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Dr. Ryan Peterson

Assistant Professor

Dr. Craig Damin

Contact Information

Office:  CHEM 314

Phone:  (512) 245-0894

Fax:  (512) 245-2374


   Educational Background

  • B.S., Chemistry, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park CA (2006)
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimor MD (2013) Mentor: Kenneth Karlin
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (F32) Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD.( 2013-2016) Mentor: Valeria C. Culotta
  • Postdoctoral Researcher Associate, University of Basel, Basel Switzerland. (2016-2019) Mentor: Thomas R. Ward

   Honors and Awards

       Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Award (F32) 2015-2015

   Areas of Interest
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Copper Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Metal Biochemistry
  • Dioxygen Activation
  • Cell Biology of Metal ions and Their Role in Pathogenesis
  • Reactive Oxygen species Metabolism
  • Metalloenzyme Repurposing and Evolution


Research in the Peterson Group

The research in the Peterson lab is focused of copper biochemistry and cellular biology. Copper is an essential micronutrient and is a common cofactor found in the active site of many enzymes. Copper metalloenzyme are most commonly known for their roles in electron transfer processes, the activation of dioxygen and reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism. The rich family of copper oxidoreductase enzymes can catalyze a wide range of chemical reactions. Of particular interest to the Peterson group are the C-H activating monooxygenases such as particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) responsible for biological methane to methanol conversion, lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) which catalyze the oxidative depolymerization of biological polymers including starch, cellulose, & chitin, as well as the Cu-superoxide dismutase (Cu-SOD) family of enzymes which are implicated in cell signaling, cancer, and microbial pathogenesis.  

The primary projects in the Peterson Lab are:

  1. Characterizing new chemical activity profiles of natural and evolved copper metalloenzyme systems.
  2. Describing the metalloproteome of the oomycete aquatic pathogen Saprolegia parasitica

Our lab uses E.coli and yeast (P. pastoris, C. albicans, and S. cerevisiae) as model organisms for protein expression and genetic screening protocols.

The Peterson group is always open to motivated and passionate researchers. Interested individuals please send a copy of your CV/resume and a brief description of your research aspirations to

For more information on the Peterson research group and current projects please visit