Category: Front Page
Stephanie Beach, of the Doerrer Group, recently won a prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship! The Chateaubriand Fellowship is a grant offered by the Embassy of France in the United States. It supports outstanding Ph.D. students from American universities who wish to conduct research in France for a period ranging from 4 to 9 months. Chateaubriand fellows are selected through a merit-based competition, through a collaborative process involving expert evaluators in both countries.
The program is divided into two subprograms: Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) which supports those who seek to study Humanities and Social Sciences. Stephanie was awarded the Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Biology-Health (STEM), which is for doctoral students who aim to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between French and American research teams. This fellowship is offered by the Office for Science & Technology (OST) of the Embassy of France in partnership with American universities and French research organizations such as Inserm and Inria. It is a partner of the National Science Foundation’s GROW program.
Stephanie is currently working at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, a CNRS lab, in Bordeaux, France from February through May of 2018 to partner with the group of Prof. Rodolphe Clérac. She is developing new variations of the Doerrer group thiocarboxylate lantern complexes for development as single molecule magnets.
Research at Boston University’s Photonics Center reporting on a drug-free photonic approach to eliminating methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) earned Pu-Ting Dong (BU Chemistry Student, Dr. Ji-Xen Cheng Group) the SPIE Photonics West 2018 Translational Research Award.
Translational Research Symposium Chairs Bruce J. Tromberg of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Center at the University of California, Irvine (USA) and Gabriela Apiou, from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (USA) presented the award to Dong Sunday, February 4th during a forum that focused on translational research applications of blue light.
Dong’s research found a synergy between photobleaching of staphyloxanthin (STX) with blue light and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in killing the highly infectious and dangerous MRSA.
“This potentially opens a new way to address a tremendous problem that the healthcare system is facing using a biophotonic technology,” Apiou said.
As Dong noted, it can take 30 years after the emergence of antibiotic resistance for a new antibiotic to be developed.
Treating MRSA is “a significant problem in infectious disease,” Tromberg, an SPIE Fellow, said, and Dong’s solution “could benefit a large number of patients worldwide.”
In a talk preceding Dong’s presentation, SPIE Fellow Michael Hamblin of the Wellman Center, explained how blue light has been found to influence circadian rhythms and magnetic fields and has become a common treatment for treating acne, low-back pain, neurological disorders, and other diseases and disorders.
Hamblin noted that a new conference at Photonics West, Photonic Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection and Inflammatory Diseases, and its 60 papers, indicated the importance of light technologies in treating a number of diseases.
Congratulations to Professor David Coker for receiving a National Science Foundation Grant (NSF) totally $435,000. This project will fund Dr. Coker and his team’s research into two areas. The first project will focus on extending, first principles, excited state quantum chemical methods and conformational sampling techniques to compute the distributions of parameters in models of the biological light harvesting systems that have received much attention in recent ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy studies. Such models are usually employed to interpret the results of these averaged experiments. These best-fit, average models have many parameters that can be difficult to estimate and they are not generally unique, often leading to ambiguous interpretation. The theoretical methods being developed by the Coker group, however, enable detailed analysis of fluctuations underlying the average and the sampling of an ensemble of unique models that include, for example, highly performing structural outliers whose characteristics will give important understanding for optimal design, rather than mean behavior. In the second project, dissipative quantum dynamical methods are employed to compute spectroscopic properties and study relaxation processes including energy transport and charge separation using the ensembles of computed models. Preliminary work on these projects was featured in a recent publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Coker is a Professor of Theoretical and Physical Chemistry and is the Director for BU’s Center for Computational Science (BU CCS). The Coker Group focus their research the development of new theoretical and computational methods to explore how electronic and vibrational excitation of reactant molecules in different environments can influence the outcome of chemical reactions of these molecules. Because electronic and vibrational relaxation of excited reactants is fundamentally quantum mechanical in nature, the methods they use must accurately describe the transfer of energy between the classical environment and the quantal reactive system.
 “First-Principles Models for Biological Light-Harvesting: Phycobiliprotein Complexes from Cryptophyte Algae”, M.K. Lee, K. Bravaya, and D.F. Coker, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (23), pp 7803–7814
We are happy to welcome a new colleague to our ranks in Professor Chen Yang. Professor Yang will be moving from the Purdue University Chemistry Department where she also has a joint appointment in Physics. Her work focuses on the development of new nanomaterials with chemically controllable functionality exploiting low dimensionality as well as structural and compositional complexity.
Chen received her PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University working in the laboratory of Professor Charles Lieber before starting her first academic appointment at Purdue in 2007. She will have a 50:50 joint appointment at BU with the Department of Chemistry and Electrical & Computer Engineering Department. She will also be a member of the Materials Science & Engineering Divisioin.
Professor Yang’s materials centered research has applications in plasmonic optical devices, solar energy utilization, nanomedicine and biological imaging, and nanoelectronics. She has won a Seeds of Success Award from Purdue University (awarded to faculty raising over 1 million dollars) and a Career Award (2009-2014) from the National Science Foundation. Her prior work has been supported by grants from NSF, DARPA, ARO and the Keck Foundation.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Yang to BU’s Chemistry and Electrical & Chemical Engineering Departments starting on July 1st!
Held every three years since 1972, the ACTC is widely attended by chemists from both the United States and abroad. The meeting grew from the biennial Gordon Research Conference on Theoretical Chemistry, held from 1962-1970. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the Chair of ACTC 2017. David Coker, Boston University, is the Deputy Chair and Local Organizer, and Todd Martinez, Stanford University, is the Vice Chair.
