Texas Tech University

2007 Departmental News


Edward Quitevis Receives American Chemical Society Funding

Professor Edward Quitevis received notification that his ACS-PRF Type AC proposal entitled "Understanding the Role of Nanostructural Organization in the Intermolecular Dynamics of Room Temperature Ionic Liquids," was recommended for funding by the ACS PRF Advisory Board for $100,000 for two years starting January 1, 2008.  This is the second grant that Professor Quitevis has received this year for his research on the spectroscopy of ionic liquids.  Quitevis's research will study how the liquid structures that form on the nanoscale determine the intermolecular dynamics of these materials.


Edward Quitevis Receives Funding on NSF Proposal

Professor Edward Quitevis was awarded a $454,050 NSF grant over three years, beginning September 1, 2007, for "Probing Nanostructural Organization in Room Temperature Ionic Liquids Using Optical Kerr Effect Spectroscopy".  This proposal, which was sent to the highly competitive Experimental Physical Chemistry Program, is aimed at obtaining a fundamental understanding of the intermolecular dynamics of ionic liquids. These materials are of great interest in that they are "green" alternatives to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in chemical and industrial applications.


Dimitri Pappas Publishes Featured Article

A paper by Assistant Professor Dimitri Pappas was the featured article in the October 2007 issue of Analytica Chimica Acta. The paper, entitled "Isolation and counting of multiple cell types using an affinity separation device," was co-authored by graduate student Kelong Wang and honors college undergraduate Brandon Cometti. The Pappas group also published a review article in the same issue of the journal.

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Former Graduate Student Accepts Faculty Position

Dr. Lin Gao, who earned her PhD from this department in December 2006 under Professor Shaorong Liu, has joined The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as an Assistant Professor.


Edward Quitevis Research Paper Featured as Journal of Physical Chemistry Cover Article

A paper entitled, "Nanostructural Organization and Anion Effects on the Temperature Dependence of the Optical Kerr Effect Spectra of Ionic Liquids", by Professor Edward Quitevis, and his coworkers, was one of 6 articles featured on the cover of The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Volume 111, No. 18. The paper describes studies of the relationship between the structure and intermolecular dynamics of room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs). RTILs are of great interest in that they are "green" alternatives to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in chemical and industrial applications. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B has an ISI impact factor of 4.115, highest among general physical chemistry journals. For more information, choose Article 4 once you click here.


Bill Poirier Receives NSF Small Grant for Exploratory Research

Associate Professor L. William Poirier has recently received an NSF Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER) entitled "Bipolar Quantum Trajectory Simulations". SGER applications, submitted only with approval of an NSF program officer, explore "high risk and novel ventures into emerging and potentially transformative research ideas, likely to catalyze rapid and innovative advances." Poirier's SGER project, a two-year grant in the amount of $173,418, will develop numerical methods to incorporate quantum mechanical effects into existing classical simulations codes (already used in a great many scientific and engineering fields), thus allowing reliably accurate quantum calculations to be performed for large systems for the first time.


Bill Hase Awarded Grant for Partnership in International Research and Education

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase is PI and Yu Zhunag (Department of Computer Science) is co-PI of a Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant awarded to Texas Tech University by the National Science Foundation. The award is $500,000/year for five years. The title of their project is "Simulation of Electronic Non-Adiabatic Dynamics for Reactions with Organic Macromolecules, Liquids, and Surfaces" and their collaborators are at Iowa State University, Yale University, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), University of Pisa (Italy), and University of Vienna (Austria).


Satomi Niwayama Receives ACS Award

Associate Professor Satomi Niwayama has received the "ACS PROGRESS/Dreyfus Lectureship" Award, which is funded by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences. This lectureship award is provided to a female tenured/tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor who started her full-time appointment no later than September 2003 in a chemistry or chemical engineering department that offers a Ph.D. degree. This award provides a travel grant of up to $1000 for the recipient to present her research at Carnegie Research Extensive universities in the US.


