Texas Tech University
TTU HomeDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Information

2006 Departmental News

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase's National Science Foundation research project "Computer Simulation of Chemical Dynamics" was recently renewed by NSF for the period 8-1-06 to 7-31-09 and for an amount of $426,000. With this renewal, Bill will have 34 years of continuous support from NSF for this project.

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase gave a Plenary Lecture entitled "Direct Dynamics Simulations of Atomic-Level Gas-Phase Organic Reactions.  Post-Transition State Dynamics" at the Conference on Electronic Structure: Principles and Applications (ESPA 2006), held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 18-21, 2006.

                         

  The Welch Foundation awarded renewal grants to Guigen Li ($60,000/year for three years), and David Nes and Paul Pare ($50,000/year for three years each).   Michael Mayer was awarded a new three-year grant of $50,000/year.

Shaorong Liu has been named a Nano 50 Award winner, for his innovative research in nanotechnology, "Nanochannel-Based Fuel Cells". The Nano 50 Awards, presented by Nanotech Briefs magazine, recognize the top 50 technologies, products, and innovators that have significantly impacted, or are expected to impact, the state of the art in nanotechnology.  The Nano 50 awards will be presented at a special reception and awards dinner during NASA Tech Briefs National Nano Engineering Conference at the Boston Marriott Newton, November 9-10, 2006.

Three chemistry graduate students have been awarded Summer 2006 Dissertation/Thesis awards from the TTU Graduate School. Congratulations to Ademola Idowu, Paramakalyani Martinelango, and Lauren McPherson.

Two chemistry graduate students won awards for their posters in the Biological Sciences I division at TTU's 5th Annual Graduate School Poster Competition.  Ademola Idowu won 2nd Place, and Charlotte Sisk, 3rd Place.

                         

  Sandy Dasgupta, Shaorong Liu, Dominick Casadonte, and Michael Mayer have been awarded funding from the Advanced Research Program (ARP) for 2006.  Approximately $8.3 million was available for ARP awards. Overall, 88 proposals were funded out of 454 submitted. TTU did very well in the competition, with 9 of the 22 single-institution proposals funded (4 of them from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry).  The individual awards are:

--  Shaorong Liu, "Toward Comprehensive Understanding of Ion Transport Through Nanochannels", $100,000

--  Michael Mayer, "Catalytic Synthesis of Polyrotaxanes and Multicatenanes", $100,000

--  Dominick Casadonte, "Sonochemical Synthesis of Nanometric Carbide Ceramic Armor Materials", $100,000

--  Purnendu Dasgupta, "Perchlorate and iodide intake and excretion in breastfed infants", $100,000


"Nature" (Vol. 440, Issue 7802) highlighted a recent Anal. Chem. paper by Horn Professor Sandy Dasgupta. The research, using soap bubbles to automate the detection of trace gases, was a joint effort of TTU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Department of Physics, and the Department of Chemistry at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Also involved in the research was Professor Walter Borst of the TTU Physics Department.

Paul Pare has been awarded funding under the Fulbright Scholar Program to conduct research in the area of Plant Biochemistry at a governmental research facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil.   In collaboration with researchers at Kennedy Space Center and Auburn University, members of the Pare laboratory are currently studying signaling mechanisms initiated by soil bacteria via volatile odors that trigger plant growth promotion.  Research instigated in Brazil will allow for the exploration of bacterial metabolites from strains endogenous to South America that have biologically active in promoting growth of agricultural crops.  The Fulbright Scholarship will coincide with a TTU faculty developmental leave scheduled for spring, 2007.

Mr. Qingyang Li was selected for a 2006 "Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry" from the Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.  Li is a Ph.D. candidate in Horn Professor Sandy Dasgupta's group, and plans to graduate from TTU in August 2006. This is the third consecutive year that a TTU student has won this prestigious award; previous winners are Rahmat Ullah and Kalyani Martinelango, also from Prof. Dasgupta's research group.

