Chemistry Department News

Image: Dr. Hao Liu
Dr. Hao Liu
 Dr. Hao Liu's group, in collaboration with Dr. Louis Piper and Dr. Manuel Smeu groups from Physics Department, has received a three-year NSF award (CBET-2028722, $605,209 in total) . This award, entitled "Rational Design of Oxide Cathode Coatings for High Performance Li-ion Batteries", will investigate the fundamental role of surface coating layers in battery electrodes. Surface coating is widely used as a practical method to improve the performance of Li-ion battery electrode, yet its impact on Li-ion transport and electrode-electrolyte interface stability is not well understood. The research will provide insight into atomic-level processes in order to guide the development of robust coating layers that can be scaled up into manufacturing-grade testing. 


Image: Dan Ciulla
Dan Ciulla

Dan Ciulla, first recipient of the prestigious John Eisch Summer Fellowship.

Congratulations to Dan Ciulla, 2nd year PhD student (Callahan Group), as the first recipient of the prestigious John Eisch Summer Fellowship. Following the example set forth by Professor Eisch, Dan is a dedicated scholar, tireless worker and fearless experimentalist. Dan fully embodies the theme of the John Eisch Summer Fellowship: Chemical Research Beyond Expectation.

Despite a relatively short time in our Chemistry PhD program, Dan already has 5 peer-reviewed publications, a list that includes two first-author publications, one in JACS and one in ChemComm, and a co-first author publication, also in JACS. Dan’s first-author paper in JACS was selected by the journal editors as the cover feature!

In his most recent work, Dan is applying the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas gene editing technology as a means toward discovering new and more effective cancer therapies. Dan’s newly created research tools have paved the way for an exciting collaboration focused on cancer drug discovery involving the Callahan lab and the National Institutes of Health.

Image: Maureen Kitheka
Maureen Kitheka
Chemistry Ph.D. student receives Frontera Computational Science Fellowship

Maureen Kitheka, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Goyal group, has been awarded a Frontera Computational Science Fellowship for 2020-2021 by the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in order to carry out research on charge transport in organic battery materials. As part of this fellowship, Maureen will receive 50,000 node-hours on Frontera, paid summer residence at TACC, training on the latest tools in advanced computing, and collaboration/networking opportunities. She will also receive an annual stipend of $34,000 and support for travel to a Frontera user community event and/or professional conference. Congratulations Maureen!   

Image: Dr. Whittingham
Dr. Whittingham

Stan Wittingham receives 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to M. Stanley Whittingham, distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science at Binghamton University, State University of New York.Whittingham won the prize for pioneering research leading to the development of the lithium-ion battery along with John B. Goodenough, Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and Akira Yoshino of Meijo University in Japan. Congratulations to Stan!

Binghamton University News

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Image: Dr. Grewer
Dr. Grewer

Grewer laboratory receives major NIGMS grant

Dr. Grewer's laboratory has been awarded a NIH grant (1 R15 GM135843-01, $450,480, three years) with the title "How to Combat Glutamate Release by Reverse Transport: Mechanistic Studies and Development of Selective Efflux Inhibitors." This grant will support research on the mechanism of how the major excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate is released into the extracellular space in the brain, by reverse transport through glutamate transporters. In addition, new avenues will be explored of how to selectively block glutamate release using pro-drug inhibitors. Glutamate release by neurons is important because glutamate becomes an excitotoxin, when present in the extracellular space of the brain in high concentrations. Such pathophysiological conditions are often encountered after a stroke, when glutamate induces irreversible neuronal cell death. The proposed research aims at understanding the glutamate release process and potentially preventing it through pharmacological intervention.

Image: Dr. Grewer
Dr. Grewer

Grewer laboratory receives collaborative NIH award with Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Christof Grewer's group has received a four-year NIGMS award in collaboration with Dr. Avner Schlessinger's laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (9 R01 GM108911-06A1, Schlessinger, PI, $81,024 total costs per year sub-contract to Grewer lab) with the title "Substrate Specificity Determinants in Cancer-related Solute Carrier Transporters." The glutamine transporter ASCT2 has been shown to be of major importance in glutamine homeostasis in rapidly-growing cancer cells, resulting in "glutamine addiction" of these cells. This is the second R01 grant funding the long-standing collaboration between the Grewer and Schlessinger laboratories. The major goals of this project are to characterize glutamine transporter ASCT2 substrate and inhibitor specificity using computational and experimental approaches, and to develop specific ASCT2 inhibitors with high affinity, as pharmacological tools and anti-cancer reagents.

