News

5/22/2017

By Jenny Wells

The University of Kentucky’s #IAmAWomanInSTEM project has awarded scholarships to 11 UK students for project proposals that promote STEM education and careers for women.

Females are less likely than their male counterparts to pursue an education in the STEM disciplines, which include science, technology, engineering and math. The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative, which launched at UK last year, seeks to change that by recruiting hundreds of female student ambassadors who are encouraging the study of STEM and health care among women at UK, and empowering them to persist in those fields.

“As a public research institution and the state's flagship, UK has an important role in promoting graduation of women in STEM majors,” said Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost and advisor of the program

5/15/2017

Two NASA Kentucky grants were awarded to support research in the Chemistry Department. Prof. Beth Guiton received funding for using single-atom resolution and in situ Imaging to determine the structure of thermoelectric materials in real-time. Profs. Susan Odom and John Anthony received funding for the development of a low temperature redox flow battery prototype for space applications.  Both projects were funded via NASA KY’s Research Infrastructure Development (RIDG) mechanism.

5/12/2017
Artwork depicting the oxidation of aromatic molecules emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. Photo Credit: Liz Pillar-Little

Aerosol particles suspended in the air of urban environments typically reduce visibility, interact with sunlight by scattering and absorbing radiation, and lower air quality. In addition, these tiny particles can also contribute large pollution plumes, called “brown clouds”, which have been observed to originate over South Asia in recent years and undergo long distance transport by the wind to reach other continents. The particles in brown clouds are composed by an unhealthy and variable mix including ozone and organic molecules found in smoke.

Artwork depicting the oxidation of aromatic molecules emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. Photo Credit: Liz Pillar-Little

 

A laboratory study entitled “Oxidation of Substituted Catechols

5/12/2017

By Shana Hutchins and Jenny Wells

The authors observed in real-time the transformation of a HfO2 nanorod from its room temperature to tetragonal phase, at 1000° less than its bulk temperature. Nanorod surfaces and twin boundary defects (pictured here) serve to kinetically trap this phase.

 

It’s a material world, and an extremely versatile one at that, considering its most basic building blocks — atoms — can be connected together to form different structures that retain the same composition.

Diamond and graphite, for example, are but two of the many polymorphs of carbon, meaning that both have the same chemical composition and differ only in the manner in which their atoms are connected. But what a world of difference that connectivity makes: The former goes into a ring and costs thousands of dollars, while the latter has to sit content within a

5/11/2017
Kayvin Ghayoumi receiving an award during the 2017 Regional Undergraduate Chemistry Research Poster Competition

In recognition of his contributions to the field of environmental chemistry Kayvon Ghayoumi is honored with the Division of Environmental Chemistry 2017 Undergraduate award from the American Chemical Society. Ghayoumi earned a B.A. in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky this Spring. His interest in Environmental Chemistry started while taking CHE 565 taught by Dr. Marcelo Guzman, who later became his research supervisor. For his research in collaboration with Assistant Professor Marcelo Guzman and graduate student Evie Zhou, Ghayoumi tackled a current problem studying the photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide on nanocomposites that operate under a direct Z-scheme mechanism. Ghayoumi will be starting law school this coming Fall at George Washington University and plans to apply his chemistry knowledge to specialize in both patent and environmental law.

5/5/2017

At the Graduation Celebration & Student Awards Ceremony, held Friday, May 5, 2017, in the Jacobs Science Building, several undergraduate and graduate students were recognized.

 

Undergraduate Awards:

Freshman Chemistry Award: Jacqueline Kowalke

General Chemistry Excellence Award: Nathaniel Morgan, Grace Anderson

Hammond Leadership Award: Amir Kucharski

Hammond Undergraduate Service Award: Jumanah Mahmoud

William Meredith Riggs Award: Aaron Snell

Nancy J. Stafford Award: Sarah Gobel

Thomas B. Nantz Memorial Scholarship: Christian Powell

Paul G. Sears Scholarship: Ashley Weaver, Benjamin Stewart, Connon Rhodes

Dr. Hume and Ellen Towle Bedford Scholarship: Thuy Nguyen

David W. and Eloise C. Young Scholarship: Ebubechi Adindu, Cody Robinette

Paul L. Corio Scholarship: Logan Gilland, Sarah

5/2/2017

Prof. Allan Butterfield, Prof. Susan Odom, and Dr. Kim Woodrum were honored in the Teachers Who Made a Difference Program on April 29, 2017. The University of Kentucky College of Education sponsors this program as a way to honor educators who have made profound impacts on the lives of their students. 

