Prof. Ramesh Jasti has received a 5-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The prestigious CAREER awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Prof. Jasti’s proposed research will result in the development of new methods and strategies for the synthesis of well-defined polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) belts. These PAH belts are short fragments of carbon nanotubes. The syntheses of these smaller systems will provide foundational methodology studies that could ultimately enable the bottom-up-synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Carbon nanotubes are of interest for numerous applications, including new solar energy materials, components for faster electronics, and single molecule biosensors. The synthesis of CNTs with well-defined, homogenous structures will facilitate the development of new nanotechnologies, and as a result, is expected to impact a variety of scientific disciplines including physics, engineering, and materials scientists. Prof. Jasti’s outreach program is aimed at introducing the interdisciplinary nature of nanoscience to high school students. This program will entail a series of nanoscience workshops, to be organized in conjunction with the Steppingstone Foundation and the Upward Bound Math and Science Program.
Prof. Jasti started his appointment as an Asst. Prof. at Boston University in 2009. He has rapidly established a synthetic organic chemistry group focused on the synthesis of graphitic carbon nanostructures. He first became interested in this research as a post-doctoral researcher with Carolyn Bertozzi at the Molecular Foundry (at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), and has quickly emerged as a leader in the synthesis of strained PAH belts.
Since his retirement in 2009, Prof. Emeritus Richard Laursen, a protein chemist for most of his career, has focused on using modern chemical instrumentation to analyze textiles, paint, and other art and archaeological objects. Utilizing LC-MS, he has become a world-renowned expert in the analysis of dyes from natural sources in historical textiles, including those associated with the legendary Silk Road. As such he was invited to participate in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the China National Silk Museum (CNSM), the largest such museum in the world, in Hangzhou, China (November 29 – December 2, 2012).
The event marked the establishment of the first academic Committee of the Research Base for Textile Conservation of the CNSM. Three members of the Committee are from outside of China: Richard Laursen; Susan Whitfield, Director of the International Dunhuang Project, British Library, London; and Marie-Louise Nosch, Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research and Professor of Ancient History, University of Copenhagen. Named for a period of three years (2013-2015), Committee members Laursen and Whitfield entered into co
llaborative agreements with Zhao Feng, Director of the CNSM.
On the last day Richard Laursen presented a talk at the commemorative conference, “Researches on and conservation of textiles from the Silk Road.” His talk was on “Natural Dyes in Textiles from the Silk Road.”
The following day, Prof. Laursen met with Liang Songping, Professor of Biology at Hunan Normal University and a former Laursen group postdoc, and with Zhao Feng, and members of the Conservation Science Department of the CNSM to discuss using proteomics for distinguishing between different species of silk in archaeological specimens.
The work of Prof. Adrian Whitty has recently been receiving attention from outside news sources. Following its September conference, “Innovation in Drug Discovery and Development Summit: Macrocycles and Constrained Peptides,” SciBX – Science-Business Exchange dedicated its November issue to an in-depth look at macrocyclic compounds in drug discovery, “Bringing macrocycles full circle.” Prominently featured in the article is the work of Adrian Whitty and his colleagues concerning how to identify appropriate targets for macrocyclic inhibitors and on the development design rules for macrocycles with good drug properties. The full article can be accessed here.
The Whitty group is also collaborating with Carmot Therapeutics (San Francisco, CA) in its SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute. The award’s aim, calling on the Whitty laboratory’s expertise in protein-protein interactions, is to use Carmot’s proprietary lead identification technology, “Chemotype Evolution,” to find inhibitors of the interaction between the key NF-κB signaling proteins, NEMO and IKK. If successful, this approach could be applicable to protein-protein interaction targets in general. To access the Carmot press release, please go here.
To see and hear Prof. Whitty describe his work, please go to the video of his interview with Dr. Keith Kostecka, the Chair of the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society (June, 2011). The interview can be viewed here.
Recently reported in PNAS, Bjoern Reinhard and his collaborator at the BU Medical School, Dr. Suryaram Gummuluru, have confirmed a unique HIV-1 DC attachment mechanism using lipoparticles with defined surface composition. The mechanism is dependent on a host-cell–derived ligand, GM3, and is a unique example of pathogen mimicry of host-cell recognition pathways that drive virus capture and dissemination in vivo. These insights provide the basis for the development of artificial virus nanoparticles with host-derived surface groups that inhibit the HIV-1 trans-dissemination pathway through dendritic cells. The virus parasite uses these dendritic cells to facilitate its dissemination, while avoiding recognition.
Professor Mark Grinstaff is a recipient of one of the first Boston University MSE Innovation Grants for his research proposal Real-time control of drug release from superhydrophobic biomaterials using clinical ultrasound.
These awards from Boston University’s College of Engineering, Division of Materials Science & Engineering aim to encourage innovation and risk taking.