Summer Research in the Chemistry Department

Spring quarter is more than halfway done and you might be curious what goes on over the summer here in the Chemistry Department. One of the things that takes place every summer is research. The Chemistry Department at DePaul University hosts a diverse collection of research programs, and much of this research activity occurs during the summer months. Below is a summary of just a few of the projects that will be active in the coming summer.

Summer Research

Dr. Lihua Jin… 

…has a team of students working in collaboration with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science researchers Dr. Raúl J. Gazmuri, Dr. Jeejabai Radhakrishnan and Dr. Eric Walters, as well as DePaul Biology Professor Dr. Talitha Rajah. These researchers will investigate the role of cyclophilin-D (Cyp-D) in mitochondrial transcription initiation in terms of whether it acts through simple binding with mitochondrial transcription factors (mTFs) or via its peptidylprolyl cis/trans isomerase (PPIase) activity. Dr. Jin’s team will focus on determining the enzyme kinetics of Cyp-D with mitochondrial transcription factors (mTFs) TFB2M with and without Cyp-D inhibitors or to determine the thermodynamic binding parameters using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC).

Dr. Jin, Dr. Caitlin Karver, and Dr. Kyle Grice…

…are directing a team of students studying the interaction of small molecule ligands with transition metal ions including Cu2+, Ni2+ and Co2+. They plan to identify metalloenzyme active sites metal structural mimetics and will then  use the mimetics to study their interactions with metalloenzyme competitive inhibitors. These inhibitors are drug molecules targeting diseases such as cancer.

Dr. Rick Niedziela…

…and his team of students is wrapping up a study on the optical properties of aerosols made from mixtures of squalene and squalene, and also continuing studies of the optical properties of motor oil aerosols. The group plans to report results in the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Dr. Kyle Grice…

…is leading a research team investigating electrocatalytic CO2 reduction, aiming to identify cheap and abundant catalysts with optimal activity and selectivity for the specific products of interest. Another Grice group team is looking at phosphite ligands bound to platinum to see if they can improve acceptorless alkane dehydrogenation. The group is also looking at launching a project related to aqueous lead sensing technology, and students from all fields interested in getting involved are encouraged to contact Dr. Grice.

Dr. Grice and Dr. Graham Griffin…

…will be leading a research team investigating the electronic relaxation dynamics of materials constructed from 8-hydroxyquinoline and zinc. This team will be bringing materials from DePaul to the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory.

Dr. Griffin’s…

…research group is working on custom-built software to simulate electronic dynamics in organic electronic materials. The group is also building a photoinduced absorption spectrometer over the summer. Students interested in instrument building or scientific computer program are encouraged to contact Dr. Griffin about getting involved.

Dr. Wendy Wolbach…

…is an analytical geochemist, interested in extracting and quantifying various components from sediments rocks dating to extinction events in geologic history in order to learn something about the environments during which the sediments in those rocks accumulated. Her research projects typically include the search for evidence of fires (soot, charcoal, fullerenes) ignited by meteorite impacts or nanodiamonds produced by cometary airbursts or impacts. Summer plans depend on sample availability from geologist colleagues with whom she collaborates.

The Karver lab…

…will have an active group of 6 students working this summer on their research projects. All of the projects are focused on developing new tools to study inflammatory caspases, enzymes involved in autoimmune diseases.  Some students are working on the synthesis of new small molecule substrates so we can better monitor the activity of the caspases.  Others are working on the synthesis and testing of new inhibitors of the caspases to use as tool compounds in cellular studies with our collaborators at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

For more information about these research projects, or research by our other research-active professors, contact the faculty member directly.


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