News


Tavis Jacobs utilize electron microscopy to measure adhesion properties of nanoparticles

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 5 March 2019

To advance the understanding of micro- and nano-surfaces and to engineer more stable nanoparticles, the National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Pittsburgh’s Tevis Jacobs a $500,000 CAREER Award, which supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Dr. Jacobs, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, will utilize electron microscopy to directly study and measure adhesion properties of nanoparticles and their supporting substrates.

Dr. Jacobs noted that current processes to counter nanoparticle coarsening utilize stabilizing materials, but matching the most effective stabilizer to a nanoparticle is a time-consuming and costly trial-and-error process. The CAREER award will enable Dr. Jacobs and his lab group to develop new methods to measure the attachment and stability of nanoparticles on surfaces under various conditions, allowing researchers to enhance both surfaces and nanoparticles in tandem to work more effectively together.

Written by Paul Kovach.

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Daniel Lambrecht receives a Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 19 February 2019

Prof. Daniel Lambrecht has been selected to receive a 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence by members of the University of Pittsburgh's faculty. Teaching is defined broadly and includes all activities that faculty members engage in to facilitate learning by undergraduate, professional, or graduate students: lecturing; clinical teaching; conducting seminars, tutorials, or recitations; etc. This award consists of a cash prize to the faculty member and a grant to support the faculty member's teaching activities. Daniel will be publicly recognized at the 2019 Honors Convocation.

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Lillian Chong Presented Protein-protein Binding Pathway using Fully-continuous, Explicit-solvent Simulations

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 12 February 2019

 

The latest study by Lillian Chong and Ali Saglam in her group demonstrated the power of the weighted ensemble (WE) strategy in enabling explicit-solvent MD simulation of a protein–protein binding process.(Click here for the protein-protein binding simulation video) Their results provide a number of insights regarding the binding mechanism that cannot be obtained by laboratory experiments.

The research by Lillian Chong group appeared in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Science (DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04811H). The WE strategy and others like it have great promise in providing insights involving binding kinetics for a variety of research areas, including biophysics, catalysis, protein engineering, and material design.

 


Peng Liu Awarded Maximizing Investigators' Research Award Grant from National Institutes of Health

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 5 February 2019

Peng Liu has been awarded a five-year Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $1.8 million grant will support Peng group's research in developing quantum mechanics based computational tools to study organic and organometallic reactions. They study how reactions occur, factors controlling rates and selectivity, and provide theoretical insights to help develop improved catalysts and reagents.


Highlighted on Science Magazine! Mason Awardee Susan Fullerton Display Benefits of Outsider Perspectives

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 29 January 2019

Susan Fullerton, an assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is one of five winners presented with the 2019 AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Chemical Sciences at a 13 December awards ceremony at the American Association for the Advancement of Science headquarters.

She and her team had created a new ion conductor with a particularly unique property: once the transistor was turned on it stayed on, and once it was turned off it stayed off in the absence of a power supply. This enables memory sticks to store information even when they are disconnected from a computer. Fullerton envisions a future where this type of switching could lead to a memory stick that operates on much lower power than those on the market today and to devices with never-before-seen properties, such as one that can be triggered to permanently destroy its data if it falls into the wrong hands.


Nathaniel Rosi recognized on the Clarivate Analytics as One of the Highly Cited Researchers in 2018

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 22 January 2019

Nathaniel Rosi is included on the list of the Clarivate Analytics website that “recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science”. This is the third consecutive year that Dr. Rosi has been included on this list. The Highly Cited Researchers list from Clarivate Analytics identifies scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated significant influence through publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade.


Susan Fullerton recognized with James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemical Engineering

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 15 January 2019

Marking her ability to inspire students through novel demonstrations of complex subjects as well as her mentoring of women and underrepresented minorities, PQI member Susan Fullerton was awarded the 2018 James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Department of Chemical and Petroleum  Engineering.

The Pommersheim Award was established by the Department and James M. Pommersheim '70 to recognize departmental faculty in the areas of lecturing, teaching, research methodology, and research mentorship of students. Dr. Pommersheim, formerly Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University, received his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in chemical engineering from Pitt. “Susan’s accomplishments in teaching over such a short period of time speak to the heart of the Pommersheim award. Her imaginative use of hands-on experiments and demonstrations create a tremendous amount of enthusiasm among our students and generate her impressive teaching scores to match,” noted Steven Little, department chair and professor. “Also, Susan’s presentations on the “imposter syndrome” and achieving work-life balance have generated tremendous campus interest.  She has candidly shared her own experiences to help our students understand that feeling like an imposter is normal, and can drive further successes.”


Roger Mong and Jacob Tevis received NSF career award

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 8 January 2019

Roger Mong and Jacob Tevis were recognized by the National Science Foundation CAREER award. Roger Mong aims to develop and study a wide collection of quantum phenomena that may be used in the next step of the quantum revolution. The goal of his project is to study how quantum behavior can survive beyond the microscopic regime. Roger Mong and his team will look for ways in which fundamental particles, such as electrons, can be bound together similarly to how atoms form molecules. Tevis Jacobs’ research seeks to enable the rational design of new and better stabilizing support materials by elucidating the dependence of particle coarsening on the supporting surface structure. His investigation will develop new approaches to measure the attachment and stability of nanoparticles on well-defined surfaces under various conditions, enabling the rational engineering of surfaces to optimize the performance and lifetime of the nanoparticles. 


Jennifer Laaser and Susan Fullerton received NSF career award

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 1 January 2019

Jennifer Lasser and Susan Fullerton were recognized by the National Science Foundation CAREER award. Jennifer Laaser's research will investigate how the structure and dynamics of polymeric networks influence force-driven processes at the molecular scale, and will develop curricular materials and outreach activities aimed at promoting education and diversity in polymer science.  Susan Fullerton’s research investigation aims to continue shrinking the size and power consumption of electronics with new materials and new engineering approaches. She approaches this challenge by development of super-thin “all 2D” materials, whic are similar to a sheet of paper – if the paper were only a single molecule thick. 

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