5/2/2017

Bin Sun was selected as one of fifteen recipients of an all-expense-paid workshop on the Computational Physiology of Excitable Tissues. The workshop meets for two weeks in Oslo, followed by another two weeks in San Diego. Bin is a graduate student in the research group of Prof. Peter Kekenes-Huskey. Bin’s research pertains to modeling electrokinetic transport in nanoporous media and signal transduction in proteins.

4/27/2017

By Gail Hairston

Robert B. Grossman, professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been re-elected to serve as faculty trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees. His new three-year term will end June 30, 2020.

Grossman edged out his closest competitors in the final round of voting, which concluded with strong voter turnout at noon Wednesday, as 37.6 percent of the eligible voters cast a ballot. Of the 837 votes cast, Grossman won 437, including 310 first-place votes. His closest competitor, Patrick McGrath, received 333 total votes. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder had 244 first place votes.

“First, I want to express my appreciation for the willingness of all the candidates to serve the university,” Grossman said.

Grossman said he intended to continue “to help keep the board focused on the academic issues facing the

4/25/2017

For faculty members from the Chemistry Department received recognition for awards received from the College of Arts and Sciences for their efforts in teaching, mentoring, outreach, and service in an  Faculty Awards Ceremony to recognize their accomplishments on Tuesday, April 25 at 3:30 pm in the W.T. Young library auditorium. 

From the chemistry department, Dr. Lisa Blue received an Outstanding Teaching Award, and Prof. Peter Kekenes-Huskey received an Award for Innovative Teaching  In addition, an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award was presented to to Prof. Susan Odom, and the Distinguished Service and Engagement Award was presented to Prof. Anne-Frances Miller.

4/25/2017

By Jenny Wells

Susan Odom, assistant professor of chemistry in the UK College of Arts & Sciences and EYH organizer, assists a student workshop leader.

Research in science and math education tells us that as early as elementary school, girls begin to feel alienated and insecure about the subjects. As a result, a statistically low number of women choose to study or enter career fields in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as the STEM fields).

To address these insecurities, a team of faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky will host "Expanding Your Horizons" this Saturday, April 29 — a conference that encourages middle school girls to consider STEM studies. Between 100-150 girls from around Kentucky are

4/17/2017

By Jenny Wells

Beth Guiton, professor of chemistry in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement.

As a fellow, Guiton will participate in Scialog: Advanced Energy Storage, a program involving early career rising stars, beyond postdoctoral appointment, interested in pursuing collaborative, high-risk, highly impactful discovery research on untested ideas applicable to creating breakthroughs in energy storage. The program has a format in which participants are encouraged to engage in dialogue and form new research teams, often multidisciplinary and composed of both theorists and experimentalists.

This Scialog initiative will center on two conferences to be held fall 2017

4/17/2017

By Gail Hairston

The last event of the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ Civil Life Panel Series’ spring season is slated noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, with two follow-up panel discussions later the same day. The topic is “Science Speaks.”

Allan Butterfield, Alumni Association Endowed Professor of Biological Chemistry; Andrea Erhardt, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences; Bruce Webb, professor of entomology; and David Weisrock, associate professor of biology, will gather for a lively discussion at noon in the UK Athletics Auditorium of the William T. Young Library.

They will discuss what it means

4/15/2017
Examples of atmospheric particles. Left: clouds over Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. Right: fog over Cincinnati, Ohio. Credit: Alexis Eugene

Atmospheric aerosols such as smoke, fog, and mist are made of fine solid or liquid particles suspended in air. In the lower atmosphere aerosols play a major role in controlling air quality, as well as in scattering and absorbing sunlight. This interaction of aerosols with light varies widely and depends on their complex chemical composition that rapidly changes under the governing highly reactive conditions found in the atmosphere. Importantly, the mysterious formation of carbon-containing atmospheric particles has intrigued atmospheric scientists during the last decade. This issue demands a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of atmospheric reactions as tackled in a new laboratory study entitled Reactivity of Ketyl and Acetyl Radicals from Direct Solar Actinic Photolysis of Aqueous Pyruvic Acid published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Examples of
4/9/2017

A research study performed by Dr. Dmytro Havrylyuk, Dr. David Heidary, Leona Nease, Dr. Sean Parkin, and Dr. Edith Glazer was profiled on the back cover of the journal The European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry for a special cluster issue titled "Metal Anticancer Complexes – Activity, Mechanism of Action and Future Perspectives". 

