With more faculty than there are elements on the modern periodic table, the Ph.D. Program in Chemistry offers its students a diversity of options for graduate research. Current research encompasses the full-spectrum of chemical science including analytical, biological, computational, environmental, inorganic, organic, polymer, materials, physical and theoretical chemistries. Interdisciplinary areas of research including nanoscience, structural biology, molecular biophysics, bioinorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, radiochemistry, medicinal chemistry and surface science and are also well represented by multiple faculty. The scale of our faculty aids students in finding the best research mentor and provides a rich resource of chemical expertise to advise and assist students in developing their science.
View all faculty below or view faculty by subdiscipline.
Dr. Daniel L. Akins, The City College of New York
Dr. Akins has been a Professor of Chemistry at The City College of New York since 1981, and director of the CUNY-Center for Analysis of Structure and Interfaces since 1988. His research interests are syntheses of semiconductor and magnetic oxide nanoparticles and nanorods; spectroscopic and dynamical investigations of spontaneous and nonlinear laser Raman scattering by monomeric and aggregated molecules on surfaces; excited-state dynamics and determination of photophysical parameters for cyanine dyes and donor-acceptor systems; quantum chemical calculations of porphyrins and dye molecules.
Dr. Teresa J. Bandosz, The City College of New York
Dr. Bandozs’ research focuses on the development of new nanoengineered materials for environmental and energy-related applications. The research involves the development of cutting edge carbonaceous nanomaterial for energy storage, visible light catalysts for oxygen reduction or water slitting, conductivity based toxic gas sensors, and decontaminants for chemical warfare agents. “We also work on the design of efficient separation media for removal of pollutants form gas and liquid phases. The materials synthesized and investigated in our lab include nanoporous carbons, graphite, graphene oxide, graphene, carbon nanotubes, Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), nanoporous metal (hydr)oxides, g-C3N4 and various composites.”
Dr. Elizabeth J. Biddinger, The City College of New York
Prof. Biddinger is a chemical engineer interested in green chemistry and sustainable engineering topics utilizing electrochemistry, catalysis and novel solvents like ionic liquids. The Biddinger Research Group utilizes toolbox electrochemistry, catalysis and ionic liquids to tackle a variety of problems associated with green chemistry and sustainable engineering. Current projects include investigation of copper electrocatalysts for CO2 electroreduction for synthesis of fuels and chemicals, electrochemical hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of biomass for synthesis of fuels and chemicals, development of switchable electrolytes as reversible safety switches in batteries, electrodeposition in ionic liquids as a means of metal recovery and nanoparticle formation, and functionalization of carbons with ionic liquids as adsorbents in air filtration.
Dr. Mark R. Biscoe, The City College of New York
Prof. Biscoe is an organic/ organometallic chemist interested in the development of new reaction methodologies for application in drug discovery. Broadly, research in the Biscoe group focuses on catalysis. “The two major types of catalysis in which we are interested are transition metal catalysis and macromolecular catalysis. Our primary goals involve the development of practical and reliable processes for the construction of C–C and C–X (X = heteroatom) bonds. We are particularly interested in the development of new processes for the formation of common structural motifs of importance in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery.”
Dr. Zimei Bu, The City College of New York
Dr. Bu’s group studies the structure and dynamics of protein complexes in cell signaling, using neutron and X-ray scattering. “Our group studies the structure and dynamics of cell signaling proteins and macromolecular complexes that regulate cell adhesion, and the intracellular trafficking of membrane receptors and ion channels. These proteins function as molecular machines and switches that can fail to work properly for various reasons, causing diseases such as cancer. We employ biochemical, biophysical, and structural biology techniques, in particular, small-angle neutron and x-ray scattering (SAXS and SANS), to study the interactions of these proteins. We also develop methods of utilizing quasielastic neutron scattering, in particular, neutron spin echo spectroscopy (NSE) to study protein dynamics and protein domain motions. We have developed a theoretical framework using non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to interpret the NSE data. These methods allow us to see, for the first time, the dynamics of protein complexes on nanometer scales. NSE fills an important information gap in our ability to study protein motion on sub-microsecond time scales and on nanometer length scales.”
Dr. Benjamin P. Burton-Pye, Lehman College
Benjamin Burton-Pye specializes in the fundamental chemistry of elements found within the nuclear fuel cycle. His research focuses on manipulating the coordination environment around these metal ions and how that affects the chemical, redox, and photophysical properties. His research can be broadly defined as the fundamental chemistry off-block and group VII metals. There are presently two major research aims associated with this theme:
1. To develop the use of luminescence as a tool to understand the chemical speciation of lanthanides and actinides in the environment, terrestrially and extra-terrestrially.
2. To use soluble metal oxides (polyoxometalates) to fundamentally understand how actinide ions interact with minerals at a molecular level. He also studies the mentoring relationship and is working towards codifying co- and multi-mentorship models in interdisciplinary research settings.
Dr. Elise Champeil, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Prof. Champeil is a synthetic chemist interested in the DNA alkylating drug Mitomycin C (MC). She synthesized MCDNA Interstrand crosslinks to determine how the local structure of these adducts is responsible for the different biochemical responses produced by cancer cells upon treatment. “Our aim is to synthesize DNA interstrand crosslinks generated by decarbamoyl mitomycin C (DMC) and mitomycin C (MC) (MC a-ICL and DMC b-ICLs). In addition, the role of p21 in the upstream p53-independent signaling pathway in response to these crosslinks is examined. Analysis of drugs (recreational and medicinal) in biofluids using NMR spectroscopy.”
Dr. Yu Chen, Queens College
The Chen group is interested in late transition metal catalysis, heterocyclic chemistry, and asymmetric catalysis. The Chen group is working in the area of late transition metal-mediated catalysis, heterocyclic chemistry, and asymmetric catalysis. They have been developing new synthetic methods for biologically interesting frameworks using Lewis acid-mediated transformations of alkynes, and have successfully developed new atom-economical routes for the synthesis of a variety of core structures, including isoxazoles, 2-azafluorenones, isoquinolines, indenones, dibenzocyclohepten-5-ones, and etc.
Dr. Xi Chen, The City College of New York & CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
Dr. Chen is recognized as a leading scientist in the field of energy harvesting and smart materials. His work has led to a number of publications in leading scientific and popular journals and has been featured in mainstream media, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NBC News, BBC, and many others. Professor Chen develops the next generation of sensors, actuators, energy conversion, and storage devices by using novel nanostructured and bio-inspired functional materials. His recent work on water responsive materials and evaporation-driven engines opens up a new field in energy harvesting and provides opportunities towards solving current challenges in sustainable energy, energy storage, clean water, robotics, and medical technologies.
