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Disease diagnosis, biodefense among UH chemical research projects

With 33 presentations of original research that showcase applications ranging from early-stage disease diagnosis to fuel cells and batteries, the University of Houston will be well represented at the 229th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), March 13 to 17 in San Diego.

Founded in 1876, the ACS is a nonprofit, scientific and educational organization and the largest scientific society in the world with an international membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. Chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS is a world leader in fostering chemical education and research.

Faculty members of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Cullen College of Engineering, in addition to numerous graduate students, are among the UH attendees. Presenters and presentations include:

# Rigoberto Advincula, associate professor of chemistry, and his research group will present 22 papers with recent research results based on two major themes ?polymer-nanoparticle hybrid materials and polymer loops and brushes. Polymer materials and ultrathin polymer films have applications in advanced electronics, display technology, biosensors and biomedical devices. Advincula also is sole presenter on the paper "Electropatterning and nanopatterning of conjugated polymer ultrathin films: The precursor polymer approach."

# Steven Baldelli, assistant professor of chemistry, will present research with applications in batteries and fuel cells. His paper is titled "Surface spectroscopy of room-temperature ionic liquids at the platinum-liquid electrochemical interface."

# Chengzhi Cai, assistant professor of chemistry, will present research on "Protein nanoarrays on monolayers presenting oligo (ethylene glycol)s on Si(111) surfaces." The long-term goal of this research focuses on the preparation of nanometer-sized arrays of sensor molecules that are relevant to early-stage disease diagnosis, when treatment is still an option. Ca i also is an author on four other papers that will be presented at the ACS meeting.

# Dar-Chone Chow, assistant professor of chemistry, will discuss "Thermodynamics of interactions between glucose and maltose binding protein." His group's poster presents progress toward better understanding of the chemical and physical driving forces of carbohydrate-protein interactions that are important in biological systems.

# Roman S. Czernuszewicz, associate professor of chemistry, will present research on "Resonance Raman spectroscopy of nitrophorins." Nitrophorins are a family of heme proteins found in certain insects that store nitric oxide (NO). Having importance in many areas of human health, NO is useful in lowering blood pressure, treating cancer and increasing oxygen absorption in lung tissue. Czernuszewicz's research is focused on the roles of salivary nitrophorins in storing and releasing NO and binding histamine by using resonance Raman spectroscopic techniques as a probe of molecular structure.

# Yuriy Fofanov, assistant professor of computer science and assistant professor of biology and biochemistry, and Richard Willson, professor of chemical engineering and professor of biology and biochemistry, in addition to several other authors, will focus on "Microarray designs for rapid microbial identification." This research is important because infectious diseases cause 26 percent of global mortality and are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Microbial identification also is important in food safety and biodefense. Traditional culturing and growth-testing methods are being replaced by molecular biology-based methods as genome sequencing advances. This work presents novel DNA-sequence-based methods of sensitive, broadly applicable and false-positive resistant microbial identification.

# George Fox, professor of biology and biochemistry and professor of chemical engineering, and Willson, with several other authors, will p resent research on "Neutral additive effects on metal affinity adsorption of nucleic acids." Purification of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) is important in diagnosing genetic diseases, genome sequencing and making DNA-based vaccines for diseases like Ebola and HIV.


For more information about the ACS meeting and to access a schedule of presenters and presentations, visit


Source:University of Houston

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