Dr. Cedric Owens

Dr. Cedric Owens

Assistant Professor
Schmid College of Science and Technology; Chemistry
Expertise: Biological Nitrogen Fixation; Nitrogenase; Bacterial Iron Uptake; Hemophore; Bioinorganic Chemistry; Structural Biology;
Office Location: Keck Center for Science and Engineering 226
Phone: (714) 997-6922
Scholarly Works:
Google Scholar
Colby College, Bachelor of Arts
University of California, Irvine, Ph.D.


Research Interests

The Owens laboratory is very interdisciplinary and conducts research at the interface of inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. We currently focus on two research areas:

(1) We are investigating regulation of the metalloenzyme nitrogenase in nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Nitrogenase contains several unique metal cofactors and is responsible for the biological conversion of inert nitrogen gas into ammonia, a critical nitrogen source for plants. By deepening our understanding of nitrogenase regulation, we aim to uncover ways of increasing biological ammonia production for agricultural applications.

(2) In a separate project, we are studying how bacteria acquire iron with the aim of exploiting bacterial iron uptake for antibiotic development.


Biological nitrogen fixation, nitrogenase, bacterial iron uptake, hemophore, bioinorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, structural biology

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Lo Verde, C., Pepra-Ameyaw, N. B., Drucker C. T., Okumura T. L. S., Lyon K. A., Muniz, J. C., Sermet C. S., Senger L. W., Owens C. P. (2022) A highly active esterase from Lactobacillus helveticus hydrolyzes chlorogenic acid in sunflower meal to prevent chlorogenic acid induced greening in sunflower protein isolates. Food Res. Int. 162, 111996
Pepra-Ameyaw, N. B., Lo Verde, C., Drucker C. T., Owens C. P., Senger L. W. (2023) Preventing chlorogenic acid quinone-induced greening in sunflower cookies by chlorogenic acid esterase and thiol-based dough conditioners. LWT 174, 114392
Medina, M. S., Bretzing K. O., Aviles, R. A., Chong, K. M., Espinoza, A., Garcia, C. N. G., Katz, B. B., Kharwa, R. N., Hernandez, A., Lee, J. L., Lee, T. M., Lo Verde, C., Strul, M. W., Wong, E. Y., Owens, C. P. (2021) CowN sustains nitrogenase turnover in the presence of the inhibitor carbon monoxide. J. Biol. Chem. 296, 100501
Chao, A., Sieminski, P. J., Owens, C. P., Goulding, C. W. (2019) Iron acquisition in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Chem. Rev. 119, 1193-1220
Owens, C. P., Tezcan F. A. (2018) Conformationally gated electron transfer in nitrogenase. Isolation, purification and characterization of nitrogenase from Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus. Meth. Enzymol. 599, 355-386
Katz F. E., Shi X., Owens C. P., Joseph, S., Tezcan F. A. (2017) Determination of nucleoside triphosphatase activities from measurement of true inorganic phosphate in the presence of labile phosphate compounds. Anal. Biochem. 520, 62-67
Owens, C. P., Katz, F. E. H., Carter, C. H., Oswald, V. F., Tezcan, F. A. (2016) Tyrosine-coordinated P-cluster in G. diazotrophicus nitrogenase: Evidence for the importance of O-based ligands in conformationally gated electron transfer. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 10124-10127
Katz F. E. H., Owens, C. P., Tezcan F. A. (2016) Electron Transfer Reactions in Biological Nitrogen Fixation, Isr. J. Chem. 56, 682-692
Owens, C. P., Katz, F. E. H., Carter, C. H., Luca, M. A., Tezcan, F. A. (2015). Evidence for functionally relevant encounter complexes in nitrogenase catalysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 12704-12712