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By Faculty

Our Research Faculty are always working to forward the advancement of chemistry. Below, please find a listing of the current research projects, organized by researcher:

Gallo, August A., Ph.D.

  • Synthesis and reaction mechanisms and the chemistry of S, N heterocycles, including hetero Diels-Alder Reaction for nitroso compounds and the use of such adducts toward the synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds; such compounds have structural entities that are found in many present day drugs.
  • Natural products chemistry, in particular native Louisiana plants which exhibit pharmacological activity, as well as isolation and characterization of the chemical components (e.g. in Solidago odora and Lamium amplexicaule) and biological testing of the extracts
  • Formation of biodiesel from new feed stocks such as animal waste (alligator fat) and the analysis of carbohydrates in sweet potatoes and rice in conjunction with the Chemical Engineering department.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Gallo.

Junk, Thomas, Ph.D.

Synthesis and characterization of organic compounds containing heavy chalcogenides (Se, Te). Organic reactions under near-critical and supercritical aqueous conditions. Synthesis and application of stable isotope labeled standards as environmental tracers.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Junk.

Knierim, Kathleen D., Ph.D.

Computer modeling related to chemical kinetics, equilibrium and transport properties. Recent applications have been in the areas of pitting corrosion in oilfield environments and kinetics of DNA cleavage by metal complexes.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Knierim.

Louka, Febee, Ph.D.

  • Monitoring the environmental pollution caused by chlorinated hydrocarbons and determination of hydrocarbons, especially Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in environmental samples using gas chromatography technique.
  • Extraction and removal of pollutants such as PAHs and heavy toxic metals and organic dyes from environmental systems using ecofriendly adsorbents.
  • Synthesis of polynuclear Cu(II), Co(II), Mn(II), and Ni(II) complexes used in the DNA cleavage.
  • Fabrication of microsensors for direct electrochemical measurements of nitric oxide, superoxide and peroxynitrite in biological samples from rats, mice and rabbits.
  • Synthesis of porphyrin analogs and metal complexes that can be used as coatings for microsensors.
  • Extraction, purification, and characterization of β-carotene and ascorbic acid from different types of algae, using high performance liquid chromatography and spectrophotometric techniques.
  • Hands on GC-FID, GC-MS, Atomic absorption, ICP, and UV-vis instruments.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Louka.

Massoud, Salah S., Ph.D.

Dr. Massoud’s research focuses on coordination chemistry relevant to biological systems and material sciences. This includes:

  • DNA Cleavage: We are interesting in synthesizing highly reactive artificial nucleases that can rapidly and selectively catalyze the cleavage of the P-O bonds in DNA and phosphodiesters under physiologic conditions. A large number of mono and dinuclear Co(II) and Cu(II) complexes derived from pyridyl tripod amines and phenolic binucleating ligands were synthesized and characterized, and their catalytic hydrolysis in promoting the DNA cleavage as well as phosphodiester hydrolysis are tested.
  • Anticancer Compounds: The search for an effective therapeutic anti-tumor compounds requires lowering the therapeutical dosage of the drug and also reducing its toxicity. To achieve this target we testing a new series Cu(II) and Co(II) based different tripod amines that derived from heterocyclic bases such as pyrzolyl  and imidazolyl groups.
  • Carbon Dioxide Fixation: Recently, we have been involved in the synthesis of a series of polynuclear metal(II) complexes that efficiently can absorb the atmospheric CO2 from the air and convert it into carbonate that bridges several metal ions that can serve as the green chlorophyll and hence reduce the global warming.
  • We are also interested in the design of inorganic molecules of novel magnetic properties that can utilizes some applications in Material Sciences; Single Molecular Magnets (SMM) and Field-Induced Single-Ion Magents (SIMs) which have important applications in ultra-high density magnetic information storage.  The strategy for synthesizing these compounds depends on the assembly of paramagnetic centers (Cu2+, Ni2+, Co2+) via bridging ligands. Other compartmental ligands accommodate two metal ions or more that can act as bridging ligands.  These ligands are used to synthesize polynuclear 3d-3d and 3d-4f metal ions.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Massoud.

