Author: gtr12001

Islam Mosa wins AAAS Student Poster Award

Islam Mosa (Rusling Group) won the first place award in the 2017 Science AAAS student poster competition (Category: Physical Sciences). The award includes recognition of the poster title and the winner’s name in the March 24th issue of Science, a cash prize, certificate, and a one-year AAAS membership. A committee of 7 judges from Harvard, MIT, and industry evaluated all posters and selected the winner. The 2nd and 3rd places of the same category received honorable mentions in Science and were awarded to Hendrik Utzak and Anahita Zare from MIT and University of Missouri respectively.

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Electrocrystallization: Breakthrough in Gold Nanoparticle Research research team led by Professor Flavio Maran of the University of Padova (Italy), who is also a Research Professor with the Chemistry Department at UConn, reported a breakthrough in the creation of very high quality crystals formed of gold nanoparticles via electrocrytalization. This work was done in collaboration with Professor Kari Rissanen of the University of Jyväskylä (Finland). They published their recent work in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Their recent discovery has been featured in several news outlets.

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Paper Published in Nature Chemistry

Ryan Baumgartner, Hailin Fu, Ziyuan Song, Yao Lin and Jianjun Cheng “Cooperative polymerization of α-helices induced by macromolecular architecture” Nature Chemistry, DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.2712 (2017).
Figure in Nature Chemistry Publication
This work is a collaboration between Prof. Jianjun Cheng at UIUC and the Lin Group at UConn. This research demonstrates the use of macromolecular architecture to facilitate an unusual auto-catalytic polymerization process, and elucidate the underlying mechanism by a two-stage kinetic model using principles from nucleation-controlled protein polymerizations; the key difference being the irreversible nature of this polymerization. Ryan Baumgartner (UIUC) and Hailin Fu (UConn) made the central contribution to this work.

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Paper Published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society

Guberman-Pfeffer, M.; Greco, J. A.; Samankumara, L.; Zeller, M.; Gascón, J.; Birge, R.R.; Brückner, C. ‘Bacteriochlorins with a Twist: Discovery of a Unique Mechanism to Red-shift the Optical Spectra of Bacteriochlorins’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017139 (1), 548–560. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b12419
Figure from ACS publication
A collaborative effort within the chemistry department brought experiment and theory together to explain the unique optical properties of a class of analogues to the bacterial photosynthetic pigments. We hope this work will point the way in the design of mechanochromic dyes, i.e., dyes that change their color when exposed to mechanical stress.

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Paper Published in the Nature Journal’s Scientific Reports

Spundana Malla, Karteek Kadimisetty, You-Jun Fu, Dharamainder Choudhary,
John B. Schenkman & James F. Rusling

Methyl-Cytosine-Driven Structural Changes Enhance Adduction Kinetics of an Exon 7 fragment of the p53 Gene. Sci. Rep. 7, 40890; doi: 10.1038/srep40890 (2017).
In a collaborative effort with UConn Health (Profs. Schenkman and Choudhary), Spundana Malla, Karteek Kadimisetty, Dr. Fu and Prof. Rusling reported a new LC-MS method to investigate the kinetics of gene damage. The paper describes the use of the method to investigate metabolite-related damage to p53 tumor suppressor gene, which is damaged in 50% of all cancers. Results show that a specific cytosine-guanine site (codon 248) on the p53 gene reacts 3-fold faster when the cytosine is methylated. 

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