Dr. Junyong Choi, Queens College
Junyong Choi is a synthetic and computational medicinal chemist. His research focuses on the development of therapeutic candidates by applying organic synthesis, computer-aided drug design, and chemical biology. “My scientific objective is to develop specific, target-directed therapeutic candidates for human diseases. My laboratory integrates organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug design, and chemical biology to discover bioactive chemical probes. We are particularly interested in the discovery of small-molecule agents with a novel mechanism of action to elucidate specific functions of biological targets. The discovery and techniques established in my laboratory will advance the chemical science in biomedical research for the development of therapeutics.”
Dr. Maria Contel, Brooklyn College
Maria Contel is an inorganic synthetic chemist focused on the rational design of metallodrugs and homogeneous catalysts. She leads a multidisciplinary group involved in the synthesis, nanotechnology, biochemical and biological studies. “We synthesize compounds based mostly on gold, ruthenium, and titanium to study their potential as anticancer and antimicrobial agents. We study their biological activity in vitro and in vivo, their modes of action and delivery strategies based on nanotechnology. Catalytic studies focus on recyclable and bimetallic catalysts and on sustainable processes.”
Dr. Melissa A. Deri, Lehman College
The overarching goal of the Deri Lab is the integration and application of radiochemistry towards tangible benefits to society. “We focus on the intersection of radiochemistry and biomedical science, more specifically in molecular imaging and radiotherapy using radioactive metals.” Prof. Deri’s research efforts are focused on addressing the following two questions:
1. How can radioactivity be used to improve human health? Research projects include: Radiometal chelation studies • Bifunctional chelator development • Radiopharmaceutical design
2. How can we get more people interested in chemistry? Teaching practices and strategies studied: Culturally relevant teaching practices • Use of technology in education • Online learning tools • Flipped classroom pedagogy • Active learning strategies
Dr. Ruel Desamero, York College
Dr. Desamero is a spectroscopist by training currently investigating protein-ligand interaction as well as protein-protein aggregation using various techniques. “My research is centered on investigating the structural and dynamical aspects of protein-small molecule interactions using techniques such as vibrational spectroscopy and temperature-jump relaxation. One aspect of the work is to understand at the molecular level how protein systems work. Enzyme-substrate interactions have long been recognized as representing an extreme expression of structural complementarities in biological chemistry. Basic research geared towards understanding the inner workings of an enzyme system is important if cures for the diseases caused by a malfunctioning or deficient enzyme are to be found. We have also started investigating the mechanism behind amyloid formation with the goal of synthesizing peptide inhibitors that diminish protein aggregation.”
Dr. Amedee des Georges, The City College of New York & CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
The des Georges Lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms of cell regulation. “We use cryoelectron microscopy to decipher at the atomic level the function of large macromolecular complexes involved in calcium signaling and in the regulation of protein synthesis.”
Dr. Terry Dowd, Brooklyn College
Dr. Terry Dowd is involved in two areas of research. One area is the alteration in bone mineral properties in disease. The second project involves alterations in structure-function relationships in the gap junction molecule Connexin in deafness, neuropathy and skin disease. “My research involves investigating the role of the bone protein osteocalcin in bone mineral diseases such as lead toxicity, low magnesium diets, and diabetes. The research involves multiple techniques such as atomic absorption, FTIR Imaging and microCT to investigate alterations in mouse bone mineral properties. The second project involves NMR structural-functional studies of the gap junction molecule Connexin in health and diseases such as deafness, fatal skin disease, and neuropathy. The project uses 2D NMR techniques on a high field magnet and electrophysiological techniques characterizing the mutant gap junction channels.”
Dr. Dorthe M. Eisele, The City College of New York
Dorthe Eisele is a Professor of Chemistry at City College and a member of the Graduate Center. Her research interests are in materials research and nanoscience, with a focus on new materials and design principles for solar energy systems. “Artificial and biological model systems for light-harvesting (LH) in order to better understand the fundamental processes that govern nature’s highly efficient photosynthetic masterpieces; Collective phenomena found in self-assembled nanoscale systems such as supra-molecular assemblies (Frenkel exciton systems), semiconductor nanostructures (Wannier exciton systems), metallic nanostructures (plasmonic systems), and organic/inorganic hybrid systems; Energy and electron transport processes in nanoscale systems; steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopy combined with microscopy techniques.”
Dr. Cherice M. Evans, Queens College
Dr. Evans is a physical chemist investigating the effects of local solvent structure on reactivity in near-critical point fluids. This work involves experimental and theoretical studies performed at Queens College, the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (Baton Rouge, LA) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, NY). “Our lab is currently investigating the quasi-free electron energy in near-critical point anisotropic fluids with a focus on carbon dioxide, ammonia, and water. The theoretical work on this problem will be performed at Queens College. The experimental work will be performed at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices in Baton Rouge, LA. We are also studying the mobility of electrons through near critical point fluids, with a focus on Ar, Xe, CH4, and C2H6. The theoretical work is being performed at Queens College and at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The experimental work will be performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory and at Queens College.”
Dr. Stephen Philip Fearnley, York College
“As a synthetic organic chemist, my research involves the development of new methodology for the construction of bioactive natural products: alkaloids, cyclic ether arrays, & C-glycosides.” The Fearnley lab investigates & uses oxazolone as a useful heterocyclic scaffold for alkaloid synthesis – studies of intramolecular Diels-Alder reactions with oxazolone as dienophile. They are interested in the novel organosilane chemistry for approaches to bioactive ethers – concise assembly of cis-fused bicyclic ether arrays via intramolecular attack of vinylsilanes at tethered oxocarbenium ions. A related silyl-activated Friedel-Krafts process requires an unusual combination of electronic & steric effects. Recently completed targets include 2-epi-pumiliotoxin C & deoxyaltholactone. Similar approaches to gephyrotoxin & dysiherbaine are underway.
Dr. Harry D. Gafney, Queens College
Dr. Gafney’s current research focuses on excited-state electron-transfer and acid-base chemistry, photocatalysis of multi-electron, multi-proton conversions such as CO2 to CH4 and NOx to N2, synthesis of mixed valent metal oxides in nanoporous silica matrices, absorption and emission properties of tungsten and molybdenum oxides, ground and excited state acid-base properties of tungsten and molybdenum oxides.
Dr. Emilio Gallicchio, Brooklyn College
Emilio Gallicchio’s research is in the area of computational molecular biophysics. He uses advanced computational models to investigate the dynamics and thermodynamics of biological systems. “We are interested in the thermodynamics of protein-protein and protein-ligand binding, virtual drug screening, protein conformational equilibria, statistical thermodynamics of protein folding and misfolding, thermodynamics of solvation of biological macromolecules, force field development and high-resolution protein modeling, design of high-performance computational chemistry algorithms, & parallel and distributed computing.”
