22 posts categorized "Chemistry"

02/24/2016

Smart Materials on the Menu at Science Cafe


Preston_moore_300pxA talk about smart materials that respond to stimuli was served up by Dr. Preston B. Moore, professor of chemistry & biochemistry, when he took part in the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) Science Café on Feb. 22, 2016, at Stoney’s British Pub in Wilmington, DE. The Science Cafés are science talks for laymen about materials-related topic of current interest.

Dr. Moore, who also is director for USciences West Center for Computational Chemistry and Drug Design, focused on the synthesis and simulations of smart materials that feature well-developed interfaces and stimuli-responsive behavior materials and their potential applications.

IMG_5794Materials that change in response to stimuli are very desirable for a range of applications from biometrics to energy storage. Recently, a facile synthetic route to binary polymer brushes and mosaic polymer brushes, which are novel and unique organizations of polymers at solid substrates, has been reported. Mosaic brushes are homogeneously distributed islands of densely grafted polymers, whereas the binary brushes are two immiscible polymers grafted to the surface.

The LRSM, is the center for materials research at the University of Pennsylvania. It was established in 1960 as one of the first Materials Research Laboratories to be funded by the forerunner of DARPA. The LRSM, through the NSF-supported Penn MRSEC, began the series of Science Cafés in 2011 to promote NOVA’s four part TV series on materials, ‘Making Stuff with David Pogue,’ on public television.

10/05/2015

Lifestyle Factors Could Put College-Age Women at Higher Risk of Breast Cancer, Says USciences Prof

IMercier_250x350Breast cancer prevention needs to become a shared conversation among women of all ages because it can strike at any age and is generally more aggressive when diagnosed in women under the age of 50, said Isabelle Mercier, PhD, a pharmaceutical sciences professor at University of the Sciences. With hopes to spark that discussion, Dr. Mercier compiled some key prevention awareness tips for young women.

“Unfortunately, college-age women generally do not consider themselves at risk for breast cancer,” said Dr. Mercier. “However, there are several risk factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer that need to be understood early in life to prevent the development of breast cancer down the road.”

By the end of 2015, more than 231,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. Of those cases, approximately 40,000 individuals will not survive, said Dr. Mercier. Women in their early 20s need to become aware of some key risk factors associated with breast cancer:

  • Check your family tree. A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother or sister, can increase the chance for developing breast cancer. Genetic testing is recommended for young women with prevalence of breast cancer in their families.
  • Watch your weight. Obesity is responsible for up to 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths in women. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer by creating a cancer-friendly environment through fat cells.
  • Exercise regularly. Women who strive for at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity – like brisk walking – reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. According to research from Washington University School of Medicine, if a female averages a drink per day, her risk of breast cancer increases by 11 percent. Studies show that alcohol possesses estrogenic activity, thus promoting the growth of breast tumor cells.
  • Annual doc visits. Although mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40, young women should still see their primary care doctors each year for clinical breast exams. They are also encouraged to conduct self-examinations throughout the year.
  • Limit tobacco use. Women who smoke have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they become smokers early in life. Smokers have increased levels of both estrogen and testosterone that might disrupt the endocrine signaling in women and contribute to the development of these tumors.

An important part of Dr. Mercier's research focuses on cancer prevention. The role of vitamin C intake on breast cancer development, progression, recurrence and response to anti-cancer therapy remains unclear. That’s why Dr. Mercier and her research team at USciences are currently studying the role of dietary supplements on cancer risk, as well as evaluating new biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer. 

Media exposure:

KywOct. 8, 2015
Healthy College Lifestyles Can Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer
Audio1

Breast cancer is rare among college-age women, but lifestyle choices made during those years can be life-saving years later.

05/01/2015

Chemistry Prof Earns Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science

MadhuMadhu Mahalingam, PhD, assistant chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of the Sciences, has been named the recipient of the Philadelphia Local Section of the American Chemical Society's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science. She will accept her award during a ceremony held at the University on Thursday, May 21.

“My main goal as an educator is to improve my students’ understanding of chemistry, as well as expand their ability to apply their lessons to new situations and enhance their critical thinking and problem solving skills,” said Dr. Mahalingam.

This distinct honor recognizes Dr. Mahalingam’s excellence in undergraduate teaching in chemical science at USciences, where she instructs a large general chemistry course to students in the pharmacy, physical therapy, and biology programs. She is the first professor from USciences to receive this award, which was established in 2003.

To be eligible to receive the award, a professor must teach at an academic institution within the geographical boundaries of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Chemical Society—which includes the counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware and Bucks in Pennsylvania and Burlington and Camden in New Jersey.

