News Archive 2015 and before


The end of term and much of the research effort winds down for the year. The excitement is presentation of two posters in the Faculty of Science Interdisciplinary Research Showcase on December 8th. Martin had been working closely with the Shinshu University group of Profs Kimura and Kobayashi in November and this work tied into the porphyrin research of Angel Zhang. We assembled a joint Canada/Japan poster - Angel's poster receiving an Honorable Mention award!

Gordon also put in a poster describing the Metallomics work. Simultaneously, Martin travelled to Hawaii to prepare for the Pacifichem Conference. He had 2 talks and a poster scheduled - the talks had to be developed in Kauai before the conference! Because of a cancellation in the Heme Protein symposium that Martin, John Dawson and Takashi Hayashi were organizing, Martin gave a talk as well - put together really at the last minute. Hawai was wonderful - how else to describe 27C, warm water and sand in December?(We note that this was the rainy season - and - yes - it rained - but warm rain. And, for anybody thinking of going to Kauai - it is very muddy on the trails - so take boots/shows that can be discarded or at the very least washed.) Christmas came and everything shut down.

Gorson's paper on the pH dependence of cadmium and zinc binding to metallothioneins was accepted by Metallomics and selected for cover art.

Mid-term and the 4th year research was as always moving forward in fits and starts! Martin being on Sabbatical, left to spend 3 weeks with Nagao Kobayashi (now in Shinshu University in Ueda), west of Tokyo in the mountains where the Nagano Olympics were held. It has very pretty scenery. Nagao and Martin worked on a new review following up their joint paper in 2005.

Thanksgiving. Gordon wins one of two Aspire awards to travel to Singapore in February to start work on sensors using metallothioneins as part of a new collaborative venture between the Stillman Bioinorganic Group and the research groups of Dr. Ka Lun Woong and Dr. Swee Ngin Tan at the Natural Sciences & Science Education National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

Two recent papers appear in the printed journals:
Pinter, T.B.J.; Stillman, M.J. (2015) "Kinetics of Zinc and Cadmium Exchanges between Metallothionein and Carbonic Anhydrase; Biochemistry. 2015 54(40):6284-93. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00912.
Pinter, T.B.J.; Stillman, M.J. (2015) "Putting the pieces into place: Properties of intact zinc metallothionein 1A determined from interaction of its isolated domains with carbonic anhydrase", Biochemical Journal 2015, 471 (3) 347-356; DOI: 10.1042/BJ20150676.

Martin plans for a 2 week visit in early November to Nagao Kobayashi, now at Shinshu University in Ueda, Japan. There we plan to write a review on our work of the last 15 years! Martin will be the guest of prof. Mutsumi Kimura who hosted him in July.

The month started with Tyler Pinter's defense. Prof. David Petering from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was the external examiner, with Profs Sheila Macfie (Biology), Lars Konermann and Ken Yeung from UWO Chemistry rounding out the examining committee. The celebration of his very successful defense was also successful! Dr. Tyler Pinter moves to Vince Pecarora's lab in Michigan at the end of October. Good luck in the future Tyler!

The 4th year undergraduate research assignments were announced: Mikayla Johnson, Jordon Rostowsky, Melissa Santolini and Angel Zhang are joinng us for a very full year of research - watch for great discoveries!

Finally, we are excited to report that Ms Daisy Wong has progressed into the PhD programme to finish her work on the interactions between organometallic drugs and metallothioneins. Congratulations Daisy!.

Martin travelled to the Bronx to meet with Denis Rousseau and Syun-Ru Yeh, at the Albert Einstein research institute. He gave a talk titled "The wonders of heme trafficking in Gram positive bacteria as seen by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry" to members of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

This weekend (24/25/26/27) coincided with both the Pope's visit to New York, and United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, the latter described as " will be the largest gathering of presidents and prime ministers ever at the United Nations." Not surprisingly, New York City was jammed with police, tourists, unmarked cars and SUVs, helicopters. Luckily, we visited the 911 site before the Pope arrived so were able to walk around that remarkable memorial.

Normally a quiet time in our lab - after the excitement of the Beijing ICBIC we settled down to do some new work. We were delighted to welcome Mrs. Devika Jayawardena as a new graduate to carry out her MSc work for the Department of Biology. Devika spent 2 weeks in the Biochemistry Labs of Dr. Ilka Heinemann sorting out the expression system for new metallothionein isoforms we wish to look at over the coming years. We wish her good luck!

Tyler's paper in domain selectivity appeared in Biochemistry:
Pinter, T.B.J.; Irvine, G.W.;Stillman, M.J. (2015) "Domain selection in metallothionein 1A: Affinity controlled mechanisms of zinc binding and cadmium exchange", Biochemistry. 2015 54(32):5006-16. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00452. Selected for highlighting by Biochemistry.

The group was busy this month: Gordon, Daisy and Martin prepare for ICBIC 17 in Beijing. All three of us will take detours though: Daisy goes via Hong Kong, Martin goes to see Nagao Kobayashi after the ICBIC and Gordon goes to visit Singapore.

To sum things up:

Irvine, GW; Pinter, T.B.J.; Stillman, M.J. "Metallothionein metalation pathways: Zinc beads and cadmium clusters" 17th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, July 20-24, 2015, Beijing, China. (poster)

Wong, D. L., Stillman, M. J. (July 20 – 24th, 2015) Studies of Dirhodium(II) Tetraacetate with Human Metallothionein, 17th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, China National Convention Centre, Beijing, China. Poster Slam Oral Presentation by Wong, D. L. (M. Sc., int’l).

Wong, D. L.*, Stillman, M. J. (July 12 – 16th, 2015) Studies of Dirhodium(II) Tetraacetate with Human Metallothionein, 5th Asian Coordination Chemistry Conference, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. Poster Presentation by Wong, D. L. (M. Sc., int’l).

Martin's invited papers at ICBIC and at Shinshu University in Japan: "Combining magnetic circular dichroism spectra with TD-DFT results, to understand the effects of massive expansion of the aromatic ring" Shinshu University, Ueda, Japan 2015 July.

