News

2/9/2016

Alexis Eugene was recognized for her research at the 5th Annual Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainaility and the Environment (TFISE) Forum held in December 2015.  Her poster presentation titled "Photochemistry of alpha-keto acids in model atmospheric waters" received recognition as one of the two best graduate student posters.

Alexis is a graduate student in Prof. Marcelo Guzman's group in the Department of Chemistry at UK whose work has been published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America.

2/9/2016

The beginning of the new year marks a celebration of mentoring at the National Science Foundation through the recognition of mentors via PAESMEM: the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, & Engineering Mentoring.  A recent article published by the National Science Foundation featured PAESMEM alumni, including Chemistry Professor D. Allan Butterfield, on the subject of what makes a good mentor and why mentoring matters.  Says Butterfield: "Maximizing STEM educational and research opportunities for all citizens of this country - regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious preference, or socioeconomic status - directly benefits the U.S. economic enterprise. To exclude or minimize opportunities for any diminishes all of us."

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1/13/2016

By Charles Wright, Whitney Harder

(Jan. 11, 2015) — University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry researchers Edith GlazerSean Parkin and students Erin Wachter and Diego Moyá recently published a study showing that specialized compounds containing the metal ruthenium may be able to visualize or damage specific DNA structures relevant for cancer.

Published in "Chemistry - A European Journal," the work was named a "Hot Paper" for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high interest, and was highlighted with the back cover.

The ends of chromosomes and some genes associated with cancer have regions where DNA can form unusual structures known as G-quadruplexes, of which

12/11/2015

UK Chemistry graduate student Elizabeth Pillar has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 University of Kentucky Woman’s Club Fellowship. This fellowship provides $2000 from the University of Kentucky Woman’s Club and recognizes both current achievements as a doctoral student as well as future potential. Pillar is a graduate student in the Guzman group at UK. Her publications focus on reactions to better understand atmospheric chemistry, including the oxidation of cathechol at the air/water interface and reactions of iodide in microdroplets exposed to ozone.

Heterogeneous Oxidation of Catechol. E.A. Pillar, R. Zhou, and M.I. Guzman. Journal of Physical Chemistry A (2015), 10349-10359, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.5b07914.

12/2/2015

Assistant Professor Susan Odom (Chemistry) and Research Scientist Cameron Lippert (CAER) published an article titled “Carbonic Anhydrase Mimics for Enhanced CO2 Absorption in an Amine-based Capture Solvent” in Dalton Transactions, featuring undergraduate alumnus Rachael Kelsey as the first author. Kelsey, now a medical student at the University of Kentucky, synthesized and characterizated two new small-molecule enzyme mimics of carbonic anhydrase. She and fellow undergraduate student David Austin Miller tested the homogeneous catalysts in concentrated primary amine solutions through which a dilute CO2 fluid stream was flowed and found exceptional activity for increased CO2 absorption rates.

Citation: Dalton Trans. 2016, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/

12/2/2015

Full Professor John Anthony and Assistant Professor Chad Risko have joined forces in a recent publication in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials titled "Dynamics, Miscibility, and Morphology in Polymer:Molecule Blends: The Impact of Chemical Functionality". Based on a series of acceptors constructed from trialkylsilylethynyl-substituted pentacenes designed and synthesized in the Anthony laboratory, the study presents a computational chemistry investigation of polymer:molecule blends with the polymer donor poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). Essential connections are made between the chemical structure of the acene acceptor and the nanoscale properties of the polymer:molecule blend, which include polymer and molecular diffusivity, donor–acceptor packing and interfacial (contact) area, and miscibility. The results point to the very significant role that seemingly modest

11/9/2015

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Chad Risko published a Review article titled "Non-Covalent Intermolecular Interactions in Organic Electronic Materials: Implications for the Molecular Packing vs. Electronic Properties of Acenes" in the American Chemical Society's journal Chemistry of Materials. The manuscript describes how non-covalent interactions can lead to preferential molecular packing motifs of π-conjugated molecules, and provides an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of non-covalent interactions and the computational chemistry approaches used to understand them. Incorporating an understanding of these interactions into the design of organic semiconductors can assist in developing novel materials systems.