02/25/2015

USciences to Host Philly Younger Chemists Committee's Annual Poster Session

YccUniversity of the Sciences will again host the Philadelphia Younger Chemists Committee's 15th annual Student Poster Session on Tuesday, March 31, from 6-9 p.m., in the Bobby Morgan Arena at the Athletic/Recreation Center (43rd St. at Woodland Ave.).

"We hosted this event last year, and over 130 students from nearby colleges and high schools came and presented their research at USciences," said Voki Pophristic, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemistry at USciences. "Our American Chemical Society Student Chapter is a co-organizer of this event, and we look forward to seeing a variety of research projects on display this year."

This poster session is open to all graduate, undergraduate, and high school students of chemistry, chemical engineering and biochemistry. For more info, visit phillyycc.org.

10/30/2014

USciences Named an 'Outstanding ACS Chapter Award' Recipient

AcsUniversity of the Sciences' student chapter of the American Chemical Society received national recognition for its activities during the 2013-14 academic year, as the American Chemical Society named it an Outstanding Chapter.

Of the 400 U.S. student chapters who submitted reports to ACS, only 44 (approximately 10 percent) received Outstanding status; 85 received Commendable and 151 Honorable. The USciences chapter was praised for its activities during National Chemistry Week, which the judges called “exemplars for the rest of the ACS student chapters,” as well as its involvement with the Science Olympiad, which was held on USciences' campus for the first time on Feb. 1, 2014.

Tom Barton, president of the American Chemical Society, praised the club’s members and its chemistry faculty advisors, Dr. Catherine Bentzley and Vanessa Jones.

“Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires. Dr. Bentzley's and Ms. Jones' efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate science education and mentoring around the country,” Barton said. “We extend our warmest congratulations to the students and Dr. Bentzley and Ms. Jones for setting such a fine example for other chapters and being exemplary chemistry ambassadors!”

Last year, this on-campus organization was named Student Organization of the Year at USciences, and was under the leadership of alumnae Megan Mohadjer Beromi C'14, a doctorate student at Yale; and Julie Mercandante BC'14, a medical student the Commonwealth Medical College.

This chapter also won the second place in the 2014 Chemistry Wars, a competition between Delaware Valley chemistry programs, co-sponsored by USciences and Temple University’s ACS Chapters. They also organized the first Philadelphia Local ACS Chapter poster session at USciences, which was attended by more than 130 students from Philadelphia-area.

USciences' student chapter of ACS was invited to accept the award at the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver on March 22, 2015, as well as to present and attend research discussions.

Congratulations!

10/28/2014

USciences Prez, Students and Faculty Attended Life Sciences Future in Philly

PABioLSF14_-138University of the Sciences President Dr. Helen-Giles Gee, as well as students and faculty from USciences, joined hundreds of life sciences leaders and innovators during the Life Sciences Future Conference on Oct. 13-14 in Philadelphia.

Life Sciences Future was a two-day event designed by Pennsylvania Bio to reflect the rapidly-evolving landscape in healthcare - which includes biopharma, medical device and diagnostics, healthcare IT, contract research organizations, medical research institutions, and the investment community.

The first day of the event kicked off with Life Sciences Future Symposium: Partnerships in Science, which was designed for an exclusive audience of academic researchers, such as USciences students and faculty, to explore best practices for engaging business development representatives at large companies as well as the next steps in developing their technologies. The second day of the conference was jam-packed with speakers, topics and features all related to advancing science and healthcare industries.

Dr. Giles-Gee and students had the opportunity to meet and speak with Michael Sofia, inventor of Sofosbuvir – known by the brand name Sovaldi, a hepatitis C therapy drug approved by the FDA last December.

“The sessions were outstanding and much appreciated by the faculty and students who attended," Dr. Giles-Gee.

10/27/2014

USciences Well-Represented at Annual UMBC Research Symposium

Bio research University of the Sciences was well-represented at the 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences held at University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday, Oct. 25.

This annual event – sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health – showcased dozens of mentor-approved contributions from undergraduate students who investigated various aspects of chemistry, biology and biochemistry. 

Ashley Stewart MB'15 and Reecha Pandya BISci'15 joined Drs. Peter B. Berget and Matthew Farber, both professors in the Department of Biological Sciences, as they presented their research.

Stewart’s research, “Blood Sensors: Development of Biosensors for the Measurement of Factor Xa and Thrombin Concentrations in Blood,” aimed to advance diagnostic testing methods by creating a protein-based “detector” that can directly assess clotting measures in a patient’s blood. Dr. Berget, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, served as her research advisor for the project.

