News

4/25/2017

Four 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, and Susan Odom, assistant professor of chemistry, in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, have been selected as Scialog Fellows by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement.

As fellows, Guiton and Odom 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.

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.

3/21/2017

By Kathy Johnson

The "Civic Life" panel series, developed by the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is a new weekly forum exploring a wide range of issues confronting society today. Open to the entire UK campus, these lunchtime panel discussions will take place each Wednesday for the remainder of the semester, and the series kicks off Wednesday, March 22, with a discussion of immigration — a topic making headlines worldwide.

“At the core of the mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is the commitment to prepare students to be engaged citizens in our Commonwealth, in an increasingly diverse nation, and in an ever-more interconnected world," said Mark Kornbluh, dean of the college. "Faculty members across all of the disciplines of our college take this commitment seriously and are seeking to provide

3/8/2017

By Dave Melanson

Twenty-four experts from industry, academia and government have accepted appointments to serve on the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) Advisory Board. The advisory board, which will meet in April 2017, provides counsel and guidance to the center about emerging trends in energy research and development.

“I thank all of the advisory board members for their willingness to serve,” said Rodney Andrews, director of CAER. “The depth and breadth of expertise will provide the center and our research teams with valuable, strategic insight."

Since 1977, CAER has served as one of the nation’s premier energy research and development institutes, collaborating with companies and government agencies to help maximize Kentucky’s — and the nation’s — energy resources.

3/1/2017

A publication authored by Dr. Erin Wachter, Mr. Diego Moya, and Prof. Edith Glazer was profiled on the cover of ACS Combinatorial Science. 

About the Cover: Ru(II) complexes containing dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]phenazine) (dppz)-type ligands are known to be "light switches" for DNA. These complexes can exhibit radically different luminescence responses depending on nucleic acid structure. In this issue, Wachter, Moyá, and Glazer prepared and screened a library of different Ru(II) dppz complexes to uncover the structural features of the probe molecules that imparted selectivity for various DNA architectures. The cover shows a parallel screening approach where a library of DNA sequences, structures, and other biomolecules were investigated against a library of different Ru(II) dppz complexes to determine structural relationships that result in selective luminescence responses.

3/1/2017

By Dave Melanson

 The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research’s (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant for their novel work in utilizing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants to develop bioplastics.

The DOE's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected seven projects to receive $5.9 million to focus on novel ways to utilize carbon dioxide. All of the selected research projects will directly support FE’s Carbon Storage program’s Carbon Use and Reuse research and development portfolio. This portfolio will develop and test novel approaches that convert carbon dioxide captured from coal-fired power plants to useable products. The projects will also explore ways to use

2/23/2017

By Lisa Lockman and Kristie Law

The UK Women's Forum, formally established during the 1991-1992 academic year,  is currently celebrating over 25 years of open discussion, creativity, and leadership development for all women employed at the University of Kentucky.  Women's Forum is also celebrating the 17 women who have been nominated for the 2017 Sarah Bennett Holmes Award — an award created by UK Women's Forum.

Established in 1994, the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award honors a distinguished former dean of women at the University of Kentucky. Sarah Bennett Holmes, who was widowed at a young age, raised four children while completing her own education. She went on to have a successful career at UK where she inspired young women to persevere in the face of

2/14/2017

By Lori Minter

A record number of students made the University of Kentucky Dean's List for the fall 2016 semester. The 7,408 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance.  That's an increase of more than 200 over the previous record reached in fall 2015 when the number of students on the UK Dean's List surpassed 7,000 for the first time.  Last semester's Dean's List includes over 700 more students than the spring 2016 semester's list.

To make a Dean’s List in one of the UK colleges, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.6 or higher and must have earned 12 credits or more in that semester, excluding credits earned in pass-fail classes.  Some UK colleges require a 3.5 GPA to make the Dean’s List.

The full Dean's List can be accessed by visiting www.uky.edu/PR/News/

1/26/2017

Prof. Edith (Phoebe) Glazer has been invited to present the work of her research group at the International Symposium on Photopharmacology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. The symposium, organized by Prof. Wiktor Szymanski, will focus on three areas: 1) Approaches used to regulate drug activity with light: photoactive metal complexes, photocaged drugs and photoswitchable compounds; 2) New tools, mainly the recently reported visible- and red-light responsive molecular photoswitches; 3) Therapeutic targets for photopharmacology, with recent examples of potential candidates. The symposium features a keynote lecture from Prof. Ben Feringa, the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

For more information, see 

1/11/2017

By Whitney Hale

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) selected University of Kentucky senior Corrine Faye Elliott, of Lexington, as one of this year's 40 recipients of the prestigious $10,000 scholarship. The ASF Scholarship is presented annually to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Earlier this year Elliott was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding students who wish to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

For more than 30 years, the ASF has identified and supported the best and brightest undergraduate students pursuing educations in STEM fields across the nation. The Astronaut Scholarship

1/10/2017

Prof. Yinan Wei of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky Received a grant from the American Heart Association to study how bacterial pathogens cause diseases in humans. Pathogenic E. coli is not only the major causal agent of enteric/diarrheal disease and urinary tract infections, but also among the most common bacteria that lead to sepsis. The goal of the study is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of E. coli pathogenesis, especially in septic shock. A better understanding of the infection mechanism may lead to new solutions to this deadly disease.  

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