Research Interest


Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Analytical Chemistry

Advisor Research Interest

Dr. Fredrick Bet-Pera

Dr. Fredrick Bet-Pera

Trace Determination: In this investigation the primary concern will be developing highly sensitive and selective methods for analyses of trace metals and nonmetals such as arsenic, tellurium, selenium, germanium and cyanide. Most of the experimental work will involve using atomic absorption and electrochemical instrumentation. Methodology will be extended to determinations in natural waters as well as synthetic samples.

Electrochemical Investigations:The major effort in this category of research will be devoted to study the aqueous chemistry of some transition metals such as vanadium, niobium, tungsten and uranium in different oxidation states. The experimental work will involve using different electrochemical techniques for identifying different transition metal species that are involved in the electrochemical reduction.

The third area of investigation is the occurrence of trace elements in human tissue. Most of the experimental work will involve using Anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV).

Dr. Gregory A. Barding

Food crops are increasingly under duress as climate change has increased the severity and frequency of abiotic stresses, such as drought and flooding.  Certain varieties of plants are innately resistant to these natural disasters.  I am interested in elucidating the complex biochemical mechanisms responsible for plant survival by monitoring changes in metabolite levels (metabolite profiling) in the presence and absence of the stressors.  By incorporating a variety of analytical techniques, including liquid and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and UV/Vis spectroscopy, a broad representation of metabolites can be quantitatively measured, including TCA cycle intermediates, glycolysis intermediates, and amino acids.  Understanding how metabolism and energy flux changes during the presence or absence of stress will aid in our understanding of the crop stress response.

Dr. George Gutnikov

Dr. George Gutnikov

 

My research interests for Senior projects (and graduate students) lie in the determination of fatty acid profiles by capillary electrophoresis.

Dr. Yan Liu

dr. yan liu

Yan Liu joined the Chemistry Department at Cal Poly Pomona in September 2012. His research focus on the development of miniaturized analysis system for biological and environmental applications. This type of analyzer can integrate sample collection, injection, separation, and detection on a single microfluidic device. Current undergoing projects include:

  1. Separations on microfluidic device. Different separation methods (CE and CEC) will be adapted from conventional analysis system to the microfluidic device format. Surface chemistry of polymer-based device is being studied to facilitate more efficient separations. Currently, the surfactant and polyelectrolytes are under investigation.
  2. Portable analyzer for real-time monitoring of aerosol. The amount of components in air-borne particles is directly related to the anthropological activities. Air sample will be collected and deposited directly onto the microfluidic device, followed by the CE separation and detections. The species we are interested in include sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, and some organic acids.
  3. Caffeine in energy drinks. Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and other stimulants. High-dose consumption of energy drinks could potentially lead to the death of human beings. We are developing a new analyzer for fast determination in energy drinks and/or body fluid.
  4. Electrochemical properties of graphene. Graphene, a two-dimensional crystal consisting of a monolayer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, exhibits unique electrical properties. Nitrogen-doped graphene exhibits n-type doping characteristic and has great potentials in high capacity lithium ion batteries, metal-free electrochemical catalyst in fuel cells, large capacity hydrogen storage, and remarkable low turn-on field emitters. We are studying the surface properties of graphene via electrochemical and spectroscopic methods.

Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Biochemistry

Advisor Research Interest

Dr. Lisa Alex

Dr. Lisa Alex

Ph.D. (MIT)

Broadly defined, we are interested in how cells transduce environmental changes into metabolic changes; signal transduction. Specifically, we study proteins that participate in 2-component signal transduction (TCST) pathways. In TCST pathways, the first component is an autophosphorylating histidine kinase (HK) whose activity is modulated in response to a stimulus. The phosphoryl group is subsequently transferred to an aspartate residue on a second protein called the response regulator (RR). It's the differential phosphorylation of the response regulator that results in the metabolic change, which could be a modification in enzyme activity, protein-protein interaction, or DNA binding. TCST pathways are found in bacteria, fungi, slime molds, and plants but not in mammals. Because they play a role in virulence in bacteria and fungi they are potential antimicrobial targets. Our group uses the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa to study TCST pathways.

