My research has diverged into three distinct areas; the first
focuses on the mechanisms of electron transfer and oxygen reduction,
and the proteins that catalyze these reactions. Much of my work
has been on the enzymes of the mitochondrial electron transport
pathway. The second area of my research is to identify the mechanism
by which a group of structurally similar compounds are selectively
toxic to the neurons in one small region of the brain. The death
of these neurons results in Parkinson's Disease, and exposure to
these compounds can cause the onset of symptoms that are similar or
identical to those of classical Parkinsonism, except in young victims.
The generally accepted belief is that the compounds act by causing a
fatal inhibition of the electron-transport pathway in the mitochondria
of these neurons. However, preliminary results from my lab suggest
their toxicity may be caused instead by binding to the dopamine transporter in
the cell membrane, triggering a series of responses that lead finally
to the death of the cell. My last area of study is the design and preparation
of self-organizing chemical systems, based on the ligand affinities
and coordination properties of metal complexes. Such systems may
provide information about key steps in the origin of life.
*Tran, Khanh-Van and Bickar, D. "Dakin -West Synthesis of
ß-Aryl Ketones" J. Org. Chem.71, 6640-4443 (2006).
Hall, A., *Hoffmaster, R., *Stern, E., Harrington, M. and Bickar, D. "Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Neurons are Glucose-sensitive" J. Biol. Rhythms 12, 388-400 (1997).
Bickar, D. and Reid, P. "A High-Affinity Protein Stain for Western Blots, Tissue Prints and Electrophoretic
Gels" Analyt. Biochem. 203, 109-115 (1992).
Wilson, M. and Bickar, D. "Cytochrome Oxidase as a Proton Pump" J. Bioenerget. Biomemb. 23,
*Kim, S. and Bickar, D. "Spontaneous Peptide Bond Formation Under Origin of Life Conditions"
Biophys. J. (Abst.) 57, 62 (1990).
Bickar, D., Turrens, J. and Lehninger, A. "The Mechanism by which Oxygen and Cytochrome
c Increase the Rate of Electron Transfer from Cytochrome
a to Cytochrome a3 of Cytochrome Oxidase" J. Biol. Chem. 261, 14461-14466 (1986).
Turrens, J., Bickar, D., and Lehninger, A. "Inhibitors of the mitochondrial cytochrome
b-c1complex inhibit the cyanide-insensitive
respiration of Trypanosoma brucei" Mol. Biochem. Parasitol.
19, 259-264 (1986)
*Smith undergraduate co-author