Prof. Okuda Wins University Award

Spring 2018

Prof. Roy OkudaProf. Roy Okuda was recognized with the 2017-2018 Distinguished Service Award. The award is for "exemplary service in a leadership capacity to the university and/or community or profession that brings credit to San Jose State." Prof. Okuda has organized the College of Science Research Day for the past 13 years. He was recognized for this work and for his efforts to create scientific opportunities for students in general. The 14th annual COS Research Day event will be on Friday, April 27, 2018 in the Duncan Hall breezeway. 



Students Present at ABRCMS

Fall 2017

ABRCMS attendeesUndergraduate students from MARC, RISE, LSAMP, McNair, S-STEM and CoSRaTS represented SJSU at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Phoenix, AZ. The group of 25 was led by 4 faculty members, including Prof. Karen Singmaster and Prof. Alberto Rascón. A total of 2 oral presentations and 16 poster presentations were given by the students.

Professor Joseph Pesek Wins National Award

Fall 2017

Prof. PesekAfter being recognized for research excellence in the CSU last year, Prof. Joseph Pesek has also been honored with the 2018 ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. This prestigious award is sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and recognizes outstanding research at a primarily undergraduate institution. The work must have received wide recognition and had a large impact on the professional development of undergraduate students. In his research studies to develop new separation methods, Prof. Pesek has published over 230 scientific articles, while working with over 100 undergraduate students. Prof. Pesek will accept the award and present his work on March 20, 2018 at the 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Professor Bradley Stone Wins Jazz Award

Fall 2017

Prof. StoneProf. Bradley Stone has been recognized with the 2017 Bobby Jackson Award for Jazz Programmer of the Year (Internet and Non-Terrestrial Radio). The award recognized Prof. Stone’s programming and production of “The Creative Source” on radio. The program champions radio airplay and greater exposure for new and current “living” artists and jazz composers. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for his work in jazz programming, including the prestigious “Duke DuBois Humanitarian Award” by JazzWeek in 2008, a national award for lifetime achievement and service to the jazz and jazz radio communities. Prof. Stone’s work at KSJS-FM at SJSU led to that station’s inclusion on the original panels for both the Gavin and JazzWeek national Top 50 jazz charts, as well as KSJS being selected as a 2-time winner (7-time nominee) of the JazzWeek “Jazz Station of the Year – Medium Markets” award.

Professor Madalyn Radlauer Joins Chemistry Department

Fall 2017

RadlauerProf. Madalyn Radlauer will be teaching courses in inorganic, polymer and general chemistry. As both an organometallic and a polymer chemist, she is looking forward to combining these two areas in her lab, studying small molecule catalysts in macromolecular environments. Like traditional organometallic chemists, students in her lab will synthesize catalysts to lower the activation barrier for challenging reactions relevant to the fuel economy, but these catalysts will then be appended to polymers. Thus, the small molecule catalysts will work as active sites within a larger scaffold, similar to a protein or enzyme. The polymers’ ability to alter catalytic activity will be explored, where we expect that this biomimetic approach will have significant effects.

Professor Ningkun Wang Joins Chemistry Department

Fall 2017

WangProf. Ningkun Wang will be teaching courses in biochemistry. With a background in protein interactions, Prof. Wang’s research combines biochemistry and biophysical methods to study indirect allosteric effects on the activity and substrate specificity of enzymes. The general goal of the lab is to study the “supporting actors” in biology that play a major role in the story and to learn how they go about doing that.

Specifically, the lab is interested in studying SIRT1, an enzyme that affects gene expression by de-acetylating transcription factors and histones.  SIRT1 has a large, unstructured N-terminus domain that is not directly involved in enzyme catalysis, but regulates the catalytic activity and substrate specificity. The lab will seek to elucidate the mechanism of this allosteric effect by studying the interactions between the N-terminus domain and the enzyme catalytic core.

Congrats, Graduates!

May 27, 2017

2016-2017 chemistry graduatesThe chemistry department congratulates its 75 graduates from the 2016-2017 year! Among our undergraduates, we had 8 students graduate with a B.A., 10 with a B.S., and 47 with a B.S. with a concentration in Biochemistry. We also had 10 graduate students receive their master’s degree.