Among the eleven HKs in N. crassa, we are most interested in understanding the TCST pathway involving the NIK-1. NIK-1, also known as OS-1, was the first HK cloned, sequenced, and knocked out. Dnik-1 mutants display multiple phenotypes such as impaired hyphal development with increased cell lysis and production of carotenoids, decreased female fertility, decreased conidiation, and osmotic sensitivity. They have also been shown by others to be resistant to certain fungicides. We have previously suggested that nik-1 may be involved in regulating proper cell wall development due to the observed Dnik-1 phenotypes. We are using AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) to investigate the cell wall structures of both wild type and Dnik-1 mutants in various stages of its life cycle (hyphae, conidia, ascospores) under a variety of growth conditions (high salt, low salt, oxidative stress etc.).

We are also interested in expressing and localizing NIK-1 in N. crassa. Previous attempts to express this protein by conventional methods in E. coli have failed due to formation of inclusion bodies that could not be refolded. Therefore, we are currently exploring alternative expression systems to obtain purified protein that can be used for phosphorylation and structural studies. In addition, a NIK-1-GFP fusion construct will be used to localize NIK-1 in cells. The predicted protein sequence suggests it does not contain any transmembrane domains, however, it may be membrane associated through interaction with other integral membrane proteins.

Dr. X.C. Sean Liu

Dr. X.C. Sean Liu

New approach for regioselective synthesis--proteins as guidance for regioselective modification of steroids and disaccharides. The goal of this project is to establish a new approach of using proteins as guidance for regioselective synthesis. We will demonstrate this method by describing two projects that have strong application potential. One is to use bovine serum albumin (BSA) to guide the regioselective reduction of steroids. The other is to use lectin (concanavalin A) to guide the regioselective modification of disaccharides such as lactose and melibiose. Modified steroids, disaccharides and oligosaccharides play important roles in drug and vaccine development. This new method may be useful in the development of new modified steroids and carbohydrates for developing new drugs and vaccines.

Two-dimensional stationary phases for liquid chromatographic separations. The area of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is an important field of research. One of the areas of great interest is the separation of biomolecules- proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, etc. Currently, many bioseparations require several steps using different separation columns for an adequate isolation of the target biomolecules. This research was undertaken to create stationary phases that could be used in HPLC columns for separation of biomolecules. The incorporation of different functionalities into stationary phases will eliminate time-consuming steps for these isolations and improve efficiency. The stationary phases have a combination of functionalities that allow them to be used as two-dimensional material for bioseparation.

Biosensors based on artificial receptors. Boronic acid and its derivatives have a proven record as synthetic receptors and probes. Therefore, a properly designed synthetic receptor comprised of boronic acids may be used as a glucose sensor due to the boronate/sugar interactions. It is proposed that a number of artificial receptors for glucose be synthesized, using the emerging technology of molecular imprinting. Molecular imprinting technology is a very promising technique for making artificial antibodies and receptors. It is a method that introduces specific binding sites into a synthetic polymer by co-polymerization of functional monomers and cross linkers in the presence of a template (in this case, a glucose molecule). When the Template is washed out; the resulting polymer contains specific sties for the template, thus making it an artificial receptor.

Dr. Patrick Mobley

Dr. Patrick Mobley

Encapsulated viruses (HIV, influenza, measles...) must fuse their membrane with that of a cell in order to carry out an infection. The viral transmembrane protein mediates the fusion process. Short nonpolar sequences near the amino terminus of viral transmembrane proteins play critical roles in the fusion process and are called fusion peptides (FPs). Our research is directed towards the understanding of how viral fusion peptides cause membranes to fuse. We have used principally the fusion peptide from HIV and the influenza virus. Ongoing projects:

Assessing the effect of mutations to FPs on their structure and ability to lyse and aggregate erythrocytes and synthetic phospholipid vesicles. FP structure is studied using FTIR, Circular Dichroism spectroscopy, and computational methods. Fusion and disruption of red cell and vesicle membranes are studied with hemolysis, fluorescence, particle sizing, and dynamic light scattering assays.

Screening peptide and nonpeptide inhibitors of FP-induced lysis and aggregation. Some agents can block hemolysis and aggregation of erythrocytes by FP. The HIV fusion inhibitor, T20, is a peptide with a sequence corresponding to part of the HIV transmembrane protein (gp41), and is the best inhibitor we have found to date. T20 inhibits FP-induced hemolysis with an ID50 of 0.5 M. Consequently, we have proposed that T20's inhibition of FP activity is responsible for some part of its efficacy.

