Daniel Gamelin wins 2015 Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award

GamelinThe ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry has announced Professor Daniel Gamelin as the winner of the third Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award. Dr. Gamelin was nominated by his peers for his broad, unique, and outstanding sustained contribution to the development of inorganic nanoscience. He will be presented with an award at a symposium in his honor at the fall ACS National Meeting, August 16-20, 2015 in Boston, MA.

Dr. Gamelin’s research interests focus on combining synthesis, spectroscopy, and ligand field theory or ab initio electronic-structure methods to elucidate key functional properties of inorganic materials. His work has been recognized with numerous awards including the ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Senior Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg, and a Scialog Fellow of the Research Corporation.

To learn more about the Gamelin group, visit their webpage.

Recent work by Jesse Zalatan featured on the cover of Cell

Zalatan_picAssistant Professor Jesse Zalatan and co-workers at UCSF have developed a method to encode complex, synthetic transcriptional regulatory programs using the CRISPR-Cas system. Natural biological systems can switch between different functional or developmental states depending on the particular set of genes being expressed, and the ability to synthetically control gene expression has important implications as both a research tool and as a means to engineer novel cell-based therapeutics and devices.

Zalatan and coworkers designed CRISPR-Cas RNA scaffold molecules that specify both a DNA target and the function to execute at the target, so that sets of RNA scaffolds can be used to generate a synthetic, multigene transcriptional program in eukaryotic cells in which some genes are activated and others are repressed. These types of programs can be used to reprogram complex reaction networks in biological systems, such as metabolic pathways or signaling cascades.

For more information about the Zalatan group, visit their webpage.

Three Chemistry graduate students honored as inaugural PNNL Graduate Fellows

PNNL logo squareCongratulations to Chemistry graduate students Jose Araujo (Gamelin research group), Rachel Eaton (Bush research group), and Michael Enright (Cossairt research group), who have been named as the first-ever PNNL Graduate Fellows. The awardees will be supported by research assistantships funded by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for Spring Quarter 2015.

The PNNL Graduate Fellowship Program provides recipients with valuable research experiences complementary to their graduate education at the University of Washington. This program was recently established by the Department of Chemistry and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with the goal of generating new opportunities for collaboration, accelerating progress in research areas of mutual interest, and strengthening existing ties between the Department and PNNL. Our institutional ties were also recently expanded through the addition of PNNL scientists Dr. Thom Dunning and Dr. James De Yoreo to the Chemistry faculty; each holds an appointment as Affiliate Professor of Chemistry with graduate faculty status, which allows them to supervise graduate students at the UW.

An announcement with more information about the awardees will soon be posted on the Graduate Program website.

Stefan Stoll wins NSF CAREER Award

Stoll_headshot_150pxAssistant Professor Stefan Stoll has received a CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide program that “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Stoll uses an experimental biophysical approach to pursue a deeper understanding of the molecular structure and dynamics of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions that underlie the mechanisms of all chemical processes in life. His NSF CAREER Award research proposal, “CAREER: Elucidating conformational landscapes in proteins using high-sensitivity pulse EPR spectroscopy,” will use high-sensitivity double electron-electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy—a pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) technique that measures nanometer-scale distances between spin labels attached to proteins, allowing the determination of conformational distributions and flexibility in a manner unattainable by other methods—to quantitatively elucidate the conformational distributions in a model protein and in an ion channel.

Stoll’s project will advance understanding of the dynamics of protein host and ligand interactions and the regulation thereof on a molecular level. The foundational knowledge gained through this work is a key prerequisite to the rational design of new drugs and therapies, and the experimental insights will inform ongoing efforts to develop models of protein-protein interactions. The innovative EPR spectroscopic techniques being developed by Stoll are transformational, and will open up a broad range of new possibilities for probing molecular structure and dynamics.

For more information about the NSF CAREER Award program, please visit the program website.

For more information about Professor Stoll and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

Boydston research group has back-to-back papers highlighted in C&E News

boydstonThe research of Assistant Professor AJ Boydston and his group has been featured in two recent articles in Chemical and Engineering News. An article in the December 18, 2014 issue highlights his research on polymers that change color when stretched (http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/12/3-D-Printed-Polymer-Devices.html). Just one month later, an article in the January 19, 2015 issue summarized the Boydston group’s research on a metal-free route to prepare polymers (http://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i3/Radical-Polymer-Approach.html).