Student Research Showcased at SJSU

May 5-6, 2017

SAACS volunteers at NCURSThe 13th College of Science Research Day on May 5th featured 73 posters representing all departments in the college, including 28 posters from the Chemistry department. Prof. Roy Okuda organized the event. On May 6th, SJSU hosted the 29th Annual American Chemical Society Northern California Undergraduate Research Symposium (NCURS). Students from 14 institutions gave oral and poster presentations. The event was supported by the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) at SJSU, the ACS Santa Clara Valley Section and the College of Science and organized by Prof. Lionel Cheruzel, Dr. Melody Esfandiari, and Prof. Laura Miller Conrad. SAACS volunteers at the NCURS registration table are pictured.

Professor Joseph Pesek Receives CSUPERB Faculty Research Award

Jan. 7, 2017

Pesek's award ceremonyProf. Joseph Pesek was honored with the Faculty Research Award, which recognizes a California State University (CSU) faculty member for their outstanding work in a biotechnology-related research program. The award includes a $1000 grant and the opportunity to speak during a luncheon at the Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, held this year at the Santa Clara Marriott. In his introduction of Prof. Pesek, Prof. Eskandari (Cal Poly Pomona) stated that “Dr. Pesek is being recognized not only for his outstanding research productivity and his dedication to students, but also his persistence in building on theoretical studies to commercialize high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) products.”… [he has] “demonstrated on numerous occasions an intellectual generosity, a willingness to share ideas and an unwavering commitment to scientific rigor that builds excellence in research collaborations at both a national and international level.” Over his career he has worked with over 100 undergraduate researchers, served as the primary research advisor for exactly 100 Master’s students, and hosted over 50 visiting scientists and postdoctoral fellows from all over the world. His group has published over 230 peer-reviewed papers and garnered $6.95 million in research grants. In the above photo are Prof. Daryl Eggers, Prof. Sep Eskandari (Cal Poly Pomona, Chair of Selection Committee and former award winner), Prof. Joseph Pesek, and Dr. Pamela Stacks (SJSU AVP for Research).



Professor Chester Simocko Joins Chemistry Department

Fall 2016

Simocko lab membersThe chemistry department welcomes Prof. Chester Simocko to the department, where he will be teaching courses in organic and polymer chemistry. Prof. Simocko's research bridges the gap between organic chemistry and polymer science. He studies structure-property relationships in polymer systems by considering a desired property (mechanic strength, melting temperature, ion conduction, etc.) and determining how polymer structure affects that property. The lab controls polymer structure by growing a polymer from a surface to create polymer brushes and by making precise polymers and block copolymers for tailored self-assembly via alternating diene metathesis polymerization. Some of the students working on this effort in the Simocko lab are shown above: From left to right: Paul Abarquez, Sandy Rosa, Alexis Sarabia, Andrew Pham, Melvina Lu, Natsu Okuda, Bryan Chin (front), Josh Chen (back), Hamdy Yahya.

Students Present at ABRCMS

November 15, 2016

Students and faculty at ABRCMSStudents in the MARC, RISE, LSAMP and CoSRaTS programs presented their biomedical research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students held in Tampa, Florida in November 2016.



Congratulations, graduates!

May 27, 2016

2016 graduatesThe chemistry department congratulates our 65 graduates in the 2015-2016 year! In addition to 7 master’s students, we had 9 students graduate with a B.A., 9 with a B.S., and 40 with a B.S. with an emphasis in biochemistry.



Professor Miller Conrad Awarded an NIH Grant to Investigate Resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

April 4, 2016

Ken Choi and Sarah Matthews in the Miller Conrad labProf. Laura Miller Conrad was awarded an NIH SC3 Grant to investigate and block antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The bacterium is the leading gram-negative cause of secondary infections in hospitals. Few treatments successfully clear the infection and resistant strains are increasingly encountered. One class of last-resort drugs currently used are cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) like colistin and polymyxin B. Alarmingly, CAP-resistant strains have also been encountered, threatening the efficacy of these life-saving treatments.

The positively-charged CAPs enter the bacterial cell by electrostatic attraction to the negatively-charged outer membrane of P. aeruginosa, followed by disruption of the membrane. Once inside, the drug binds intracellular targets, killing the bacterium. In resistant strains, P. aeruginosa modifies its outer membrane to become less negatively charged, preventing uptake of the antibiotic. With the grant, the Miller Conrad lab will aim to inhibit a biosynthetic enzyme in the modification pathway, forcing the bacterium to maintain a negatively-charged outer membrane and to remain susceptible to CAP treatment. A successful inhibitor could be used in a combination therapy with the CAP antibiotic. Ken Choi and Sarah Matthews shown above are among the students working on the project.

