Spring 2021 

All Friday seminars will begin at 3:10 pm unless noted otherwise.

Wednesday, January 27 at 12:10 pm

Fourth Year Graduate Student seminar in Biochemistry with Ms. Alexandra Cheney.  The title of her talk is  "A Comprehensive and Integrative Analysis of Metabolic Dysfunction and Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in Familial Dysautonomia.  Allie works in the labs of Profs. Valérie Copié and Frances Lefcourt.  

Friday, January 29 

Dr. David Heldebrant from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will present “How does Carbon Capture Work?”

Abstract: The world is undergoing a renewable energy revolution, though renewables cannot provide enough power for a fully carbon-free energy economy. The burning of fossil fuels will continue for the next two decades to meet our (still growing) energy demands, releasing gigatons of CO2 into the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ICPP) has concluded that the removal of 20 gigatons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere by the year 2050 will limit catastrophic warming by the year 2100. Carbon capture is a process that removes CO2 before or after a fuel is burned to make power.  This talk provides an overview of carbon capture, with an emphasis on the technical challenges, the energy burdens, equipment costs, and most importantly the scale of carbon capture infrastructure.

Prof. Mike Mock host

Friday, February 12

Erik van Kuijk, MD, PhD, Professor & Chair, Ophthalmology & Visual Neurosciences at the University of Minnesota, will present  "Role of Prophylactic Zinc in Preventing in Severe Disease Progression from COVID-19.”   Professor Ed Dratz host.  Webex link to follow.

Friday, Feburary 19 

Dr. Teresa J. Bandosz, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The City College of New York

"Beyond Adsorption:  Exploring the Silent Aspect of Carbon Porosity"


In this talk we would like to provide an insight into our perspectives on the new applications of nanoporous carbons that were inspired by the graphene features and its presence in these carbonaceous materials. A significant advancement to the “new” science of the “old” nanoporous carbons is in their application as photocatalysts for water splitting, as gas sensors and  ORR and CO2RR catalysts. In these applications both surface chemistry and porosity are crucial factors determining the specific performance. We will show an excellent gas sensing capability of carbons and their response selectivity. Photoactivity and  electron transfer reactions will also be addressed. The mechanism of the observed processes based on  an involvement of porosity will be proposed.

Our inspiration in the science of graphene combined with the comprehensive knowledge of activated carbons surface chemistry, texture, morphology and adsorptive/reactive adsorptive properties directed us to look at carbons from another perspective; from the perspective of nanotechnology. The results obtained by us and briefly addressed here are very new and many questions have arisen, and are left unanswered, and many approaches need improvements. One has to take into consideration that explaining the complex phenomena on nanoporous carbons is not easy owing to the combination of the porosity and surface chemistry effects. Practically either one cannot exist without another and they add up to that's specific and unique synergy provided only by these materials. One thing is certainly true:  “adventurous” graphene features can be found in nanoporous carbons and they deserve to be explored and used to their full extent.

Dr. Nick Stadie host

Friday, February 26

Ms. Nida Shaikh will present "Carbon Particulate Adsorption to Aqueous – Air Interfaces and Their Effects On Lipid Film Structure and Organization."  Nida is a fourth year graduate student in the laboratory of Professor Rob Walker.  

Friday, March 26

Dr. Wei-chen Chang , Assistant Professor of Chemistry at NC State University will present "Mechanistic Studies and Potential Application of Non-heme Iron Enzymes in Natural Product Biosynthesis." 

Abstract: Metalloenzymes catalyze a broad array of oxidative modifications that are involved in primary metabolism as well as natural product biosynthesis. Among diverse reaction types, C-N bond and C-C bond installation catalyzed by several iron and 2-oxoglutarate dependent enzymes represent novel transformations found in natural product biosynthetic pathways. Herein, a combinatorial approach is used to demystify the plausible reaction mechanisms. Furthermore, the insight obtained through mechanistic investigation leads to the discovery of repurposing these enzymes for the preparation of useful small molecules.

Prof. Jen DuBois host  

3:10 pm via WEBEX


Thursday, April 1

Ms. Angela Patterson will defend her PhD in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Investigating the Role of Allostery Through Changes in Protein Stability and Dynamics."  Angela works in the lab of Professor Brian Bothner.  