For more information about AJ Boydston and his research program, please visit his faculty page.

Matthew Bush receives 2014 Eli Lilly Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry

matt_bushAssistant Professor Matthew F. Bush has been selected to receive the 2014 Eli Lilly and Company Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry. The award is given by the Analytical Chemistry Academic Contacts Committee at Eli Lilly and Company based upon Dr. Bush’s outstanding research, publication record, and the impact they feel he is making in the field of analytical chemistry.

Eli Lilly awards these grants in many fields of chemistry and the life sciences to new, outstanding faculty members at universities throughout the country with the aim to strengthen ties with the academic community and, at the same time, provide support for leading scientists in analytical chemistry.

For more information about Matthew Bush and his research program, please visit his faculty page.

AJ Boydston wins NSF CAREER Award

boydstonAssistant Professor AJ Boydston has received a CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide program that “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” Professor Boydston received the award for his research proposal, “CAREER: Development of Force-Activated Materials for the Release of Small Organic Molecules”. This award funds research to develop materials capable of releasing small organic molecules via mechanochemical transduction. In this way, macroscopic forces will be translated into molecular-level chemical reactions. In particular, Professor Boydston will be:

  1. Investigating how mechanical force can be used to guide chemical reactivities. This will include comparisons between mechanophores that operate by complementary bond bending and stretching mechanisms.
  2. Developing mechanochemical triggers for initiating head-to-tail depolymerization of self-immolative polymers.
  3. Establishing design principles for materials that most efficiently convert mechanical input into chemical output.

In addition to providing new insights and capabilities for functional materials, Professor Boydston maintains an active commitment to STEM education through interactions with various on-campus organizations and curriculum development with Sammamish High School.

For more information about this NSF CAREER Award, please visit the award website.

For more information about AJ Boydston and his research program, please visit his faculty page.

Multi-disciplinary approach to understanding Botulinum toxin

RonetalFigResearch Associate Professor Werner Kaminsky contributed to a research project recently highlighted in Nature. With the catch phrase “BOTOX paralyses zebrafish muscles and blocks fin regeneration”, Nature highlighted a publication on the effect of Botulinum toxin on bone regeneration,[i] tested on small fish, whose fins were cut-off (under sedation), then regrown while testing different amounts of medications administrated to the fish’s dorsolateral trunk and the base of the tail fin prior to surgery.[ii] Nature summed up the findings with “muscle paralysis (was) similar to that seen in mammals and humans in that it was focal, dose-dependent and short-lasting.” and “BTx treatment had a negative impact on bone formation during fin regeneration.” The work involved a truly diverse multi-discipline co-operation between members of three departments on the UW campus: Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Pharmacology, and Chemistry. The regenerating zebrafish tail fin often provides a compelling model for therapeutic studies. However, a major hurdle to such efforts is the lack of quantitative modalities for bone mineralization analysis. Kaminsky contributed his patented microscopy technology to determine bone mineralization with a custom built automated polarized light microscope to sequentially acquire images under a stepwise rotating polarizer. This enabled birefringence to be decoupled from transmittance and orientation, allowing for quantitative analysis.

 

[i]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.2274/abstract;jsessionid=DF9492DBD18E5943C72A2F63D73A2816.f03t04

[ii]http://www.nature.com/bonekey/knowledgeenvironment/2014/140806/bonekey201463/full/bonekey201463.html

Bo Zhang promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure

zhangThe Department of Chemistry congratulates Assistant Professor Bo Zhang on his promotion to associate professor with tenure, effective September 16, 2014.

Professor Zhang’s research focuses on the development and application of electroanalytical measurement tools to study single electrochemical events and processes. The Zhang group uses nanometer-scale electrodes to study electron transfer reactions of single molecules and single metal nanoparticles, electrocatalysis, and mass transport at the electrode/solution interface. This work is being conducted in pursuit of fundamental understanding of heterogeneous electron-transfer reactions and electrode/solution interfaces as well as single-cell chemistry and biological function such as neuronal secretion and brain activity.

To learn more about Professor Zhang’s research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.