Professor Rascón, Jr. Awarded an NIH Grant to Study Aedes aegypti Midgut Proteases

February 1, 2016

Members of the Rascon lab

Prof. Alberto A. Rascón, Jr. was awarded an SC3 research grant from the NIH. The project will investigate the role midgut proteases play during the blood meal digestion process in the virus-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito specifically feeds on humans to obtain the nutrients needed for the egg laying process, and it is this blood-feeding behavior that facilitates the spread of blood-borne pathogens including Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, and the Zika virus, which has recently emerged in the Americas. At the moment, the only way to minimize pathogen transmission is through mosquito (vector) control. Current strategies include the use of insecticides, which have proven effective in reducing the mosquito population and slowing down pathogen transmission. However, there has been an increase in Ae. aegypti mosquito resistance to available insecticides and with increasing world population, global warming, urbanization, and the lack of other effective mosquito control strategies, the mosquito population will continue to grow. As a result, we will likely experience higher incidences of Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika infections. The strategy being investigated in the Prof. Rascón, Jr. lab is to target the proteolytic enzymes involved in the blood meal protein digestion process, which should have a negative affect on egg development, reduce the mosquito population, and hence reduce pathogen transmission.



Students and Faculty Attend ABRCMS

December 1, 2015

Students and faculty attending ABRCMS

A group of SJSU students and faculty attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Seattle on November 11-14, 2015.  At this conference students can present scientific research they have performed with faculty.  The students are participants in the MARC, RISE, LSAMP and CoSRaTS programs housed in the College of Science.  Five students received awards for their presentations. MARC students Jessica Ballin (Psychology) and Rebecca Sandoval (Psychology) presented research performed during the summer at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and University of Michigan, respectively.  Awardees from the RISE program presented work done with faculty at SJSU.  These students are  Fauna Yarza (Biological Sciences, Professor Elizabeth Skovran), Elvia Silva (Biological Sciences, Professor Tzvia Abramson) and Adrian Riives (Chemistry, Prof. Gilles Muller).

Chemistry Department Receives Equipment Donations

December 1, 2015

Students and Prof. Terrill with new MS instrumentsTwo mass spectrometers were donated to the department this fall, giving students experience with state of the art equipment. The Prof. Joseph Pesek's research group received a Perkin-Elmer liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) instrument donation for use by CHEM 55L students. A new gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instrument was donated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and will be used in Prof. Roger Terrill’s CHEM 155 class. This is the second donation from SCVWD - the first was an inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer system (ICP-OES).

Professor Kelly Receives NSF Grant to Develop a Visualization Framework for Chemical Reactions

October 1, 2015

Visualization of molecular interactionsProf. Resa Kelly was awarded a $265,924 grant from the National Science Foundation – Division of Undergraduate Education - IUSE Program to design effective strategies to develop and present molecular visualizations that support student learning in General Chemistry. The framework will present students with a video of experimental evidence followed by animations in variance to each other. The student will be charged with critiquing the animations in connection to the experimental evidence to decide how the animations are similar to or different from the evidence and each other. Ultimately, they will be asked to reflect on the accuracy of each animation. The understanding and insights revealed through this endeavor, regarding how visualizations can enhance student success, will be of significant value to educators across a wide range of scientific disciplines, from biology, to earth sciences, to physics and more.

Professor Muller Leads Research Seminars in Japan

October 1, 2015

Symposium on molecular chirality participantsProf. Gilles Muller was invited by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to visit several Japanese universities (Osaka City University, Osaka University, Toyama University, Tsukuba University, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Kinki University and Kwansei Gakuin University) in June 2015 to participate in educational and scientific discussions and to lead lectures and research seminars. Internationally recognized for his work in promoting excellence in research and for successful mentoring of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, Prof. Muller is one of the few researchers in the world studying circularly polarized luminescence. During his month-long visit, Prof. Muller also shared the mission of his research group which is to facilitate and increase undergraduate research as a teaching and mentoring tool at SJSU.

Professor Pesek and Dr. Matyska-Pesek Receive Grants from Brazilian Government

September 20, 2015

Professor Pesek and Dr. Matyska-Pesek with students at the Federal University in PelotasProf. Joseph Pesek received a grant from the Brazilian government agency (CNPg) associated with Ministry of Science and Technology and Dr. Maria Matyska-Pesek received a grant from Brazilian government agency (CAPES) linked to Ministry of Education.  Grants are devoted to development of new separation methods for analysis of different food products, impurities in food, main components and monitoring the changes in food after food processing.  Both researchers spent two weeks in Brazil at the Federal University in Pelotas this summer. More details on research in the Pesek lab can be found on his research group website and ResearchGate, where Prof. Pesek is a high-impact member.



