Graph showing Acrolein Oxidation

Timothy Dransfield

Office: Science S01-0085

Lab: Science S01-0036

Projects in Professor Dransfield's research group are focused on understanding the chemical fate of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the Earth's atmosphere. We need to know more about the lifetimes of these species in the environment and the terminal products of their oxidation chemistry. 

Of particular interest are by-products and intermediates of varying toxicity and water solubility. Current projects are looking at the oxidation products of acrolein, methacrolein and butanes, and the kinetics of the reaction of various cycloalkanes with the hydroxyl radical (OH).

Selected Publications

"Experimental Study of the Kinetics of the Reaction of Acetic Acid with Hydroxyl Radicals from 255 to 355 K." Huang, Y.-W., Dransfield, T.J., Miller, J.D., Rojas, R.D., Castillo, X.G., Anderson, J.G. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2009, 113 (2), pp 423-430.

"Rate Constants of Nine C6?C9 Alkanes with OH from 230 to 379 K: Chemical Tracers for [OH]." Sprengnether, M.M., Dransfield, T.J., Demerjian, K.L., Clarke, J.S., Donahue, N.M., Anderson, J.G. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2009, 113 (17), pp 5030-5038.

"On the mechanism for nitrate formation via the peroxy radical plus NO reaction," Zhang, J.Y., Dransfield, T.J., Donahue, N.M. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2004, 108, 42, 9082.

Daniel Dowling

Office: Science S01-126
Lab: Science S01-044

We primarily use X-ray crystallography and biochemical techniques to study the structures and functions of important biological systems. Our research focuses on two main areas:

1. Challenging chemistry in natural product biosynthesis. We are particularly interested in heterocycle formation within nonribosomal peptide synthetases and complex free-radical chemistry involved in natural product biosynthesis.

2. Posttranslational or posttranscriptional modifying enzymes with implications in treating different diseases. Current work focuses on kinases and metallo-deacetylases.

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Figure: Structure of some different tunichromesJason Evans

Office: Science S01-0084
Lab: Science S01-0102

Two problems associated with the arsenal of antibiotics commonly used to treat infections are the evolutionary development of resistance and persistence in our environment, which presents risks to aquatic ecosystems, as well as, to human health. The Evans laboratory is interested in developing a strategy for discovering a new greener class of antibiotics, based on tunichromes extracted and isolated from anthropods.

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Michelle Foster

Office: Science S01-0087
Lab: Science S01-0100

The Foster Group does Surface Chemistry and Experimental Physical Chemistry. We use optical spectroscopies, such as diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS), and scanning probe microscopies, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM),  and combination techniques, such as a Raman microscope spectrometer, to study chemical reactions and processes happening at complex interfaces. 

Green Chemistry

  • Adsorption studies on metal oxide nanoparticles to help explain heterogeneous catalytic processes
  • Mechanistic studies on solid acid catalysts

Materials Science

  • Nanomechanical properties of novel core-shell nano/micro-spherical particles
  • Physical properties of novel liquid-metal systems

Alternative Energy Processes

  • Adsorption processes in dye-sensitized solar cells
  • Modification and optimization of activated carbon 

Biological Chemistry

  • Investigate the morphology of amyloid fibrils
  • Visualize other biological macromolecules

Selected Publications

Carbon surface functionalities and SEI formation during Li intercalation. John Collins, Gerald Gourdin, Michelle Foster, Deyang Qu. Carbon, 92, 193-244, 2015. (DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2015.04.007)

Partial graphitization of activated carbon by surface acidification.  John Collins, Dong Zheng, Tue Ngo, Deyang Qu, Michelle Foster. Carbon, 79, 500-517, 2014. (DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2014.08.009)

Spectroscopic compositional analysis of electrolyte during initial SEI layer formation.  Gerald Gourdin, John Collins, Dong Zheng, Michelle Foster, Deyang Qu. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 118(31) 17383-17394, 2014. (DOI: 10.1021/jp50418b)

Design, synthesis and biological activity of multifunctional αβ-unsaturated carbonyl scaffolds for Alzheimer’s disease.  Seema Bag, Sanjukta Ghosh, Rekja Tulsan, Abha Sood, Weihong Zhou, Christine Schifone, Michelle Foster, Harry LeVine, Bela Török, Marianna Török. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 23(9) 2614-2618, 2013. (DOI: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.02.103)

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Image capturing energyJason Green

Office: Science S01-0088
Lab: Science S02-0025

Our research is concerned with the manipulation and transport of matter and energy on the molecular scale. We are constructing theoretical and computational tools to characterize, predict, and control processes far from thermodynamic equilibrium. We implement theories as algorithms in massively parallel computer programs that simulate molecular dynamics. A long term goal is to use our new approaches to inform atom- and energy-efficient syntheses of dynamic nanostructured materials and complex biological matter with tailored properties.