"Metal induced folding in metallothioneins: New ideas from ESI-MS studies" 17th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, July 20-24, 2015, Beijing, China.

Martin travels to Ottawa to attend the Canadian National Conference. Met up with many old friends from across Canada. He returned to the studies just completed by Mike Tiederman on the Staph. A Isd proteins.

"Iron Acquisition in Staphylococcus aureus: Magnetic Circular Dichroism Spectroscopic and ESI-Mass Spectrometric Characterization of the Isd-multi-protein Heme Transport Mechanism" 98th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Ottawa, Ontario 2015, June 13-17.

CanBIC-5 is ready to go. The symposium leaders should be busy finding their speakers, the web site is nearly refurbished - the symposia are updated, the dates are correct. Soon the site will be ready. We host a facebook page: for photos and chat about the conference but remains the source for technical information. We will note here when new information has been uploaded to We hope to see you in Parry Sound in May 2015.

CanBIC-5 ended up being the largest CanBIC ever with prof. Harry Gray providing an outstanding final lecture before the Friday night Banquet. Saturday, on Georgian Bay in Killbear Park was wonderful. CanBIC-6 is planned for May 2017.

4th year Thesis research celebrated in Biology and Chemistry. NSERC awards Martin an increased grant for 5 years to further study metallation in metallothioneins, heme trafficking and porphyrin electronic structures.

Finishing 4th year research theses - Scott Hendriks and Jess Uzonyi present their work in April.

During the UWO Reading Week, Martin travelled to the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Chemische Energiekonversion in Mulheim to visit Serena DeBeer and gave a talk about the use of Magnetic Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy in the assignment of porphyrin spectra and then on to Strasbourg to visit Jean Weiss at the Institut de Chimie de Strasbourg with a lecture on the origins of the colours of porphyrins and chlorophylls.

CanBIC has been hugely popular with over 90 invited speakers confirming their attendance starting on May 19th.  As usual, our group and students from Zhifeng Ding's group will together organise and run the conference. New this year is the Student Symposium, S9. CanBIC has gone live!

Dr. Chris Levy (Kansas State University) has joined us for 10 days to complete a really wonderful analysis of fused and unfused porphyrins synthesized by Prof. Daniel Gryko in Warsaw. A remarkable set of absorption, emission, magnetic circular dichroism and mass spectral data - together a complete spectral characterization. This was complemented by a full DFT and TDDFT computational analysis.

End of January: Gordon Irvine and Tyler Pinter will present their studies on zinc and cadmium binding to metallothionein at the Metals in Biology Gordon Conference held in California. Tough to not be jealous of 10 days in California.


Term ends. Martin will teach the 3rd year Bioinorganic Chemnistry course, Chemistry 3391b, starting in Janaury. Organization for CanBIC-5 in May continues ( Already 60 speakers have signed up from around the world. We are so very pleased that Prof. Harry Gray was kind enough to agree to give the Plenary Lecture. We hope that our Canadian and US colleagues from nearby institutions will take the opportunity to visit Parry Sound for CanBIC-5 celebrations. We have added a "young scientist" symposium for selected papers from graduates and Post docs. These oral presentations will be 12 minutes long, and give those participants an opportunity to present their work to the world's leaders. A very exciting addition. The photographs from CanBIC 1, 3 and 4 are available on the shutterfly site (see the link under Photos).

Daisy Wong represented the group at the Inorganic Discussion Weekend held at the University of Montreal. We are delighted that a paper on the kinetics of Cd(II) metallation of alpha metallothionein, work that Dr. Kelly Duncan had completed for her PhD, was published with an interpretation provided by a new kinetic approach using a cysteine modifer. Those data were solved by Gordon Irvine. Meredith Gullens carried out the confirmationary experiments as part of her 4th year thesis research.

Irvine, G. W., Duncan, K. E. R., Gullons, M. and Stillman, M. J. (2014), Metalation Kinetics of the Human a-Metallothionein 1a Fragment Is Dependent on the Fluxional Structure of the apo-Protein. Chem. Eur. J.. doi: 10.1002/chem.201404283.

At the end of October, during the Fall Term Break, Martin will travel to Madrid to meet up with Tomas Torres' group and present a research seminar (the Green Blood talk!) on Nov. 3rd.

Martin will be giving a very special talk in Sendai, Japan at Tohoku University, on Oct. 16th (on pi extended porphyrins - mostly Brit Lewis' work) at the special symposium held by Tohoku University on the occasion of Prof Nagao Kobayashi's retirement. A prestigious event attended by researchers from around the world (the Thanksgiving Week).

On his way home, Martin will give a talk at Osaka University hosted by prof. Takashi Hayashi.

Term starts on the 4th.

We welcome back Ms. Daisy Wong who will be starting her graduate work with us this month. We also celebrate Daisy's OGS award to support her graduate work. Daisy has been associated with our group since 2011. CanBIC-3 participants will recall she was the face at the Registration Desk and the Info Desk.

Check out those photos at:

We are delighted that Tyler Pinter's paper has been accepted for publication (DOI: 10.1021/bi5008673). The first in our series on zinc transfer to Zn-enzymes.

We welcome Joe Le Faive and Scott Hendriks for their 4th year research projects.

We are happy to announce that Tiffany Jeen will present a poster on her UWO/ICE summer work at her home university. "Metal distribution in the two-domains of metallothioneins", by T. Jeen, T. Pinter, and M. Stillman.

We regretfully say goodbye to Lauren, Matt and Tiffany, we were very pleased you worked with us this summer: Thank you!

The ICE Workshop in St. John's where Tiffany will present her work on the domain specificity in metallothioneins. Ms. Daisy Wong continues her summer work as a graduate student. July 2014 Plans for the ICE workshop in August are finished. Tiffany and Martin will travel to St John's Newfoundland at the end of August to take part.

CanBIC-5 planning is in full swing.

