Professor Rusling Receives Commercialization Grants

Dr. Jim Rusling

Professor Jim Rusling recently received START and SPARK Technology Commercialization Grants for Self-powered Bioelectronics.

Aiming to commercialize the world’s first battery-free implantable pacemaker, Professor Rusling and his team received two early-stage technology commercialization grants, START ($10K) and SPARK ($50K). Unlike current pacemakers which are battery-powered and require replacement surgery when the battery is drained, the new self-powered pacemaker uses nanogenerator technology to harvest the patient’s body energy and store it in a tiny biosupercapacitor to power pacemakers, potentially for the patient’s lifetime. Commercialization efforts of this product are led by VoltXon inc, a recent startup spun-off from Prof. Rusling’s research and led by Postdoctoral Fellow and CTO of VoltXon, Dr. Islam Mosa and graduate student Esraa Elsanadidy.

For more information about the START and SPARK technology commercialization grants please visit their program website.

UConn Chemistry Professor Receives NSF Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded UConn Chemistry Professor José Gascón and Michigan State Professor Warren Beck a grant to study Carotenoid Photophysics in Photosynthetic Light-Harvesting.

With this $590,000 award, the Chemistry of Life Processes Program in the Chemistry Division is funding Dr. Gascón (PI) and Dr. Beck (co-PI) to investigate the energy transfer and photoprotection functions of carotenoids in the proteins of photosynthetic organisms. Continue reading

Seeking Assistant Professor, Organic Chemistry

The Chemistry Department at UConn seeks applications for a full-time tenure-track position to begin in August 2020. All areas of organic chemistry will be considered, including bioorganic chemistry/chemical biology, with preference given to candidates whose research complements that of current faculty (

The successful applicant is expected to develop a nationally and internationally competitive research program, evidenced by high impact publications and robust extramural funding. Teaching excellence at both undergraduate and graduate levels and a commitment to service activities are essential. Successful candidates will also be expected to broaden participation among members of under-represented groups; demonstrate through their research, teaching, and/or public engagement the richness of diversity in the learning experience; integrate multicultural experiences into instructional methods and research tools; and should express interest in developing pedagogical techniques designed to meet the needs of diverse learning styles and intellectual interests. Continue reading

LambdaVision/Birge Group NASA Phase I SBIR Award

LambdaVision was awarded a NASA Phase I SBIR Award ($125K) to follow up on previous work that was conducted on the International Space Station. Initial experiments used a microgravity environment to manufacture their retinal implant technology, which is aimed at treating patients suffering from blinding retinal degenerative diseases. The NASA SBIR will help them continue this work and evaluate different manufacturing parameters that will allow them to construct the implants both on Earth and on the ISS.

This research was founded by the research group of Robert Birge (Harold S. Schwenk Sr. Distinguished Chair Emeritus; Founder of LambdaVision) and is led by Nicole Wagner (CEO) and Jordan Greco (CSO). Nicole Wagner and Jordan Greco both currently hold Assistance Research Professor positions in the Department.

Click here to read the press release, here to see the list of awardees and here to read a copy of their abstract.

Seeking Assistant Professor in Residence: Stamford Campus


The Chemistry Department within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Stamford, invites applications for a non-tenure track faculty position at the Assistant Professor in Residence level. The successful candidate will assist with teaching chemistry lecture and laboratory classes and take the lead in supporting lab preparation for the chemistry courses in collaboration with the other full-time faculty members. This position requires an individual with dynamic personality who can interact with undergraduate and graduate students in addition to faculty, and has the ability to work with Chemistry faculty across the branches and main campus at UConn. Continue reading

Chemistry Professor Receives Research Excellence Award

UConn Chemistry Professor Dr. Kumar has been selected for the Fulbright US-Australia Research Excellence Award 2019, among six others to represent the US, and will visit Australia in 2020 to carry out research on the 3-D printing of enzymes to make progress toward the realization of Biobatteries. These batteries are intended to use sugar to power personal electronics.

To find out more information regarding the Fulbright US-Australia Research Excellence Award, please visit their website.

Chemistry Faculty Dr. Jie He and Dr. Jing Zhao Receive NSF EAGER

Dr. Jie (Jay) He and Dr. Jing Zhao, both faculty members of the Chemistry Department with appointments in IMS, were recently awarded the NSF Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER). The grant supports exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.

Dr. He was awarded $149,991 for his collaborative research entitled Hybrid Quantum Dot-Metal Nanocrystals for Photoreduction of CO2: Synthesis, Spectroscopy and Catalysis. The grant is effective 8/15/2019 to 7/31/2021.

Dr. Zhao was awarded $204,082 for her collaborative research entitled A Low-Cost, “Digital” Biosensing Platform with Single Protein Biomarker Sensitivity. The grant is effective 9/1/2019 to 8/31/2022


Article courtesy of IMS News

Publication in Newest Volume of Inorganic Chemistry

UConn Chemistry Department Head Dr. Christian Brueckner and Chemistry Graduate Student Adewole Atoyebi published a novel process of preparing metalloporphyrins by simply grinding the porphyrin and the metal together in a mechanized mill. The work graced the August volume of Inorganic Chemistry.

Atoyebi, A.O.; Brückner, C. “Observations on the Mechanochemical Insertion of Zinc(II), Copper(II), Magnesium(II), and Select Other Metal(II) Ions into Porphyrins” Inorg. Chem., 2019, 58, 9631–9642.

2018 – 2019 Graduate Student Award

Waring (Scholastic) Award:

Arlene Bartolome (Adv. Lin)

Nathaniel Nisly (Adv. Suib)


Masterton (Teaching) Awards:

Karla Arias (Adv. Papadimitrakopoulos)

Samantha Rubio (Adv. Suib)

Jose Ortiz-Garcia (Adv. Quardokus)

Veronica Hayes (Adv. Quarkokus)

Megan Puglia (Adv. Kumar)


Connecticut Chemistry Research Award:

Srinivas Thanneeru (Adv. He)


Excellence in Service Award:

Svetlana Gelpi (Adv. Gascon)

Jessica Martin (Adv. Pinkhassik)

Lei Wang (Adv. Yao)


Bobbitt-Chou Graduate Summer Research Fellowship:

Mark Tolentino (Adv. Rouge)

Searle “IC” Duay (Adv. Angeles-Boza)

Dr. Jessica Rouge Receives NSF CAREER Grant

The National Science Foundation recently announced UConn faculty member Jessica Rouge as the recipient of a CAREER grant. The funding, which comes from the NSF’s Macromolecular Supramolecular and Nanochemistry program, will enable the Rouge group to develop novel chemical crosslinking strategies that can be incorporated into DNA nanomaterials. Using a new DNA-surfactant assembly strategy that generates DNA nanoshells compatible with cells and enzymes, the major goal of the grant is to synthesize a combination of peptide and synthetic crosslinkages that can control the nanomaterials assembly and disassembly in complex biological environments. These materials will be specifically designed to have selectivity for certain chemical stimuli that can initiate chemical and/or biochemical reactions. Such strategies are important for developing more sensitive biological sensors and more accurate drug delivery systems.

To learn more about the grant, click here.