Bill Hase Gives Invited Lectures

Robert A. Welch Professor William L. Hase has given several invited lectures in 2007: i.e. "Direct Dynamics Simulations of Gas Phase Ion-Molecule Reactions" at the 9th Gordon Conference on Structures, Energies, and Dynamics of Gaseous Ions held in Ventura, California, February 25 - March 2; "Simulations of Interfacial Structures and Dynamics" in the Symposium entitled Capturing Complexity in Physical Sciences Simulation at the 222nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held in Chicago, Illinois, March 25 - 29; "Energy Transfer in Collisions of Projectiles with Organic Surfaces" at the 20th International Conference on Molecular Energy Transfer held in Arcachon, France, June 3 - 7. He also gave the seminar "Dynamics of Energy Transfer and Fragmentation in Surface-Induced Dissociation of Protonated Peptide Ions" at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain on May 31.


Huazhong Shi Awarded Research Grant from USDA

Assistant Professor Huazhong Shi was awarded $349,143 research grant from USDA National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program. This grant is a three-year grant starting from July 15, 2007. The awarded project is "Characterization and Molecular Identification of sos1 Suppressors in Arabidopsis".


Richard Bartsch Received a Renewal Grant from Welch Foundation

Paul Whitfield Horn Professor Richard A. Bartsch received a three year renewal grant in the amount of $150,000 from The Welch Foundation for "Synthetic Hosts for Recognition of Ionic and Molecular Guests".


Dimitri Pappas Receives Grant from the Welch Foundation

Assistant Professor Dimitri Pappas received a grant from the Welch Foundation entitled: "Single Molecule Investigations of Energy Transfer and Light Harvesting of Phycobiliproteins." The grant provides $50k per year for three years. With this new grant, Dr. Pappas' students will investigate energy transfer of fluorescent protein complexes on the single molecule level.


Tech Chemistry Professor Leads US Leather Association in International Meeting

Associate ProfessorDennis C. Shelly leads the American Leather Chemists Association (ALCA) as it hosts the 29th Congress of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS). Their meeting is scheduled for June 20-24 in Washington, D.C. and will also be the 103rd Annual Meeting for the 400-member American group, over which Shelly presides as President. "This is another way that Texas Tech and the ALCA are working together," said Shelly. Shelly is tireless in promoting the domestic leather industry, and especially that in Texas, as he is director of TTU's Leather Research Institute.

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Chemistry & Biochemistry Graduate Students Win Awards at Poster Competition

On April 12, three graduate students in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry were announced as winners in the Biochemistry category at the Sixth Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Competition held by the Graduate School at Texas Tech University. First place was awarded to Simerjeet Gill, second place to Yanping Gao, and third place to Charlotte Sisk. All three students are members of Dr. Louisa Hope-Weeks' research group.

Knaff   Liu

Biology and Chemistry Faculty Receive VPR Funding

Associate Professor Satomi Niwayama has received a TTU-TTUHSC Initiative grant as the lead PI from the TTU campus for research entitled "A New Proteomic Method and Its Application to Chemical Biology." The grant, which comes from the TTU Office of the Vice President for Research and TTUHSC Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, is for $499,692 for collaborative research, and involves Robert Bright (lead PI from TTUHSC), and Co-PIs, David Knaff (TTU), Shaorong Liu (TTU), Lauren Gollahon(TTU), Nathan Collie (TTU), and Gail Cornwall (TTUHSC).


Eight A&S Faculty Honored at Mortar Board's Apple Polishing

Eight A&S faculty recently were honored at Mortar Board's "Apple Polishing" reception. The reception, held this year on March 25, is a way for Mortar Board Members to say thank you to faculty for their work and dedication as teachers. The list of faculty from Arts & Sciences who were recognized at this event includes: Rebecca Bauer, Psychology; Dr. Dominick J. Casadonte, Chemistry; Dr. Jim Clopton, Psychology; Dr. Stephen Cook, Psychology; Dr. Michael Dini, Biological Sciences; Dr. Michael San Francisco, Biological Sciences; Dr. Padmanaban Seshaiyer, Mathematics & Statistics; and Dr. Julie Willett, History.
Mortar Board is a national senior honor society representing the best and the brightest seniors across the United States. Here at Texas Tech University, Mortar Board is a legend. Our organization is made up of the top 50 seniors on campus.

