Ruth E. Stark
Director, CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies
Division of ScienceDepartment
CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies
ProfileRuth Stark received her A.B. degree in Chemistry at Cornell University and obtained her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. A CUNY faculty member since 1985, Dr. Stark was designated as Distinguished Professor in 2006 and elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010. Currently, she directs the 8-campus CUNY Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies and is serving as Interim Dean of Science at The City College. Drawing on training at the interface of chemistry, physics, and biology, her current research program focuses on the molecular structure and development of biopolymers that protect fruits and vegetables, the solution-state structure and transport mechanisms of nutritionally important fatty acid-binding proteins, and the molecular development of melanin pigments associated with human fungal infections. Professor Stark has supervised more than 100research trainees from high school through postdoctoral levels,including 40 women and 15 underrepresented minorities.
EducationUniversity, College of Arts and Sciences, A.B., Chemistry, 6/72.
University of California, San Diego, Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, 7/77.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, 8/77-7/79.
Elementary Chemistry (Introduction to Thermodynamics & Chemical Kinetics, GeneralChemistry Laboratory, General Chemistry, Honors General Chemistry)
Physical Chemistry (Quantum Mechanics, Spectroscopy, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Chemical Kinetics, Laboratory Course)
Student Research (NMR Spectroscopy, Biophysics, Biopolymers; Protein Structure)
Introduction to Liberal Studies (Race and Sex)
NMR of Macromolecules, Physical Biochemistry, Biomembranes, Molecular Biophysics (lecture and seminar courses)
Curriculum Development: CUNY Discovery Institute, CSI Science Olympics; NSF Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation; CSI Honors College; CUNY College Now; CCNY Pathways Program; LSAMP Communication Workshops; 'Taste of Science' seminars on Macromolecular Assemblies
Research InterestsThe 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.
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).
H. Wu, K. Su, X. Guan, M.E. Sublette, and R. E. Stark, “Assessing the Size, Stability, and Utility of Isotropically Tumbling Bicelle Systems for Structural Biology,” Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Biomembranes, 1798, 482–488 (2010). doi:10.1016/j.bbamem.2009.11.004; PMC2827668; NIHMS159409
W. Wang, S. Tian, and R.E. Stark, “Isolation and Identification of Triglycerides and Ester Oligomers from Partial Degradation of Potato Suberin,” J. Agric. Food Chem., 58, 1040-1045 (2010).
X. Guan and R.E. Stark, “A General Protocol for Temperature Calibration of MAS NMR Probes at Arbitrary Spinning Speeds," Solid State NMR, 38, 74-76 (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.ssnmr.2010.10.001; NIHMS247544; PMCID: PMC3008415
Y. He, R. Estephan, X. Yang, A. Vela, H. Wang, C. Bernard, and R.E. Stark, “An NMR-Based Structural Rationale for Contrasting Stoichiometry and Ligand Binding Site(s) in Fatty Acid-binding Proteins,” Biochemistry, 50, 1283-1295 (2011),doi: 10.1021/bi101307h.
A.J. Matas, T.H. Yeats, G.J. Buda, Y. Zheng, S. Chatterjee, T. Tohge, L. Ponnala, A.R. Fernie, R.E. Stark, J. Fei, J.J. Giovannoni, and J.K.C. Rose, “Tissue and cell type specific transcriptome profiling of expanding tomato fruit provides insights into metabolic and regulatory specialization and cuticle formation,” The Plant Cell, published online 11/1/11. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.091173
S. Chatterjee, S. Sarkar, J. Oktawiec, Z. Mao, and R.E. Stark, “Protocols for isolation and biophysical study of fruit cuticles,” invited article for Journal of Visualized Experiments, in press.