June is a busy month - first, the CSC Conference took place in Vancouver where the whole group travelled to participate. Then, ICPP-8 in Istanbul at the end of the month took place where we will met with so many old friends. At the end of that conference, a number of the speakers travelled to Technion in Haifa for a short workshop arranged by long time CanBIC supporter Zeev Gross; so nice to be able to be at his home university. Finally, Martin and Nagao visit the Weizmann Institute.

The CSC Conference in Vancouver (June 1st - 5th): it was very busy with 3 oral papers and a poster:

Wong, DL; Stillman MJ "Running the gauntlet: Interactions of metallodrugs with metallothionein" Pinter, T.B.J., Stillman, M.J.
"The competitive zinc metallation of metallothionein in the presence of carbonic anhydrase."
Nature’s shrink wrapped metal thiolate clusters: mechanistic complexity views for structural simplicity in the metallothioneins". 2014 Alcan Award Address.
"Unlocking the secrets of metal induced folding in metallothioneins from ESI-MS studies of the stepwise metallation of arsenic and topographical analysis using cysteine modification." Irvine, GW and Stillman, MJ. An Invited Paper given by Gordon.

ICPP-8: Istanbul, Turkey. Martin co-organized the symposium on "Theoretical Methods in Spectroscopy" with long-time colleague and friend prof. Nagao Kobayashi from Sendai, Japan. Martin gave an invited talk: "Effects of peripheral substituents on the electronic structure of porphyrins. Combining magnetic circular dichroism spectra with TD-DFT results to understand the effects of expansion of the aromatic."  International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (ICPP-8). Istanbul, Turkey, June 22-27, 2014.

He presented a poster with coauthors of prof. Chris Levy (Kanasas State U) and Ms Brit Lewis (4th year research student): Stillman, MJ, Levy, C; Lewis, B. "Combining magnetic circular dichroism spectra with TD-DFT results to understand the effects of effects of peripheral substituents on the electronic structure of Zn-porphyrins" (abs121616) International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (ICPP-8), Istanbul, Turkey, June 22-27, 2014.
Then after ICPP:  Martin flew to Tel Aviv in Isreal to take part in the "Schulich Summer School Science and Technology of Macrocyclic Metal Complexes" held at Technicon, Haifa, Israel. He presented the invited talk: Isd cog-wheel kinetics: Combining magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy and ESI-mass spectrometry to determine the multi-protein heme shuttle pathway in Staphylococcus aureus." "Science and Technology of Macrocyclic Metal Complexes", Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 29th – July 2, 2014.

On Tuesday 1st July, Canada Day, Martin visit the famous and revered Weizmann Institute to give a lecture:"Why isn't blood green? The evolution of photochemically active biomaterial based energy production system.  The green leaf." Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovoth, Israel.  2014 July 2.

He headed home the next day. Unfortunately, although Air Canada had scheduled a new Dreamliner, the plane on Wednesday will be an old 767 due to delivery delays!
There has been a lot of interest in CanBIC-5. Six of the symposium organizers were at ICPP-8 so it was possible to have a meeting and co-ordinate speakers. Already the speaking slots are filling up!

The 2013-2014 teaching year draws to a close with the 4th Year Research Day on 5th April. We congratulate Brit Lewis and Daisy Wong for an outstanding research year on their projects. Brit Lewis won 1st prize in the Inorganic session at SOUSCC for her paper on the Zn-binding mechanism to MT - Congratulations!

The summer students (Lauren, Matt, and Tiffany) will join Daisy, Gordon and Tyler starting on the 1st May for an exciting 4 months of summer research. Martin travels to Europe on the 10th April and will visit researchers in Germany to establish a new collaborative project for the future.

We received outstanding news that each of the students in the group has been awarded scholarship support for their next studies. Metallothionein has been kind to us all it seems.

Martin went to Erlangen, Germany to dicuss collaborations with prof. Ivana Ivanovic-burmazovic and give a lecture.
"Metal induced folding in the protein metallothionein: How Zinc and Arsenic control the protein's structure".  Universität Erlangen, Department Chemie und Pharmazie. Lehrstuhl für Bioanorganische Chemie, Erlangen, Germany. 15 April, 2014.

January to March
The Winter was terrible. It snowed very often and there were more days with highs below -10 C than I can remember over the last 30 years in London - known as part of the 'banana belt'! Only frozen banana milk slushies are possible from this winter.

A review long in progress finally was published in Metallomics on work from Duncan Sutherland's PhD Thesis that was approved in April, 2012. Work from Mike Tiedemann studying the artificial proteins of prof Ron Koder also was published. Our first paper with Taka Kohzuma's group in Mito, Japan, Aki's work on cyt c' has finally been submitted.

Martin gave talks at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the University of South Carolina, during Reading Week.
"Isd cog-wheel kinetics.  Combining magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy and ESI-mass spectrometry to determine the multi-protein heme shuttle pathway in Staphylococcus aureus."

Recent papers

Sutherland, D.E.K.; Stillman, M.J.(2014) "Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Single Domain Metallothioneins", Metallomics DOI: 10.1039/C3MT00216K
Mack, J., Otaki, T., Durfee, W.S., Kobayashi, N., Stillman, M.J. (2014) "MCD spectroscopy and TD-DFT calculations of low symmetry subnaphthalocyanine analogues", J. Inorg. Biochem. DOI:10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2014.01.001
Mutter, A.C.; Norman, J.A.; Tiedemann, M.T.;(2014) Singh, S.; Sha, S.; Morsi, S.; Ahmed, I.; Stillman, M.J.; Koder, R.L. �Rational design of a zinc phthalocyanine binding protein�, J. Structural Biology,185, 178-185.
Irvine, G.W.; Stillman, M.J. (2013) �Topographical analysis of As-induced folding of alpha-MT1a.�. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 441, 208-213. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.10.044.


August 2013 to Jan 2014
We welcomed prof. Chris Levy to the group from Kansas State University. Chris will spend the year with us while on Sabbatical. He is focusing on continuing Maysaa's 4th year project from 2012-2013 and trying his hand at porphyrin characterization following Brit's summer work on Bernhard Krautler's compounds in the 2013 summer.