Link to article:  

11/6/2015

Liang and Graham publish in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces - The researchers demonstrated that surface modifying groups can be utilized to influence both film morphology and electrical conductivity in silver nanowire-polymer composites.  This work shows that an adsorbed polymer on the silver nanowire surface can be displaced by thiols with varying end groups, and through choice of thiol end group the electrical and morphological properties of the composite, as well as the solvents utilized to disperse the silver nanowires, can be manipulated.  Using this approach the authors demonstrate a one-step process for fabricating homogeneous composite transparent electrodes.  ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2015, 7 (39), pp 21652–21656.Link:  

10/30/2015

Asistant Professor Susan Odom and group members Aman Preet Kaur, Corrine Elliott, and Selin Ergun reported their results in protecting lithium-ion batteries from overcharge, a dangerous condition that can lead to catastrophic battery failure. The group prepared an organic compound that they incorporated into battery electrolyte, which prevents overcharge by shuttling excess current through the electrolyte through electron-transfer reactions as the electrode surfaces. The results were published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society in a full paper titled "Overcharge Performance of 3,7-Bis(trifluoromethyl)-N-ethylphenothiazine at High Concentrations in Lithium-Ion Batteries." Citation: J. Electrochem. Soc., 2016, 163, A1-A7.

10/19/2015

Research by graduate students Liz Pillar, Evie Zhou and assistant professor Marcelo Guzman was recently published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A. The study entitled “Heterogeneous Oxidation of Catechol” explores the interaction of atmospheric oxidants, such as gaseous ozone and hydroxyl radical, with oxy-aromatic hydrocarbon surfaces under variable relative humidity. The environmental chemistry group found that carboxylic acids and polyhydroxylated biphenyls and terphenyls products can be generated from organic species emitted during combustion processes. The implication of this finding is that heterogeneous reactions provide a channel for the generation of secondary oxidants (hydroxyl radicals, hydroperoxyl radicals, and hydrogen peroxide) during atmospheric processes. The article contributes to the cutting

10/19/2015

By Whitney Harder

(Oct. 19, 2015) — Capturing the attention of little minds and chem-enthusiasts across Lexington, the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry will once again host its Chemistry Demonstration Show at 7 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 23. The show will take place in Room 139 of the UK Chemistry-Physics Building, 505 Rose Street.

Chemistry students, faculty and staff will conduct interactive and exciting demonstrations that showcase chemistry. The event celebrates National Chemistry Week and Mole Day, which commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 1023), a basic measuring unit in chemistry. The theme for this year is "Chemistry Colors Our World."

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10/13/2015

Prof. Lai-Sheng Wang of Brown University will be presenting this year's Dawson Lecture: "From Planar Boron Clusters to Borophene & Borospherene."  This annual lecture commemorates Professor Dawson's leadership in the Department and features speakers noted for the quality, depth and breadth of their research.  This lecture is open to the public and will be held in Room 139 of the Chemistry-Physics Building from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16th.  A catered reception will follow in Room 114A&B.

10/12/2015

(Oct. 9, 2015) — Robert Grossman, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry, and Christopher L. Schardl, professor and chair of the UK Department of Plant Pathology, are collaborators on a $461,237 National Institutes of Health grant to study oxidizing enzymes.

Led by Pennsylvania State University’s J. Martin Bollinger, the project will reveal the structures and mechanisms of iron- and 2-(oxo)glutarate-dependent oxygenase enzymes from plants, fungi and soil bacteria.