From the description of the cover art: "This cover feature shows a selection of inorganic elements that are used in new anticancer agents described in this cluster issue. The hourglass symbolizes the time-sensitive nature of chemotherapy treatment as well as the spatial and temporal control achieved with light-activated compounds. The strained complex on the left can eject a ligand to form covalent adducts with DNA, while the unstrained complex on the right generates ROS. In both cases pyridylbenzazole ligands (X = CH, NH, O, S) were

4/4/2017
 Illustration that connects the synthesis of clays and the origin of metabolism. Credit: Ruixin Zhou  Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-idea-synthesis-clays-metabolism.html#jCp

The question of how life has begun has fascinated scientists from many disciplines and it was the organic chemist Graham Cairns-Smith who proposed the theory for the origin of life starting from clays instead of polymers such as RNA.

The source of the monomers such as nucleotides, amino acids and dicarboxylic acids were relegated by Cairns-Smith to the evolution of metabolism, which is the synthesis of amino acids and nucleotides from the citric acid cycle.

This problem of the evolution of metabolism has recently been advanced by the behavior of simple semiconductor minerals such as zinc sulfide (ZnS), which are capable of harvesting sunlight energy and converting this energy into the formation of chemical bonds of dicarboxylic acids from CO2 thus providing the core reactions of universal metabolism before the existence of enzymes.

A connection between

4/3/2017
By Connie Sapienza   Later this month, the University of Kentucky will host "Expanding Your Horizons (EYH)," a conference that encourages middle school girls to consider studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Registration for the conference is currently open, and UK is also seeking student and postdoctoral volunteers to assist.   EYH, which will be held Saturday, April 29, in the Jacobs Science Building, seeks to provide middle school girls and their parents an inspiring environment in order to help both groups recognize and pursue opportunities in STEM. This will include memorable interactive workshop experiences, visible female role models in STEM fields and exposure to different career paths in STEM.   Course credit is available for UK undergraduate and graduate students interested in designing and leading workshops for the middle schoolers.
4/2/2017

Corrine Elliott was recognized as the American Chemical Society's Division of Organic Chemistry as the most outstanding, senior organic chemistry student at the University of Kentucky. Selection is based on aptitude for organic chemistry as evidenced by formal course work as well as research accomplishments during the course of their undergraduate studies, and lastly by a desire to pursue a career in chemistry. Elliott will receive one free year of membership as an Affiliate of ACS's Division of Organic Chemistry.   Elliott, a dual mathematics and chemistry major at UK, has published numerous papers on her work in synthetic chemistry and computational chemistry under the guidance of Professors Susan Odom and Chad Risko.

3/31/2017

By Gail Hairston

The University of Kentucky will send 59 undergraduate student-researchers to the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Memphis April 6-8.

The UK group joins young researchers from around the world to showcase their research findings through poster and oral presentations. Each student will be given the opportunity to discuss their display and share their research results, illuminating how their work will have an impact on future research development. UK has been an active NCUR participant since the mid ’90s.

One of the first things these young researchers learn is that most research is not conducted in the traditional laboratory with bubbling beakers and flaming Bunsen burners. But modern research spans all disciplines and majors, and includes a wide variety of activities.

3/24/2017

By Connie Sapienza

Featuring world-renowned scientists, the University of Kentucky’s 2017 Naff Symposium will host four experts Friday, March 31, at the William T. Young Library auditorium. A poster session will be held in conjunction with the symposium at the Jacobs Science Building.

Presented by the Department of Chemistry in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, the annual symposium focuses on chemistry and molecular biology and is attended by students and faculty in the chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pharmacy, engineering, agriculture and medical fields from UK, as well as other colleges and universities in Kentucky and surrounding states.

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