Recent News

Gabriela Weaver, vice provost for faculty development and director of the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, has been selected to attend the 2018 Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Institute at Bryn Mawr College July 9-21. She was also awarded a CBL (Clare Booth Luce) Scholarship that provides full tuition, accommodations, meals and travel. A professor of chemistry, Weaver will be part of the HERS Luce Program for Women in STEM Leadership.

For the most part, fundamental surface science studies have focused on model systems where the surface of the metal is smooth and regular. On the other hand, it has long been suspected that the activity of “real” heterogeneous catalysts is dominated by reactions at step edges and other defect sites.

The dissociative chemisorption of methane on a metal catalyst is the rate limiting step in the steam reforming of natural gas, our primary source for the molecular hydrogen used in the Haber-Bosch process. In collaboration with the experimental group of Rainer Beck at the École Polytechnic Fédéral de Lausanne, we examined this reaction on a Pt surface containing step defects. We were able to differentiate between reactions at the step edges and the terrace sites, using both UHV molecular beam experiments and high-dimensional quantum scattering theory. Both approaches were also able to resolve the reaction probability with respect to the velocity and vibrational state of the methane molecule and the surface temperature, providing additional details about the reaction mechanism.

The editors of J. Chem. Phys., selected the paper to be promoted on their journal homepage and on the cover as a “Featured Article”.

Lila M. Gierasch was awarded the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry for her seminal contributions to peptide structure and function, peptide models for protein folding and function, and roles of peptide and protein aggregation in disease.

Gierasch stated, “The environment in a cell is extremely complex and challenging for the process of protein folding, leading to a need for a network of species that protect protein states that are susceptible to aggregation—the protein homeostasis network. We are working with colleagues and collaborators to understand the underlying mechanisms of protein homeostasis from the level of the molecular chaperone machines that act on protein clients to the coordinated action of the network in all of its complexity. We would love to witness and contribute to new discoveries related to these questions, both because of the fascinating basic science involved and because failures in these systems are implicated in a wide array of diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases.”

Thompson Awarded NIH Grant to Study Chemotaxis Receptor Signaling Complexes

Lynmarie Thompson, chemistry and M2M, was awarded a two year, $615,000 NIH grant entitled, "Assembly and Function of Bacterial Chemotaxis Receptor Signaling Complexes.” The goal of this project is to assemble native-like functional nanoarrays of chemotaxis receptor complexes and determine how the proteins change their structure and dynamics during signaling. Understanding signaling in this system may be useful for the development of novel antibiotics targeting similar signaling systems that are widespread in bacteria.

Upcoming Events

Professor Meni Wanunu
Northeastern University
Thursday, February 22, 2018

“Controlling Light, Temperature, and Force in Nanopores for Single-Biomolecule Analysis”

Min Chen
11:30 am
LGRT 1634
Marvin Rausch Seminar
Professor Eric Jacobsen
Harvard University
Thursday, March 1, 2018

“Seeking Perfect Catalysts”

Michelle Farkas
11:30 am
LGRT 1634
Professor Lloyd Smith
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Thursday, March 8, 2018

“Proteoforms and Their Families – A New Paradigm for Proteomics?”

Eric Strieter
11:30 am
LGRT 1634
Professor Sourav Saha
Clemson University
Thursday, March 22, 2018

“Stimuli-Responsive Functional Materials”

S. Thai Thayumanavan
11:30 am
LGRT 1634
Professor Alexander Deiters
University of Pittsburgh
Thursday, March 29, 2018

"Optochemical Control of Biological Processes in Cells and Animals"

Mingxu You
11:30 am
LGRT 1634