According to Bollinger's project description, the biosynthetic machinery generating a

10/8/2015

By Lori Johnson

Oftentimes, students find themselves struggling to pick a direction to take once they have received their degree. On October 2, 2015, the Chemistry Alumni Board helped to answer some common questions students may have about life after graduation during an informal luncheon with the chemistry graduate students. All graduate students were invited to attend and chat with some alumni board representatives about their respective fields and the paths they took to get there. There were four alumni board members in attendance: Peter Nickias ‘87, Amy Wong ‘94, Jeff Lomprey ‘93 and Hugh Huffman ‘72. Together these individuals represented the wide spectrum of options students may choose from upon entering the workforce.

A large portion of the discussion gravitated towards being a post-doc, and if that was necessary and valuable or if a young scientist could be

9/15/2015

By Whitney Harder

(Sept. 22, 2015) — D. Allan Butterfield, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA), has been awarded a $413,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a new model of Parkinson's disease (PD). 

PD is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disease in the United States and is manifested by movement abnormalities, postural instability, loss of smell (anosmia), deposition of the protein, alpha-synuclein, and in late stages, cognitive dysfunction. The brain is attacked by free radicals, many emanating from neuronal mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to cause damage to proteins

9/1/2015

By Whitney Harder

(Sept. 1, 2015) — Kim Woodrum, a senior lecturer in the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry, has been appointed as a committee member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute.

The committee is responsible for producing the 2017 General Chemistry Paired Questions Examination. This exam, and others prepared by the Examinations Institute, is used by many high school and undergraduate chemistry courses in the U.S. 

"The appointment to this committee is a significant recognition of stature in the chemistry education community and is an important creative and professional activity. I am sure that you are pleased to have outstanding individuals such as Kim as a member of

8/18/2015

By Whitney Harder

(Aug. 17, 2015) — A $6 million National Science Foundation grant will allow researchers at the University of Kentucky, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, and University of Nebraska to develop unmanned aircraft systems, otherwise known as drone systems, to study atmospheric physics for improved precision agriculture and weather forecasting.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are currently used in search and rescue, infrastructure inspection and in many other ways to gather information via cameras and specialty sensors. The four-university interdisciplinary team will develop small, affordable systems to measure wind, atmospheric chemistry, soil moisture, and thermodynamic parameters. Doing so will provide meteorologists with data needed to build better forecasting models.

The project, called CLOUD MAP for "Collaboration Leading

8/11/2015

We are delighted to have three new faculty members joining the Department as Lecturers this fall. All three are exceptional individuals with diverse scientific interests and great enthusiasm for teaching. Dr. Lisa Blue earned her Ph.D. from UK (Atwood) and spent time in industry before returning. She will teach primarily within the General Chemistry program and also has experience in analytical chemistry.  Dr. Joshua Owen is also a UK Ph.D graduate (Butterfield) and will teach in multiple parts of the academic program, from general chemistry to organic chemistry to biochemistry. Dr. Ashley Steelman recently earned her Ph.D. at the University of Alabama (Bonizzoni) working on dendrimer synthesis, characterization, and applications. Like her other colleagues, her range of subjects

8/5/2015

By Guy Spriggs

(Aug. 5, 2015) — Started in the summer of 2012 as an intensive “boot camp” to help the University of Kentucky’s new students prepare for college-level calculus, the FastTrack program has become an integral part of efforts to help students transition to the college classroom and set them up for success in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The curriculum for FastTrack has expanded over the last four years, and now gives students an invaluable introduction to UK’s math, biology, chemistry, engineering, Spanish and WRD (Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies). A key part of the program’s continued growth is the recent addition of FOCUS (FastTrack Orientation for College Undergraduate Success), a component built around developing the non-academic skills students need to achieve in coursework.

8/3/2015

By Terrance Wade

(Aug. 3, 2015) - The Department of Chemistry in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences will host a "Mathematics of Physical Chemistry Boot Camp" to prepare students for mathematical and numerical approaches they will encounter in class and in research.

Comprising two sessions, the free boot camp will take place from 8 a.m. to early afternoon Saturday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 29.

The sessions will be instructed by assistant professors of chemistry Peter Kekenes-Huskey and Chad Risko, and 

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