#FacesOfUConnChem: Meet Undergraduate Program Director, Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater

Next for our faculty highlights is Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater!

Background: Ph.D. and research fellowship at the University of Cambridge, UK; faculty position in London

Current position: Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director at UConn Storrs, where he has been since 2004. He chose UConn Chemistry because of its great facilities and faculty. Continue reading

Meet Assistant Professor Alexander Aksenov

Meet Assistant Professor Alexander Aksenov, a chemist who is passionate about exploring the underlying chemistries of the molecular world using mass spectrometry.

Early Career

Growing up, chemistry had always piqued young Alexander Aksenov’s interest. Although having a physicist as a father certainly helped, it wasn’t until he found a mentor in his chemistry teacher that he decided to pursue the subject further. “That’s how it always starts doesn’t it…. I had not considered that path, but my teacher encouraged me to continue with chemistry, and the rest is history,” Aksenov says. He went on to complete his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry at Moscow State University.

From there, Alexander says that his path becomes a winding one. Coming to the US was not a part of his original academic plan, after receiving offers to continue his graduate studies in Moscow and the United Kingdom. Regardless, he found his way to the University of Florida, where he earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry. It was at this point that his interests shifted from physical chemistry to all-things mass spectrometry. Alexander explains:

It wasn’t something that I ever expected myself to become interested in…. Physical chemistry and mass spectrometry are two different worlds. I was convinced to switch fields by my Ph.D. advisor, Professor John Eyler, and I was surprised to find myself excited and engaged by it. Continue reading

Four Chemistry Professors Awarded Research Funding From UConn Office of Vice President for Research

The UConn Office of the Vice President for Research established the START Preliminary Proof-of-Concept (PPOC) Fund through support from the CTNext Higher Education Fund. The program aims to support the preliminary validation of innovative early stage technologies from across all disciplines for early stage projects that may one day result in inventions and technologies that address unmet needs and have potential for commercial application.

The START PPOC Fund competition accepted written proposals on a quarterly basis and selections for funding were made on a review of the written proposals by a selection committee. Recipients come from UConn, the University of Bridgeport, and Southern Connecticut State University.

Congratulations to following UConn Chemistry professors for who received START PPOC funding awards!

Q2 Awardees:
Douglas Adamson, $10,000 – Electrifying and Polarizing HEPA Filters with Graphene to Improve the Efficiency of Virus Removal from Air
Alexandru Asandei, $10,000 – Controlled Radical Polymerization of Conjugated Alkenes in Water

Q3 Awardee:
Eugene Pinkhassik, $10,000 – Integration of palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions in flow processes

Q4 Awardee:
James Rusling, $10,000 – Rapid CRISP-Based Point-of-Care Detection of COVID-19 and COVID-19 Antibodies in Saliva

#FacesOfUConnChem: Meet Department Head, Dr. Christian Brueckner!

This year, we are doing a series of features on all the amazing people that make up UConn Chemistry, and who better to start with than our department head, Dr. Christian Brückner!

Academic background: MS at RWTH, Germany; Ph.D. at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Postdoc at University of California at Berkeley

Current position: Dr. Brückner has been at UConn Storrs since 1998. He now serves as a professor and the Department Head, where he enjoys some of the challenges it brings (but not the realization that this doesn’t afford more hours to the day!) Continue reading

Graduate Students Win First and Second Place in 2021 Microscopy Artistry Contest

Tech Park’s Microscope Artistry Contest provides a creative, engaging forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of science as seen through the electron microscope. During the competition, images taken with the Innovation Partnership Building’s electron microscopes were submitted for review by a panel of judges.
Continue reading

Student Receives Honorable Mentions in International Metallographic Contest

The 2021 International Metallographic Contest (IMC) and Exhibit was held by the International Metallographic Society under ASM International. The primary goal of the contest is to advance the science of microstructural analysis by providing an opportunity for those interested in material properties and characterization to display their work in print and electronic formats and communicate significant scientific information. Winning entries are displayed at ASM Headquarters. Continue reading

New Faculty Bring Antiracism and the Environment to the Forefront

New faculty join the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) this fall as part of two groups launched by Dean Juli Wade to increase interdisciplinary scholarship in human-environment interactions and diversity, equity, and inclusion.   

Over the past year, faculty within the College collaborated to propose topic areas for the cluster hires, and two were selected in environment and human interactions, and antiracism.   Continue reading

2021-2022 Chemistry Graduate Student Awards

Waring Award
Chamathka Hansani Dehiwala Liyanage (Adv. Quardokus)

Masterton Award
Joseph Adewuyi (Adv. Ung)
Adewole Atoyebi (Adv. Brueckner)
Mariel Clores (Adv. X. Yao)
Ina de la Fuente (Adv. Rouge)
Keshani Hiniduma (Adv. Rusling)
Jose “JJ” Intano (Adv. Howell)
Mansi Malhotra (Adv. Kumar and Gascon)
Scott Pierce (Adv. Angeles)

Connecticut Chemistry Research Award
Peter Kerns (Adv. Suib)

Bobbitt-Chou Graduate Summer Research Fellowship
Arlene Bartolome (Adv. Lin)

Dr. Islam Mosa Named 40 under 40 Honoree

UConn alumnus Islam Mosa Ph.D. ’18 (Prof. Rusling’s labwas recently named one of the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 40 under 40. This award recognizes 40 honorees under the age of 40 who are inspiring leaders at the forefront of Connecticut industry ecosystem. 

Dr. Mosa is the President and Chief Technical Officer of VoltXon Inc, a start-up company that is a spin-off from Prof. James Rusling’s lab, and is developing new energy/sensor technology for biomedical devices, autonomous electric vehicles, and smart buildings.

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8 UConn Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Eight UConn researchers across six disciplines have received CAREER awards for 2021.  

The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (NSF CAREER) Program awards competitive grants to support the research programs of early-career faculty who demonstrate remarkable potential to become leaders in their field.  

In addition to advancing research, these projects work to actively engage students and the community. This broadens the impact of the research and encourages students on all levels and community members to take an interest in STEM researcher.  

2021 is the second-highest number of CAREER awards for the university, second only to when UConn faculty received nine in 2019.   Continue reading