Martin travelled to China in December, meeting up with colleague prof. Zhen Shen in Nanjing, attending AsBIC in Guangzhou and then travelling to Beijing to give a talk on metallothioneins at Peking University hosted by prof. Jun-Long Zhang. He also met up with daughter Jacqueline and her husband Matthew Kalisz who work at the Canadian Embassy.

In early November 2013, Martin gave a research lecture at Ryerson University and then the next week the group participated at the Inorganic Discussion Weekend held at York University. We took advantage of travelling to Toronto to meet and discuss work with prof. Gideon Wolfaardt - Lindsay Jackson's PhD supervisor (see below - Lindsay was a UWO Biology student who worked with us on MT in 2010).

It is announced that Martin has won the 2014 Rio Tinto Alcan Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry recognizing his bioinorganic research. He will deliver the award lecture in Vancouver at the Annual CSC Conference in June. See the notes for May 2014 for the titles of the papers submitted to the CSC Conference (papers authored by Tyler Pinter and Gordon Irvine will be submitted).

We enter July with research picking up speed - we welcome back Dr. Duncan Sutherland who will work with us to improve our expression yields for each of our protein constructs. He will also be working on a review based on his PhD thesis of last year.

With the summer here, Martin starts to travel again - going to the UK to meet with Dr. Peter Kille, the founder of our constructs - to discuss the expansion of our zinc work towards the homeostatic control of zinc and copper, our interest for the last two years. Martin then travels on to South Africa to give a series of lectures before returning at the beginning of August.

At Rhodes University in South Africa, there will be an airing of a new version of "Green blood". The paper with Ron Koder is at the proof stage - thanks Mike - and Tyler is telling the world about his carbonic anhydrase work in Grenoble - brand new ideas that will change the world - brilliant!

The CanBIC-4 Conference passed - and by all accounts was more successful than previous editions! We were lucky that cool and damp weather of the beginning of the week transformed into glorious days on the Friday and then for the Saturday Georgian Bay Day at Killbear Provincial Park.

Please see the series of photos on the group facebook page: "stillmanbioinorganicgroup".

Interesting blogs from the New Journal of Chemistry editor also highlight the CanBIC conference and Georgian Bay Day. Please see:

To students interested in the role of metals in biology, our group answers difficult but biologically relevant questions by applying many techniques to build up an imperfect but extensive picture of the biologically-significant metal-based chemistry. Please contact us for both 4th year (in Biology and Chemistry) and graduate research (in Biology and Chemistry). Currently, we are very interested in expanding our work with zinc and copper, especially cellular interactions. The work with hemes and porphyrins is also very active at the moment and we are keen to expand our work in the prediction of the colour of these dyes.

We welcome Brad Reed from the dept. of Biology who will work on metal binding to a seaweed MT.

The CanBIC-4 Conference is just a week away - everybody in the group is participating in this important Canadian event. The full scientific programme and many other details, including Music at CanBIC and pictures from the 2011 CanBIC-3 Georgian Bay Day, can now be found on the updated web site:

CanBIC has become the meeting place for bioinorganic chemistry in Canada with participants in many of the most important areas of bioinorganic chemistry.

For us, the metallothionein symposium offers a summary of current knowledge on metallothionein (Tyler and Martin contribute papers). Gordon contributes a poster on his work with cysteine modification. Maria will talk on NOS from her NIA research. Tasha and Brit have teamed up to present a poster on Bernhardt Krautler's porphyrins (Brit is really working on the CdMT binding mechanism question but used her down time while protein was growing to push out the porphyrin data). As for the previous CanBIC conferences, the coming together of so many experts in this field to Parry Sound, is a boost to our own work and the feast is about to happen. Of course, we meet our old friends, exchange news and greet new friends and colleagues. We hope all who consider themselves to be bioinorganic chemists take advantage of this remarkable opportunity.

After CanBIC comes the Metallomics Symposium and the Bioinorganic Symposium at the CSC 2013 in Quebec City. We have talks and posters planned for those symposia. That will leave us at the end of May with many projects underway for the rest of the summer. To students interested in the role of metals in biology, our group answers difficult but biologically relevant questions by applying many techniques to build up an imperfect but extensive picture of the biologically-significant metal-based chemistry. Please contact us for both 4th year (in Biology and Chemistry) and graduate research (in Biology and Chemistry). Currently, we are very interested in expanding our work with zinc and copper, especially cellular interactions. The work with hemes and porphyrins is also very active at the moment and we are keen to expand our work in the prediction of the colour of these dyes.

We welcome Brittany Lewis who will work on Cd binding to MT as we have a gap in our research plans (but she was distracted by the porphyrin chemistry of Bernhardt Krautler first studied by summer student Tasha Jarisz from U. Victoria - ICE scholar in 2012). We will report our results as a poster at CanBIC, then as a paper. We welcome any outstanding students to come to work on the metallation of MT projects.

We also welcome Jasjit Singh who is working on the metallation sequence in metallothionein - Jasjit is an Inorganic Chemistry Exchange scholar for 2013 from Ryerson University in Toronto.

Congratulations to Tyler for winning travel funds to attend ICBIC in Grenoble in July!

Congratulations go to all the graduates in the group for being awarded research scholarships to support their work starting on May 1st! We welcome three summer students who will work on our metallothionein projects and will also help with the CanBIC conference. Abstracts for CanBIC-4 are arriving now and the programme is filling up. Over 135 registrations received. The May 21st start for CanBIC is very close now. We sadly say goodbye to Dr. Michael Tiedemann on his way to Dental School - but where? (He will be back at CanBIC though.)

We will see what comes in March, there is much uncertainty. Preparations for CanBIC-4 are underway for a May 21st starting date. We have put several papers into the Canadian Society for Chemistry Annual meeting that will be held in Quebec City the following week. Martin is co-chair of the Metallomics Symposium. We have contributions by Martin and Maria in the Bioinorganic Symposium as well as posters from the group. A busy start to the summer.