Dr. Kevin H. Gardner, The City College of New York & CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
The Gardner lab studies how cells perceive and respond to changes in the environment around them. Such information provides insights into fundamental principles of protein structure and signaling, guides the engineering of new protein-based tools, and lays the foundation for new therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Brian R. Gibney, Brooklyn College
The Gibney Lab uses metalloprotein design to investigate the fundamental engineering of biological systems. These studies provide insight into metal-induced protein folding, heme electrochemistry, and the role of chemically modified hemes in biology. “Our research focuses on the role of metal ions in biological systems from both an inorganic coordination chemistry and biophysical perspective. We are currently investigating the role of zinc in controlling gene expressions in human cancer, and the role of heme proteins in cardiovascular disease.”
Dr. Dixie J. Goss, Hunter College
Prof. Goss is a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Elion Endowed Scholar. “We use biophysical approaches to understand how non-coding regions of mRNA regulate function. Miss regulation of protein synthesis in responsible for many diseases including cancer. We are interested in how unique structures in viral RNA allow viruses to take over host cell protein synthesis.”
Dr. Michael Green, The City College of New York
Dr. Green is a computational chemist, with a principal interest in biophysical problems, especially related to a class of proteins, ion channels, responsible for the nerve impulse, among other things. “Primarily we carry out quantum calculations on overlapping sections of proteins, such as voltage-sensing domains of ion channels, to determine the structure, bonding, energetics, and transitions of protein, water, hydrogen bonds, and salt bridges, leading to mechanisms, for example, of sensing voltage.”
Dr. Nancy Greenbaum, Hunter College
Prof. Greenbaum is a structural biologist whose research addresses the role of biomolecular structure and function in the biochemical activity of noncoding RNA molecules. “We incorporate solution NMR, fluorescence techniques, and biochemical approaches in our studies. We attempt to answer questions about how RNA molecules fold and interact with other RNA, metal ions, and proteins in order to carry out the complex activity of precursor messenger (pre-m)RNA splicing. This process, by which noncoding intron sequences of pre-mRNA molecules are excised and flanking coding exons are ligated together, is an essential step in the preparation of mRNA transcripts prior to translation of their message into protein sequences. Pre-mRNA splicing in eukaryotic cells is performed by the spliceosome, a dynamic nuclear supramolecular assembly that comprises five recyclable small nuclear (sn)RNA molecules and many proteins. Similarities between spliceosomal snRNAs of and functionally analogous regions of Group II introns, which excise themselves even in the absence of proteins, suggests shared evolutionary ancestry and the likelihood that the spliceosomal reaction is also catalyzed by its RNA components. Using a combination of biochemistry, biophysical, and spectroscopy techniques, we characterize the molecular basis of recognition and conformational dynamic leading RNA splicing in the two systems.”
Dr. Steve Greenbaum, Hunter College
“We investigate the structure and function of solid materials at the atomic and molecular level by solid-state NMR. Most of these materials have applications in renewable energy technologies. I value diversity in the scientific workforce as reflected by my lab group members.”
Dr. Alexander Greer, Brooklyn College
“Our research areas are organic chemistry, synthesis, interfacial chemistry, photochemistry, natural products, and nanotechnology. We focus on synthesis and organic photochemical reactions to study molecular oxygen that are toxic to organisms and damaging to materials. Photo-generating intermediates in a clean and pure fashion is one goal, including the physical isolation of sensitizer and molecules at surfaces to “separate” reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage membranes and enzymes. Oxygen-dependent toxic effects are common in nature and our mechanistic studies have also focused on thiophene sulfoxides and mutagenic nitrosamines. We have also synthesized sulfanes related to natural product varacin, such as thianthrene, tetrathiocin, trithiole, and pentathiepin anticancer agents.”
Dr. Rupal Gupta, College of Staten Island
The Gupta Lab is interested in the elucidation of transition metal-mediated processes undertaken by pathogens and the corresponding immune response by the human body during infection using bioinorganic, biophysical and computational methodologies. “Transition metal homeostasis is one of the mechanisms through which the human body combats microbial attack. We are investigating both the processes undertaken by pathogens during the invasion of a host cell and the responses executed by the host cell during such an attack. The research projects aim to study the mechanisms of zinc and copper homeostasis, incorporation of native metal ions by metallochaperones, and pathogenic machinery of zinc acquisition. Investigation of these physiological events at the interface of chemistry and biology will provide an atomic-level understanding of fundamental processes in the human body during a microbial invasion, which will have significant implications for human health and in the design of efficient therapeutics.”
Dr. Wayne Harding, Hunter College
Dr. Harding is an organic/medicinal chemist with interests in the design, synthesis, and evaluation of ligands for central nervous system receptors. “Our group is actively engaged in projects aimed at identifying and developing novel molecules as useful Central Nervous System (CNS) receptor ligands and their evaluation as potential therapeutics. We employ a range of techniques including in silico design strategies, organic synthesis and structure-activity relationship studies for iterative ligand optimization. We also are investigating plants or plant products that are reputed to possess psychoactive (eg. sedative, anxiolytic, stimulant) properties. Through traditional natural products isolation and spectroscopic identification techniques as well as in vitro and in vivo biological evaluations, our goal is to chemically and pharmacologically characterize novel psychoactive natural products.”
Dr. Yi He, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Dr. Yi He is a professor in the analytical chemistry discipline with primary research interests in the field of forensic and environmental analysis. Her research mainly focuses on the development of new analytical methods and their applications. “Our lab investigates the counterfeit tobacco product identification through a chemical and physical examination using methods such as elemental fingerprint, pollen analysis, packaging and printing analysis. We develop micro-scale extraction methods and their application to forensic and environmental analysis. As well as new electrochemical systems used for pollutant treatment.”
Dr. William Hersh, Queens College
Dr. Hersh is an organic chemist with current research projects on the synthesis of chiral oligonucleotide phosphorothioates and helical disulfide polymers. Specialties include NMR, Xray crystallography, and DFT calculations.
Dr. Edward G. Hohenstein, The City College of New York
Prof. Hohenstein is a theoretical chemist specializing in the development and implementation of new electronic structure methodology and the application of these methods to problems in excited-state chemistry. “The accurate treatment of excited electronic states is a uniquely challenging and important problem in electronic structure theory. We are actively developing new methods for treating excited states as well as highly efficient and scalable implementations of these methods that exploit modern advances in computer hardware. We apply these methods to problems in photochemistry. Processes occurring in the condensed phase, such as excited-state proton transfer, are of particular interest. We are also working to apply a similar methodology to design light-harvesting complexes.”
Dr. Qiao-Sheng Hu, College of Staten Island
Qiao-Sheng Hu is Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at the College of Staten Island. His research is focused on the development of new reactions/processes and catalysts for chemical synthesis including polymer/ materials synthesis. The Hu group is interested in the development of new catalysts including transition metal and organic catalysts for cross-coupling reactions and addition reactions, and novel reactions/processes from readily available and cost-effective small organic molecules. These new reactions/processes and catalysts have potential applications in chemical synthesis and polymer/materials synthesis. The approach is interdisciplinary, ranging from the fundamental understanding of reaction mechanisms, reaction methodology development to polymer/materials synthesis.
