Research News

Electrocrystallization: Breakthrough in Gold Nanoparticle Research

http://www.alphagalileo.org/AssetViewer.aspx?AssetId=122194&CultureCode=enA 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).
nature-scientific-report
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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Accelerate UConn

Accelerate UConn logoDr. Challa Kumar and Graduate Student Melissa Limbacher are the recipients of an Accelerate UConn Fall 2016 Grant for their project entitled, “GlowDots.”

Kumar and Limbacher will participate in the Fall cohort of Accelerate UConn, the University’s National Science Foundation I-Corps site. All winning teams receive special training and a $3,000 seed grant to help understand whether and how their technology might create customer value.

See all Accelerate winners here >>>

Undergraduate Instrument Center

By Gabriella Reggiano

“Hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation” are the keywords Department Head Dr. Christian Brückner used to describe the new Undergraduate Instrument Center. This lab, located in T-310 of the Chemistry Building, currently houses an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), an Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer (EPR), and an X-Ray Powder Diffractometer (PXRD).

With funding from the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost, Dr. Clyde Cady and Dr. Edward Neth spearheaded the creation of the Undergraduate Instrument Center over the summer of 2016. The Center provides students with the opportunity for hands-on experience with advanced equipment both inside and outside the classroom. Importantly, these are also instruments found in industry and research laboratories.

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Zhao Group Perspective Featured on the Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectures

journal of physical chemistry cover

Dr. Jing Zhao and graduate student Swayandipta Dey wrote a perspective to The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. The perspective is highlighted on its August 2016 cover.

About the cover: “The cover art illustrates that by positioning single quantum dots close to metal nanoparticles, the interaction between the excitons and plasmons will significantly alter the single and multi-exciton emission of the hybrid system.”

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Pinkhassik Group Research on Cover of Chemistry – A European Journal

Cover of Chemistry - A European JournalA recent paper from the Pinkhassik group was featured on the cover of Chemistry – A European Journal (Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22(40), 14137-14140). The cover image illustrates new hybrid nanomaterials, rotaxane-like structures threaded through the pores of hollow porous nanocapsules. These structures may lead to the creation of complex nanoscale cell-mimicking devices. Dr. Sergey Dergunov (UConn) and Nasim Ehterami (Saint Louis University) contributed to this work.

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