Our 2nd paper about zinc binding to metallothionein is published on the Biochemistry web:
Summers, K.L.; Sutherland, D.E.K.; Stillman, M.J. (2013)Biochemistry, 52, 2461-2471. "Single-Domain Metallothioneins: Evidence of the Onset of Clustered Metal Binding Domains in Zn-rhMT 1a", Biochemistry. DOI: 10.1021/bi400021b

Maysaa Assaf takes her project talk about Mn(II) binding to MT to SOUSCC at McMaster University on Saturday, 30th March.

Gordon Irvine’s first paper is accepted.

Gordon W. Irvine, G.W.; Summers, K.L.; Stillman, M.J. (2013) “Cysteine accessibility during As3+ metalation of the alpha and beta-domains of recombinant human MT1a.”. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 433, 477-483.

The year started well with a review on AgMT finally being published in the Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins and with us welcoming Maria Salgado back to the group to work on metallothioneins. Maria was last at the National Institute for Aging in Baltimore, Maryland where she was investigating the effects of NO on cardiovascular issues.

Summers, K.L. and Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Silver Metallothionein" in Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins (Kretsinger, Robert H.; Uversky, Vladimir N.; Permyakov, Eugene A. (Eds.), Springer (2013).


The group was very busy in the year of 2012 and the recap is as follows.

We published nine really wonderful papers:

Sutherland, D.E.K.; Summers, K. L.; Stillman M. J. (2012) "Modeling the Zn2+ and Cd2+metalation mechanism in mammalian metallothionein 1a" Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 426, 601-607.
Summers K. L.; Mahrok A.K.; Dryden M.D.M.; Stillman M.J. (2012) "Structural properties of metal-free apometallothioneins" Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 425: 485-492.
Tiedemann, M.; Heinrichs, D.E.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) “The multi-protein heme shuttle pathway in Staphylococcus aureus: Isd cog-wheel kinetics”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 16578-16585.
Tiedemann, M.T.; Pinter, T.B.J.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Insight into blocking heme transfer by exploiting molecular interactions in the core Isd heme transporters IsdA-NEAT, IsdC-NEAT and IsdE of Staphylococcus aureus", Metallomics, 4, 751-760.� DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20067H  (featured on cover). (TOP 10 downloads in July, 2012)
Sutherland, D.E.K.; Summers, K.L; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Noncooperative metalation of metallothionein 1a and its isolated domains", Biochemistry, Biochemistry 51: 6690-6700.
Bohle, D.S.; Dodd, E.L.;Pinter, T.B.J.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Soluble diamagnetic model for malaria pigment: coordination chemistry of gallium(III) protoporphyrin-IX", Inorg. Chem., 51, 10747-10761.
Tiedemann, M.T.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Heme binding to the IsdE(M78A; H229A) double mutant: Challenging unidirectional heme transfer in the Iron Regulated Surface Determinant (Isd) protein heme transfer pathway of Staphylococcus aureus", J Biol Inorg Chem; 2012 Oct;17(7):995-1007.
Pinter, T.B.J.; Dodd, E.L.; Bohle, D.S.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Spectroscopic and Theoretical Studies of Ga(III)protoporphyrin-IX and Its Reactions with Myoglobin", Inorg. Chem. 51, 3743-3753.
Sutherland, D.E.K.; Willans, M.J.; Stillman, M.J. (2012) "Single domain metallothioneins: Supermetalation of human MT 1a", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 3290-3299.
And two book chapters also were published:
Ngu, T.T. and Stillman, M.J. (2011) “Metallation of seaweed Fucus vesiculosus metallothionein:� As3+ and Cd2+ binding” in Handbook of Marine Macroalgae: Biotechnology and Applied Phycology”, ed. Se-Kwon Kim, Wiley, Chichester, UK, Ch. 14., pp 302 – 320.
Sutherland, D.E.K., and Stillman, M.J. (2012) “Metallothioneins” in “"Brain Diseases and Metalloproteins", edited by David R. Brown, Pan Stanford Publishing, Singapore, in press, Ch. 4, pp 1-58. ISBN: 9789814316019
And the group gave a large number of Conference papers as well as talks by Martin to Universities:
"Theoretical and spectroscopic advances in the interpretation of the electronic spectra of porphyrins and phthalocyanines", ICPP-7, Korea, 1-7 July, 2012.
"Understanding the green of leaves- spectroscopic and theoretical studies", Ibaraki University, Mito, Japan, 29th June, 2012
"Metalation pathways in metallothionein elucidated with time- and temperature-resolved ESI-mass spectrometry", Canadian Chemistry Society National Conference, 26-30 May, 2012, Calgary, Alberta.
"Relating spectral properties of porphyrins and phthalocyanines to theoretical parameters from their electronic structures", Martin Stillman, Lydia Kwan, Kyle Jeffs, Rohit Deshpande, Yongming Deng, Lin Jiang, and Hong Wang,� Canadian Chemistry Society National Conference, 26-30 May, 2012, Calgary, Alberta.Canadian Chemistry Society National Conference,
"Relating spectral properties of porphyrins and phthalocyanines to theoretical parameters from their electronic structures".� Martin Stillman, Lydia Kwan, Kyle Jeffs, Rohit Deshpande, Yongming Deng, Lin Jiang,and Hong Wang, 12th EurAsia Conf. on Chemical Sciences, 16-21 April, 2012 Corfu, Greece.
" Metalation pathways in metallothionein elucidated with time- and temperature-resolved ESI-mass spectrometry", Dept. of Biology, The University of Western Ontario, 28th March, 2012.
A very busy month. Martin flies to Hong Kong to give an invited lecture as AsBIC-VI, and then a lecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. A quick flight back (15 hours just to Toronto) and straight into teaching Monday’s Chem 4441A class. Not very restful!
Gordon Irvine joins the group for graduate work studying the kinetics of metal binding. Gordon finished his BSc at Brock University. Maysaa Ali Assaf joined the group for her 4th year research project.