The lectures will be held at the Boston University Law School Auditorium, lunches will be at the George Sherman Union Back Court, and poster sessions will be held at Metcalf Hall in the George Sherman Union. For breakfasts and dinners, attendees will have many options of nearby restaurants. A boat trip and banquet will be held on Wednesday.
For more information and registration details click here.
The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Instrumentation Center (CIC) was recently awarded a National Institute of Health Shared Instrumentation Grant (NIH SIG) led by Dr. Norman Lee, Director of CIC, to acquire a MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST) instrument. This instrument will enable investigators in Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry and others to advance their research in life processes and allow their investigations to move into new areas that would enrich student and postdoctoral training. The instrument’s capabilities will also enhance active research projects involving protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions as well as protein conformation changes. The new MST instrument will enhance our biophysical capability at BU to meet the current and evolving research needs of the faculty and students.
Congratulations and a special thank you to Dr. Lee and all faculty who participated on the Departmental grant for their efforts on getting this new MicroScale Thermophoresis instrument!
Dr. Arturo Vegas was recently featured in BU Today for his research into Type 1 Diabetes. The full article is called “New Targets to Treat Type 1 Diabetes” and there’s an excerpt from the article by Barbara Moran is below.
“Type 1 diabetes is rare but devastating. A person’s own immune system attacks the pancreas, destroying insulin-producing tissue and the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. About five percent of people with diabetes—approximately 1.25 million Americans—have this form of the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. Unregulated blood sugar can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and death.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes type 1 diabetes, though they suspect that a genetic predisposition, combined with an environmental trigger, causes a sudden disruption in the immune system that causes it to attack the body’s own tissue. The only treatment is a lifetime of careful blood sugar monitoring, with insulin injections as needed.
But what if there were a way to block the immune system before the damage was done, preserving at least some of the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin? That’s the goal of Arturo Vegas, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of chemistry, whose lab combines biology, chemistry, materials science, and engineering to develop targeted therapies for complex diseases like diabetes. He recently was awarded a prestigious $1.4 million Type 1 Diabetes Pathfinder Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue the work.”
Congratulations Dr. Vegas!
Undergraduate student Tyler Casselman, a rising Junior doing research in Prof. John Snyder’s laboratory, is the 2016 recipient of the Laursen Summer Research Scholarship (LSRS). Tyler’s summer research continues his investigations in the Snyder group into a synthesis of drug transport within a polymer. His work focuses on developing a procedure to integrate a highly reactive ring system, known as a tetrazine, into polymers. This has an immediate application to drug transport within a polymer via a cycloaddition, which will further the research of the Snyder Group.
Tyler, who is 21 and comes from East Amherst, New York, is interested in natural product synthesis and diversification methods. Once done with his undergraduate education here at BU he plans to continue his study chemistry in graduate school and is hoping to stay in the Boston area.
The scholarship is funded by the Laursen Endowment, which was created to honor Prof. Emeritus Richard Laursen by his former students. The goal of the Laursen Endowment is to advance the training of highly qualified BU chemistry students interested in pursuing scientific careers by providing salary support pursue research during the summer term.
On August 18, the Department of Chemistry is hosting a special cocktail reception for Chemistry Alumni, 5:30PM-7:30PM at the Cityview Ballroom of the Boston Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center.
In conjunction with the ACS National Meeting, the Department of Chemistry is hosting a special reception on August 18, 2015 at Boston’s Seaport Hotel.
Whether you are attending the ACS National Meeting or simply are in the area, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a relaxing evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres while reconnecting with fellow alumni and Chemistry faculty. The Seaport Hotel is within short walking distance of the Boston Convention Center and offers stunning views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor, making it a great environment in which to meet current students and learn about the Department’s latest research
In order to help us plan for the reception, please register by reserving complimentary tickets online. Visit the BU Alumni Association page to RSVP.
BU Chemistry has long been recognized for excellence in research and training at the undergraduate and graduate levels. We would love to hear about your accomplishments, and have you meet some of the 30 undergraduate and graduate students presenting talks or posters at the ACS Meeting. You can find a full list of student presentations here.
We look forward to seeing you at the reception!
When: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
5:30 PM-7:30 PM
Where: Seaport Boston Hotel, Cityview Ballroom
1 Seaport Ln, Boston, MA 02210
2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award recipient, George Pantelopulos, has joined Chemistry to do his proposed graduate research in theoretical chemistry with Prof. John Straub and his group. George aims to model the kinetics of phase transitions in a system of components (lipids and cholesterol) commonly found in eukaryotic cell membranes using the Generalized ReplicaExchange Method (gREM) developed by the Straub group and constructing a Markov State Model (MSM) of a mixed bilayer. George believes that his study will yield a statistically detailed model of the thermodynamics and kinetics of mixed bilayer phases, something which has been sought for years via experimental techniques and previously out-of-reach for standard simulation methods.
George is no stranger to BU Chemistry. In 2013 he was one of the 10 students selected for Chemistry’s NSF site Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. At the time, he was at the Community College of Philadelphia. During his summer REU program here, he helped to synthesize nanohoops of high electron density, which were hypothesized to serve as high performance coatings for solar cells. In Fall 2013 he transferred to Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), where he did research with Prof. Vincent Voelz on simulation studies of the p53-MDM2 complex. MDM2 is an ubiquitin ligase protein which downregulates the tumor suppressor protein p53. As such, inhibition of the p53-MDM2 complex is a major goal in targeted cancer therapy research.
In addition to chemistry, George’s interests are broad and varied. He has a strong commitment to community service and have volunteered with such organizations as TeenSHARP, a weekend educational program for minority students in Philadelphia and Camden schools, where he was a science instructor and Habitat for Humanity.