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Ruth Stark
Position: Distinguished Professor
Campus Affiliation: City College of New York
Degrees/Diplomas: University of California, San Diego, Ph.D., Physical Chemistry: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship
Research Interests: Polymer, Molecular Biophysics, Physical and Biochemistry

Affiliated with:  CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies

Research Interests

The Stark Laboratory uses structural biology approaches to study plant protective polymers, lipid metabolism, and potentially pathogenic melanized fungal cells.  Nondestructive study of the molecular and mesoscopic architectures underlying the integrity of cuticles in natural and engineered tomatoes and potatoes is undertaken using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and atomic force microscopy.  Ligand recognition and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor interactions of fatty acid-binding proteins are under investigation by solution-state NMR.   The molecular structure and development of melanin pigments within fungal cells is probed using (bio)chemical synthesis and solid-state NMR.

Recent Publications

J. Zhong, S. Frases, H. Wang, A. Casadevall and R. E. Stark, “Following Fungal Melanin Biosynthesis with Solid-State NMR: biopolymer molecular structures and possible connections to cell-wall polysaccharides,” Biochemistry, 47, 4701-4710 (2008). 

R. E. Stark, B. Yan, S.M. Stanley-Fernandez, Z. Chen, and J. R. Garbow, “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Characterization of Hydration and Thermal Stress in Tomato Fruit Cuticles,” Phytochemistry, 69, 2689-2695 (2008). 

S. Tian, X. Fang, W. Wang, B. Yu, X. Cheng, F. Qiu, A. J. Mort, and R. E. Stark, “Isolation and Identification of Oligomers from Partial Degradation of Lime Fruit Cutin,” J. Agric. Food Chem., 56, 10318-10325 (2008).

R.E. Stark, “Molecular Structure and Biomechanics of Fruit Cuticles,” Proc. 35th Ann. Mtg., Plant Growth Reg. Soc. Amer., pp. 47-49, 2009.
T. Isaacson, D. Kosma, A.J. Matas, G.J. Buda, Y. He, B. Yu, A. Pravitasari, J. D. Batteas, R. E. Stark, M. A. Jenks and J. K. C. Rose, “Cutin deficiency in the tomato fruit cuticle consistently affects resistance to microbial infection and biomechanical properties, but not transpirational water loss,” The Plant J., 60, 363-377 (2009).

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