Pandya’s research, “Effect of Fermentation Parameters on Protease Activity in Beer” was intended to optimize beer fermentation conditions that minimize potential protease release, ultimately benefiting quality control for home brewers and commercial breweries. She conducted her research under the guidance of Drs. Farber and Berget. Dr. Farber is currently a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Berget specializing in cell biology and protein purification. 

07/08/2014

Doctoral Student to Present Award-Winning Research at ACS Meeting in San Francisco

AraA biochemistry doctoral student at University of the Sciences is set to travel across the country next month to present his award-winning research during the American Chemical Society's (ACS) meeting in San Francisco. Ara Abramyan PhD’15 was one of five U.S. recipients of the highly competitive ACS Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award for Graduate Students.

Abramyan won for his research titled, “Computational studies of aromatic foldamer helices: molecular encapsulation and handedness inversion.” Vojislava Pophristic, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at USciences; and Zhiwei Liu, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, served as research advisors and mentors for this project.

The five award recipients' research projects will be recognized at the award presentation ceremony during the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry Poster Session on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Abramyan will also receive an award certificate, a one-year molecular operating environment software license for his research group, as well as $1,150 to cover his travel costs to San Francisco.

Sanfran-generalDuring his time as a student, researcher, and teaching assistant at USciences, Abramyan has received many honors, including the University’s Graduate Excellence in Research Award, Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Abraham Glasser Endowed Fellowship; as well as the ACS Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award and a research grant from University of Chicago.

"Ara is an exceptional biochemistry PhD student, as well as graduate student instructor," said Dr. Pophristic. "His award – together with the ACS award alumnus Eleonora Gianti PhD'13 won in 2010 – speaks volumes about the quality of education and research conducted by our biochemistry students and faculty.”

Abramyan earned a master’s degree in drug discovery from the University College London, University of London; as well as a master’s degree in pharmacy from First Moscow State Medical University in Russia.

The theme for this fall's meeting is "Chemistry & Global Stewardship," and the four-day event will kick off Aug. 10 and run through Aug. 14. More than 15,000 chemists, scholars, students, and other professionals are expected to gather at the event; and more than 7,400 papers will be presented, and nearly 4,400 poster presentations will take place. 

Follow the conference on social media by using the hashtag #ACSsanfran.

06/18/2014

Nearly 100 Philly Middle Schoolers Explore STEM Careers at USciences

IMG_1861As part of an ongoing commitment to Philadelphia schools and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, University of the Sciences hosted its first Career Day for Middle School Students on May 9.

Held in conjunction with state Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia), University City Science Center, and three local middle schools, a half-day program focusing on STEM careers was developed by USciences faculty and staff for nearly 100 local students from Samuel B. Huey School, Jubilee School, and The City School.

University president Helen Giles-Gee, PhD, kicked off the day with welcome remarks, which included her hope and expectation that one day the young students would attend USciences. The fifth-graders were also given a tour of USciences’ campus by student ambassadors, and participated in a science expo held by students and faculty from chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, pharmacy, and pharmacology/toxicology programs.

IMG_1829They had the opportunity to participate in hands-on demonstrations and experiments highlighting the STEM academic disciplines, and then experienced lunch in a college dining hall. The day wrapped up with a presentation on career interest and exploration.

Click here to see all photos from the day.

Participating staff and faculty, included: Kimberly Bryant, director of career services; Kevin Wolbach, interim associate dean of Misher College of Arts and Sciences; Catherine Bentzley, PhD, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Grace Farber, PhD, assistant professor of biology; Carl Walasek, statistics instructor; Scott Greene, director of the Student Excellence and Professional Preparation programs; Mary Kate McGinty, director of government and community affairs; and Danielle Stollak, program manager of University City Science Center's STEAM Initiatives.

04/11/2014

VIDEO: 6abc Highlights Students, Faculty at USciences Research Day

 
 
6abc showcased the diversity and growth of research pursuits at University of the Sciences during its 12th Annual Research Day and 27th Annual John C. Krantz, Jr., Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, April 10. Research Day recognizes and highlights the research efforts of faculty, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, to encourage and promote communication and collaboration among researchers.
 
USciences distinguishes itself by offering undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research early in their academic careers. The diverse research activity that was on display spanned several aspects of the University’s scholarly pursuits, including:
  • Determining occupational therapists’ role in working with pediatric cancer patients
  • Discovering the personality traits that cause adolescents to kill
  • Using yoga to improve quality of life for patients with anorexia nervosa
  • Identifying predictors of successful post-secondary transitions for autistic students
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