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John Peters' lab Personnel

Natasha Pence

Graduate Research Assistant


Washington State University
Institute of Biological Chemistry
299 Clark Hall
Pullman, WA 99164




Research Interests


I grew up in the rural town of Orofino, Idaho and completed a degree in chemistry at The College of Idaho in Caldwell, ID in 2013. I worked for a year at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA as a Post Bachelor’s Research Associate before moving to Bozeman, MT to start graduate school in the fall of 2014. I joined the Peters’ lab in January 2015 and moved to Pullman, WA where I am currently finishing my PhD work. My project involves investigating the control of protein-protein interactions in electron delivery to the nitrogenase and hydrogenase enzymes as part of the Biological Electron Transfer & Catalysis Energy Frontier Research Center (BETCy EFRC). Both enzyme systems require interactions with physiological electron donors as well as a unique array of metal cofactors to transfer electrons to their respective active sites, which make them complex yet fascinating model systems for studying fundamental electron transfer mechanisms. This project has allowed me to gain skills in a variety of techniques including molecular biology, anaerobic protein purification, gas chromatography, chemical cross-linking and time-resolved limited proteolysis coupled with LC-MS and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis as well as MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST) to analyze binding affinity.



Present             Ph.D. candidate in Biochemistry, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, Professor John Peters

2013                  B.S. in Chemistry, Dept. of Chemistry, The College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID.

Research Experience


Present                                DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, Dr. Wendy Shaw and Professor John Peters

2013-2014                            Post Bachelor’s Research Associate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, Dr. Tatiana Levitskaia

Summer 2012                     Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, Dr. Anne Farawila



  1. Mus F., Alleman, A.B.*, Pence, N.*, Seefeldt, L.C. and Peters, J.W. Exploring alternatives of biological nitrogen fixation. Metallomics 10(4): 523-538
  2. Berry, L. Patterson, A., Pence, N., Peters, J.W., Bothner, B. Hydrogen Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry of Oxygen Sensitive Proteins. Bio-Protocol 8(6)
  3. Poudel, S., Colman, D.R., Fixen, K.R., Ledbetter, R.N., Zheng, Y., Pence, N., Seefeldt, L.C., Peters, J.W., Harwood, C.S., Boyd, E.S. Electron transfer to nitrogenase in different genomic and metabolic backgrounds. J Bacteriol. 200(10)
  4. Pence, N.*, Tokmina-Lukaszewska, M.*, Yang, Z.Y., Ledbetter, R.N., Seefeldt, L.C., Bothner, B., Peters, J.W. Unraveling the interactions of the physiological reductant flavodoxin with the different conformations of the Fe protein in the nitrogenase cycle. J. Biol. Chem. 292(38): 15661-15669
  5. Yang, Z.Y., Ledbetter, R.N., Shaw, S., Pence, N., Tokmina-Lukaszewska, M., Eilers, B., Guo, Q., Pokhrel, N., Cash, V.L., Dean, D.R., Antony, E., Bothner, B., Peters, J.W., Seefeldt, L.C. Evidence that the Pi Release Event is the Rate-Limiting Step in the Nitrogenase Catalytic Cycle. Biochemistry 55(26): 3625-3635
  6. Levitskaia, T.G., Chatterjee, S., Pence, N.K., Romero, J., Varga, T., Engelhard, M.H., Yingge, D., Kovarik, L., Arey, B.W., Boyden, M.E., Walter, E.D. Inorganic tin aluminophosphate nanocomposite for reductive separation of pertechnetate. Environ. Sci.: Nano 3(5): 1003-1013
  7. Levitskaia, T.G., Chatterjee, S., Arey, B.W., Campbell, E.L., Hong, Y., Kovarik, L., Peterson, J.M., Pence, N.K., Romero, J., Shutthanandan, V., Schwenzer, B., Varga, T. RedOx-controlled sorption of iodine anions by hydrotalcite composites. RSC Adv. 6: 76042-76055
  8. Chatterjee, S. Campbell, E.L., Neiner, D., Pence, N.K., Robinson, T.A., Levitskaia, T.G. Aqueous binary lanthanide (III) nitrate Ln (NO3)3 electrolytes revisited: extended Pitzer and Bromley treatments. J. Chem. Eng. Data 60(10): 2974-2988
  9. Lumetta, G.J., Casella, A.J., Rapko, B.M., Levitskaia, T.G., Pence, N.K., Carter, J.C., Niver, C.M., Smoot, M.R. An Advanced TALSPEAK Concept Using 2-Ethylhexylphosphonic Acid Mono-2-Ethylhexyl Ester as the Extractant. Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange 33(3): 211-223