Chemistry Student-Athletes

February 19, 2014

Chau Truong

SJSU chemistry majors often have passions beyond the laboratory. In the last year two of our students have made significant contributions in intercollegiate athletics. Wes Schweitzer, who is majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, is also a starting offensive tackle for the San Jose State Spartans football team. In 2012, he was named the team’s Scholar-Athlete at the annual awards banquet. Wes’s chemistry interests have led him to engage in atmospheric chemistry research in the laboratory of Prof. Annalise Van Wyngarden. He is attempting to discover how chemical reactions that occur during cloud droplet formation affect climate change. Read more about Wes in the Washington Square magazine.

Chau Truong (pictured, photo by Thomas Sanders), who also is majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, was a star on the San Jose Spartans tennis team. Chau set the SJSU record for most career wins with a combined total of 128 and lead the SJSU team to its first ever WAC Conference Championship in 2013. Read more about Chau in the Washington Square magazine.

Both Wes and Chau are interested in careers in science or medicine.

Muller Publishes 50th (and 51st and 52nd) Paper

February 14, 2014

Pesek research group

Chemistry Prof. and Department Chair Gilles Muller has reached the impressive milestone of 50 peer-reviewed articles published with the recent publication of a paper in the journal Chemical Science describing the preparation and chiroptical properties of a series of cycloplatinated helicenes. The published work was a collaboration between Prof. Muller's research group and scientists in France, Poland, England, and the Unites States. Muller’s achievement is all the more impressive because he is only in his tenth year on the faculty at SJSU! Muller credits the productivity of his research group to outstanding students, noting that many of his articles are based on the work of undergraduate students (36 undergraduate students as co-authors). Since this 50th publication was accepted in January, Prof. Muller’s group has already had two more papers accepted for publication, in Polyhedron and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.



Professor Pesek Awarded $250K by Keck Foundation to Develop Real World Laboratory Experiments

October 1, 2013

Pesek research group

The W. M. Keck Foundation made the award to a multidisciplinary team lead by Prof. Joseph Pesek that includes Prof. Claire Komives (Material and Chemical Engineering), Prof. Brandon White (Biological Sciences) and Prof. Steven Lee (Justice Studies) to develop new laboratory experiences for students that reflect the workplace environment and that expose students to cutting edge technology. Read more about the award on the SJSU Today page. Prof. Pesek has also been selected to give a keynote address at the 4th International Conference on Analytical and Bioanalytical Techniques. Read more about this address at the Conference website.

Efficient Light-Driven Enzyme Created

September 18, 2013

a light-activated P450

The Prof. Lionel Cheruzel research group has pioneered the use of light to drive the oxidation of fatty acids catalyzed by a modified cytochrome P450 enzyme (see news item Oct. 5, 2011, below).  In a striking advance, the Cheruzel group has engineered a more stable hybrid enzyme showing high photocatalytic activity unprecedented in the hybrid P450 field. Prof. Cheruzel and coworkers report their new finding in a just-published communication in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Professor Lionel Cheruzel awarded the Herb Tabor Young Investigator Award

June 22, 2013

Light-powered artificial enzyme preparedProf. Lionel Cheruzel was selected for the Herb Tabor Award by Editors at The Journal of Biological Chemistry from among presenters at conferences throughout the year for an outstanding oral or poster presentation. The award is meant to "recognize the innovators and achievers in new generations of researchers who exemplify [Herb Tabor's] values of creativity and scientific excellence." Prof. Cheruzel was cited for "his work on light-driven hybrid P450 BM3 biocatalysts." Read more about Cheruzel's award at the JBC/Tabor Award website.

Professor Bradley Stone Named one of the Top 20 Science & Technology Professors in California

May 14, 2013

CPL of actinide

Prof. Bradley Stone was cited by for "contributions beyond scholarship. As a radio station volunteer, he was honored as a 7-time National Programmer of the Year and with a Lifetime Achievement Award by JazzWeek Summit." This has been an extraordinary year of recognition for Prof. Stone, who also received the SJSU Distinguished Service Award in February 2013 (see below).

