C.

Notable Achievements

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sara Massey gave a talk titled “Fluence-dependent transient absorption reveals the functional connectivity of red chlorophyll sites in cyanobacterial PSI” at the North American Photosynthesis Congress, held June 3-6 in Atlanta, GA. She conducted the research with Lexi Fantz ’21 along with collaborators from Swarthmore College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Sheffield.

MORE

Expertise

Physical Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Electronic Spectroscopy

Sara Massey joined the faculty at Southwestern University in August, 2019. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2019 and her B.S. and B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. She worked as an analytical chemist at Signature Science LLC from 2010-2012 and as a drug metabolism/pharmacokinetics research associate at Peloton Therapeutics Inc (since acquired by Merck) from 2012-2013 before beginning her graduate studies.

  • Sara Massey joined the faculty at Southwestern University in August, 2019. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2019 and her B.S. and B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. She worked as an analytical chemist at Signature Science LLC from 2010-2012 and as a drug metabolism/pharmacokinetics research associate at Peloton Therapeutics Inc (since acquired by Merck) from 2012-2013 before beginning her graduate studies.

  • My group’s research focuses on how energy transfer dynamics in photosynthetic organisms are uniquely tuned to the organism’s environment. We integrate physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, biophysics, and biology to characterize diatoms, a group of photosynthetic algae. We use steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopies and microscopy to understand how native environmental effects and external stressors influence light harvesting.

    1. Higgins, J.S., Allodi, M.A., Lloyd, L.T., Otto, J.P., Sohail, S.H., Saer, R.G., Wood, R.E., Massey, S.C., Ting, P-C., Blankenship, R.E., and Engel, G.S. Redox Conditions Correlated with Vibronic Coupling Modulate Quantum Beats in Photosynthetic Pigment-Protein Complexes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2112817118 (2021) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2112817118.
    2. Higgins, J.S., Lloyd, L.T., Sohail, S.H., Allodi, M.A., Otto, J.P., Saer, R.G., Wood, R.E., Massey, S.C., Ting, P-C., Blankenship, R.E., and Engel, G.S. Photosynthesis Tunes Quantum Mechanical Mixing of Electronic and Vibrational States to Steer Exciton Energy Transfer. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2018240118 (2021) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2018240118.
    3. Massey, S.C., Ting, P-C., Yeh, S-H., Dahlberg, P.D., Sohail, S.H., Allodi, M.A., Martin, E.C., Kais, S., Hunter, C.N., and Engel, G.S. Orientational Dynamics of Transition Dipoles and Exciton Relaxation in LH2 from Ultrafast Two-Dimensional Anisotropy. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 10, 270-277 (2019) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.8b03223.
    4. Allodi, M.A., Otto, J.P., Sohail, S.H., Saer, R.G., Wood, R.E., Rolczynski, B.S., Massey, S.C., Ting, P-C., Blankenship, R.E., and Engel, G.S. Redox Conditions Affect Ultrafast Exciton Transport in Photosynthetic Pigment-Protein Complexes. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 9, 89-95 (2018) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02883.
    5. Dahlberg, P.D., Ting, P-C., Massey, S.C., Allodi, M.A., Martin, E.C., Hunter, C.N., and Engel, G.S. Mapping the Ultrafast Flow of Harvested Solar Energy in Living Photosynthetic Cells. Nat. Commun., 8, 988 (2017) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01124-z.
    6. Sohail, S.H., Dahlberg, P.D., Allodi, M.A., Massey, S.C., Ting, P-C., Martin, E.C., Hunter, C.N., and Engel, G.S. Broad Manifold of Excitonic States in Light-Harvesting Complex 1 Promotes Efficient Unidirectional Energy Transfer in vivo. J. Chem. Phys., 147, 131101 (2017) DOI: 10.1063/1.4999057.
    7. Dahlberg, P.D., Ting, P-C., Massey, S.C., Martin, E.C., Hunter, C.N., and Engel, G.S. Electronic Structure and Dynamics of Higher-Lying Excited States in Light Harvesting Complex 1 from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. J. Phys. Chem. A, 120, 4124-4130 (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.6b04146.
    8. Flanagan, M.L., Long, P.D., Dahlberg, P.D., Rolczynski, B.S., Massey, S.C., and Engel, G.S. Mutations to R. sphaeroides Reaction Center Perturb Energy Levels and Vibronic Coupling but Not Observed Energy Transfer Rates. J. Phys. Chem. A, 120, 1479-1487 (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.5b08366.
    9. Chipuk, J., Mazzitelli, C., Kendall, J., Straight, S., Reaves, M., and Chamberlin, S. Tunable, Self-curing Polymers for the Forensic Collection of Latent Signatures from Within Porous Materials. Homeland Security Affairs, Supplement 5, Article 5 (2012) DOI: 10.1109/THS.2011.6107885.
  • NATIONAL CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS (SU undergraduate co-authors are underlined)