Martin travels to Grenoble to participate in the IMBG BioInorganic Conference.

Duncan Sutherland leaves to go to UWO’s Medical School. �

Both Mike Tiedemann and Duncan Sutherland did submit their PhD theses on time and are now fully fledged “Dr’s”.
They both continued to work in the lab to finish up projects.

The start of a busy year because both Mike Tiedemann and Duncan Sutherland will submit their PhD theses before May 1st.


We published four papers this year and a book chapter. But wait for 2012!
Kaluarachchi, H.; Siebel, J.; Kaluarachchi-Duffy, S.; Krecisz, S.; Sutherland, D.; Stillman, M.J.; Zamble, D.B. (2011) “The in vitro selectivity and in vivo specificity of the E. coli nickel metallochaperone, SlyD”, Biochemistry, 50, 10666-10677.
Tiedemann, M.T.; Stillman, M.J. (2011) “Magnetic circular dichroism studies of porphyrins”, J. Porphyrins Phthalocyanines, 15, 1134-1149.
Xue ZL, Mack J, Lu H, Zhang L, You XZ, Kuzuhara D, Stillman M, Yamada H, Yamauchi S, Kobayashi N, Shen Z. (2011) The synthesis and properties of free-base [14]triphyrin(2.1.1) compounds and the formation of subporphyrinoid metal complexes.� Chemistry Eur. J., 17, 4396-4407.
Sutherland, D.E.K.; Stillman, M.J. (2011) “The magic numbers of metallothionein”, Metallomics, 3, 444-463.� (Featured on the cover; Top 10 downloads in 2011).
No IDW this year because it was held in August as part of the silicon conference. Martin travels to Taka Kohzuma's lab for a week to finish writing papers from the June experiments (Ibaraki University in Mito, Japan). A quick visit as the teaching term continues.


A quiet month as classes continue. Janice Lee, another old-group member, who isn't - came and visited the lab on the eve of Western's Homecoming. The Thanksgiving Weekend was beautifully warm - photos to come- in Parry Sound.

Martin will give a talk "If grass is green, why isn't blood green?" as part of "The International Year of Chemistry during National Chemistry week" in Philadelphia at Drexel University.

Our chapter in the Handbook of Marine Macroalgae: Biotechnology and Applied Phycology, is published: Ngu, T.T. and Stillman, M.J. (2011) Metallation of seaweed Fucus vesiculosus metallothionein: As3+ and Cd2+ binding. Book edited by prof. Se-Kwon Kim, Wiley, Chichester, UK, Ch. 14., pp 302-320.

Classes start again. Martin is teaching Chemistry 4441a - the "Advanced structure and bonding" course. Kyle Jeffs joins the group for his 4th year research project "discovering the optical and theoretical properties of a range of push-pull porphyrins'. This is a continuation of Lydia Kwan's project. A collaboration with prof. Hong Wang at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Martin and Duncan participate in ICBIC-13 in Vancouver, spending a week in Vancouver. It doesn't rain! We meet up with old-group member Jayna Chan (well, past-group member - she's not that old).

Anjan and Martin travel to Montreal for the annual ICE Workshop held at the University of Montreal hosted by Garry Hanan. Photos from ICBIC and Montreal at:

This brings us to the end of the summer. Martin moves to Georgian Bay to watch the ducks and prepare for the Fall term.

Martin travels to Nanjing to work in the laboratory of prof. Zhen Shen. He visits the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'An and participates with Zhen Shen and Nagao Kobayashi in the Nanjing Bioinorganic Workshop.

Martin spends a day at Fudan University in Shanghai as a guest of profs. Tao Yi and Fuyou Li and is taken round the Shanghai Urban Museum - a must-see museum in the People's Square.

The Air Canada flight is 8 hours late leaving, so after the museum he takes a ferry across the Yangtze River to watch sunset over Shanghai. Highly recommended. Pictures at - check out 'visits to colleagues' labs' section.

CanBIC is over - by all accounts better than CanBIC-1 in 2007 and CanBIC-2 in 2009. Beautiful weather. A crammed full programme - find the pictures on shutterfly at:

Martin travels to Montreal to take part in the Bioinorganic Symposium at the National Chemical Society of Canada Conference. The symposium organized by Scott Bohle of McGill and featered many CanBIC speakers. Was very nice.

We welcome three students from prof. Taka Kohzuma's lab at Ibaraki University in Mito, Japan: Tomonori Muroya, Takahide Yamaguchi, and Akiko Takashina. A short report on the Western Faculty of Science News site:

May is filled with preparation for CanBIC and with Lydia graduating.

Also, we welcome Anjan Mahrok from University of Calgary for summer work. Anjan is an ICE Award winner as well as a USRA winner. She is working on BQ binding to MT. We welcome Daisy Wong, who after helping with CanBIC, will join Duncan Sutherland to study the interactions of some drug molecules with MT - this continues work of Lindsay Jackson, who is now a PhD student at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Our paper in collaboration with prof. Zhen Shen in Nanjing is published:
The synthesis and properties of free-base [14]triphyrin(2.1.1) compounds and the formation of subporphyrinoid metal complexes. Xue ZL, Mack J, Lu H, Zhang L, You XZ, Kuzuhara D, Stillman M, Yamada H, Yamauchi S, Kobayashi N, Shen Z., Chemistry. 2011, 17:4396-407.

The CanBIC conference is only in little over a month now. Over 155 participants. A very full programme. Please go to as details takes shape. By the 24th Feb., over 100 registrations had been received. The Local Organizing Committee (Mike Tiedemann, Duncan Sutherland, Tyler Pinter, Daisy Wong, Tom Stockman, Kalen Swanick and David Stillman) is hard at work The International Organizing Committee is Martin Stillman, Nagao Kobayashi (Tohoku) and Frank Shaw (Illinois State).

