Joseph Cotruvo

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Joseph Cotruvo

Research Summary

Biochemistry and chemical biology to uncover and understand new metal and redox biology. We are particularly interested in applications to infectious disease, bioenergy, and cancer biology.

Huck Affiliations


Publication Tags

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Proteins Lanthanoid Series Elements Metals Rare Earth Elements Lanthanoid Atom Protein Bacteria Carrier Proteins Metal Copper Application Sensors Enzymes Fluorescent Dyes Americium Actinoid Series Elements Actinoid Atom Fluorescent Probe Curium Biochemistry Proline Ef Hand Motifs Chelating Agents Methylobacterium Extorquens Ions

Most Recent Publications

Jiansong Xu, Joseph Cotruvo, Biochemistry on p. 1508-1516

Lanmodulin’s EF 2-3 Domain: Insights from Infrared Spectroscopy and Simulations

Eman A. Alasadi, Wonseok Choi, Xiaobing Chen, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Carlos R. Baiz, 2024, ACS Chemical Biology on p. 1056-1065

Protein-based approach for high-purity Sc, Y, and grouped lanthanide separation

Ziye Dong, Joseph A. Mattocks, Jeremy A. Seidel, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Dan M. Park, 2024, Gas Separation and Purification

Wyatt B. Larrinaga, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Brady T. Worrell, Sandra S. Eaton, Gareth R. Eaton, 2023, Chemistry - A European Journal

Impact of a Biological Chelator, Lanmodulin, on Minor Actinide Aqueous Speciation and Transport in the Environment

Gauthier J.P. Deblonde, Keith Morrison, Joseph A. Mattocks, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Mavrik Zavarin, Annie B. Kersting, 2023, Environmental Science & Technology on p. 20830-20843

Kirsten Martin, Joseph Mattocks, Dariusz Śmiłowicz, Eduardo Aluicio-Sarduy, Eduardo Alucio-Sarduy, Jennifer Whetter, Jonathan Engle, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Eszter Boros, 2023, RSC Chemical Biology on p. 414-421

Joseph A. Mattocks, Jonathan J. Jung, Chi Yun Lin, Ziye Dong, Neela H. Yennawar, E Featherson, Emily R. Featherston, Christina S. Kang-Yun, Timothy A. Hamilton, Dan M. Park, Amie Boal, Joseph A. Cotruvo, J Cotruvo Jr., 2023, Nature on p. 87-93

Kirsten E. Martin, Joseph A. Mattocks, Dariusz Śmiłowicz, Eduardo Aluicio-Sarduy, Jennifer N. Whetter, Jonathan W. Engle, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Eszter Boros, 2023, RSC Chemical Biology

Erratum: Characterization of Americium and Curium Complexes with the Protein Lanmodulin: A Potential Macromolecular Mechanism for Actinide Mobility in the Environment (J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2021) 143 (38) (15769-15783) DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c07103)

Gauthier J.P. Deblonde, Joseph A. Mattocks, Huan Wang, Eric M. Gale, Annie B. Kersting, Mavrik Zavarin, Joseph A. Cotruvo, 2022, Journal of the American Chemical Society on p. 23708

Jennifer Park, Michael B. Cleary, Danyang Li, Joseph A. Mattocks, Jiansong Xu, Huan Wang, Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, Eric M. Gale, Joseph A. Cotruvo, 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Most-Cited Papers

Joseph A. Cotruvo, Allegra T. Aron, Karla M. Ramos-Torres, Christopher J. Chang, 2015, Chemical Society Reviews on p. 4400-4414

Allegra T. Aron, Karla M. Ramos-Torres, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Christopher J. Chang, 2015, Accounts of Chemical Research on p. 2434-2442

Lanmodulin: A Highly Selective Lanthanide-Binding Protein from a Lanthanide-Utilizing Bacterium

Joseph Alfred Cotruvo, Jr., Emily R. Featherston, Joseph A. Mattocks, Jackson V. Ho, Tatiana Nikolaevna Laremore, 2018, Journal of the American Chemical Society on p. 15056-15061

Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Jefferson Chan, Harini Kaluarachchi, Abigael Muchenditsi, Venkata S. Pendyala, Shang Jia, Allegra T. Aron, Cheri M. Ackerman, Mark N.Vander Wal, Timothy Guan, Lukas P. Smaga, Samouil L. Farhi, Elizabeth J. New, Svetlana Lutsenko, Christopher J. Chang, 2016, Nature Chemical Biology on p. 586-592

A Selective, Protein-Based Fluorescent Sensor with Picomolar Affinity for Rare Earth Elements

Joseph A. Mattocks, Jackson V. Ho, Joseph A. Cotruvo, 2019, Journal of the American Chemical Society

Structural Basis for Rare Earth Element Recognition by Methylobacterium extorquens Lanmodulin

Erik C. Cook, Emily R. Featherston, Scott A. Showalter, Joseph A. Cotruvo, 2019, Biochemistry on p. 120-125

Selective and Efficient Biomacromolecular Extraction of Rare-Earth Elements using Lanmodulin

Gauthier J.P. Deblonde, Joseph A. Mattocks, Dan M. Park, David W. Reed, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Yongqin Jiao, 2020, Inorganic Chemistry on p. 11855-11867

Ziye Dong, Joseph A. Mattocks, Gauthier J.P. Deblonde, Dehong Hu, Yongqin Jiao, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Dan M. Park, 2021, ACS Central Science on p. 1798-1808

Biological, biomolecular, and bio-inspired strategies for detection, extraction, and separations of lanthanides and actinides

Joseph A. Mattocks, Joseph A. Cotruvo, 2020, Chemical Society Reviews on p. 8315-8334

News Articles Featuring Joseph Cotruvo

Protein can sort rare earth elements better than current mining practices

The device you’re currently reading this story on needs tiny chunks of metals like neodymium and dysprosium to work. So do wind turbines, electric vehicles and lasers. These rare earth elements are vital to modern technology, but they’re hard to mine and recycle because they’re tricky to distinguish from each other.

Bacterial protein outperforms humans in separating rare earth elements

Rare earth elements like neodymium and dysprosium are popular in the mining industry because they are used in smartphones and hard drives but they are hard to separate from each other and the earth’s crust they were formed in.

A protein mines, sorts rare earths better than humans, paving way for green tech

Rare earth elements, like neodymium and dysprosium, are a critical component to almost all modern technologies, from smartphones to hard drives, but they are notoriously hard to separate from the Earth’s crust and from one another.

New biosensor reveals activity of elusive metal that’s essential for life

A new biosensor engineered by Penn State researchers offers scientists the first dynamic glimpses of manganese, an elusive metal ion that is essential for life.

Radioactive metals for medicine get a boost from recently discovered protein

A protein can be used to recover and purify radioactive metals such as actinium that could be beneficial for next-generation drugs used in cancer therapies and medical imaging, according to new research from Penn State and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

New, environmentally friendly method to extract and separate rare earth elements

A new method improves the extraction and separation of rare earth elements — a group of 17 chemical elements critical for technologies such as smart phones and electric car batteries — from unconventional sources.

New sensor can detect valuable rare earth element in non-traditional sources

A new luminescent sensor can detect terbium, a valuable rare earth element, from complex environmental samples like acid mine waste. The sensor, developed by researchers at Penn State, takes advantage of a protein that very specifically binds to rare earth elements and could be harnessed to help develop a domestic supply of these metals, which are used in technologies such as smart phones, electric car batteries, and energy efficient lighting.

Three from Eberly College of Science awarded 2021 Sloan Research Fellowships

Three faculty members from the Eberly College of Science have been honored with 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships in recognition of their research accomplishments. The new Sloan fellows include Maria del Carmen Carmona Benitez, assistant professor of physics; Joseph Cotruvo Jr., Louis Martarano Career Development Professor of Chemistry; and Elizabeth Elacqua, assistant professor of chemistry.

New sensor detects rare metals used in smartphones

A more efficient and cost-effective way to detect lanthanides, the rare earth metals used in smartphones and other technologies, could be possible with a new protein-based sensor that changes its fluorescence when it binds to these metals. A team of researchers from Penn State developed the sensor from a protein they recently described and subsequently used it to explore the biology of bacteria that use lanthanides. A study describing the sensor appears online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.