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Chemistry Major Wins National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

Geneva Peterson (senior, Chemistry) has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. She has worked primarily with Drs. Dominick J. Casadonte and Louisa J. Hope-Weeks. Ms. Peterson is a two-year winner of the Goldwater ($7500/year for undergraduates), and she also won the Gates-Cambridge (four years to a Ph.D. at Cambridge University, UK).


Richard Bartsch Presents Papers at 233rd National ACS Meeting

Paul Whitfield Horn Professor Richard A. Bartsch presented two papers in the Symposium on Calixarenes: State of the Art and Perspectives on March 26th at the 233rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago. This symposium is organized by the ACS Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry.

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Texas Tech Awards Grants to Help Researchers Bring Projects to Patent Stage

Associate Professor Robert W. Shaw received $63,000 for his project. He has developed a compound that could increase the effectiveness of current antibiotics. His work is protected by three patent applications. There is a $30 billion market for antibiotics in the United States alone. But bacteria are becoming resistant to traditionally used antibiotics. Disease causing bacteria are producing enzymes that cause a change in the chemical structure of an antibiotic rendering it ineffective in killing the bacteria. Shaw has developed an inhibitor compound which can be administered in combination with antibiotics to prevent the enzymes from inactivating the antibiotic allowing the drugs to kill the bacteria. Shaw will use his grant for animal testing that will accelerate the commercialization of the technology.

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Biochemistry Major Is a Harry S. Truman Scholarship Finalist

Camille Robinson, a junior Biochemistry major, has been selected as a finalist in the Harry S. Truman scholarship competition. This scholarship is for $30,000 toward graduate school for a student intending to pursue a public service career. TTU has only one Scholar and three other finalists on our record. Ms. Robinson will interview for the scholarship on March 13. She already has been admitted to TTU med school. Camille is currently working in Dr. W. David Nes' lab.

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Chemistry Major Receives Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

Geneva Peterson, a senior Chemistry major, has been awarded a Gates-Cambridge scholarship. She is a two year Goldwater Scholar, as well as recipient of many TTU science scholarships. The Gates is used for study at University of Cambridge (UK) for up to 4 years. It is valued at approximately $160,000. Drs. Brandon Weeks, Gary Elbow, Marjean Purinton, and Dominick J. Casadonte helped prepare Ms. Peterson for the scholarship interview process. Her award is TTU's fourth Gates-Cambridge award (previous winners are Jay Reddy, Michael Henne, Nicholas Johnson).

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Five A&S Graduate Students Receive SIGT Provost Awards

Graduate student Cynthe Sims will receive 2007 Science: It' A Girl Thing (SIGT) Provost Award. She will also receive a fee waiver. These awards are possible due to the generosity of Provost Marcy who for the second year has contributed $25,000 to IDEAL for SIGT graduate student assistantships. Each recipient is responsible for teaching one SIGT class. Cynthe is a member of Dr. Robert W. Shaw's group.


Jorge A. Morales Receives Prestigious NSF-Career Award

Assistant Professor Jorge A. Morales has received final confirmation that his NSF-CAREER proposal entitled: "Building a Direct Dynamics with Coherent States" was approved for funding by NSF in a total amount of $569,463.00 for five years, starting on February 1, 2007. Professor Morales is the second faculty member in the Department of Chemistry possessing a prestigious NSF-CAREER Award, and is the first one to have obtained such a distinction by being in the department since the beginning of his professional academic career. Professor Morales' research project supported by NSF is in the field of theoretical and computational chemistry and deals with his novel coherent-states theories applied to chemical dynamics.

Promotions & Tenure

We congratulate faculty members Shaorong Liu who was promoted to Full Professor and tenured, W. David Nes who was named as a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, and Jorge Morales who was promoted to Associate Professor and tenured. Tenure is immediate, while the promotions take effect on September 1st, 2007.

Liu    Nes    Morales

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

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