Katie Stillman and Angela Park will provide the music for "Music at CanBIC" during the conference. The participation rate for the conference is ahead of 2009 so it looks like 2011 will be the biggest yet. Join us: May 31st - June 4th in Parry Sound (

"The magic numbers of metallothionein" is published in Metallomics (Sutherland, D.E.K.; Stillman, M.J. (2011) Metallomics, 3, 444-463) and the image of Cd8-MT is featured on the front cover.

Reading week has been busy - Lydia's experiments are rolling along with successes at every step: amazing ESI-MS data from the Wang complexes; wonderful MCD data and even the calculations are working.

The CanBIC conference takes shape. By the 24th Feb., over 100 registrations had been received. 86 Invited Speakers had accepted our invitations.

Metallomics accepts our invited critical review: "The Magic Numbers of Metallothionein", by Duncan Sutherland and Martin Stillman.

Martin is teaching "Inorganic macromolecular complexes (MMCs): Advanced structure and bonding", Chem 4441b.

This month was a busy one for new people. Daisy Wong has joined us to help with the CanBIC conference and then work during the summer on Nikosi's phthalocyanine and MT project. Anjan Mahrok wins a USRA scholarship to study in MJS' lab.


Ms. Anjan Mahrok at the University of Calgary is awarded an Inorganic Chemistry Exchange scholarship (ICE) to work in our lab in the 2011 summer.
The Chemistry 2211a Posters are outstanding as usual. Christmas brings terrible weather.

Summer 2011 projects are available; a new instrument is installed; Fall is really here.

We welcome enquiries for summer 2016 projects from high achieving students in the ICE and MITAC-global programmes.

The Stillman lab offers a large number of exciting summer-long research projects for 2016 in bioinorganic chemistry. Western is a great university to come to - living here is really pleasant in the summer and costs are low. We will train you to use our new state-of-the-art instrumentation and theoretical methods. Current on-going projects involve characterization of novel porphyrins, studies of metallation to metallothioneins, studies of metal exchange between proteins, and studies of the heme-binding proteins in bacteria. We have projects available from metal binding to a range of proteins using ESI-mass spectrometry to porphyrin spectroscopy coupled to theoretical calculations. Please contact Prof. Stillman for more example ( We look forward to hearing from you.

Classes start. Tyler Pinter joins as a new graduate student. Lydia Kwan joins the group for her 4th year research project; Lydia is working on characterizing novel porphyrins from the labs of Dr. Hong Wang (Ohio) and Dr. Berhard Krautler (Austria).

Martin gives an invited lecture at the Japanese Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Sendai travelling with colleague Prof. Kohzuma from Mito. Martin is teaching "Metals in Life", Chemistry 2211a.

We welcome 4th year students to consider research in our lab on one of the many different topics available.

Martin gives an invited lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Soc of Japan, Sendai, Japan, "Metalloprotein conformations by ESI-mass spectrometry".

Finishing up projects. Mike Dryden and Martin travel to the ICE Workshop in Winnipeg.

ICE Workshop, 19-20 August in Winnipeg: Mike Dryden presents a summary of his work on As-MT and Martin presents a lecture "Why isn't blood green".


ICPP-6 in New Mexico. Martin and Mike Tiedemann participate. Martin is co-organizer of symposia on "Theoretical Methods in Porphyrinoids" (25) and "Spectroscopy in Heme Proteins" (18). He gives an invited talk about Isd proteins. Mike presents a poster on Isd proteins.

Canadian Society of Chemistry National Conference in Toronto. Martin gives a lecture on Metallothioneins in the Bioinorganic Symposium organised by Deborah Zamble (U of T).

A New Summer Research Starts: New faces, new projects.

Mike Dryden joins the group as an Inorganic Chemistry Exchange (ICE) scholarship winner to work on As-metallothioneins. Tyler Pinter joins to carry out summer research on the Isd system. Lindsay Jackson joins to finish up her work with the RAPTA compounds in collaboration with Angela Casini at EPFL, Lausanne.


A month of talks.

Martin gives a lecture in Hong Kong, China. Mechanism of Arsenic Binding to Metallothioneins from Time -and Temperature-Resolved Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry. Unravelling the complete metal binding mechanism for a multiple-metal binding protein, on April 27th.

Martin gives a lecture at the Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China. Why isn't grass red and blood green? Understanding spectra of macrocyclic compounds: linking absorption and magnetic circular dichroism data of porphyrinoids with theoretical calculations, on April, 25th.
Martin gives lecture at Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Understanding iron acquisition via the Isd proteins in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus - studies using magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Can we beat the super bug MRSA this way? April 22nd.

Martin gives lecture in Hangzhou, China: Mechanism of Arsenic Binding to Metallothioneins from Time -and Temperature-Resolved Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry.

Unravelling the complete metal binding mechanism for a multiple-metal binding protein, on April, 19th.

Martin gives lecture in Nanjing, China: Why isn't grass red and blood green? Understanding spectra of macrocyclic compounds: linking absorption and magnetic circular dichroism data of porphyrinoids with theoretical calculations, on April, 14th.

Martin gives lecture in Beijing, China: Why isn't grass red and blood green? Understanding spectra of macrocyclic compounds: linking absorption and magnetic circular dichroism data of porphyrinoids with theoretical calculations, on April, 10th.

Martin will visit China for a tour of research labs. Martin will talk on Porphyrins and Metallothioneins in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Talk to IBMB at Waterloo. Martin's talk is on the kinetics of As(III) binding to metallothioneins; 3:30 pm on April, 6th.


Each of the 4th year students (Sandra, Kristen, Arthur, Tyler) presented talks on their research successes at the annual 4th year research conference held at Western on Saturday, 20th March.

Duncan Sutherland attends Metals in Biology Gordon Conference. Duncan travels to California to attend.

Martin visits Grenoble & Lausanne. Martin took part in a site visit of the Metals in Biology Research Centre in Grenoble. He also visited EPFL at Lausanne to discuss recent results from Lindsay with Angela Casini and Paul Dyson; finally he visits Steve Sturzenbaum at King's College before flying home for the UWO reading Week.

