assembly in manganese enzymes, protein purification, x-ray absorption, EPR spectroscopy, and rapid kinetic techniques.

Courses Taught

CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry I
CHEM 351 Biochemistry I
CHEM 352
Biochemistry II
Biochemistry Lab

Honors and Awards


Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2012 Undergraduate Competition, Principal Investigator, P. Riggs-Gelasco, $1,400,000, “College of Charleston”, 9/12-916. This grant supports the development of High Impact Learning Experiences to enhance student success in the science such as undergraduate research, peer mentoring, learning communities, and capstone courses.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2008 Undergraduate Competition, Principal Investigator, P. Riggs-Gelasco, $1,400,000,College of Charleston”. 9/08 – 9/12. This grant supports the development of new curriculum in Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, and Neuroscience; it supports ~20 student/faculty pairs each summer for summer research; it supports the hire of two new faculty members (one in Biology and one in Chemistry) for the expansion of curricula and research opportunities for students; it supports extensive K-12 outreach, including major support of the science curriculum at Burke High School, teacher workshops and Brain Awareness Activities; it supports faculty participation in the First Year Experience for the development of interdisciplinary science learning communities; roughly $500,000 of the grant is being used to outfit a new neuroscience laboratory and to expand the equipment holdings in the biochemistry lab for the introduction of a new capstone research-based laboratory. At the end of the grant, the participating faculty and new hires will have developed seven new courses: A neuroscience laboratory, a capstone research-based biochemistry lab, two learning communities (one that ties chemistry and biology, and one that ties psychology and biology), Biophysical Modeling of Excitable cells, Molecular Basis of Disease, and Chemical Biology. 

Camille and Henry Drefus Foundation, Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award ($60,000)  10/07-10/13, “Oxygen Activation by Metalloenzymes: Ribonucleotide Reductase from C. ammoniagenes and its facultative metal cofactor”  (A national award to recognize the teacher-scholar model in the field of chemistry for faculty members at PUI institutions; faculty members must be in their 4rth-12th years of teaching).

NIH-AREA (R15 GM06790-01: $100,000 direct cost)  6/03– 5/06, “Is there a Class IV Ribonucleotide Reductase?”

Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Startup Grant (SU-98-006:  $20,000)  8/98 – 8/03, “The mechanism of cofactor assembly in manganese enzymes”

American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Grant (35151-GB3,4: $25,000)   9/00- 9/03  “Oxidation of Manganese in Biological Systems”

South Carolina Committee on Higher Education Research Initiative Award ($55,000) 1/00-1/01 “Characterization of the Manganese oxidizing protein from Leptothrix discophora


Wang, H. C., Riahi, M., Pothen, J., Bayse, C. A., Riggs-Gelasco, P and Brumaghim, J. L. “Interactions of Cu(I) with Selenium-Containing Amino Acids Determined by NMR, XAS, and DFT Studies”  Inorg. Chem., 2011, 50, 10893-10900.

Rubino, J. T., Chenkin, M. P., Keller, M., Riggs-Gelasco, P. and Franz, K. J., “A comparison of methionine, histidine and cysteine in copper(I)-binding peptides reveals differences relevant to copper uptake by organisms in diverse environments”, Metallomics,2011, 3, 61-73.

Li, H., Mapolelo, D., Dingra, N., Keller, G., Riggs-Gelasco, P., Winge, D. R., Johnson, M. K., Outten, C. E., “Histidine-103 in Fra2 Is AN Iron-Sulfur Cluster Ligand in the [2Fe-2S] Fra2-grx3 Complex and is required for in vivo Iron signaling In YEAST”, J Biol Chem.2011, 286, 867-76. (PMCID: PMC3013046).

Rubino, J. T., Riggs-Gelasco, P., Franz, K. J., “Methionine motifs of copper transport proteins provide general and flexible thioether-only binding sites for Cu(I) and Ag(I)”, J. of Biol. Inorg. Chem., 2010, 15, 1033-1049.