12 noon


Friday, April 2 -University Holiday

Monday, April 5

Mr. Jesse Peach will defend his PhD in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "ANALYSIS OF COMPLEX SAMPLES BY MASS SPECTROMETRY LEADS TO INSIGHTS INTO SYSTEM DYNAMICS".  Jesse works in the lab of Professor Brian Bothner.

2 pm via WEBEX 


Thursday, April 8

12:00 pm Katie Steward will defend her PhD in Biochemistry. Prof. Brian Bothner advisor.

Friday April 9

Mr. David Chen will defend his PhD in Chemistry beginning with a seminar titled “The Effects of Atomic Oxygen on Carbon-Silicon Systems in Extreme Environments."  David works in the lab of Professor Tim Minton

10:10 am 


Friday, April 9

Ms Erin Taylor will present a graduate student seminar titled "Lifting Graphene Out of 2D: Can We Synthesize a Missing Carbon Allotrope?" Erin is completing her 4th year as a graduate student in the lab of  Asst. Prof. Nicholas Stadie.

3:10 pm via WEBEX


Friday, April 23 

Dr. Jonathan Schlebach will present a seminar titled "Coordination of -1 Programmed Ribosomal Frameshifting by the Transcript and Nascent Chain." 

Abstract:-1 Programmed ribosomal frameshifting (-1PRF) is a translational recoding mechanism that enables the synthesis of multiple polypeptides from a single transcript. In the alphavirus structural polyprotein, -1PRF is traditionally believed to be coordinated by a “slippery” sequence and an adjacent stem-loop in the subgenomic RNA. However, our group recently found that the efficiency -1PRF is also sensitive to the mechanical forces generated by a conformational transition in the nascent polypeptide chain. To characterize both RNA and nascent chain effectors, we measured the effects of 4,530 mutations on -1PRF by deep mutational scanning. While most mutations within the slip-site and stem-loop reduce the efficiency of -1PRF, mutagenic effects upstream of the slip-site are far more variable. Coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of polyprotein biogenesis suggest many of these mutations alter pulling forces on the nascent chain by perturbing its interactions with the ribosome, the translocon, and the lipid bilayer. Finally, we provide evidence suggesting the coupling between cotranslational folding and -1PRF depends on the translation kinetics upstream of the slip-site. These findings provide unprecedented insights into how -1PRF is coordinated by the interplay between structural elements within the transcript and nascent polypeptide chain.

Dr. Schlebach is an Assistant Professor at Indiana University (Bloomington) and is the guest of Professor Brian Bothner.


Friday, April 30 

Methane Adsorption on Heteroatom-Modified Maquettes of Porous Carbon Surfaces

Rylan Rowsey, Erin E. Taylor, Stephan Irle, Nicholas P. Stadie, and Robert K. Szilagyi 

Abstract: Experimental and theoretical studies disagree on the energetics of methane adsorption on carbon materials. However, this information is critical for the rational design and optimization of the structure and composition of adsorbents for natural gas storage. The delicate nature of dispersion interactions, polarization of both the adsorbent and the adsorbate, interplay between H-bonding and tetrel bonding, and induced dipole/Coulomb interactions inherent to methane physisorption requires computational treatment at the highest possible level of theory. In this study, we employed the smallest reasonable computational model, a maquette of porous carbon surfaces with a central site for substitution and methane binding. The most accurate predictions of methane adsorption energetics were achieved by electron-correlated molecular orbital theory (CCSD(T)) and hybrid density functional theory (MN15) calculations employing a saturated, all-electron basis set. The characteristic geometry of methane adsorption on a carbon surface (“lander approach”) arises due to bonding interactions of the adsorbent π-system with the proximal H–C bonds of methane, in addition to tetrel bonding between the antibonding orbital of the distal C–H bond and the central atom of the maquette (C, B, or N). The polarization of the electron density, structural deformations, and the comprehensive energetic analysis clearly indicate a ~3 kJ mol-1 preference for methane binding on the N-substituted maquette. The B-substituted maquette showed a comparable or lower binding energy than the unsubstituted, pure C model, depending on the level of theory employed. The calculated thermodynamic results indicate a strategy for incorporating electron-enriched substitutions (e.g., N) in carbon materials as a way to increase methane storage capacity over electron deficient (e.g., B) modifications. The thermochemical analysis was revised for establishing a conceptual agreement between the experimental isosteric heat of adsorption and the binding enthalpies from statistical thermodynamics principles.


Join us virtually via WEBEX