Selected Publications

"A relationship between dynamical entropy and energy dissipation far from thermodynamic equilibrium"
Jason R. Green, Anthony B. Costa, Bartosz A. Grzybowski, Igal Szleifer Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2013 110(41) pp. 16339-16343.

"Extending the length and time scales of Gram-Schmidt Lyapunov vector computations." Anthony B. Costa, Jason R. Green Journal of Computational Physics 2013 246 pp. 113-122.

"Chaotic dynamics near steep transition states." Jason R. Green, Thomas S. Hofer, David J. Wales, R. Stephen Berry Molecular Physics 2012 10(15-16) pp. 1839-1848.

"Characterizing molecular motion in H2O and H3O+ with dynamical instability statistics." Jason R. Green, Thomas S. Hofer, R. Stephen Berry, David J. Wales Journal of Chemical Physics 2011 135(18) pp. 184307.

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Graph of Solar Driven PhotoelectrocatalysisJonathan Rochford

Office: Science S01-0130
Lab: Science S02-0082

Green chemistry projects in Prof. Rochford's research group are focused on the development of nanoparticle-molecule architectures towards applications in solar driven catalysis. Fundamental processes such as proton coupled electron-transfer (PCET) and charge-separation in the solid state are investigated. Major interests include CO2 reduction

Selected Publications

“Characterization of Redox States of Ru(OH2)(Q)(tpy)2+ (Q = 3,5-di-tert-butyl-1,2- benzoquinone, tpy = 2,2’:6’,2”-terpyridine) and Related Species through Experimental and Theoretical Studies” Tsai M.-K.; Rochford J.; Polyansky D. E.; Tanaka K.; Fujita E.; Muckerman J. T., Inorg. Chem., 2009, 48, 4372.

"Photoelectrochemical Behavior of Polychelate Porphyrin Chromophores and Titanium Dioxide Nanotube Arrays for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells" de Tacconi N. R.; Chanmanee W.; Rajeshwar K.; Rochford J.; Galoppini E., J. Phys. Chem. C, 2009, 113, 2926.

"Zn (II) Tetraarylporphyrins Anchored to TiO2, ZnO and ZrO2 Nanoparticle Films Through Rigid-Rod Linkers" Rochford J.; Gallopini E. Langmuir, 2008, 24, 5366.

"Tetrachelate Porphyrin Chromophores for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Sensitization: The effect of Spacer Length and Anchoring Group Position" Rochford J.; Chu D.; Hagfeldt A.; Galoppini, E. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 4655.

Fast Electron Transport in MOCVD-Grown Dye-Sensitized ZnO Nanorod Solar Cells" Galoppini E.; Rochford J.; Chen H.; Saraf G.; Lu Y.; Hagfeldt A.; Boschloo G. J. Phys. Chem. B, 2006, 110, 16159. and water oxidation catalysis.

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Hannah Sevian

Office: Science S01-0131
Lab: Science S01-0037

The Sevian Research Group studies how students develop conceptual understanding of chemistry and how research-based instruction and materials impact student learning, particularly in chemistry; how scientists and science teachers can communicate science more effectively; and how to improve the pipeline for students in K-12 and higher education, particularly in urban schools, to remain in science career pathways.

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Chart showing Green Organic Synthesis

Bela Torok

Office: Science S01-0132
Lab: Science S01-0107, S01-0108

The current focus of my research group’s efforts is to develop new, environmentally benign chiral synthetic methods for biologically active compounds. These studies are based on metal nanoparticle catalysts and readily available, chiral ligands (preferably natural products). Our goal is to contribute to the development of new efficient chiral catalysts fulfilling the demand for green processes in asymmetric catalysis. As these processes already started to produce biologically active chiral compounds we launched another major area, the application of these compounds for medically relevant problems. Thus, our recent efforts focus on two major research topics. These major areas are:

(1) Organic Synthesis. Development and Application of New Metal Nanoparticle Based Catalysts for Organic Synthesis.

(2) Medicinal Chemistry. Synthesis and Application of Chiral Organofluorine Compounds as Novel Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s Disease

Minor Research projects, which accompany the above mentioned major areas:

• Chiral organocatalytic Friedel-Crafts hydroxyalkylation reactions
• Development of polymer stabilized Pt and Pd nanoparticle catalyst
• Organic synthesis by microwave irradiation and/or ultrasounds

Besides organic synthesis, during their work, students also learn to use state of the art analytical methods used for the identification and analysis of our products (multinuclei NMR spectroscopy, gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography, chiral separations).

Selected Publications

Medicinal Chemistry: B. Torok: A. Rudnitskaya, K. Huynh, B. Torok, K. Stieglitz: Novel Heteroaromatic Organofluorine Inhibitors of Fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. J. Med. Chem. 2009, 52, 878-882.

