Chemistry Department News
Brian Callahan Receives Major Grant to Study 'Hedgehog' Proteins
Brian Callahan, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, has received a 5-year, $541,614 grant from the National Cancer Institute to support biochemical and biophysical studies of human “hedgehog” proteins. These unusual, cholesterol-modified proteins are implicated in a range of human pathologies, from severe birth defects to the growth and metastasis of multiple cancers.
The two main goals for the current grant are to develop a better fundamental understanding of hedgehog’s molecular function, and to translate that knowledge into improved therapies that benefit patients. Since joining BU in 2012, Callahan has received generous support for his research from the Department of Defense, the New York State Department Health, and now the NCI, totaling more than $850K.
Wunmi Sadik Selected a Jefferson Science Fellow
Congratulations to Wunmi Sadik for being selected to the 2017-2018 group of Jefferson Science Fellows.
The 2017-2018 Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) is the thirteenth class of Fellows selected since the program was established in 2003 as an initiative of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. The Jefferson Science Fellows Program is designed to further build capacity for science, technology, and engineering expertise within the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The 2017-2018 JSFs were selected in December 2016 and will begin their one-year assignments in Washington, DC in August 2017. More information about the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program is available at this link.
First NMR Screening of Amyloid Fibrils from Different Alzheimer's Subtypes
A research paper from Assistant Professor Wei Qiang’s postdoctoral work was published in Nature on January 12, 2017, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v541/n7636/full/nature20814.html. The paper describes the very first screening of high-resolution structures of Β-amyloid fibrils that are seeded from the amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients with different clinical subtypes. Over 37 such amyloid fibril samples from 18 different patients were studied using the solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The results highlight the existence of a common 40-residue Β-amyloid fibril structures that dominants the amyloid plaques, as well as potential additional structures that may be responsible for rapidly progressing clinical subtypes. Read more about Prof. Qiang’s comments on this work in the following News:
Wunmi Sadik receives the 2016 Nigerian National Order of Merit
Wunmi Sadik has been awarded the 2016 Nigerian National Order of Merit for science. The award is the country's highest national honor for distinguished contributions in academia. Of the 73 total recipients of this award since its creation in 1979, only four (including Wunmi) have been women, and many (like Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and author Chinua Achebe and Isidore Okpewho) are people whose work and accomplishments have been very meaningful to Wunmi on a personal level. Wunmi and her family traveled to Abuja to receive the award from President Buhari on the December 1, 2016. More information can be found at this link.
Information about the award and it's past recipients can be viewed here.
Eriks Rozners receives 2016 Chancellors award for Scholarship and Creative Activities
Professor Eriks Rozenrs' biological and chemical research into the structure and function of RNA has earned him the 2016 Chancellors award for Scholarship and Creactive Activities.
Read more in Binghamton University's Inside magazine.
Wunmi Sadik Receives Major Grant to Develop Paper Based Biosensors
Professor Omowunmi “Wunmi” Sadik has received a $867,536 grant from the National Science Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in collaboration with Prof. Seokheun Choi in Binghamton’s department of Electrical Engineering and Professor Helen Asemota at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. The team will be developing paper based biosensors to increase the productivity of agriculture in developing countries.
This project seeks to revolutionize yam production in developing countries through the development and field-testing of low-cost genotyping and phenotyping biosensors and molecular genetic tools, which will contain an integrated paper-based biobattery for self-sustainable and independent sensing systems. The results will be made available to larger community through field-testing. User friendliness is an important objective of this project as the resulting device is not limited for clinical and laboratory professionals, it is also geared towards the general public with little or no knowledge of the field of science and engineering.
A new breed of students/researchers will be trained capable of tackling global food security problems. Broader dissemination plans include peer-reviewed publications, handouts, web-page updates, expansion of genome yam sequencing database, international experience for students and training of globally-engaged US workforce.
Binghamton Biochemistry Alumnus in the News
William Marsiglia, a 2013 Binghamton graduate with a BS in Biochemistry, has received a prestigious NIH National Cancer Institute predoctoral fellowship. The purpose of the NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00) is to encourage and retain outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing careers as independent cancer researchers.
After graduating from Binghamton University, William joined the Chemistry graduate program at NYU, where he is currently working on his dissertation as a member of the Traaseth Lab. His research is focused on understanding how pathogenic mutations in receptor tyrosine kinases activate cell division to cause cancer.
While at Binghamton, William performed research in Dr. Grewer's lab on the identification of glutamine transport inhibitors. His work resulted in one publication, and he has since added two more publications from his PhD work. He also received numerous awards while at Binghamton, including the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship.
5th Bi-Annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis
The 5th Bi-Annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis will be held on April 8, 2016. Professor Bob Crabtree from the Department of Chemistry at Yale Univeristy with be speaking. The event will take place in the Academic Building A, Room G008 ate 5:15 p.m.
