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Dr. Karina Ckless

Department Co-Chair
Professor of Biochemistry

I am originally from southern Brazil where I grew up and got my Ph.D. in Biochemistry. After several years teaching biochemistry in public and private Universities in Brazil, I came to University of Vermont to expend my horizons as a scientist in basic and translational research. Seven years went by and I felt that it was time again “to go back to school.” So, in fall 2008 I joined the Chemistry Department at SUNY Plattsburgh. Here, I have the opportunity to exert the professional activities I am passionate about: teaching, mentoring and research.

Other than academic activities, I like to travel and explore different cultures, foods and nature, in particular secluded beaches. In the North Country, during the warm season, I spend my time biking, hiking and working in my vegetable garden. More recently, I discovered the wonderful world of home brewing beer! So, I set up a “biochemistry lab” in my kitchen where I develop many experiments in home brewing beer. Other hobbies include music, reading non-fiction books, and watching sports — especially soccer.

My research involves the study of oxidants such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) either endogenously formed in the cells or produced via chemical reactions in our environment. Because their chemical instability, oxidants can promptly react with biomolecules. I have particular interest in investigating oxidants and its implications on biochemical events, such as changes in protein structure and function. Despite scientific advances, the exact molecular and biochemical events involved in modifications in proteins caused by NO and its derivates remain unclear. One of the big challenges in this field is to specifically identify the chemical modification and the potential target proteins. Therefore, the careful determination of these chemical modifications can lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of protein function and the consequences for the biological systems. Currently, I have two major ongoing projects: “Role of oxidants in Alzheimer Disease” and “Chemical Modification of the Estrogen Receptor caused by nitric oxide.” This last one is in collaboration with Dr. Linda Luck also in the Chemistry Department.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
    • B.S. in Biology, University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo, RS, Brazil
    • Postdoctoral Training: Department of Pathology University of Vermont
    • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Vermont
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