Seminars & Events
The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department hosts various events scheduled throughout the year, including a weekly seminar series. See the calendar below for information on these events and details about our seminar speakers.
Speaker biography: Dr. Delia Melliron is a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She has experience as a Postdoctoral Researcher at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, she earned her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, and she earned her A.B. in Chemistry and Materials Science Engineering at Princeton University in 1999. Her research focuses on chemical synthesis and assembly of nanostructured electronic and electrochemical materials, processing-structure-property relationships, energy and electronic devices.
Seminar Abstract: In nature, some marine organisms, such as Vogtia and Cephalopods, have evolved to possess camouflage traits by dynamically and reversibly altering their transparency, fluorescence, and coloration via muscle controlled surface structures and morphologies. To mimic this display tactics, we designed similar deformation controlled surface engineering via strain-dependent cracks and folds to realize four types of novel mechanochromic devices: (1) transparency change mechanochromism (TCM), (2) luminescent mechanochromism (LM), (3) color alteration mechanochromism (CAM), and (4) encryption mechanochromism (EM), based on a simple bilayer system containing a rigid thin film and a soft substrate. These devices exhibit a wide scope of mechanochromic responses with excellent sensitivity and reversibility. These novel devices are promising for applications in many fields, especially in stretchable electronics.
Seminar speaker Biography: Dr. Luyi Sun is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the director of the Polymer Program at the University of Connecticut. He received his PhD from the University of Alabama in 2004. After his postdoctoral training in Texas A&M University, he worked as a Senior Research Engineer at TOTAL Petrochemicals USA, Inc. from 2006 to 2009. Dr. Sun started his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Texas State University from 2009 to 2013. Dr. Sun’s current research focuses on the design and synthesis of nano-structured multifunctional hybrids for various applications.
whole organs, or a platform for drug screening; however, many biomaterial scaffolds fall short on
yielding reproducible and functional constructs. Hydrogels in particular have garnered intense
interest as tissue engineering scaffolds due to their tailorable permeability, mechanics, and
degradability. Synthetic materials are attractive due to their known chemical compositions and
reproducibility, but the challenge with their use lies in the lack of complexity as compared to
biological systems, especially with regard to sequence-specific bioactivity. Hence, our work aims
to expand the toolbox for building complexity and functionality into synthetic hydrogel biomaterials
by using precise polymer architectures, specifically those of polypeptoids. Using non-natural
polypeptoid crosslinkers, we achieved control over the mechanics of hydrogel platforms by
varying monomer sequence and chain structure. Due to their biomimetic backbone, the
polypeptoid crosslinkers also conferred stability to cellularly-secreted proteases, as compared to
biological substrates. Furthermore, we examined the ability of non-natural peptoid monomers to
tune proteolytic degradation rate using hybrid peptide-peptoid structures. Overall, our results
suggest that sequence control of synthetic polymers may be a general strategy for expanding the
functionality of biomaterial scaffolds for tissue engineering, particularly with respect to mechanics
and degradation in complex biological environments.
Adrianne Rosales is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas
at Austin. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UT Austin and obtained her Ph.D.
with Professor Rachel Segalman at UC-Berkeley. After completing her Ph.D. in 2013, she worked
with Professor Kristi Anseth at the University of Colorado Boulder as an NIH NRSA postdoctoral
fellow. Adrianne's group at UT Austin focuses on the development of bioinspired
polymeric materials to model cellular microenvironments and engineer therapeutic technologies.
This work has received emerging investigator recognitions from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund,
the American Chemical Society Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division, and the
journals Biomaterials Science and Journal of Materials Chemistry B.
How Heavy Metal Changed my Life: The Use of Metal Ion-Selective Fluorescent Indicators for Exploring Ion channel Function and Pharmacology
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Meeting ID: 967 3236 3386
- Host: Dr. William Brittain
- Campus Sponsor:
- The department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Host: Dr. William Brittain
Abstract: Ion Channels are critical for life and represent an important class of drug target for a wide variety of therapeutic indications. Although ion channels have been an area of intense pharmacological research for decades, only a small fraction of them have potent and selective pharmacological tools which can be used to explore their roles in physiology and therapeutic potential. One limitation in our ability to rapidly discover and develop ion channel-selective pharmacological probes is the difficulty in measuring ion channel activity in a fashion consistent with testing large libraries of drug-like compounds. I will discuss the discovery and use of a thallium-sensitive fluorescent indicator to develop high-throughput methods for measuring potassium channel activity and the use of these methods to discover novel, potassium channel-selective pharmacological tools.
Speaker's Autobiography: I was born outside of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. For my undergraduate and post-graduate research, I studied in the laboratory of Dan Roberts at the University of Tennessee. My research focus was on the symbiosis between the soil bacterium Bradyrhizobium and soybean. It was during these studies that I became interested in ion channels and ion transport. Intent on learning the patch-clamp electrophysiology technique and applying it to the study of plant physiology, I elected to do my post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Todd Verdoorn at Vanderbilt University where I used patch clamp to investigate the role of ionotropic glutamate receptor ion channels in pancreatic islet function. Instead of returning to plant physiology research as I had intended, I accepted a position at Bristol-Myers Squibb in response to their expanding investment in ion channel drug discovery. It was at BMS that I developed the thallium flux technique and other methods for high-throughput screening of ion channels. In 2003 Vanderbilt University made a large investment in the area of chemical biology and academic drug discovery. I was recruited to build a high-throughput screening facility and help found what became the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. Over the past 15 years I have continued with research aimed at discovering new pharmacological tools for the study of ion channels. This work has, in turn, led me to develop in an interest in the design and construction of optical plate readers and fluorescent, ion-sensitive probes. Recently, I joined ION Biosciences, a start-up at the Star Park technology incubator. ION is focused on the development of next-generation fluorescent probes and their use for the advancement of basic and translational research.
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Meeting ID: 967 3236 3386
- Host: Dr. William Brittain
- Campus Sponsor:
- Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Dr. William Brittain
Michael P. (Mike) Doyle has been the Rita and John Feik Distinguished University Chair in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 2014, is a graduate of the College of St. Thomas and Iowa State University, has had prior academic appointments at undergraduate institutions (Hope College and Trinity University) and graduate universities (University of Arizona and University of Maryland), as well as being Vice President, then President, of a science foundation (Research Corporation).
Doyle has been called the “guru of undergraduate research” in recognition of his role in developing student careers in the chemical sciences through research. More than 160 undergraduate students are coauthors of at least one publication with him. At Maryland he was Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for ten years, during which time he led his department to be a recognized center for diversity in the preparation of underrepresented minorities for the Ph.D. degree in chemistry and biochemistry.
His research contributions have focused on nitrogen chemistry, from diazonium salts in the 1970’s to the chemistry and biochemistry of nitrogen oxides and nitrites in the 1980’s, to diazo chemistry and catalysis for metal carbene formation beginning in the 1980’s and asymmetric catalysis in the 1990’s. Chiral dirhodium(II) carboxamidate catalysts (the “Doyle catalysts”) were the first highly enantioselective dirhodium(II) catalysts used for asymmetric metal carbene reactions.
The author of nearly 400 peer-reviewed publications, 11 books, 11 patents, and 25 book chapters. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and he is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including the 2014 Hillebrand Award from the Chemical Society of Washington, a 2006 Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, and a 2003 Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health and, recently, the 2020 International Precious Metals Institute’s Henry J. Albert Award for his pioneering work with rhodium catalyst reactions.