Professor Bjoern Reinhard awarded an NSF-CHE 3 Year grant to Study Plasmon Coupling Correlation Spectroscopy
Prof. Reinhard was recently awarded a 3 Year renewal of her National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry (NSF-CHE) Grant titled: Plasmon Coupling Correlation Spectroscopy. This will help Prof. Reinhard and his research group investigate the unique optical properties and strong field localization properties of plasmonic nanoparticles as they are important components of many chemical sensing technologies and Efield enhanced spectroscopies. The research will advance the field of chemical imaging and sensing by introducing the concept of correlation spectroscopy to localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) spectroscopy. The ambitious research plan will utilize distance-dependent near-field coupling between plasmonic nanoparticles that cause spectral fluctuations in the far-field to monitor interparticle separations at signal intensities that are manifold higher than that of conventional dyes. Importantly, due to their superb photophysical stability plasmonic nanoparticles overcome existing limitations of fluorescence based correlation approaches in terms of maximum observation time and will facilitate a continuous signal correlation over a much longer time than is currently possible with fluorescence based approaches entirely without blinking. The research funded by this grant is transformative as it will facilitate the application of optical signal correlation techniques to systems that have, so far, not been accessible with conventional fluorescence-based correlation methods.
Besides the scientific impact, the research project has a series of educational and outreach components as well as detailed plans to encourage the participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering. The grant will allow for the development of new course work and training opportunities for students from the high-school to graduate school level. Furthermore, Dr. Reinhard will organize annual workshops for students from inner city high schools, which typically have high representations from groups underrepresented in science and engineering. His main goal is to enthuse these students about the research of the proposal and to attract them to a career in STEM fields. The course material developed during the lifetime of the project will be disseminated via the PI’s homepage to further enhance the broader impact of this proposal.
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.
Assistant Professor Ksenia Bravaya was recently selected by Boston University to receive the an award from the Patricia Mclellan Leavitt Research Fund. This award is designed “to support research of one or more non-tenured junior faculty members, or graduate students, in chemistry or biology at the College of Arts and Sciences. Preference shall be given to female faculty who demonstrate a commitment to encouraging women to study science, or to female graduate students.”
Dr. Bravaya will use these funds to support her research into challenging electronic structure phenomena in biomolecules and systems relevant for materials, which include photoinduced processes, autoionizing electronic states, and magnetic field effects. This award will help her and her team use and develop high-level electronic structure methods targeting processes involving multiple electronic states, chemistry of open-shell species in magnetic fields, and electronically excited and metastable systems.
Congratulations to Professor Bravaya!
Dr. Beeler, who has been a tenure track faculty member in Boston University’s Chemistry Department since 2012, was recently awarded a 5-Year early investigator award through the NSF CAREER grant program. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of 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. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.
Research in the Beeler Group is very multidisciplinary. They are focused on synthesis and medicinal chemistry of biologically active small molecules by developing efficient and scalable processes to synthesize scaffolds of interest. One of the core components in their research is development of continuous flow technologies to develop photochemical reactions, electrochemical reactions, and reactions utilizing highly reactive intermediates.
With the CAREER award, Dr. Beeler plans to focus his research on the development of powerful flow reactions that will transform the way chemists think about challenging chemical reactions. In parallel to these efforts he will continue expanding our activities in outreach and education to further the growth of Chemistry in STEM education.
Professor Mark W. Grinstaff has won the inaugural Innovator of the Year Award from BU’s Office of Technology Development, recognizing a faculty member who translates research into innovations that benefit humankind. The Innovator of the Year Award seeks to highlight translational research at BU by recognizing an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and/or wider adoption of their inventions. It also encourages faculty to become entrepreneurial while promoting role models who can inspire graduate students to pursue entrepreneurial careers.
Professor Grinstaff, who has joint appointments in Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering, co-founded three companies now commercializing his research ideas: Hyperbranch Medical Technology, Flex Biomedical, and recent start-up Acuity Bio that is commercializing a new drug delivery device for the prevention of tumor recurrence after surgical resection – a significant unmet clinical need. His current work includes research into new macromolecule and amphiphile syntheses, self-assembly chemistry, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. As he presented the award, President Bob Brown said that “Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products … His accomplishments in the past year include 15 peer-reviewed papers published, two invention disclosures, a patent filing, and more than $1 million invested in Flex Biomedical.”