Li, H., Mapolelo, D. T., Dingra, N. N., Naik, S.G., Lees, N. S., Hoffman, B. M., Riggs-Gelasco, P., Huynh, B. H., Johnson, M. K. and Outten, C. E. The Yeast Iron Regulatory Proteins Grx3/4 and Fra2 Form Heterodimeric Complexes Containing a [2Fe-2S] Cluster with Cysteinyl and Histidyl Ligation”, Biochemistry, 2009, 48 (40), pp 9569–9581(PMCID: PMC2796373).

deBuron, I., James, E., Riggs-Gelasco, P., Ringwood, A.H., Rolando, E., and Richardson, D.  “Overview of the Status of Heavy Metal Accumulation By Helminths with a Note on the Use of in vitro Culture”.  Neotrop. Helminth., 2009, 3, 101-110.

Galonić Fujimori, D., Barr, E. W., Matthews, M.L., Koch, G. L., Yonce, J. R., Walsh, C. T., Bollinger, J. M., Jr., Krebs, C., Riggs-Gelasco, P. J. “Spectroscopic Evidence for a High-Spin Br-Fe(IV)-Oxo Intermediate in the a-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Halogenase CytC3 from Streptomyces”, 2007, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 129, 13404-13409.(PMID: 17939667).

Moeller, P. D. R., Beauchesne, K. R., Huncik, K.M, Davis, W. C. Christopher, S. J., Riggs-Gelasco, P. and Gelasco, A. K. “Metal Complexes and Free Radical Toxins Produced by Pfiesteria piscicida”, 2007, Environ. Sci. and Technol. 41, 1166-1172. (PMID: 17598275).

Riggs-Gelasco, P. J., Price, J. C., Guyer, R. B., Brehm, J. H., Barr, E. W., Bollinger, J. M., Jr., and Krebs, C.  “EXAFS-Spectroscopic Evidence for a Fe=O Unit in the Fe(IV) Intermediate Observed during Oxygen Activation by Taurine:a-Ketoglutarate Dioxygenase”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2004, 126, 8108-8109.

Brehm, J.*, Riggs-Gelasco, P. “The 50th Anniversary of the Watson and Crick DNA Structure: Protein Explorer Tutorials of DNA structures for Educators and Students”, The Chemical Educator,2003, 8, 375-377.

Baldwin, J., Krebs, C., Saleh, L., Stelling, M.*, Huynh, B. H., Bollinger, J. M., Riggs-Gelasco, P. “Structural Characterization of the Peroxodiiron(III) Intermediate Generated during Oxygen Activation by the W48A/D84E Variant of Ribonucleotide Reductase Protein R2 from Escherichia coli”,Biochemistry, 2003, 42, 13269-13279.

Baldwin, J., Voegtli, W., Khidekel, N., Moenne-Loccoz, P., Krebs, C., Pereira, A., Ley, B., Huynh, B. H., Loehr, T., Riggs-Gelasco, P., Rosenzweig, A., Bollinger, J. M. "Rational Reprogramming of the R2 subunit of Escherichia coli Ribonucleotide Reductase into a Self-Hydroxylating Monooxygenase", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2001 123, 7017-7030

"EXAFS Characterization of the Intermediate X from the Assembly of the E. coli Ribonucleotide Reductase R2 Factor", , P.J. Riggs-Gelasco, L. Shu, S. Chen, D. Burdi, B.H. Hunyh, L. Que, and J. Stubbe, 1998 120(5), 849-860 J. Am. Chem. Soc. ,  

"Reduced Derivatives of the Mn Cluster in the Oxygen Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: An EXAFS Study", P.J. Riggs-Gelasco, R. Mei, C.F. Yocum, and J.E. Penner-Hahn, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1996, 118, 2387-2399.

"X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy of Calcium Substituted Derivatives of the Oxygen Evolving Complex of Photosysten II", P.J. Riggs-Gelasco, R. Mei, D.F. Ghanotakis, C.F. Yocum, and J.E. Penner-Hahn, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1996, 118, 2400-2410."XAFS of DInuclear Metal Sites in Proteins and Model Compounds", P.J. Riggs-Gelasco, T.L. Stemmler, and J.E. Penner-Han, Coord. Chem. Rev. 1995 144 245-286