Sabrina G. Sobel
Professor of Chemistry
Degrees: PHD, 1993, Univ Calif Berkeley; BA, 1987, Pomona Coll
Bio: Research Interests: Study of Oscillating Chemical Reactions as Models for Anomalous Electrical Behavior in the Heart Professor Harold Hastings Physics Department Professor Sabrina Sobel Chemistry Department
The Belousov-Zhabotinski (BZ) reaction is a well-known system that does not behave like a normal chemical reaction. It is a chaotic system in which two phases alternately dominate (oscillation), and propagate through space like waves. Chaos in this case does not mean disorder – it refers to a specific situation in which a system does not have a smooth reaction progress, and small changes induced from the outside can profoundly change the spatial behavior of the system. Interestingly, there is a connection between the types of chemical “waves” that can be generated with a BZ reaction in the lab, and the voltage “waves” seen in the heart when it is distressed in tachycardia and fibrillation (events during a heart attack). We are studying the factors influencing initiation of waves in the bromate/ferroin/malonic acid system and related chemical systems. Lab techniques used include quantitative solution preparation, digital photography and statistical analysis.Study of the Competition of Weak Ligands Against Strong Ligands in Metal Complexes in Aqueous Solution Professor Sabrina Sobel Chemistry Department
Various trace metals are important for normal growth in most living things. Two notable metals are copper and zinc, which are important components of many enzymes and proteins. Zinc complexes have been used in various ways in both biological and industrial contexts. Industrially, complexation of ionic zinc by citric acid is a proposed process for leaching zinc from coal fly ash before disposal. Biologically, aqueous ionic copper and zinc plus citric acid has been used to enhance availability of these metal ions in liquid fertilizers for plants. In addition, zinc ions are a recognized therapy for the common cold, halitosis, wound healing and burn treatment. Ionic copper is known to be important in wound healing as well. One question that remains is: What form of these ionic metals is best for each situation? In this research, I am investigating the effect of additional amino acid, such as glycine, on the solubility of poorly soluble copper and zinc salts, such as zinc citrate. Research techniques include inorganic synthesis, quantitative solution preparation, titrimetric, atomic absorption and UV-Vis analysis.