Image: Dr. Swierk
Dr. Swierk

John Swierk's Group Receives Doctoral New Investigator Award

John Swierk’s group has received a Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society ($110,000 for 2 years) to investigate methods for using visible light to desulfurize fuels. Sulfur-containing molecules represent a major source of pollution in fuels and their removal during the refining process is inefficient and energy intensive. The grant will investigate molecules that selectively bind sulfur-containing impurities and then subsequently transform those molecules into an easily removed form using only light and oxygen.

Image: Award photo
Award photo

2019 Graduate Student Excellence Awards

On March 27, 2019, 4 of our graduate students were presented with certificates in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the excellence of Binghamton University. Our recipients are:

  • Yiliang Luan - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research
  • Lynn Schmitt - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Victor Wambau - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Shan Yan - Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research

Photo: Yiliang Luan, President Stenger, Lynn Schmitt, Shan Yan, Probost Nieman, Victor Wambau, Dean Tarhule

Image: Alumus Jared DeCoste
Alumus Jared DeCoste

Alumnus Jared DeCoste Named Maryland Chemist of the Year

Jared DeCoste, Ph.D., a graduate of the Chemistry program here at Binghamton and now a scientist at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center has been named Maryland Chemist of the Year by the American Chemical Society.

Jared received the prestigious award for to his efforts to further the understanding and development of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense applications. For the past eight years, DeCoste has been a leader in MOF research with the goal of protecting Soldiers from CBRN threats on the battlefield.

Congratulations to Jared on his excellent work!

Image: Dr. Rozners
Dr. Rozners

Eriks Rozners' Group Receives NIGMS Award

Eriks Rozners’ group has received a Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA R35 GM130207, $2,040,290 for 5 years) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support their broad research portfolio on Chemical Approaches to Control the Function of Regulatory RNAs. This award will support two long-standing research programs in Rozners’ lab on amide-modified RNA and on sequence selective recognition of RNA via triplex forming peptide nucleic acids.

The goals of MIRA R35 Outstanding Investigator Awards are to increase the stability of funding for NIGMS-supported investigators, enhance their ability to take on ambitious scientific projects and approach problems more creatively, and increase flexibility for investigators to follow important new research directions, while reducing the time spent on writing and reviewing grant applications. The current award to Rozners’ group is the first R35 award received by Binghamton University.

Congratulations to Eriks and his group!

Image: Dr. Fang
Dr. Fang

James Fang Receives DOE EFRC Grant

James Fang has received a $400,000 research grant over four years from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the Center for Alkaline-Based Energy Solutions (CABES), led by Professor Abruña at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. The CABES is one of the 22 new Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) that received four-year awards. The mission of CABES is to achieve a detailed understanding of the nature, structure, and dynamics of electrocatalysis in alkaline media.


Congratulations to Dr. Fang!

Image: Dr. Whittingham
Dr. Whittingham

Stan Whittingham Awarded the 2018 David Turnbull Lectureship

Stan Whittingham has been awarded the 2018 David Turnbull Lectureship by the Materials Research Society (MRS).  The Turnbull Lectureship is given to recognize the career of a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to understanding materials phenomena and properties through research, writing, and lecturing.

Stan was chosen from a group of outstanding nominees for "fundamental contributions to solid state ionics including the discovery of the key role of intercalation mechanisms, and the development and commercialization of rechargeable Li-ion batteries.” The award will be presented at the 2018 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston, at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 6:15 p.m.

Congratulations to Stan!

Image: Dr. Fang
Dr. Fang

James Fang Awarded Major NSF Grant

Dr. Fang has been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (1808383, $504,124 for 3 years) to support his work for the development of catalytic sites with lattice strain that exists in several types of shape-controlled state-of-the-art nanocrystals as the model systems. This project aims to explore some fundamental understandings of the lattice strain formation and solutions of catalytic improvement of some emergent electrochemical reactions in energy conversion and environmental protection.

Recently, Dr. Fang also received a grant totaling $110K from the ACS Petroleum Research Fund,entitled “Ceria Facet-Dependent Oxidative Coupling of Methane towards C2 Products”. This is the second-year’s support of the two-year “New Direction” grant, initially awarded on 9/1/2017. This project is aimed at the methodological development of facet-tailored CeO2 synthesis, and the observation of CeO2 facet stability as well as facet-dependent CH4 conversion/C2 selectivity.

Congratulations to Dr. Fang!