2016 Graduate Student Excellence Awards
Our recipients are:
Paul Ogutu - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching
Steven Boyer - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching
Wei Zhao - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research
Stephen Ambrozik - - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Service/Outreach
Binghamton Chemistry Alumnus in the News
Justin Sambur, a 2006 BS Honors graduate in Chemistry at Binghamton University, was highlighted in a recent issue of C&E News for his recent research “reactivity hot spots” on catalytic surfaces.
While at Binghamton, Justin completed an Honors Thesis working with Dr. Dave Doetschman entitled, "Decomposition of Dimethyl Methylphosphonate (DMMP) in Sodium-X Type Faujasite Zeolite.” This research involved quantifying the chemical effects of various quantities of water adsorbed in the hygroscopic zeolite on the subsequent adsorption and decomposition of the nerve agent simulant DMMP. Following earning his BS from Binghamton, Justin went on to earn a PhD from Colorado State and is currently an NSF ACC-F post-doctoral fellow working with Professor Peng Chen at Cornell University.
4th Annual John Eisch Letureship
Professor Eric N. Jacobsen, from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, will be the guest speaker at the 4th annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis. Professor Jacobsen's talk with be on "Anion-Binding Catalysis". The talk will take place on Friday, November 13, 2015, at 12:00 noon in Academic Building A, Room G008. The program for the event is available at this link (pdf, 280 KB).
Whittingham named Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate
Stan Whittingham has been named a 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate. This designation acknowledges that his research on the lithium-ion battery is on a very high level and that he is "of Nobel" class and likely to earn the Nobel someday. More information about his achievement is available in this Binhamton Inside story.
Researching new ways fight cancer
Brian Callahan's research is uncovering new information about hedgehog proteins that could help improve cancer treatments without the side effects that we are accustomed to today. Controlling the activity of hedgehog proteins is the key and Brian's research has found several ways to help do just that. Read more in this article in BU's Discover-e magazine
6th Graders get Hands-on with Science at Binghamton University
About 35 in-coming 6th graders from the Binghamton City School District’s seven elementary buildings are spending two solid weeks working side by side with professors, researchers, graduate students and teachers at the “Go Green Institute” conducted in the science facilities on the Binghamton University Campus from July 13 – July 27. Coverage by local news WICZ TV can be read here.
Christof Grewer Receives Major NSF Grant to study glutamate transport
Dr. Christof Grewer has been awarded a grant totaling $530K from the National Science Foundation to study the dynamics and energetics of secondary-active glutamate transport.
Here is a brief description of the work: ...the plasma membrane separates the interior of the cell from the extracellular space and provides a barrier to cell entry/exit for many molecules (for example nutrient or signaling molecules) that are essential for cell survival. One such molecule, glutamate, is the most important neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain. Glutamate is transported across plasma membranes through active glutamate transporters, which play essential roles in controlling the levels of glutamate in the mammalian brain and other tissue. This project explores the fundamental principles by which these transporters operate. Understanding these principles is important because it will contribute to our knowledge not only of the role of glutamate and nutrient movement between cellular compartments in the mammalian brain, as well as other organs of the body, but also glutamate homeostasis, which is important for cellular function in general. Furthermore, the project facilitates undergraduate and graduate student education by providing opportunities for cutting-edge biophysical research, as well as training in basic physical, quantitative approaches to be applied to a significant biological problem.
Wayne Jones receives NERM Award for Service
Dr. Wayne E. Jones Jr. has been named the NERM 2015 awardee of the E. Ann Nalley Northeast Region Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society
Wayne has held leadership positions in the American Chemical Society, at the three levels of organization: the Binghamton local section, the Northeast Region, and the national stage of ACS governance. At the local level, Wayne started his service as the Binghamton Local Section Awards Chair in 1996. In 1997 he was elected the section’s Councilor, a post he still holds. In addition to this, he was Chair of the Binghamton Local Section in 2000.
He enlarged the scope of his volunteerism when he decided to get involved with the incorporation of the Northeast Region. As part of the “gang of four” volunteers, Wayne contributed to the deliberations and ultimate production of the constitution and bylaws of the Northeast Region of the ACS (NERACS). Incorporation was finally achieved in 2005, and Wayne served as the inaugural Treasurer of our Region. Besides high-level governance, Wayne Jones has also carried out the heavy lifting of being General Chair of NERM 2006, held in Binghamton, NY. He did a remarkable job, as this NERM proceeded despite the primary conference site having been flooded out just prior to the meeting. Meeting rooms were moved, and this NERM was a success both scientifically and financially. Undaunted, Wayne has volunteered to again, in 2016, hold the reins of a NERM as General Chair.