Dr. Seogjoo Jang, Queens College
Seogjoo Jang is a theoretical and computational chemist. His research expertise includes development of quantum rate theories, quantum dynamics calculation in condensed media, and computational modeling of energy and charge transfer processes in complex environments. Seogjoo Jang combines mathematical formulation and computational approaches to address important issues concerning quantum dynamics calculation and energy/electron transfer processes in complex environments. A particular area of application of these efforts is theoretical elucidation of efficient light-harvesting mechanisms in natural and artificial photosynthetic complexes. These research projects are being supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.
Dr. Urs Jans, The City College of New York
Dr. Jans is interested in the fate of organic contaminants (e.g., pesticides, flameretardants) in the environment. “My research program at CCNY is addressing questions concerning environmental organic chemistry, with a focus on the mechanisms through which organic contaminants undergo abiotic transformations in natural aquatic environment (freshwater, seawater). We also determine the concentration of organic contaminants in sediments and soils as a tool to understand their accumulation in the environment.”
Dr. David Jeruzalmi, The City College of New York
Jeruzalmi’s group applies X-ray crystallography, supplemented with electron microscopy, to understand these long-standing problems in DNA biology. “The faithful transmission of gene1c information is an important biological imperative. To carry out this function, organisms have evolved processes to replicate their genomes and defend them from attack. We study important mechanisms associated with the processes of DNA replica1on and repair. The central challenge in understanding these processes stems from the large size of the involved multi-protein DNA complexes; these entities also populate many conformational states. Together, these complications place limits on insights that can be revealed by static crystallographic structures or solution methods alone; both sources of information are essential for defining underlying mechanisms. To this end, my group applies X-ray crystallography, supplemented with electron microscopy, to understand these long-standing problems in DNA biology. We also use biochemical studies to inform these approaches and follow up on the resulting insights.”
Dr. Shi Jin, College of Staten Island
Dr. Jin is a physical/materials chemist who is working on structure design, synthesis, characterization, and optimization of organic optoelectronic materials for improved performance in devices such organic solar cells, light-emitting diodes, and field-effect transistors.
Dr. Andrei Jitianu, Lehman College
Dr. Jitianu’s research is focused on materials chemistry, specifically on sol-gel chemistry with direct applications in anticorrosive, hermetic coatings and nanomaterials for the electronic industry. Dr. Jitianu’s research goals are to develop new materials or composite materials for hermetic barriers for electronic industry, anticorrosive materials for airspace and automotive industry, hydroxyapatite based nanocomposite for biomedical bone regeneration and prosthetic applications and Layerd Double Hydroxides for metal-air batteries. “Our studies range from the elucidation of early stages of formation of the hybrid materials by sol-gel process to the design of hybrid nanocomposite materials with magnetic, gas-sensing, electric and optical properties. The research of my lab is fully collaborative with national and international universities and is focused on developing a new class of materials called Hybrid Melting Gels for hermetic barriers, anticorrosive and optical applications.”
Dr. George John, The City College of New York
George John is a Professor of Chemistry/the Center for Discovery and Innovation, the City College of New York-CUNY. His research is focused on the molecular design of synthetic lipids, membrane mimics, soft nanomaterials, green energy technologies, and organic materials chemistry. John’s research is rooted in the idea that innovation can be inspired by nature to develop economical and sustainable technologies for a greener future. The group has harnessed crop-based precursors such as sugars, fatty acids, and plant lipids to design a unique set of multifunctional soft-materials including polymers, gels and green surfactants. His group has successfully developed environmentally benign antibacterial paints, polymer-coatings, molecular gel technologies, oil spill recovery materials, battery components, and oil thickening agents. As soft materials research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, John’s lab encourages the blending of such diverse elements including organic synthesis, green chemistry, material chemistry, interfacial phenomena, colloid science, and biomimetics.
Dr. Laura Juszczak, Brooklyn College
Laura Juszczak is a physical chemist with extensive experience in the spectroscopic study of tryptophan in proteins. Her recent discovery of visible absorption and fluorescence in aromatic cation-pi interactions constitutes a paradigm shift for the study of numerous classes of protein-ligand interactions.
Dr. Akira Kawamura, Hunter College
Natural products chemistry focused on phytobacterial metabolites. Chemical messages for microbial interactions. “We currently focus on immunomodulatory glycolipids of phytobacteria that were detected in several medicinal plants. In addition to medicinal plants, these lipids exist in many other edible plants. At present little is known about their potential health benefits and risks. This is an important problem because the human body is continually exposed to various phytobacterial metabolites through the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. To address this problem, we conduct structural and immunological characterization of phytobacterial glycolipids with immunomodulatory activity.”
Dr. Daniel Keedy, The City College of New York & CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
The Keedy Lab is interested in how atomic motions imbue protein molecules with biological functions. “We use novel Xray experiments plus computational modeling to explore dynamic processes like ligand binding and allostery in proteins. Our lab develops experimental and computational methods to control proteins by biasing toward specific conformations that underlie functions such as allostery, ligand binding, and catalysis. Our work reveals new opportunities to modulate the activities of therapeutic targets such as tyrosine phosphatases with small molecules and protein engineering, and also offers insights into more general evolutionary processes that led to functional diversity in the human genome.”
Dr. Reza Khayat, The City College of New York
Khayat group studies the structure and function of proteins encoded for and utilized by pathogens to infect and replicate. “We use a combination of X-ray crystallography, cryoelectron microscopy, biophysics, biochemistry, and cellular biology to complete these studies. We seek to understand the structural and chemical mechanisms by which pathogens hijack the cellular machinery of their host for infection and replication. We use a combination of techniques to understand this mechanism at the atomic resolution to relate how chemistry drives biology, and a number of techniques to understand how biology feeds back into chemistry for new pathways to be exploited by the pathogen for infection and replication. We are also interested in developing computational methods to further combine X-ray crystallography with cryo-electron microscopy.”
Dr. Mark Kobrak, Brooklyn College
Mark Kobrak is a physical chemist with expertise in classical and quantum dynamics simulations and physical studies of liquids. Current work centers on ionic liquids and related mixtures, and on studies of solid-liquid interfaces. The group’s interest in ionic liquids and liquid mixtures center on using both theoretical and experimental techniques to understand liquid systems. The group has uncovered structure-property relationships relevant to both viscosity and solvent polarity in ionic liquids, aiding in the development of ionic liquids with optimal properties for applications of interest. Recent projects consider the use of ionic liquids for the extraction of metals from the aqueous phase and study nanoscale structure in liquids. Additional interests center on using thermodynamics to understand solid-liquid interfaces. The results demonstrate linkages between macroscopically-observable properties such as surface tension and the microscopic structure of the interface.