Robert W. Shaw and members of his research group made a series of presentations at the 100th Anniversary National Meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) during April 1-5, 2006 in San Francisco, CA.  The title of Bob's presentation was "Novel Nucleic Acid-Based Inhibitors of the Bacillus cereus 5/B/6 Metallo-B-lactamase", graduate student Cynthe L. Sims presented "Inhibition of Co(II)-Reconstituted Bacillus cereus 5/B/6 Metallo-B-lactamase by DNA" and HHMI undergraduate student Susan E. Wozniak presented "In vivo Trials of a Nucleic Acid-Based Metallo-S-lactamase Inhibitor.  Ms, Wozniak participated in the normal poster session and also in the 10th Annual ASBMB Undergraduate National Poster Competition.  She received an Honorable Mention Award (one of only 23 awards made to over 160 undergraduate participants).  This award, based on the impact and quality of the research performed, was presented to Ms. Wozniak by Nobel Laureate Dr. Thomas Cech, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

ESPN's "Knight School" has departmental ties.  Out of the multitude of applicants, Arvin Zeinali, a BA Chemistry major and Tyler Hoffmeister, a BA Biochemistry major, made the cut of sixteen that were chosen for the TV show.  The reality series allowed sixteen Texas Tech students to compete for a walk-on position with the Red Raiders men's basketball team.  Both Zeinali and Hoffmeister were in the final four.  Zeinali and another player were released when the four became two.  The final choice was between Hoffmeister and Dustin Richardson, a Texas Tech baseball pitcher.  Hoffmeister was the winner of the competition, and will be playing with Coach Bob Knight's team next year.

Congratulations to the following people who received Service Award Pins:

5 Years -- Brandon Sheehan, Dhandapani Sadasivam, Jeremy Mason, Andrea Kirk, In Yong Eom

10 Years-- W. David Nes

15 years -- Dennis Shelly

45 years -- Henry Shine


W. David Nes is the 2006 winner of the Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award for Excellence in Research.  This award recognizes research excellence at Texas Tech University and has a cash prize associated with it. It is sponsored by the Texas Tech University Association of Parents and is based on excellence in research, with publication of the research playing a strong role in its presentation.

David M. Birney gave a seminar entitled "Monkey Saddles, Pseudopericyclic Reactions and other Peculiarities" at University of North Texas (February 24), Princeton University (February 28) and Lehigh University (March 1).

On February 24, Horn Professor Richard A. Bartsch visited Baylor University and presented a seminar entitled "New Proton-Ionizable, Calixarene-Based Ligands for Selective Metal Ion Separations" in their Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Spring Colloquium Series.

        

  Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase and Horn Professor David Knaff were honored at the annual Apple Polishing ceremony put on by Mortar Board, a senior honor society at Texas Tech. The idea of Apple Polishing is to honor faculty who have made a different in the lives of these exceptional students during their time at Texas Tech, whether in or outside of the classroom. It is the work that Bill and David have done in the classroom or in their research mentoring with these students that have made a difference in their lives.

The Spring 2006 award for Outstanding General Chemistry Teaching Assistant has been awarded to Patrick McLaurin.

Edward Quitevis gave a seminar at the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Arizona State University on February 20, 2006.  The title of his talk was "Intermolecular Dynamics of Liquids Studied by Ultrafast Optical Kerr Effect Spectroscopy:  From "Simple" Molecular Liquids to Complex Fluids".

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase presented the Plenary Lecture at the 6th Annual Centre for Research in Molecular Modeling (CERMM) Symposium held at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, February 10-12, 2006.  The theme of this year's Symposium was "Exploring the Synergy Between Mass Spectrometry and Computational Chemistry" and the title of Bill's lecture was "Chemical Dynamics Simulations of Energy Transfer, Fragmentation, and Soft-Landing in Protonated Peptide Ion Collisions with Hydrocarbon Surfaces".

Dr. SM Rahmat Ullah is the Song Prize Winner for the best departmental dissertation of 2005.  His research was completed under the direction of  Horn Professor Sandy Dasgupta. Dr. Ullah received his PhD degree on December 17, 2005; the title of his dissertation was, "Development of Membrane Based Devices and Ion Chromatography Systems and Their Applications in Atmospheric Measurements".  He is currently working as a Senior Research Chemist at ChemTrace Corporation in Fremont, CA.

Horn Professor Richard A. Bartsch has received a 6-month, $30,000 contract from the Idaho National Laboratory for "Synthesis of Calixcrown Ligands for Acid-Side Cesium Extraction".

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase has been honored with a Festschrift special issue (volume 110, February 2, 2006) of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A in celebration of his 60th birthday.  Bill's Festschrift can be seen at the JPCA website.

Horn Professor Richard A. Bartsch has received a three-year renewal of his grant from the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the US Department of Energy.  Funding in the amount of $345,000 will be provided to investigate "New Proton-Ionizable, Calixarene-Based Ligands for Selective Metal Ion Separations".

 

Promotions & Tenure

We congratulate faculty members Guigen Li, who was promoted to Full Professor, and Bill Poirier, who was promoted to Associate Professor and received tenure, both effective September 1, 2006.