Professor Grinstaff received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His honors include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and the Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation.
The Ignition Award Program provides funds to evolve BU research to the stage where it can be licensed, form the basis of a new company, or be used to create a new, non-profit social enterprise. In June 2010, two Chemistry faculty, John Porco and John Snyder, received these highly competitive awards for their respective commercially promising projects.
Professor Porco’s research is the “Development of Novel Protein Synthesis Inhibitors as Chemotherapeutic Agents.” The work will involve synthesis of novel silvestrol (rocaglate) derivatives and their evaluation as protein translation inhibitors in the Pelletier laboratory at McGill University. Promising derivatives will be tested in the National Cancer Institute’s 60 cancer cell line panel and then advanced to animal models for B-cell leukemias and other cancers that are highly susceptible to translational control.
Professor Snyder’s research focuses on the “Development of New Anti-Tuberculosis Agents.” Three synthetic compounds from the Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development (CMLD-BU) were determined to be “hits” against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tuberculosis-inducing microorganism. The preliminary biological activity data against M. tuberculosis, coupled with the unique structures of the lead compounds have justified advancing these compounds toward commercialization through the biological assays needed to establish the scope of activity and bioavailability.
Boston University has again recognized Chemistry’s distinction in teaching and advising by conferring a 2010 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching on Professor John Caradonna and the 2009/2010 Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising on Dr. Binyomin Abrams.
Student’s have found John Caradonna’s teaching to be the most remarkable and enriching academic experience of their undergraduate careers. In “exit interviews” with graduating seniors, Professor Caradonna was consistently recognized as one of the most respected and valued faculty members in the Department of Chemistry.
When asked to recall their very best experiences as chemistry majors, many students named their time in his CH232 Inorganic Chemistry course as a truly inspiring educational experience. His contributions to Chemistry’s educational mission also include great teaching in first-year Chemistry courses and in graduate program, his work as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate research students, his strong voice for excellence and rigor in our academic programs, and his leadership as Director of Undergraduate Studies. John Caradonna is the fifth Chemistry faculty member to receive a Metcalf Award.
Previous recipients have included
To learn more about Professor Caradonna and his philosophy of teaching, please go to the article about him in BU Today.
Professor John A. Porco, Jr. has received the distinguished 2003 Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. The grant provides a total of $300,000 of unrestricted research support over a three-year period and is one of only two given by BMS worldwide each year to support the academic research community.
The award acknowledges the outstanding record of achievement of Professor Porco and his research team in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. Synthetic organic chemistry has long been a critical tool in the drug discovery efforts of pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms. Research in the Porco laboratory focuses on the development of new synthetic methodology for the efficient chemical synthesis of complex molecules and the utilization of parallel (or combinatorial) synthesis techniques towards the synthesis of complex chemical libraries.
Recent total synthesis accomplishments include the synthesis of the salicylate enamide natural products lobatamide C and oximidine II, and the epoxyquinoid natural products torreyanic acid, epoxyquinol A, and panepophenanthrin. The Porco team recently employed parallel synthesis approaches to prepare complex spiroketal libraries and highly functional angular structures from epoxyquinol dienes. Professor Porco is the Director of the new Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development at Boston University (CMLD-BU).
Professor Straub received the award in recognition of his dedication to improving academic programs in Chemistry and in the Core Curriculum. Teaching both undergraduate and advanced courses, his classes have always received the highest ratings from students who write comments such as:
“[Professor Staub] was passionate and funny, but most importantly he cared about us. I learned more in one of his lectures [in CH 101] than I did all last semester.”
An associate chairman of the Department of Chemistry, Professor Straub leads the Graduate Affairs Committee. He is also an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of theoretical and computational chemistry and biophysics. In addition to his work with undergraduates, Professor Straub is devoted to advancing the research and careers of his graduate students, many of whom have moved into prestigious positions in both academic and non-academic institutions.