Recent News

Jianhan Chen, Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was awarded a four-year, $600,000 grant from National Science Foundation (NSF), to develop efficient GPU-accelerated computational techniques and study how proteins may exploit highly flexible structures for function. A particular focus will be on so-called intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), a fascinating class of functional proteins that account for about one-third of all eukaryotic proteins and are key components of cellular signaling and regulatory network.

Jeanne Hardy, associate professor of chemistry, whose research focuses on a key protein linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, is being recognized with the inaugural Mahoney Life Sciences Prize at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A panel of expert judges from the life sciences sector observed that the “biomedical implications are significant” and “this could turn out to be one of ‘the’ pivotal studies in the effort to combat Alzheimer’s.” Hardy will receive the prize and present her research with life sciences experts and UMass officials and scientists at a breakfast ceremony on June 19 at the UMass Club in Boston. “Professor Hardy’s research rose to the top of three highly competitive rounds of review,” said Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Her work exemplifies the outstanding translational research for which our faculty are well known.”

Christie L.C. Ellis, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in chemistry and an advisee of Dhandapani “DV” Venkataraman, whose research focuses on materials used in solar cells, has received a coveted Mass Media Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It will send her to work as a science writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a 10-week internship beginning in June.

Among other benefits, the long-running program will provide Ellis with travel funds, an orientation at AAAS in Washington, D.C., a stipend and training in interviewing skills and news judgment. She expects to shadow a science writer at the newspaper for a short time and then work on her own stories. “I feel really fortunate to have this fellowship. They’re giving me a really great opportunity and investing a lot in me,” she says.

Her advisor says, “Christie is passionate about communicating science to a broad audience. Therefore, this prestigious fellowship will provide a fantastic opportunity for her to learn from experts in the media industry and closely interact with them. We are eager to learn from Christie’s experience and improve our science communication skills.”

Research institutions still have a long way to go in retaining women in STEM fields, and particularly in the physical sciences, says Sankaran “Thai” Thayumanavan, but this month his chemistry lab celebrated a success as he escorted six women (Celia Homyak, Youngju Bae, Mallory “Molly” Gordon, Priyaa Prasad, and Poornima Rangadurai) receiving their advanced degrees at Graduate Commencement on May 11. He says, “It didn’t dawn on me until we were there at the ceremony, but suddenly I realized ‘Wow!’ We have done something really amazing here. I hooded six women scientists that day, and they have all gone on to find good positions in the physical sciences. That doesn’t happen very often.”
 

Upcoming Events

Prabhat Tripathi
Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

“Voltage-Driven Polyelectrolyte Complexation Inside a Nanopore”

11:00 am
Conte A110/A111
Research Adviser:
Murugappan Muthukumar
Fatih Comert
Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Precipitation and Coacervation in Polyelectrolyte-Colloid Systems”

2:00 pm
LSL N410
Research Adviser:
Richard W. Vachet, Dhandapani Venkataraman
Connor Boyle
Dissertation Defense
Thursday, August 23, 2018

"Impact of Chemical Doping on the Thermoelectric Charge Transport of Organic Semiconductors"

1:00 pm
Geossmann 153
Research Adviser:
D. Venkataraman
Ryan Landis
Dissertation Defense
Thursday, September 20, 2018

“Hybridized Polymeric Nano-assemblies: Key Insights into Addressing MDR Infections”

2:00 pm
Goessmann 153
Research Adviser:
Vincent Rotello