On the national level, Wayne’s work as Councilor has resulted in posts on three major committees: Local Section Activities, Membership Affairs, and the Committee on Committees. Remarkably, he has served as Chair for all of these! His various other contributions in service to the ACS emphatically point to a well-deserved selection as the NERM 2015 E. Ann Nalley Volunteer Service Award.
Career Development Workshops Held
In partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS); the Binghamton University Chemistry Department, ACS Local Binghamton Section and Graduate Chemistry Club, held the ACS Planning your Career Development and Finding your Pathway workshops on June 9th and 10th, 2015.
The purpose of these workshops were to help individuals in the STEM fields explore what career pathways are available to them following degree completion and explore individual development plans (IDPs) that will help students develop the skills necessary to achieve successful employment in the career pathway of their choice following degree completion.
Eliud Mushibe receives EOP Center Award
Dr. Eliud Mushibe was recognized with the Michael V. Boyd EOP Center Faculty Staff Award fro 2015 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to EOP students in Chemistry 107/108.
ACS Local Section Awards
On April 29th, 2015 the Binghamton Local Section of the American Chemical Society held it's annual Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Symposium Hall of the Center of Excellence Building on the BU campus. Donna Nelson, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, and President-Elect of the American Chemical Society talked about her experience as a science advisor for the television series Breaking Bad. The ceremony was presided over by Dan Brennan, Binghamton Local Section Chair, and Wayne Jones, Binghamton Local Section Councilor.
Several members of the Chemistry Dept received awards at the ceremony. Awardees were: Anting "Amy" Chen, ACS Graduate Travel Award; Sandy Zhang, Outstanding Undergraduate Senior Chemistry Major Award; Megan Fegley, Zappert Award for Outstanding Graduating Ph.D. Student; Christof Grewer, 2015 NYS Science Olympiad Division C Regional Coordinator; Mary Bridge, 2015 Local and National Chemistry Olympiad Coordinator; Alexsa Silva, 2015 Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year; M. Stanley Whittingham, ACS Binghamton Local Section Distinguished Research Award.
Below are a few photos from the event:
Student Athlete Agatha Ambrozy Inducted into National College Athlete Honor Society
Junior Chemistry Major Agatha Ambrozy was among 26 student-athletes inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society (Chi Alpha Sigma) on Monday evening in the TAU Club Room of the Events Center. A Varsity Tennis play, she has demonstrated excellence in both the classroom and her athletic pursuits. She is currently planning to pursue a career in medicine following graduation.
2015 Graduate Student Excellence Awards
Three graduate students from the Chemistry Department were named recipients of the The Graduate School's 2015 Graduate Student Excellence Awards for their important contributions to the excellence of the University in service/outreach, teaching and research.
University President Harvey Stenger expressed his congratulations and thanks for their efforts at the awards luncheon. More details about the awards are available in Inside Binghamton University.
Our recipients were:
Samwel Cheruiyot - Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching
Donshen Ji - Graduate Student Excellence in Service/Outreach
Shiyao Shan - Graduate Student Excellence in Research
Eriks Rozners' Work Highlighted in DISCOVER-e Magazine
Eriks' nearly 30 years of work on understanding the role of RNA in the body has drawn a lot of attention in recent years, including large grants from both the National Institues of Health and the National Science Foundation. This success comes from his attention to detail and his interest in the basic science of chemically modified nucleic acids.
Stan Whittingham Recieves Lifetime Achievement Award
Stan received the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NAATBatt) Lifetime Achievement Award Feb. 18 for more than 40 years of research on lithium-ion batteries. He pioneered the development of the lithium-ion battery while working with a team studying superconductors at ExxonMobil in the 1970s.
The NAATBatt recognizes those who promote the development and use of stored energy technology in vehicles and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
You can read more about Stan's award in this BU Pipedream article.
Brian Callahan awarded DoD grant for Cancer Research
Prof. Brian Callahan, Biological Chemistry, has received a highly competitive “New Idea Development Award” from the US Department of Defense (285 K, 3 years). Approximately 10 of these awards were made this year from a national pool of >100 applicants.
The funding will support research aimed at discovering a new class of therapeutic molecules to treat advanced prostate cancer.
Callahan is collaborating in this effort with a team of scientists that includes experts from the University of California San Francisco and the Vancouver Prostate Cancer Centre.
The Third Annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis
We are pleased to announce the third annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis to be held on Friday, November 7, 2014. We are delighted to have, as our featured speaker, the internationally recognized Professor Brian M. Stoltz from California Institute of Technology. His talk is entitled, "Complex Natural Products as a Driving Force for Discovery in Organic Chemistry." We invite you to join us on November 7th, at 4 p.m., in Science Library 212, for what promises to be an excellent lecture as well as a chance to meet with faculty, alumni and friends.
