Tag Archive for Chemistry

108 Students Benefit from Hughes Summer Research Program

Hughes Fellow Patrick Sarver '14 is spending his summer working with Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry. He studies “The Catalytic, Asymmetric ‘Interrupted’ Feist-Benary Reaction."

Through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Wesleyan Hughes Summer Research Program supports undergraduate education in the life sciences. This summer, Wesleyan is hosting 43 Hughes Fellows and approximately 65 Hughes Associates. Hughes Associates are not funded by Hughes, but they participate in Hughes activities.

The program runs from May 25 to July 29 and is open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors currently enrolled at Wesleyan. Fellows receive a $4,000 stipend and are expected to work full-time on their research.

Wesleyan faculty members serve as mentors in the Hughes Summer Research Program. The Summer Program also includes weekly seminars and workshops, a symposium, various social events, and a closing Poster Session. More information on the Wesleyan Hughes Program is online here.

Below is a video and several photographs of 2011 Summer Hughes Fellows:

Provost Announces New University Professors, Artist-in-Residence, Research Professors

Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for academic affairs, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, announced a change of title for several faculty members.

These new titles take effect July 1, 2011.

New University Professors

Ronald Kuivila, University Professor of Music, has been teaching at Wesleyan since 1981. He creates sound installations, performs experimental music, and integrates computer programming with music composition. More than 50 of his sound installations have been exhibited internationally, more than 40 works of his concert music have been given major performances, 12 of his works of music for dance have been performed in dance works by major choreographers including Merce Cunningham, his discography includes 11 recordings,

Taylor Awarded DOE Grant for “Imaging Lignin Degradation”

Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies, has received a $193,809 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a project called “Imaging Lignin Degradation.” Taylor will collaborate with colleagues at Penn State University and the University of Tennessee.

Taylor hopes to use fluorescence imaging and isotope trace experiments to develop probes for finding organisms that can break down lignin. She plans to test complex biological samples.

“Think going to the forest and bringing home a bucket of dirt containing small insects and lots of microorganisms and then figuring out which ones can break down lignin. This is related to my own work, where I hope to help turn lignin into a viable carbon source for biofuel production,” Taylor explains.

Beveridge Honored at Biophysics Retreat

David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics., professor of chemistry, was honored at Wesleyan University’s 11th Annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat Sept. 23. Beveridge came to Wesleyan about 30 years ago to develop a program in molecular biophysics within the Department of Chemistry. He studies how the structure, dynamic and solvation of nucleic acids and proteins influence binding and recognition. Pictured is Wesleyan President Michael Roth with Beveridge at the retreat.

NIH Supports Calter’s Bond-Forming Reaction Research

Michael Calter

Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry, received a grant worth $472,490 from the National Institutes of Health General Medical Sciences.

The award will support his research on “Asymmetric C-C Bond-Forming Reactions Catalyzed by Cinchona Alkaloid Derivatives” through July 31, 2013.

Calter Awarded NIH Grant

Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry, received a $472,490 grant from the National Institutes of Health for his study titled “Asymmetric C-C Bond-Forming Reactions Catalyzed by Cinchona Alkaloid Derivatives.” The grant will fund this research through July 31, 2013.

The project described was supported by Award Number R15GM094764 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

NSF Supports Pickett’s, Novick’s Spectroscopy Research

Stewart Novick, professor of chemistry, and Herb Pickett, a visiting scholar in chemistry, received a $323,880 grant from the National Science Foundation for their research titled “High resolution spectroscopy of molecular hydrogen complexed with Transition metal halides and chalcogens: a model for H2 MOF hydrogen storage.” The grant will be awarded Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2013. The grant is subcontract with the project’s co-PI Zhenghong Yu at Aerodyne Research Inc.

Using the extremely sensitive Fourier transform microwave spectrometer in Novick’s laboratory and incorporating “laser ablation” as a source of refractory molecules, Novick and Pickett plan to study the “active site” of the metal organic frameworks (MOF) binding site to molecular hydrogen. These MOFs can be used to safely transport hydrogen, for example in hydrogen fuel-cell driven automobiles.

“Perhaps we will ultimately learn how to design a better MOF for hydrogen transport,” Novick says.

Novick and Pickett will explore the chemical nature of bonding between H2 and its various binding partners such as ZnO, CuO, CuF, and other transition metal halides and chalcogens (oxygen and sulfur), which we will denote by MX.

“The investigation of the structure and dynamics of these medium strength complexes will enable us to elucidate the influence of the electronic structure of the transition metal halides and chalcogens upon the bond strength of these molecules with molecular hydrogen,” Novick explains. “We will also obtain detailed information on the anisotropy of the bonding of the MX with H2. The complexes will be produced by a laser ablation source immediately following supersonic expansion of a dilute mixture of hydrogen and an inert gas.”

These experimental and theoretical investigations will reveal important structural, energetic and dynamical information which should provide detailed insights into what further modification of MOFs will be required for hydrogen storage at room temperature.

Russu, Weng Published in Journal of Molecular Biology

Irina Russu, professor of chemistry, and chemistry graduate student Xiaoli Weng are the co-authors of an article titled, “Structural Enegetics of the Adenine Tract from an Intrinsic Transcription Terminator,” published in the Journal of Molecular Biology 397, pages 677-688, in 2010.

Westmoreland Attends Chemistry Session in Sri Lanka

T. David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, attended the 39th Annual Sessions of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon June 16-18 in Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka. The theme was “Beginning of a new era: Challenges and Opportunities for Chemists on National Development.”