Dr. Michal Kruk, College of Staten Island
Michal Kruk is a professor in chemistry. His research interest is in design of well-defined nanoporous and nanostructured materials using surfactant micelle templating, nanocasting and controlled surface-initiated polymerization. The Kruk Lab is focused on design of ordered nanoporous materials, the application of controlled polymerizations in the synthesis of nanostructured materials, including porous inorganic/polymer nanocomposites, development of methods for accurate characterization of nanoporous materials, synthesis of nanoporous materials with closed pores, and synthesis of single-micelle-templated hollow nanoparticles.
Dr. Tom Kurtzman, Lehman College
The Kurtzman group focuses on the development of methodologies to characterize the structure and thermodynamics of water on the surface of proteins and the exploitation of solvation properties for the discovery and design of new drugs. Research in the Kurtzman lab focuses on the development of computational tools that can aid in the discovery and rational design of new drugs. His approach applies statistical mechanical theory and computer simulations to better understand the physical principles that govern the molecular recognition between proteins and small molecule ligands (drugs). A particular emphasis is placed on the role that water plays in the molecular recognition process. A principal goal of this research is to help design and discover drugs that bind with high affinity and selectivity to given protein targets.
Dr. Mahesh Lakshman, The City College of New York
Lakshman is an organic/bioorganic chemist with interests in nucleoside modification via metal-catalyzed, uncatalyzed, and hypervalent iodine reactions, new chemical methods, synthesis of biologically interesting entities, novel applications of peptide coupling agents, and arynes. The program has many facets but can be broadly divided into the following areas: A. Development of new chemical methodology, ligand design for catalysis. B. Nucleoside modifications by metal-catalysis, uncatalyzed methods, and hypervalent iodine reagents. C. Unusual applications of peptide coupling agents. D. New chemistry of planar and nonplanar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for novel studies. E. Novel reactions involving arynes. F. Development of new chemical methodology. Every aspect entails a detailed understanding of the chemical process via mechanism studies involving various spectroscopic methods, multinuclear NMR, isotopic labeling, etc.
Dr. Themis Lazaridis, The City College of New York
The Lazaridis lab works in the area of theoretical and computational Biophysics. In the past few years we have worked on the interaction of proteins with biological membranes. “We are especially interested in the process of pore formation by antimicrobial peptides and other toxins. My research is in the area of Theoretical and Computational Biophysical Chemistry, which aims to understand how biological systems work in terms of the fundamental laws of Physics and Chemistry. Biomolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, have well-defined conformations which often change in the course of their function. Our goal is to understand the forces that operate within and between biomolecules and develop quantitative mathematical models for their energy as a function of confirmation. Such models are useful in many ways, such as predicting the three-dimensional structure from sequence, characterizing conformational changes involved in biological function, or predicting the binding affinity between two biomolecules.”
Dr. Jianbo Liu, Queens College
The Liu Lab focuses on physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, computational chemistry, and nanomaterials. “Our research focuses on using various instrumental analysis approaches (e.g., mass spectrometry, laser spectroscopy, and ion-molecule reactions) to probe biologically relevant processes in a spectrum of systems ranging from isolated biomolecules, through micelles and aerosols, to biomolecule solution. The experiments are complemented by extensive computational efforts including statistical modeling and dynamics simulations. We are also active in discovering and developing new instrumentation methods and nanotechnologies.”
Dr. Gustavo E. Lopez, Lehman College
Gustavo Lopez is a Lehman College computational and theoretical chemist. He specializes in developing and applying computational methods to describe the system in the condensed phase. Some of the systems considered are quantum fluids, proton wires, molecular hydrogen trapped in fullerenes, and biomolecular systems. Professor Gustavo Lopez is interested in developing computational techniques to describe various systems in the computational phase. Specifically, quantum and classical Monte Carlo techniques are applied to describe nanostructured systems, molecular hydrogen adsorbed on surface or trapped in fullerenes, and quantum liquids. Additionally, ab-initio techniques are used to describe molecular wires formed in helical peptides, metal oxides, and semiconductors.
Dr. Sharon Loverde, College of Staten Island
Dr. Sharon Loverde is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the College of Staten Island. Her research group is interested in the area of soft and biological materials. “The Loverde laboratory utilizes all-atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the properties of soft and biological materials. We are also interested in characterizing the stability of macromolecular assemblies composed by proteins and/or nucleic acids.”
Dr. Alan Lyons, College of Staten Island
Alan Lyons is Professor of Chemistry at the College of Staten Island and Graduate Center of CUNY. His research is focused on the effect of topography and chemistry on the wetting, thermal, optical and catalytic properties of surfaces. “Using natural surfaces as inspiration, the Lyons group fabricates nanoscale materials with unique wetting, catalytic, thermal and/or optical properties. We are especially interested in developing a fundamental understanding of reactions and properties at the solid-liquid-gas interface. We work closely with industry with the goal of transitioning our inventions into industrially relevant innovations; active projects include: anti-reflective self-cleaning optically clear coatings to increase the energy efficiency of photovoltaic panels and the isolation and study of single cells within nano/picoliter gel droplet arrays.”
Dr. Neepa Maitra, Hunter College
Neepa Maitra is a theoretical chemical physicist with research interests in density functional theory, especially its time-dependent flavor, electronic excitations and dynamics and their coupling to ionic motion beyond the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. “TDDFT is a method to describe electronic excitations and dynamics in atomic, molecular, chemical systems and solids. We focus on fundamental development: investigating properties of the exact functionals in order to guide the development of accurate approximations e.g. memory-dependence, in both the linear response regime and for dynamics in intense fields, impacting applications from electronic spectra to attosecond control and charge transfer. We also have several projects involving the exact-factorization approach to coupled electron-ion dynamics. This first-principles approach enables us to define exact potentials that act on the electronic and nuclear subsystems, and is the correct starting point for building approximate mixed quantum-(semi)classical methods.”
Dr. Prabodhika Mallikaratchy, Lehman College
Prabodhika Mallikaratchy develops nucleic acid aptamers against cellular targets to probe cell-cell interactions, receptor-ligands interactions. Her research is highly interdisciplinary, which incorporates organic chemistry, combinatorial screening, structural biology, immunology, and biochemistry. “Long-term goal of this laboratory is to develop oligonucleotide aptamer-based synthetic scaffolds for biological and biomedical applications. Therefore, our research program is aimed at generating new aptamers against biologically important cellular targets, and molecular engineering of multifunctional aptamer structures suitable for drug delivery, imaging and designer immunotherapeutic molecules.”