Murru, Siva, Ph.D.

  • Our research involves in the design and development of novel and efficient strategies for the synthesis of important molecular structures. We are particularly interested in developing catalytic carbon-nitrogen and carbon-carbon bond forming processes in chemo, stereo, and enantioselective manner.
  • In-depth understanding of reaction mechanisms gives insight into the origins of selectivity and governs optimization towards the development of most efficient synthetic protocols which ultimately shorten the synthesis of a drug molecule or a major class of biologically active compounds.
  • Our vision is to provide an answer to challenging synthetic problems but it has to be coupled with unique efficiency and elegance.
  • Major areas of my research include Asymmetric catalysis, Organometallics, Heterocyclic synthesis and Combinatorial chemistry.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Murru.

Perkins, Richard S., Ph.D.

Measurements and calculations relating to the oxidant and antioxidant characteristics of medicines and possible medicinal molecules.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Perkins.

Srivastava, Radhey S., Ph.D.

  • Organometallic: Transition Metal-catalyzed Nitrogenation of Hydrocarbons. We discovered that Cu-salts and related complexes catalyze olefins with arylhydroxylamine to produce allyl amines. The reactions occur with remarkable regioselectivity with respect to the alkene and the products are valuable as synthetic intermediates and bioactive targets.
  • Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry: Ruthenium-based Metallopharmaceuticals. Primarily we are tackling problems related to the synthesis of ruthenium complexes with various heterocyclic amines and their assay on various cancer cell-lines.
  • Renewable Biomass Energy: Metal-catalyzed Conversion of Cellulosic Biomass for fuels and value-added chemicals. We aim to develop new more robust and economically viable catalytic systems for efficient, selective, economical deoxydehydration reactions of cellulosic biomass.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Srivastava.

Taylor, Eric, Ph.D.

  • Molecular modeling of biomolecular interactions between DNA, RNA drug molecules, and Nucleic acid-proteins, etc.
  • consulting on Weapons of Mass Destruction and related terrorism matters

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Taylor.

Wang, Yu, Ph.D.

Design of well-defined macromolecular architectures and study of their applications in organic electronics and nano-medicines.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Wang.

Yan, Hui, Ph.D.

Key words: Surface Analysis, Heterogeneous Catalysis, Synchrotron, Environmental Surface Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis, Nanofabrication, Colloidal Chemistry, Chemistry Education

Research in the Yan group focuses on the fundamental understanding of adsorbate-surface/adsorbate-adsorbate interactions at surfaces, relevant to heterogeneous catalysis and environmental surface reactions, on the atomic and molecular levels. The topics of her ongoing and future researches can be categorized into the following:

  • Heterogeneous environmental chemistry: at air-organic surfaces of organic aerosols, to provide better inputs for modeling atmospheric processes and global climate change, and at air-oil surfaces, to understand the degradation process of oil spilled over seawater.
  • Heterogeneous catalysis, to provide fundamental understanding for achieving sustainable energy
  • Fabrication and characterization of functional nanomaterials, to contribute to the development and application of new instruments in surface analysis, such as synchrotron x-ray assisted scanning tunneling microscope (SX-STM).
     

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Yan.

Xu, Wu, Ph.D.

  • The regulation of gene expression by specific DNA-binding transcription factors is critical for many developmental and physiological processes. Transcription factors interact physically and functionally with coactivators (or co-repressors) and the RNA polymerase II machinery to enhance (or repress) tissue- and signal-specific gene transcription following binding to their target promoters or enhancers (or repressor/silencing elements).
  • The broad objective of my research is to study mechanisms by which signal transduction pathways and gene regulation control cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, death and disease.
  • Specifically, I am interested in understanding protein function and structure relation in the context of signal transduction pathway using experimental and theoretical approaches.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Page for Dr. Xu.