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Chris Babayco – Analytical Chemistry
Dr. Babayco’s research interests focus on using analytical tools to characterize the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the environment. In the past this has included examining the movement of cocaine introduced by wastewater in conservation areas as well as the changes to the microbiome resulting from the introduction of wastewater. Currently, Dr. Babayco’s work is focused on understanding the impacts of the 2020 Almeda fire that burned through the Bear Creek watershed specifically changes in the chemical composition of the soil and the microbiome.
Samuel David – Biochemistry
There are four major areas of my research efforts: The first area of research focuses on: (i) organic synthesis of small natural products and (ii) accessing heterocyclic rings via new methodologies. The second area of research deals with (i) discovering new laboratory exercises for the undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory curriculum. The third research area deals with (i) a novel apoptosis mechanism involving corticosterone; (ii) the effect of the amyloid peptide on protein conformation in Alzheimer’s disease. The fourth area is a collaboration with other research groups involving the study of quorum sensing molecules on bacterial biofilm.
Anna Oliveri- Inorganic Chemistry
Dr. Oliveri’s research is in the field of inorganic chemistry with a twist of environmental and geochemical applications. Her specialty focuses on nanoscale polyatomic ion cluster behavior in solution, and to date she has studied gallium, indium, aluminum, bismuth, and uranium nanoclusters. Dr. Oliveri shows undergraduate researchers how to use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to observe these nanoclusters’ structures, concentrations, and dynamic behaviors in aqueous environments. Her current research focuses on aluminum. Aluminum is ubiquitous in the environment and the cation forms multiple polyatomic cluster species dependent upon concentration and pH. Aluminum has industrial applications in cosmetics, water treatments, and material science, but the fundamental solution behavior of this metal has yet to be fully understood. With the help of SOU undergraduates, Dr. Oliveri plans to slowly unravel the enigma that is aqueous aluminum chemistry.
Michael Springer – Organic Chemistry / Materials Science
Dr. Springer’s research focuses on the design and synthesis of “smart” organic materials for electronic applications. The properties of smart materials can be significantly changed and controlled by external stimuli, like heat, light, pH, electric and magnetic fields, etc. Target compounds are designed using molecular modeling to predict parameters like: the lowest energy conformation(s), the HOMO-LUMO gap, and crystal structure. These target compounds are then synthesized and characterized using NMR, IR, MS, etc. Current target compounds include semiconductors for field-effect transistors and photovoltaics. Once a target compound has been synthesized and characterized, thin-films of the material are created and deposited onto various substrates in an attempt to create working electronic devices, like flexible solar cells.
Michael Tylinski – Physical Chemistry
I am interested in the properties of extremely concentrated solutions of electrolytes dissolved in water, often called Water-in-Salt-Electrolytes or WiSE. In the Tylinski lab we will prepare WiSE solutions and measure how fast ions move (conductivity), how thick the solutions are (viscometry), and how well they resist electrolysis (cyclic voltammetry). We will also study the molecular level interactions with infrared spectroscopy (IR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and computer simulations. Then we will look for patterns in the molecular level experiments to explain the macroscopic properties. WiSE solutions are a new category of solution that could be used in rechargeable batteries. Fundamental studies of WiSE properties will help battery scientists and engineers choose appropriate electrolytes. Click the link to watch his Water and High Voltage YouTube video.
Hala Schepmann – Bioorganic / Natural Products Chemistry
Dr. Schepmann’s research focuses on the isolation and characterization of bioactive natural products. These compounds, which are produced by living organisms, play a key role in drug discovery and drug design. Current efforts in the Schepmann lab include the identification of antineoplastic and antiangiogenic terpenoids from Mahonia aquifolium and analysis of flavonoids in herbal products used as complementary treatments to conventional anxiolytics. Dr. Schepmann is also Co-PI of the NSF ADVANCE ASCEND Partnership Grant (No. 1936070 and No. 2128203) which supports the advancement and leadership development of mid-career women STEM faculty.