Ibaraki Univ for UV Res Raman and then to Tohoku Univ. Martin travels to Mito in Japan to visit Prof Taka Kohzuma to try out a new experiment on the Cd-clusters in MT with his group. After this, Martin travels with Nagao Kobayashi to Ueda and then to Sendai to work in Nagao's lab for 2 weeks.


End of term and Christmas break.


Visit to Europe. Martin travels to labs in Eindhoven (Merkx), Zurich (Freisinger), Lausanne (Casini & Dyson), King's (Sturzenbaum) and Warwick (Blindauer & Sadler) to give talks and discuss collaborative projects. Martin and Claudia Blindauer run a week-long workshop on Bioinorganic Methods and Ideas in Warwick - "Metals in Life's Processes".

Nothing happened in October!

Tyler Pinter, Arthur Yu, Kristen King and Sandra Krecisz join for their 4th year research projects.Lindsay Jackson (in 4th year Biology) has joined the group as a research assistant to work on metal binding to metallothioneins. See 2010 for report of her successes with compounds from EPFL.

 Martin Stillman, Mike Tiedemann and Duncan Sutherland all travel to Japan to attend ICBIC-14 in Nagoya. Martin gives lectures at the Ibaraki University in MTO (Isd studies), Tohoku University in Sendai (Isd studies), then at ICBC-14 (As-MT ESI-MS studies) and finally at the post-ICBIC Mito Bioinorganic Symposium (As-MT ESI-MS studies).

Duncan and Mike present posters at ICBIC-14.

Thanh officially graduates with her Ph.D.

The Stillman group members organize the 2nd Georgian Bay International Conference on Bioinorganic Chemistry in Parry Sound. Martin is the Conference Chair, with Nagao Kobayashi and Frank Shaw as the organizing committee. John, Duncan, Mike, Janice, Tyler, Carly, Susan H., and David Stillman are the local organizing committee.

Our group makes several presentations and posters:
Tiedemann, M.T., Muryoi, N., Heinrichs, D.E., Stillman, M.J. “Heme Transfer Pathway in Staphylococcus aureus using Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry and Magnetic Circular Dichroism spectroscopy.”
Hewson, C. J.; Tiedemann, M. T.; Stillman, M. J. “Spectroscopic Properties of Myoglobin as a Function of Axial Ligand.”
Lee, J.A.; Ngu, T.T.; Rushton, M.K.; Stillman, M.J. “The Arsenic Metallation Pathway in Seaweed Fucus Vesiculosus Metallothionein.”
Pinter, T.B.J.; Lee, J.A.; Ngu, T.T.; Stillman, M.J. “Domain Dependence of the Arsenic Metalation of Metallothionein.”
Sutherland, D.E.K., Stillman, M.J. “Metallation properties of alpha and beta human metallothioneins.” May, 2009.

Carly Hewson and Tyler Pinter join the group as summer students

Duncan and Mike receive travel scholarships to attend ICBIC-14 in Nagoya.

Martin goes to South Africa to give two talks:
To the Joint JSPS/NRF South Africa Workshop: “Spectroscopic and theoretical studies towards answering the question: Why isn’t grass red and blood green?”
To the Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Town: “Mechanism of Arsenic(III) binding to Metallothioneins: Time- and temperature-dependent kinetic studies using electrospray mass spectrometry”.
November, 2009.

Lee joins the group as a research assistant.

The group participates in the Inorganic Discussion Weekend at Brock University.

Martin is a Topic Lecturer at the European Chemical Congress in Turin 
Martin gives an invited talk: “Metal binding mechanisms in metallothioneins”. September, 2008.

Duncan is awarded a travel scholarship to attend the Tohoku University Summer School.

Duncan gives a talk entitled “Metal thiolate cluster motifs in the protein metallothionein”, to the Tohoku University Global Center of Excellence (COE) Summer School, Sendai, Japan.

Martin and Mike travel to Moscow for ICPP-5. Martin gives an invited lecture "Theoretical and spectroscopic advances in the interpretation of the electronic spectra of porphyrins and phthalocyanines"

John Mack, coauthored with Martin and Nagao Kobayashi, gives an invited talk: "MCD spectroscopy and the effect of porphyrinoid ligand non-planarity: core modified tetrabenzoporphyrins”

Mike presents a poster.


Michael Tiedemann has been awarded a Graduate Thesis Research Award which helps to provide travel funds to attend and present his work at ICPP-5 in Moscow in July, 2008.

Thanh Ngu Heads to London, England for research with Stephen Sturzenbaum's group! Thanh Ngu is spending 3 weeks in King's College, working on metallothionein (she comes back after a week in Paris).  Thanh's travel was supported by an ASPIRE Award.

Biochemical Society Focused Meeting, Norwich, UK. Martin Stillman was invited to speak at the Biochemical Society Focused Meeting entitled Transition Metals in Biochemistry. Martin speaks at his old University on the occasion of Andrew Thomson's retirement.

“Understanding iron acquisition in Staphylococcus aureus using MCD spectroscopy and mass spectrometry”.

Martin travels to Alberta to speak at the University of Calgary and 92nd Canadian Chemical Conference:
“Understanding geometrical control of the colours of porphyrins – understanding novel magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopic spectra of a saddled porphyrin.  Or, why isn’t our blood green and grass red?”
 “Understanding iron acquisition in Staphylococcus aureus using MCD spectroscopy and mass spectrometry”  in the  “Symposium on Bioinorganic Chemistry”
“The Mechanism of Arsenic Binding to Metallothioneins from Time and Temperature-Resolved ESI-MS”  in the  “Symposium on Bioinorganic Chemistry”


Stillmangroup at IDW 2007! The Stillman Group went to The University of Toronto for the Inorganic Discussion Weekend conference (IDW).

We welcome two new graduate students: Michael Tiedemann and Duncan Sutherland. We also welcome our two undergraduate thesis (4490 Project) students: Meredith Gullons and Alex Easton!

The 1st Georgian Bay International Conference on Bioinorganic Chemistry will be held in and around the Parry Sound area in May 2007. For more information please see the conference website.