Determining what other parts of the HIV transmembrane protein (gp41) interact with the membrane. We have found that FP, a sequence immediately preceding the membrane (preTM), and the long N-terminal helix (DP-107) all lyse and aggregate erythrocytes. Other areas to investigate are the intraviral carboxyl terminus and the extraviral loop region of gp41. We would also like to know how these domains of gp41 interact in the fusion process.

Defining the amyloid character of FP. Viral fusion peptides have great structural plasticity. They can change from mostly helical to mostly beta sheet with small changes in the environment. This characteristic is shared by the amyloid peptides found in Alzheimer's and Creutzfeld-Jacob diseases. We would like to further explore the similarities between the two families of peptides.


Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Chemical Education

Advisor Research Interest

 

 

 

Dr. Michael F. Z. Page

Dr. Michael F.Z. Page

Chemical Education:
As technology and multimedia evolve, I am interested in developing chemistry-based curricula that reflect these modern advances and offers students alternative avenues of scientific understanding, exploration, and comprehension. Many opportunities are available to students who are interested in developing multimedia lessons, demonstrations, and tutorials using state of the art video, sound, and presentation equipment.

For students who are interested in teaching chemistry and interacting with local high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools, I have several collaborators who are interested in expanding and developing science clubs that review scientific principles and offer interesting lab demonstrations. Additionally, I am also interested in modifying some classic university laboratory lessons to become more inquiry-based, cost-effective, and ecologically conscience.

Polymer Chemistry:
As an organic chemist by training, I have collaborated with researchers at UCLA and Caltech to develop biologically relevant polymers that contain peptide residues to image the progression of cancerous tumors. There are opportunities for students to gain experience in polymer chemistry if these aims seem interesting.

Students interested in any of these aims should feel free to come and speak with me!

Dr. Laurie S. Starkey

My research interests lie in the areas of both Chemical Education and Organic Synthesis. My main focus in Chem. Ed. research is the utilization of technology in teaching and learning, especially in the Organic teaching labs. Recent activities include the creation of online pre-lab quizzes and online lab tutorials/demonstrations, and the use of "clickers" in the classroom (student response systems). Student research projects could involve the development of new online tools, or measuring the impact of such resources on student learning. My laboratory research projects involve the development and optimization of new experiments for the undergraduate Organic teaching labs. The goals of any new experiment include discovering interesting synthetic transformations and laboratory techniques while being learning-centered, safe, time-efficient, cost-efficient, environmentally friendly (green), and inquiry-based.

Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Inorganic Chemistry

Advisor Research Interest

 

 

 

Dr. Joe Casalnuovo

Dr. Joe Casalnuovo

Our research is focused on a class of compounds known as Fischer carbenes. Fischer carbenes are organometallic compounds that have been widely used as reagents in organic synthesis. Notably, they have been very useful in synthetic routes to natural products that have potential applications in medicinal research. In our laboratory, we have recently discovered the first efficient route to diphosphinated Fischer carbenes, a new and exciting variation of this class of compounds. We are interested in fully exploring the synthesis, characterization (IR and NMR spectroscopies), and reactivity of these novel compounds. We are especially interested in the potential of chiral diphosphinated Fischer carbenes to carry out asymmetric syntheses, a vital tool in the synthesis of natural products. Because many of the compounds that we synthesize decompose when exposed to air, researchers have the opportunity to learn how to carry out reactions in an airless environment using Schlenk glassware techniques.

Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Organic Chemistry

Advisor Research Interest

Dr. Philip Beauchamp

Dr. Philip Beauchamp

I am interested in synthetic chemistry, either synthetic methodology (functional group inter conversions) or actual synthesis towards a specific target molecule. I am also willing to work on natural product isolation if you have a specific goal. Design or modification of synthetic laboratory equipment is yet another possible area. I am willing to work on inorganic projects, as related to organometallic chemistry. Structure and confirmation studies through the use of NMR can be performed. Most synthetic projects require a relatively large time commitment. Techniques for each synthetic step are usually developed by using model reactions. If you are willing to make such a commitment I am interested in talking with you. Techniques learned here would be useful in doing synthetic work in graduate school or industry. I prefer you spend one-two quarters of CHM 400 (1-4 units) researching and planning your project. Then if you are still interested we will take on the Senior Project courses, CHM 491 and 492.