We are at an exciting time in both the life of the University and the Department of Chemistry here at Binghamton. We hope that you will be able to join us on November 7th!
A program with additional details is available for download here.
Getting Kids Interested in Chemistry!
Saturday, graduate students in the Chemistry dept headed to the Oakdale Mall where they set up demos and taught kids about different aspects of chemistry ... and they incorporated candy! Students say they hope these kids will walk away with a love for science.
Stephen Ambrozik, grad student at Binghamton University said, "We really just hope to pass on the passion that we have for science. There's a lot of grad students out here, a lot of undergrads, and we're all majors in science and chemistry so we're trying to get these students to have the passion we have."
View the Fox News video here.
Next month Binghamton University's Chemistry department will be at the Vestal Hills Elementary School, working with students and performing different scientific demos.
Bruce McDuffie Remembered
Bruce McDuffie, former professor of analytical chemistry at BU, passed away on Sept. 12 at his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. McDuffie received national recognition in 1970 for discovering high levels of methylmercury in a can of tuna.
More information about Bruce and his contributions to the University and community are available in this Pipe Dream article.
NorthEast Center for Chemical Energy Storage (NECCES) at Binghamton University has been awarded a $12.8 million
The NorthEast Center for Chemical Energy Storage (NECCES) at Binghamton University, directed by Stan Whittingham has been awarded a $12.8 million, four-year grant by the Department of Energy. The grant is one of the largest federal research grants Binghamton University has received.
Whittingham and his colleagues want to understand the fundamental chemical reactions in energy storage materials to make them work better and to develop new materials that are cheaper, environmentally friendly and able to store more energy than current materials can.
More details are available in Binghamton Unversity's Inside magazine at this link.
Eriks Rozners Awarded NIH Grant for His Work on Amide-Modified RNA
Prof. Rozners has received an NIH research award (R01 GM071461, $1,572,389 for four years) to continue his research on the recently discovered biological activity of amide-modified RNA. The goal of this project is to create novel research tools and compounds for therapeutic applications of modified short interfering RNAs, while looking for new fundamental insights into structure and function of RNA.
The project involves collaboration with structural biochemists at Vanderbilt University and University of Rochester. In a long term, the project may open the door for development of new drugs for diseases where the traditional pharmaceutics have been less successful.
NanoDays Science Café at the Lost Dog Café
A talk by Héctor Abruña, Director of the Energy Materials Center at Cornell University, entitled "Fuel Cells, Batteries and the Energy Landscape" was one of several NanoDays activities organized by Binghamton University. Dr. Abruña's, presentation energized a lively discussion with, and among, the audience members on the topics of energy, energy technologies and energy research. Video from local TV coverage is available here.
NanoDays at the Roberson Museum
The Roberson Museum hosted a NanoDays event Saturday afternoon, April 5, 2014. The event gave area students ages 4 to 13 a hands-on experience in science and chemistry. Binghamton University graduate students from the Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials Science programs teamed up to run the demonstrations and activities. Video from local TV coverage is available here.
NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The Chemistry Dept is participating in a NSF Research Experiecnes for Undergraduates (REU) program in the area of energy. Students will work with a faculty mentor on a topic related to that faculty member’s research. The program runs June 2, 2014 to August 1, 2014 on the Binghamton University campus. For more information and to fill out an application for the program, click here.
40th International Symposium of Nucleic Acid Chemistry
Prof. Eriks Rozners participated as an invited speaker in the 40th International Symposium of Nucleic Acid Chemistry (ISNAC2013) held November 13-15 at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan. Prof. Rozners delivered a plenary talk on molecular recognition of double-stranded RNA using chemically modified PNA. The three-day annual symposium featured a panel of renowned experts in nucleic acid chemistry from around the world. The United States were represented by chemists from Scripps Research Institute, Carnegie Mellon and Binghamton University. As part of the week long lecture tour, Prof. Rozners also delivered invited talks on his research on amide-modified RNA at Konan University in Kobe and Gunma University in Kiryu.
The Second Annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis
Last year, the Department of Chemistry at Binghamton University hosted the first annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis.
We are pleased to announce the second annual John Eisch Lectureship in Organic Synthesis to be held, Friday, October 11, 2013. We are delighted to have, as our featured speaker, the internationally recognized Professor David W. C. MacMillan from the Merck Center for Catalysis at Princeton University. His talk is entitled, “The Use of Photoredox Catalysis in New Organic Bond Forming Reactions.”
We invite you to join us on October 11th, at 4:30 p.m., in Academic Building A, Room G-008, for what promises to be an excellent lecture as well as a chance to meet with faculty, alumni and friends.
We are at an exciting time in both the life of the University and the Department of Chemistry here at Binghamton. We hope that you will be able to join us on October 11th!
A program with additional details is available for download (pdf 126 KB).