Dr. Louis Massa, Hunter College
Dr. Lou Massa is interested in the applications of quantum mechanics to the electronic structure of atoms, molecules, and solids.
Dr. Hiroshi Matsui, Hunter College
Matsui is a Professor at Hunter College and Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “My research areas are Cancer diagnostics/ therapeutics, Bionanotechnology, Lab-On-a-Chip, and Nanoparticle Synthesis for Medical Applications.” Current interests of Matsui’s group are in the areas of 1) Nanoparticle-based drug delivery and medical imaging. 2) Exosome engineering. 3) T-cell-exosome-based immunotherapy. 4) RNA delivery for gene therapy/editing. 5) ultra-sound-based nanoparticle medical treatment.
Dr. Donna McGregor, Lehman College
Donna McGregor is an Analytically trained Inorganic Chemist. Her primary research interests are in the fields of Chemical Education Pedagogy and the use of basic d and l Amino Acids as di and tripeptide building blocks for the intelligent, systematic design of more complex metal-chelating systems and potentially interesting nanostructures. Dr. McGregor is interested in 2 very different facets of Chemistry research: 1) Chemical Education Pedagogy: Specifically, the development and study of how students learn chemistry in a flipped classroom using video lectures and active learning classroom activities. 2) Using basic amino acids as building blocks for complex structures: Specifically the intelligent design of short peptide sequences that act as metal-chelating cores to model the binding of d-block metals in radiotherapeutic drug design and/or radioactive waste remediation. These systems also have the potential to serve as interesting nanostructures due to their diverse chemical and physical properties.
Dr. Robert J. Messinger, The City College of New York
Prof. Messinger studies energy materials with a focus on understanding and controlling properties up from the molecular level. His research lies at the interface of chemical engineering, materials science, physical chemistry, & electrochemistry. Batteries & multi-phase fluids are of current interest. “We study, design, and synthesize novel materials for energy applications, with a strategic emphasis on measuring, understanding, and controlling the molecular-scale phenomena that govern their macroscopic functions. We use advanced spectroscopic, diffraction, and electrochemical techniques, including novel methods of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Advanced battery materials composed of low-cost, earth-abundant elements are of current interest, as well as multi-phase, complex fluids for energy applications.”
Dr. Aneta Mieszawska, Brooklyn College
Aneta Mieszawska is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Brooklyn College. Her research is focused on nanomedicine and application of nanoparticle-based systems for cancer detection and treatment. The Mieszawska group research focuses on nanotechnology and nanomedicine with a specific interest in designing and testing the nanoparticle systems for concurrent imaging and therapy of disease. These theranostic nanoparticles are based on slow-releasing biodegradable and biocompatible polymers, such as PLGA or PLA, that encapsulate contrast agents and small drug molecules. The primary goal is to target and deliver efficacious therapy directly to cancer cells. This interdisciplinary research involves active collaboration with clinicians from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Michael V. Mirkin, Queens College
Michael V. Mirkin is a professor of chemistry at CUNY-Queens College. His research interests are in the field of electrochemistry and include nano- and bioelectrochemistry, interfacial charge-transfer reactions, electrocatalysis, and scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). “We employ nanometer-sized electrochemical probes for molecular level characterization of chemical processes and materials. A wide variety of phenomena are studied including charge-transfer reactions at the solid/liquid and liquid/liquid interfaces, electrocatalysis, bioelectrochemistry, and electrochemical imaging. The main focus is on obtaining quantitative physico-chemical information by a combination of experiments with mathematical modeling and computer simulations. We also maintain an active interest in development of electrochemical techniques for analytical applications. These include carbon nanoprobes, amperometric nanosensors, and resistive-pulse sensors.”
Dr. David R. Mootoo, Hunter College
“Our research centers on the design, synthesis and application of biomechanistic probes, and the development of new synthetic methodologies.” An broad area of current interest is the design and synthesis of molecules for interrogating anti-cancer pathways. Two strategies that center on targeting cytotoxic agents to tumors and glycolipids that boost the immune system against cancer are being pursued. These projects entail the design and synthesis of novel small molecules and examination of their biological properties, in the context of specific disease mechanisms.
Dr. Ryan Murelli, Brooklyn College
Dr. Murelli and his group develop and use tools of synthetic organic chemistry to meet challenges in modern medicine. They are particularly interested in tropolones, which are underexplored aromatic compounds with a wealth of potential in biology and medicine.
Dr. Daniele Musumeci, York College
Dr. Musumeci is a pharmaceutical scientist with expertise in materials science, solid-state chemistry, physical pharmacy, and crystallization processes of pharmaceutical compounds. His research focus on the mechanistic understanding of crystallization processes and the development of strategies to improve the oral solubility of drugs. The research in the laboratory of Daniele Musumeci centers around the investigation of crystallization processes of pharmaceutical compounds from solution and from the amorphous state. Dr. Musumeci interests include organic solid-state chemistry, crystal engineering, characterization of amorphous and crystalline materials, high-resolution microscopy, and the development of strategies to improve solubility of poorly water soluble oral drugs.
Dr. Naphtali A. O’Connor, Lehman College
Naphtali has a varied research background that reflects his wide research interests. His research ranges from developing biomaterials to designing molecular probes. “My current research focus is the development of materials for biomedical applications. We recently developed a method for preparing polysaccharide-polyamine crosslinked hydrogels. We are currently exploring their application as anti-microbial and wound healing materials. We are also working on the development of curcumin based biomaterials as antibacterial agents and cancer therapeutics.”
Dr. Sanjai Kumar Pathak, Queens College
The research in Kumar’s laboratory spans at the interface of chemistry and biology, and is broadly focused on discovery of unknown enzyme function using chemical biology approaches. The current project includes the development of small molecule probes for protein kinases, protein tyrosine phosphatases, and cysteine proteases and utilizing them to understand the enzyme function in both normal and diseased human physiology. For more information, please visit the website.
Dr. Ralf M. Peetz, College of Staten Island
Ralf Peetz is interested in functional materials that could be of use in meeting future energy needs. “We are currently interested in the controlled synthesis of donor-acceptor macromolecules for potential use in organic polymer photovoltaics. Some candidates featuring promising electronic properties and absorbing over a broad range of wavelengths are currently scheduled to be tested in prototype photovoltaic cells.”
Dr. Sébastien Poget, College of Staten Island
Dr. Poget is interested in membrane protein structure and function, with a particular emphasis on the interactions between ion channel domains and animal peptide toxins. “The Poget lab is interested in the structural and functional study of membrane proteins through solutionstate NMR and other biophysical methods. Our studies focus on better understanding the interactions of animal peptide toxins with their target ion channel domains as tools for an improved understanding of ion channel function and starting point for drug development. To carry out these studies at the cutting edge of structural biology, we are also involved in the development of new and improved methods for membrane protein studies, including development of more powerful membrane mimetics such as bicelles and optimized NMR methods.”
