Category Archives: Research

Chemistry Students present at Undergrad Research Symposium

imedImageThe Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.

Alexis Ferrier

Title: Synthesis of a Fructopyranose Mimic as a Carbohydrate Probe for Fructose Transporters
Advisor: Dr. Marina Tanasova
Overview: Ferrier’s goal is to synthesize stable fructopyranose mimics as tools to distinguish cancer from normal cells on the basis of fructose uptake efficiency.

Emily Lilla

Title: Sulfenamide Form of Omeprazole in Interaction with the Primary Amino Acid Sites of H+/K+ ATPase as Investigated at Electronic Structure Level
Advisor: Dr. Loredana Valenzano
Overview: Lilla looked at the drug Omeprazole (Prilosec®), which is the first medication that treats Acid Reflux, and serves as proton pump inhibitors (PPI). It inhibits the enzymes CYP2C19 and CYP3A4, and prevents the final step of acid production and basal and stimulated acid secretion. Lilla used Density Functional Theory (DFT) to determine the equilibrium geometries for each molecule using different levels of theory.

Randall Wilharm

Title: Synthesis and Characterizaion of Novel Photoactive Lanthanide Complexes
Advisor: Dr. Rudy Luck
Overview: Wilharm’s goal was to use the unique photochemical properties of three lanthanide metals, sarmarium, europium, and terbuim, with a novel photoactive ligand to create a new catalyst that harnesses light to push reactions.



New Funding – Xiaohu Xia wins CAREER Award

image113518-persThere is something very noble about Xiaohu Xia’s research. He wants to use palladium, platinum, ruthenium and other corrosion-resistant metals to refine tests to detect biomarkers for cancer and infectious diseases. To do so, he plans to use nanostructures made of these noble metals that mimic natural enzymes and has earned a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to focus on this research.

The grant covers five years, totaling $457,783, and enables Xia to dig deep into the structure-property relationships of the bimetallic peroxidase mimics at the atomic level. Even small changes in nanostructures can produce big results, demonstrated by his lab with improvements in the catalytic efficiencies of iridium-coated palladium and ruthenium nanostructures.

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech news website.


On the Road

image67731-persLoredana Valenzano (Chem) recently participated in the GIAN program of the Government of India as a co-organizer with Ravindra Pandey (Chem).

Valenzano gave a series of lectures on modeling of materials to graduate students and faculty members at the workshop. She introduced state-of-the-art computational modeling methods to the next generation of students in chemistry, physics and materials science. The workshop was organized by Guru Jambeshwar University of Science and Technology at HIsar, Harayana, India.

Michigan Tech has a large presence in the GIAN program — Amitabh Narain (MEEM), Chandrashekhar Joshi (Bio) and S. Komar Kawatra (ChE) have also participated in the program activities in India.



New Glycobiology Study led by Tarun Dam

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Tarun Dam led a new study, published this week in Biochemistryexamining the biomechanics of galectin-3’s interaction with glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and proteoglycans. His team includes graduate students Melanie Talaga, Ni Fan, Ashli Fueri, Robert Brown and Research Assistant Professor Purnima Bandyopadhyay.

At the Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology, Dam and his students study the sugar, including glucose and other structural, complex sugars, that fuel our bodies. GAGs assist in controlling growth factor proteins, which go unchecked as cancerous tumors grow.

Even though the findings of the study were unexpected, it opens up new possibilities for understanding glycobiology and biomechanics. “Seeing galectin-3 interact with GAGs and proteoglycans is like finding a rose in the petunias—it’s very unexpected,” Dam says. “It’s fair to say that this requires revisiting the reported biological functions of GAGs, proteoglycans and galectin-3.”

Next, Dam and his team look into additional research, “Now we have to reconsider the whole drama, retracing the steps and actions of that character… we are using cell lines and animal models to study this interaction in a cellular context.”

Read more on Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.

 


Xia Research Group in Chemical & Engineering News

RutheniumDeposition followed by etching yields ruthenium nanoframes

Michigan Technological University chemists Xiaohu Xia and Haihang Ye, together with researchers at the University of Texas, Dallas, and elsewhere used a ruthenium chloride solution to preferentially deposit ruthenium on the edges and corners of nanosized palladium octahedral seed crystals.

Read more at Chemical & Engineering News, by Mitch Jacoby.

A Noble Calling: Ruthenium Nanoframes Open the Doors to Better Catalysts

The world is run by catalysts. They clean up after cars, help make fertilizers, and could be the key to better hydrogen fuel. Now, a team of chemists, led by Xiaohu Xia from Michigan Technological University, has found a better way to make metal catalysts.

“We are fine-tuning the surface, size, shape and crystal structure,” he says. “Our goal is to increase their catalytic activity while reducing the usage of this precious material.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.


Chemistry Research Group Publishes NIH Work

ACS SensorsGraduate students Jingtuo Zhang, Mu Yang, Wafa Mazi, Mingxi Fang, Fei Xie, Postdoctoral Associate Kapil Adhikari, Assistant Professor Loredana Valenzano, Associate Professor Ashutosh Tiwari and full Professor Haiying Liu (all from the chemistry department) published a paper entitled, “Unusual Fluorescent Responses of Morpholine-Functionalized Fluorescent Probes to pH via Manipulation of BODIPY’s HOMO and LUMO Energy Orbitals for Intracellular pH Detection,” in ACS Sensors. This project is funded by NIH.

From Tech Today.

DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.5b00065


Lynn Mazzoleni Wins Fullbright Scholar Award

Lynn Mazzoleni
Lynn Mazzoleni

Lynn Mazzoleni (Chem), was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award to study one of Europe’s pollution hot spots. Currently on sabbatical in Bologna, Italy, Mazzoleni is collaborating with researchers in the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate at the Italian National Research Council. Their study focuses on the chemistry of atmospheric nitrogen species to improve the understanding of aqueous phase chemistry that contributes to the high concentrations of aerosol pollution.

From Tech Today.


At the End of Chemistry

Dr. Donald Bergstrom
Professor Emeritus
Department of Medical Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Date: October 16, 2015
Place: Chem-Sci Room 101
Time: 3:00 pm

Abstract
For more than a half century I have designed and created new molecules. My research has been shaped within the contexts of culture, time, and place, at times responding to the work of others, but always attempting to ride the wave front of science. “At the End of Chemistry” follows the trajectory of my research from rocket design in the 1950’s to nanomaterials in the 21st century. It is both report and inquiry about the nature of research.

Biography
Don Bergstrom has held faculty positions at Purdue University (1989-2011), the University of North Dakota, and the University of California, Davis. He holds degrees in chemistry from the University of Washington (BS, 1965) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD, 1970). From the early 1970s the work in his laboratory focused on nucleic acid chemistry, particularly the synthetic chemistry and applications of nucleosides. In the 21st century his efforts expanded into areas of nanotechnology and new approaches to drug design based on concepts of molecular self-assembly. He is currently a 2nd year graduate student in the MFA program in Applied Craft + Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.