Skip to main content

Biological Inorganic Chemistry

Ivano Bertini University of Florence
Harry B. Gray California Institute of Technology
Edward I. Stiefel Princeton University
Joan Selverstone Valentine University of California, Los Angeles


Metal ions play a unique role in biology. One of the grand challenges of the 21st century is to deduce how a specific sequence codes for a metalloprotein.  Such knowledge of genomic maps will contribute to the goal of understanding the molecular mechanisms of life. Specific annotations to a sequence often allude to the requirement of metals for protein function, but it is not yet possible to read that information from sequence alone. This increases the importance of the field of biological inorganic chemistry.

Knowledge coming from work at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biology has been growing so rapidly in recent years that it is impossible to capture it fully in a textbook. Nevertheless, with the help of many highly talented contributors, we have assembled a volume that we believe will be a valuable resource for students and researchers for years.

The book is divided into four parts: Part A, “Overviews of Biological Inorganic Chemistry”, sets forth the unifying principles of the field of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. Part B, “Metal-Ion Containing Biological Systems”, treats specific classes of systems in detail. The Tutorials are provided for those wishing to review some of the background in biology and inorganic chemistry. The Appendices provide additional information that will be of use to students in this field.  The volume edited by Que (see Appendix III) can be viewed as a companion to the current volume as it provides an introduction to the physical methods that have proven so powerful in elucidating structure and mechanism.