Dr. Adam Profit, York College
“Protein-ligand interactions is the unifying theme of my research interests. In particular, the design, synthesis and application of biologically relevant probe molecules to study and elucidate protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions involved in amyloid diseases and cancer.” The abnormal formation of protein aggregates, or amyloid deposits, is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease as well as type 2 diabetes. “My laboratory is investigating the molecular interactions that occur between key proteins that contribute to the formation of amyloid in these diseases. Through a more detailed understanding of how these proteins self-assembly to form aggregates, we hope to design and develop small molecule and peptide mimetic inhibitors which may serve as potential therapeutic agents. We are also developing compounds that inhibit the activity of key enzymes (kinases) which can cause tissues to grow out of control and develop into tumors. To accomplish this we are synthesizing molecules that exploit the unique molecular recognition motifs found in these enzymes to more effectively deliver inhibitory species to the active site.”
Dr. Krishnaswami Raja, College of Staten Island
Krishnaswami Raja is College of Staten Island Chemistry faculty working in the area of Bionanotechnology, Origin of life research and green drug discovery and development. The Raja group is interested in creating programmable scaffolds for probing the origins of multi-cellular life, synthesis of well defined polymer-bionanoparticle/targeting protein hybrids and green drug discovery and development based on Ayurveda. The research spans the areas of small molecule and polymer synthesis, bioconjugation chemistry and bioengineering.
Dr. Varattur Reddy, Kingsborough Community College-CUNY
“Our group research focuses on the following areas: Synthesis of organic and organometallic compounds as anticancer and anti-Alzheimer’s disease agents, and catalysis.” Organic synthesis involves total synthesis of natural and unnatural products and modified carbohydrates. Organometallic chemistry involves synthesis of novel organometallic catalysts, efficient methodologies for the synthesis of biologically active molecules, bioorganometallics, and drug delivery systems. Research facilities at Kingsborough are 400 MHz NMR Facility, IR, GC, and HPLC.
Dr. Susan A. Rotenberg, Queens College
Prof. Rotenberg’s research interests are enzyme inhibitors, protein structure and function relationships, and cell signaling pathways. “Protein kinase C (PKC) is a Ca2+ and phospholipid-dependent protein kinase that is a vital component in various signaling pathways that govern proliferation, differentiation, and cell movement. In malignant cells, PKC promotes unregulated cellular growth and metastasis, as evidenced by 1) its role as the cellular receptor for tumor promoters, 2) its elevated levels of expression in certain tumors, and 3) disturbances in proliferation, migration, and reduction-oxidation processes of cells genetically engineered to overproduce PKC.”
Dr. Kevin Ryan, The City College of New York
Dr. Ryan’s lab applies chemical concepts to biological problems in two main areas, RNA and olfactory molecular recognition. “In the RNA area, we study the use of chemically synthesized transcription templates as potential information-bearing molecules for producing small therapeutic RNA in human cells. A second RNA area is the biochemistry of RNA processing reactions that occur during the biogenesis of messenger RNA in human cells. In the olfaction area, we use pharmacology, organic synthesis and chemical biology to probe the biochemistry of the sense of smell.”
Dr. Matthew Y. Sfeir, Advanced Science Research Center
Dr. Sfeir’s research uses broadband ultrafast and optoelectronic techniques to identify novel electronic properties in molecular and nano-materials. His group investigates their use in novel devices architectures, including for light harvesting and photonics applications. “Our research interests are: 1) Charge and Spin Correlations in Organic Materials: Discovery of novel multi-excitonic and correlated electron phenomena in organic semiconductors and conductors. 2) Nanostructured Energy Conversion Devices: Fabricating energy conversion devices, including solar cells, disordered lasers, and photoelectrochemical cells from nanomaterials and assemblies. 3) Next Generation Ultrafast Spectroscopy Methods: Developing high speed, imaging, and in situ capabilities for ultrafast spectroscopy using next generation sources and detectors.”
Dr. Chwen-Yang Shew, College of Staten Island
Dr. Shew’s research area is theoretical physical chemistry in structure of condensed matters, macromolecules, and biological cells. “Our group develops model, theory and simulaaon to elucidate the structure of colloids, polymeric materials, confined and crowded cells, and self-assembled nanoparacles.”
Dr. Jennifer Shusterman, Hunter College
Dr. Shusterman is a radiochemist with interests in separations development for the nuclear fuel cycle and forensics, and isotope production. The research in the Shusterman lab is focused on the investigation of isotope production pathways, materials for heavy metal separations, and radiochemical measurements of nuclear reaction properties for application to the nuclear fuel cycle, medicine, forensics, and fundamental nuclear science.
Dr. Yolanda Small, York College
Dr. Small’s research is at the interface of biology, chemistry and condensed matter physics where she applies computational techniques to address questions ranging from reactions in enzymes to reactions at the aqueous/ semiconductor interface. ” Two main computational methods are applied to answer questions about the molecular interactions of catalysts and semiconductors: (1) Quantum Mechanical/Molecular Mechanical (QM/MM) modeling and simulations and (2) electronic structure methods using Gaussian-based Density Functional Theory (DFT).”
Dr. Ruth E. Stark, The City College of New York
Dr. Stark’s biophysics research program focuses on the molecular structure and interactions of protective plant biopolymers, fatty acid-binding proteins that mediate pain and obesity, and melanin pigments associated with human fungal infections. The Stark Laboratory uses structural biology and biophysical approaches to study plant protective polymers, lipid metabolism, and potentially pathogenic melanized fungal cells. Study of the molecular and mesoscopic architectures underlying the integrity of cuticles in natural and engineered potatoes and tomatoes is undertaken using solid- and solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry, and atomic force microscopy. Ligand recognition and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor interactions of fatty acid-binding proteins are under investigation by solution-state NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. The molecular structure and development of melanin pigments within fungal cells are probed using (bio)chemical synthesis and solid-state NMR.
Dr. Maria C. Tamargo, The City College of New York
Maria C. Tamargo is Professor of Chemistry at the City College of New York. Her research is in semiconductor materials and nanostructures design, growth by epitaxial growth techniques, characterization methods, and applications. “Materials growth, properties and applications of semiconductor multi-layered structures grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Areas of research activity include III-V compounds, strained-layer and short-period superlattices, surface and interface chemistry, visible light emitters, optoelectronic devices, wide bandgap II-VI compounds, II-VI/III-V heteroepitaxy, low dimensional nanostructures, selective area epitaxy, intersubband devices, quantum cascade lasers, VECSELs, topological insulators.”
