Stephen Mills, PhD
Stephen A. Mills has been a member of the faculty since 2006. He is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where he teaches organic and biochemistry. His research focuses on the role of metals in proteins. Currently, he is focusing on two protein families: the Ferric Uptake Regulator family and the Copper Amine Oxidase family.
Professor Mills earned his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.S. and Ph.D., both in Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley.
Scholarly and Creative Work
In his research, Professor Mills is trying to understand the role of metals in proteins. He is interested in both how the metals get into proteins and what they do as a part of the protein. He is currently working with two protein families: the Ferric Uptake Regulator (FUR) family and the Copper Amine Oxidase (CAO) family. Professor Mills studies the role of the metal in these proteins by replacing the normal metal with alternate metals. In the case of the FUR proteins, iron is the normal metal. By comparing how tightly iron and other metals bind to different members of the FUR family, Professor Mills expects to determine what parts of the protein are important for binding one metal in preference to others. In the case of the CAO family, Professor Mills is trying to understand the role of the copper in the protein by replacing it with cobalt or zinc and evaluating the effect of this substitution on the function of the protein.
Professor Mills teaches courses in organic chemistry and biochemistry, both lectures and labs. He has taught a special topics course on enzyme kinetics and mechanisms. Professor Mills is also involved in teaching students to do independent biochemical research in his research lab.