Category: Seminars

DNA as a Catalyst

Prof. Scott K. Silverman,   Professor of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

October 10, 2014  ~  3:00pm  ~    Chemical Science Building, Room 101


DNA in its double-stranded form is familiar as the genetic material. When single-stranded, however, DNA can adopt complex three-dimensional structures that allow binding of substrates and catalysis of chemical reactions. DNA has many conceptual and practical advantages over other biologically derived polymers (proteins and RNA) for applications as a catalyst.  This presentation describes the development of DNA catalysts, or deoxyribozymes, for a variety of chemical reactions, primarily involving covalent modification of peptide and protein substrates.

Mineralogical Miracles at Merelani, Tanzania

John A. Jaszczak
Department of Physics and the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Michigan Technological University

 December 5,  2014, 3:00pm Chemical Science Building, Room 101


The Lelatema Mountains in northern Tanzania are host to one of the world’s richest flake graphite deposits, but it is the purple-blue gem variety of zoisite called “tanzanite” that has brought renown to the region since the 1960s.

In December 2007 a pocket of exceptionally fine crystals of graphite was discovered at in Merelani’s Block D. Given graphite’s extreme softness and obvious lack of gem value, it seems almost in miraculous that specimens of these graphite crystals, perhaps the finest in the world, were superbly preserved. Adding to their uniqueness and beauty, the graphite crystals are covered by a secondary overgrowth of graphite that contains rare stellate graphite dendrites. The pocket also produced superb gem-quality crystals of diopside, fluorapatite, and tremolite crystals. More recently, world-class specimens of several sulfide minerals have been discovered and preserved. These include highly lustrous, large Pyrite crystals, exceptionally large, translucent crystals of the rare ZnS polytype wurtzite, and rare black octahedral crystals of alabandite. This illustrated lecture will briefly tour this amazing mining district, review these seemingly miraculous mineralogical that have been uncovered.

Kiteplatin: A Rediscovered Antitumor Drug

Dr. Emanuele Petruzzella
Postdoctoral Researcher Scholar, Chemistry Department, Eastern Michigan University
09/26/2014 – 3:00 pm – Room 101, Chemical Sciences and Engineering Bldg


The antitumor activity of kiteplatin was reported for the first time twenty years ago. Recently, kiteplatin was investigated as potential antitumor drugs for the treatment of cisplatin- and oxaliplatin-resistant tumors.

Resistance to Pt-based antitumor drugs can involve different processes, such as the binding of S-donor biomolecules, like glutathione, cysteine and methionine, to the Pt metal center. This interaction prevents Pt drugs to react with DNA, i.e. the event triggering the antitumor effect. Kiteplatin showed an unique reactivity with these S-donors biomolecules and, for the first time, it was found that, also after reaction with glutathione, kiteplatin is still able to react with a DNA model. This unique behaviour could explain the activity of kiteplatin in cisplatin- and oxaliplatin-resistant tumors.

In recent years, several research groups investigated Pt(IV) derivatives of Pt-based anticancer drugs as pro-drugs for oral administration. The axial dihydroxido Pt(IV) derivative of kiteplatin undergoes a spontaneous thermal- and/or photoinduced reduction process. This Pt(IV) complex can be suitable for photo-therapy.

Dow Corporate Venturing-Accelerating Dow’s Innovation Agenda

Mr. Stephen Hahn, Research Fellow

Dow Corporate Venturing
09/25/2014 – 1:00 pm – Room 101, Chemical Sciences and Engineering Bldg

Dow Corporate Venturing (DCV) serves to identify new technologies for Dow, to analyze and quantify new market opportunities enabled by these breakthroughs, and to capture their value by commercializing or participating in them. DCV serves as an innovation pipeline for Dow, supplying a continuous flow of new business options for the company. The Technology Scouting group within DCV seeks to identify and interact with emerging technology-based companies, and to connect directly with the sources of these innovations, with a focus on developing strategic relationships. Dow Technology Scouting group has established region-specific networks, enabling a global approach to innovation sourcing that meshes with the development and innovation targets of the Corporation, and encourages a Company-wide scouting mentality. Technology Scouting is Dow’s front line for identification and assessment of new opportunities and our Technology Scouts provide a conduit for innovation from the external marketplace of technology into Dow. Examples of recently analyzed, external, technology-based companies will be discussed.

Molecular characterization of atmospheric organic matter in biogenic secondary organic aerosol, ambient aerosol and clouds

Chemistry Seminar
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
EERC 314

Molecular characterization of atmospheric organic matter in biogenic secondary organic aerosol, ambient aerosol and clouds

Ms Yunzhu Zhao
(Advisor: Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni)
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Chemistry
Michigan Technological University


Atmospheric aerosol affects the Earth’s energy budget, reduces visibility and influences human health. The organic composition of aerosol is quite complex and continuously evolves through various atmospheric processes. To gain a deeper understanding of the molecular composition of atmospheric organic matter (AOM), chamber-generated biogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA), ambient aerosol and cloud water samples were studied. Ultrahigh resolution Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry was used to provide detailed molecular characterization of the atmospheric samples. Due to the extremely high mass resolution and mass accuracy, thousands of individual molecular formulas were identified in all of the samples studied. Multivariate statistical analysis methods were evaluated to compare the similarities and differences of the sample compositions. The molecular characterization of biogenic SOA, ambient aerosol and clouds will be discussed. This study of the three types of atmospheric samples helps to understand the composition of AOM with respect to atmospheric processes.