Solid acid catalysis: S. Dasgupta, B. Torok: Environmentally Benign Contemporary Friedel-Crafts Chemistry by Solid Acids. Current Org. Synth. 2008, 5, 321-342. (invited review)

Metal-catalyzed enantioselective heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenations: S. C. Mhadgut, M. Torok, S. Dasgupta, B. Torok: Nature of Proline-Induced Enantiodifferentiation in Asymmetric Pd Catalyzed Hydrogenations: Is the Catalyst Really Indifferent? Catal. Lett. 2008,123, 156-163.

Microwave-assisted synthesis: M. Abid, B. Torok, X. Huang: Microwave-Assisted Tandem Processes for the Synthesis of N-Heterocycles. Aus. J. Chem. 2009, 62, 208-222 (invited review).

Asymmetric organocatalysis: B. Torok, M. Abid, G. London, J. Esquibel, M. Torok, S. C. Mhadgut, P. Yan, G. K. S. Prakash: Highly Enantioselective Organocatalytic Hydroxyalkylation of Indoles with ethyl trifluoropyruvate. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 3086-3089.

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Marianna Torok

Office: Science S01-0128
Lab: Science S01-0116, S01-0117

The major research efforts in Marianna Torok's group are focused on understanding the chemical factors that govern protein misfolding and aggregation leading to amyloid formation in diverse chemical and biological systems and  how these results can be translated into biomedical/pharmaceutical applications. Particular emphasis is placed on the self-assembly of amyloid β (Aβ) peptide and the Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Selected Publications

Bag S, Ghosh S, Tulsan R, Sood A, Zhou W, Schifone C, Foster M, LeVine H III, Török B, Török M. Design, Synthesis and Biological Activity of Multifunctional α,β-Unsaturated Carbonyl Scaffolds for Alzheimer's Disease. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 23: 2614-2618, 2013.

Török B, Sood A, Bag S, Tulsan R, Ghosh S, Borkin D, Kennedy AR, Melanson M, Madden R, Zhou W, LeVine H III, Torok M. Diaryl Hydrazones as Multifunctional Inhibitors of Amyloid Self-Assembly. Biochemistry 52: 1137-1148, 2013.

Török B, Bag S, Sarkar M, Dasgupta S,Török M. Structural Features of Small Molecule Amyloid-Beta Self-Assembly Inhibitors. Current Bioactive Compounds 9: 37-63, 2013.

Török B, Sood A, Bag S, Kulkarni A, Borkin D, Lawler E, Dasgupta S, Landge S, Abid M, Zhou W, Foster M, LeVine III H, Török M. Structure–Activity Relationships of Organofluorine Inhibitors of β-Amyloid Self-Assembly. ChemMedChem, 7: 910-919, 2012.

Török M, Milton S, Kayed R, Wu P, McIntire T, Glabe CG, Langen R. Structural and Dynamic Features of Alzheimer's A Peptide in Amyloid Fibrils Studied by Site-Directed Spin Labeling. Journal of Biological Chemistry 277: 40810-5, 2002.

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Graphic of F-Tag at the center of Reagents, Protecting Groups, and CatalystsWei Zhang

Office: Science S01-0127
Lab: Science S01-0025

The green chemistry research projects in Prof. Zhang's group are focused on the development of fluorous technologies for organic and medicinal chemistry applications. The unique phase separation-based fluorous technologies have been utilized in the development of a series of green techniques including chromatography-free separations, recyclable reagents and catalysts, atom economic multicomponent reactions, energy-focused microwave reactions, metal-free organocatalysis, aqueous media reactions, and modified reagents.

Selected Publications

Zhang, W. "Green Chemistry Aspects of Fluorous Techniques - Opportunities and Challenges for Small-Scale Organic Synthesis" Critical review article, Green Chem. 2009, 11, 911-920.

Zhang, W. "Fluorous Linker-Facilitated Chemical Synthesis" Chem. Rev. 2009, 109, 749-795.

Zhang, W. "Fluorous Mixture Synthesis (FMS) of Drug-Like Molecules and Enantiomers, Stereoisomers, and Analogs of Natural Products" in Fluorine in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology; Ojima, I. Ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, pp335-359.

Werner, S.; Nielsen, S. D.; Wipf, P.; Turner, D. M.; Chambers, P. G.; Geib, S. J.; Curran, D. P.; Zhang, W. "Fluorous Parallel Synthesis of a Piperazinedione-fused Tricyclic Compound Library" J. Comb. Chem. 2009, 11, 452-459.

Cai, C.; Yi, W.-B.; Zhang, W.; Shen, M.-G.; Hong, M.; Zeng, L. Y. "Fluorous Lewis Acids and Phase Transfer Catalysts" Mol. Diversity 2009, 13, 209-239.

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