Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Jenny Yang - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Giovanni Gadda

Third Advisor

Dr. Zhi-Ren Liu


Calcium plays important roles in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Its actions help to stabilize cell synthesis, growth and development. In this thesis, studies have been completed to determine effects of calcium and pH on bacterial cell growth and protein expression using the bacterial cell strain E.coli BL21(DE3). Our studies demonstrated the addition of calcium addition in the media does not affect growth but increases protein expression, while reducing the pH from 7 to 4 through the addition of 10mM EGTA in LB media inhibits both. Additionally, we report studies on the design, expression, and purification of fluorescent mCherry variants and their differences in their optical properties, including: extinction coefficients , quantum yields and pKa values. Also, we report progress in the crystallization of two GFP calcium sensors: G1 and D1, using 13 and15% PEG 4000 and 3350 respectively in 50mM HEPES buffer (pH 6.8-7.0) in an effort to optimize crystallization.