Dr. Ming Tang, College of Staten Island
Ming Tang is an assistant professor in the chemistry and biochemistry programs at CUNY. His long-term research endeavor is to investigate the function-modulating interactions between proteins and membrane components by solving structures of membrane-associated protein complexes and aggregates by NMR spectroscopy. “The elucidation of structure-function relationships of membrane proteins will contribute tremendously to our understanding of how proteins interact with lipids and/or cofactors to operate. In turn, these fundamental discoveries will translate into novel biomaterials and rationally designed therapeutic agents, since roughly 60% of all current drug targets are membrane proteins, yet structures of membrane proteins remain scant relative to their soluble counterparts. We have successfully developed solid-state NMR methods to tackle the challenges of membrane proteins and protein aggregates. Hence, we will be able to obtain detailed atomistic models from the structural information to describe the fundamental principles of how the membrane influence protein functions and vice versa.”
Dr. Micha Tomkiewicz, Brooklyn College
Micha Tomkiewicz is a professor of physics and chemistry at Brooklyn College and the school for Graduate Studies of the City University of New York. He served as founding-director of the Environmental Studies Program and the Electrochemistry Institute at Brooklyn College; was divisional editor, Journal of the Electrochemical Society (1981-91); chairman, Energy and Technology Division, the Electrochemical Society (1991-93); and member, International Organizing Committee of the conferences on Photochemical Conversion and Storage of Solar Energy (1989-92). Tomkiewicz’s research interests are environmental issues, science and society, photoelectrochemistry, electrochemistry, physics and chemistry of solid-liquid interfaces, morphology and transport properties of composite media, solar energy conversion and storage, photovoltaic devices, batteries . Strategy: Students will learn how to do energy audits and carbon footprints on a variety of scales. Students will do longitudal studies on the various components of the global efforts to change energy sources from reliance on fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. A weekly blog on climate change at: http://climatechangefork.blog.brooklyn.edu
Dr. Mariana Torrente, Brooklyn College
Dr. Torrente is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease. “We seek to understand the role of epigenetic mechanisms and protein folding in the etiology of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease. The central hypothesis of our research is that posttranslational modification (PTM) of histones and protein misfolding play a key role in linking genetic predisposition to cellular toxicity in neurodegenerative disease. Epigenetics and protein aggregation may reveal alternative mechanisms behind the occurrence of disease, serving as the missing link between genetic and environmental factors.”
Dr. Rein Ulijn, Hunter College & CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
Rein Ulijn is the founding director of the nanoscience initiative at the Advanced Science Research Centre at CUNY and Professor of Nanochemistry at Hunter College. His research is focused on minimalistic molecular materials and adaptive systems that are inspired by biology. The Ulijn group is interested in the development of materials and systems that mimic biology’s adaptive properties but are much simpler. These materials (including gels, emulsions, structured surfaces and nanotubes) have potential applications in health care, cosmetics, lifestyle products, food science. These applications are sought in active collaboration with researchers and companies across the globe. The approach is cross-disciplinary and covers the entire range from fundamental understanding to eventual applications and societal benefit.
Dr. Michele Vittadello, Medgar Evers College
Dr. Vittadello’s research is focused on the areas of nanotechnology and materials science, inorganic and physical chemistry. “Our group’s research interests are the investigation of fundamental physical-chemical properties of nanomaterials, materials and biomaterials with potential applications in the field of energy storage/generation and biotechnology; design and assembly of new devices; high-quality publications and patents.”
Dr. Chen Wang, Queens College
“As experimental physical chemists, we assemble semiconductor nanocrystals and molecules to create novel materials, and investigate photophysical/photochemical properties of these materials using time-resolved optical laser spectroscopy. The aim of our research is to achieve systematic control of the behavior of excitons within the superstructures of quantum dots and organic molecules that are developed in our lab. We employ time-resolved optical spectroscopy to investigate the evolution of excitonic states in these novel nanostructures. The knowledge we learn can direct rational designs of materials for applications including optoelectronic devices, photocatalysis, and biomedical sensors.”
Dr. Nan-Loh Yang, College of Staten Island
Nan-Loh Yang is a Professor of Chemistry at the College of Staten Island. His research areas include antimicrobial polymer nanoparticle; polymers with well-defined structure; and materials for nanoelectronics – giant dielectric constant element, fast cionductance switch, 4-stage memory and room temperature magnetoelectric coupling. Professor Yang’s research group is involved in developing amphiphilic non-hemolytic and antibacterial nanoparticle-based structural tuning with optimizing hydrophobic – hydrophilic molecular topography. The nanoelectronics research exploits the characteristic of micell reactors and interfacial polymerization.
Dr. Barbara Zajc, The City College of New York
Dr. Barbara Zajc is an organic/ bioorganic chemist working in areas of (a) fluoroorganic chemistry, (b) chemical carcinogenesis, and (c) synthetic methodology. “Fluoroorganics are highly important in diverse areas, but the introduction of fluorine remains challenging. Our research is focused in two main directions. One involves the development of methods for the regiospecific introduction of a fluorine atom into organic molecules. Here, we are developing and expanding a toolbox of novel reagents for the synthesis of variously functionalized vinyl fluorides, as also various novel fluorinated synthetic building blocks. Another area of research involves the use of fluorine as a probe in structure-activity studies in the area of chemical carcinogenesis. Specifically fluorinated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, their metabolites, and their DNA conjugates are synthesized as probes to understanding cellular events after metabolism and DNA binding. We are currently investigating the use of the new hydrocarbons for the development of novel materials.”
Dr. Guoqi Zhang, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Prof. Zhang is an inorganic chemist who has broad research interests in inorganic/ organometalic chemistry, non-precious metal catalysis and forensic chemistry, with a focus on the synthesis of novel organic-inorganic functional materials. “Our research concerns over the design and synthesis of novel non-precious metal complexes and their applications in energy-related catalysis, supramolecular chemistry, anticancer drugs and forensic science.”
Dr. Shengping Zheng, Hunter College
“Our group focuses on the synthesis of bioactive heterocycles and their SAR studies.” Dr. Shengping Zheng’s research interests are: 1) New methodologies in heterocycle synthesis 2) Total synthesis of bioactive natural products.
Dr. Shuiqin Zhou, College of Staten Island
Shuiqin Zhou is a Professor of Chemistry at CUNY College of Staten Island. Her research is focused on responsive polymernanoparticle (including carbon dots) hybrid nanogels, inorganiccarbon composite nanoparticles, and complex assembly of nanoparticles for sensing, imaging, drug delivery, and environmental remediation. The Zhou group is interested in the development of (1) glucose-responsive hybrid nanoparticles (NPs) for glucose sensing and self-regulated insulin delivery; (2) multifunctional nanomaterials from the combination of optically active NPs with responsive polymers for sensing, imaging, and therapy; and (3) composite nanomaterials from the complex assembly of carbon-based NPs, inorganic NPs, and other amphiphilies in the confinement of (bio)polymers and colloids for sensing, catalysis, and environmental remediation.