Dr. Francis Flores

Dr. Francis Flores

My research interests revolve around reaction mechanisms, structure - reactivity relationships and intrinsic barriers of reactions. Research in this area focuses on understanding fundamental processes such as proton transfer and nucleophilic addition/substitution reactions in organic as well as transition metal carbene systems. Research tools include a variety of kinetic methods including stopped- flow spectrophotometry for fast reactions as well as conventional UV-Vis spectroscopy for slower reactions.

The study of coal structure constitutes another area of interest. Identification and quantitation of functional groups and moieties in different rank coals is of particular interest. Both chemical as well as standard analytical methods such as 1H NMR, FT-IR and VPO are employed. Of current interest is the development of calibration methods for using HPLC as a potentially powerful tool for coal structure research.

Dr. Floyd Klavetter

Dr. Floyd Klavetter

We design and prepare polymeric materials that conduct electricity. These substances are similar to graphite in that they possess extensive pi-electron delocalization, but they differ in their properties: the materials are flexible, moldable, and soluble in common solvents. The research involves textbook organic synthesis, characterization of organic molecules, and processing these materials into forms useful for semi-conductor devices. We have developed a wax which upon setting at room temperature for 24 hours is converted into a dark green, highly-conductive polymer.

When electrical current flows through some of these conducting polymers, they glow (emit light). These materials are being developed into light-emitting diodes for flat panel displays. Interestingly enough, a physics group in Cambridge, England has found that when these conducting polymers are illuminated with light, they generate electricity! These conducting polymers also serve as photovoltaic cells. They can convert electricity into light, or light into electricity.

Recent Publications:
"Model Studies for the Corrosion-Inhibiting Interactions at Pani/Metal Surfaces" by M. Rouser, B. Hetayothin and F. L. Klavetter, "Polym. Prep.", 2004, Volume 45(1), pp. 238-9.

"Polymerization of N-Phenylhydroxylamine: A Novel Route to the Family of Polyanilines" by F. Klavetter, "Polym. Prep.", 2004, Volume 45(1), pp. 145-6.

Dr. James Rego

Dr. James Rego

 

My research involves the synthesis and characterization of novel self-organizing organic materials designed for optoelectronic applications.

Dr. Laurie S. Starkey

My research interests lie in the areas of both Chemical Education and Organic Synthesis. My main focus in Chem. Ed. research is the utilization of technology in teaching and learning, especially in the Organic teaching labs. Recent activities include the creation of online pre-lab quizzes and online lab tutorials/demonstrations, and the use of "clickers" in the classroom (student response systems). Student research projects could involve the development of new online tools, or measuring the impact of such resources on student learning. My laboratory research projects involve the development and optimization of new experiments for the undergraduate Organic teaching labs. The goals of any new experiment include discovering interesting synthetic transformations and laboratory techniques while being learning-centered, safe, time-efficient, cost-efficient, environmentally friendly (green), and inquiry-based.

Analytical | Biochemistry | Chemical Education | Inorganic | Organic | Physical

Physical Chemistry

Advisor Research Interest

Dr. Samir Anz

The main aspects of my research involve the study of electron-hole recombinations in nano-scale materials, and the rapidly growing science of the properties of nano-phase materials and MEMS, the growth and/or etching of the underlying material must be understood.

Low energy Electron Enhanced Etching (LE4) is a relatively new procedure for etching materials and produces high-fidelity features in materials. My research can thus be divided into two categories. The first pertains to understanding the chemical processes and kinetic mechanisms, which are involved in the LE4 etching of semiconductors. The second is the commercialization of LE4 and the development of fabrication protocols that will produce the desired features for MEMS applications

Dr. Timothy C. Corcoran

Dr. Timothy Corcoran

My research seeks to uncover new jewels in the well-known area of fluorescence, with a strong emphasis on its applications in clinical medicine and biotechnology.

Biology and clinical medicine have become sciences which depend on ever-increasing amounts of information. This demand cannot rationally be met without lowering costs and increasing throughput, that is, getting more bang for the buck. Fluorescent labels have become a very important method for extracting qualitative and quantitative information in a number of contexts, such as fluorescent microscopy, electrophoresis, microarrays and flow cytometry. Our work centers on overcoming some of the limits of current fluorescence analysis methods in these areas by adapting excitation emission matrices, a method from analytical chemistry to meet the particular challenges imposed by rapid-flowing samples and 2-dimensional imaging. Utilizing some very new technology in lasers and spectroscopy, we hope to develop a family of instruments capable of being developed into commercial instruments which can significantly improve on current practice in both in performance and economics.

 

 

 

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