    Buhari, M.Y., Nittala, M.M., Nittala, S.S., and Massey, S.C. Effect of Varying Irradiances on the Light-harvesting of Coastal and Oceanic Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Poster, ACS Spring 2023 National Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, March 25-30, 2023.

    Nittala, S.S., Buhari, M.Y., Nittala, M.M., Nazeer, N.A., and Massey, S.C. Effect of Iron Stress on Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Light-harvesting in Coastal vs. Oceanic Environments. Poster, ACS Spring 2023 National Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, March 25-30, 2023.

    Buhari, M.Y., Gonzalez, F.M., Cano, G.A., and Massey, S.C. Nature or Nurture? Effects of Native Environment on Diatom Light Harvesting. Poster, ACS Spring 2022 National Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 20-24, 2022.

    Massey, S.C., Sohail, S.H., Sohoni, S., Ting, P-C., Fantz, L.R., MacGregor-Chatwin, C., Hitchcock, A., Hunter, C.N. and Engel, G.S. Power-Dependent Dynamics Reveal Path of Energy Transfer in Membrane-Bound Photosystem I. Poster, ACS Spring 2022 National Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 20-24, 2022.

    Massey, S.C., Cano, G.A., and Fantz, L.R. Effect of Native Coastal or Oceanic Environment on Light-Harvesting Machinery in Photosynthetic Diatoms. Poster, ACS Spring 2021 national virtual meeting, April 5-30, 2021.

    Following Excitonic Pathways in Cyanobacteria by 2D Electronic Spectroscopy. Poster, 256th ACS National Meeting, Boston, MA, August 19-23, 2018.

    Probing Dynamics of Delocalization and Energy Transfer in Rhodobacter sphaeroides Using Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy. Oral, 252nd ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 21-25, 2016.

    Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy Reveals Ultrafast Dynamics in Photosynthetic Bacteria. Oral, 252nd ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 21-25, 2016.

    Determination of Domain Size and Light Harvesting Complex Connectivity in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Oral, 252nd ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 21-25, 2016.

    Delocalization and Energy Transfer Dynamics in Rhodobacter sphaeroides from Two-Dimensional Anisotropy Spectroscopy. Oral, The 17th International Photosynthesis Congress on Photosynthesis Research, Maastricht, The Netherlands, August 7-12, 2016.

    Delocalization and Energy Transfer Dynamics from Two-Dimensional Anisotropy Spectroscopy of LH2 in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Poster, Light Harvesting Satellite Meeting of The 17th International Congress on Photosynthesis Research, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, August 4-7, 2016.

    Investigating LH2 Dynamics in Detergent and Chromatophores from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Poster, Photosynthesis Gordon Research Conference and Seminar, Bentley University, Waltham, MA, June 27-July 3, 2015.

     

    REGIONAL CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS (SU undergraduate co-authors are underlined)

     

    Buhari, M.Y., Gonzalez, F.M., Cano, G.A., and Massey, S.C. Effect of Native Coastal or Oceanic Environment on Light-Harvesting Machinery in Photosynthetic Diatoms. Poster, ACS Southwest Regional Meeting, Austin, TX, October 31-November 3, 2021.

    Energy Migration Through Cyanobacterial Photosystems by Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy. Poster, 44th Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference, Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, IN, October 26-28, 2018.

    Investigating LH2 Dynamics in Detergent and Chromatophores from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Oral, 41st Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference, Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, IN, October 23-25, 2015.

    Investigating Changes in Energy Transfer Pathways in LH2 Due to a Carotenoid Switch. Poster, 40th Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference, Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, IN, October 24-26, 2014.