Chemistry Major Brian Castellano Awarded Gilliam Fellowship

March 19, 2013

Brian Castellano

Brian Castellano, an SJSU Chemistry major graduating in May 2013, has been awarded a prestigious Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The fellowship provides $46,500 annually for four years to support Castellano's pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. He has been active in research while at SJSU, working with Prof. Daryl Eggers to try to understand the role of water thermodynamics on aqueous binding equilibria. Castellano is currently deciding between offers of admission from several prestigious Ph.D. programs for fall 2013. Read more about Castellano's award at SJSU Today. (Christina Olivas photo)

Professor Bradley Stone Receives 2012-13 Distinguished Service Award

February 27, 2013

CPL of actinide

SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi announced today that Chemistry Prof. Bradley Stone has been awarded the 2012-13 Distinguished Service Award at San Jose State University. Prof. Stone was cited for his broad service contributions across the University, including his leadership as chair of the Chemistry Department, chair of the University Council of Chairs and Directors, and co-director of the SJSU/NASA Faculty Fellows Program. He was also recognized for his years of service as faculty advisor, music director, and jazz radio programmer for KSJS, San Jose State University’s campus radio station.



Circularly Polarized Luminescence Spectrum Recorded for an Actinide

November 9, 2012

CPL of actinideFor the first time ever, a circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) spectrum has been recorded for an actinide complex. Prof. Gilles Muller and SJSU research student Vinh Luu, in collaboration with Prof. Kenneth Raymond and other scientists at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have reported the CPL spectrum of a chiral, radioactive curium (III) complex. The achievement is important because CPL is a powerful technique to probe electronic structure so the new work establishes a new way to study the nature of 5f orbital bonding in these chiral and difficult to study actinide complexes. The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Cheruzel's Research Featured at SJSU Research Event

October 11, 2012

Cheruzel Research GroupOn Thursday October 18, President Mohammad Qayoumi co-hosted an event billed as “A Celebration of SJSU Sponsored Research”. One of two featured speakers was Prof. Lionel Cheruzel, who recently won the Early Career Investigator Award from the SJSU Research Foundation. Prof. Cheruzel spoke on the award winning research focused on making light-activated artificial enzymes with the potential to functionalize fatty acids. For more on the research, see the Oct. 5, 2011 new item.

Gilles Muller Becomes Chemistry Department Chairman

August 20, 2012

Profs. Pesek, Stone, and MullerOn Monday August 20, Prof. Gilles Muller took over as Chemistry Department Chairman from Prof. Bradley Stone. After nine years as Chairman, Prof. Stone is handing off his administrative duties and taking a well deserved sabbatical leave to focus on his research in microfluidics and nanoscience at the ETH Zurich. Prof. Stone ably led the department through many transitions and significantly strengthened the department even in the face of some challenging budgets. We are all grateful to Prof. Stone for his leadership and wish him a pleasant and productive sabbatical leave.

Prof. Muller, a native of France, earned his B.S. and M.S. at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, and his Ph.D. at University of Lausanne. After a Teaching Post-doctoral Scholar position at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, he joined the Chemistry Department at SJSU in 2004 as Assistant Professor. Rising quickly through the ranks, Prof. Muller now holds the position of Professor of Chemistry. He is a highly active researcher  and has been a pioneer of the use of circularly polarized luminescence spectroscopy.  He is also a beloved teacher and mentor in inorganic chemistry.

The photograph shows three generations of Chemistry Department leadership,  Prof. Joseph Pesek, Bradley Stone, and Gilles Muller (left to right).

What Makes Dormant Seeds Germinate After Wild Fires?

August 15, 2012

Daniel StrausSeeds from certain fire-adapted plants can lay dormant for years until an intense fire causes them to germinate. Prof. Daniel Straus and his students have been studying the chemical signals from the fire that induce germination in these plants. Karrikins, small butenolides produced in the smoke of burning cellulose from plant material, have been found to be potent stimulators of germination. However, their isolation is tedious. Prof. Straus and his research student Jia Lu, have been using synthetic methods to produce karrikin and then testing the compound in field studies. Straus and his team have observed growth enhancement by their synthetic karrikin in one species, Ithuriel's Spear, so far. The advantages of producing karrikins by laboratory synthesis include the possibility of producing larger amounts and the ability to modify the structure. Prof. Straus is interested in exploring whether the known karrikins or analogues might have value as a growth enhancing agent in other plants, including crops. To learn more, see the article about their work in SJSU Today.

Cheruzel Wins Early Career Investigator Award

May 21, 2012

Lionel CheruzelChemistry Prof. Lionel Cheruzel has been named one of two Early Career Investigator Award winners by the San Jose State University Research Foundation. This honor, awarded annually, recognizes excellence in the areas of research, scholarship, or creative activity "as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and carrying out other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU". Indeed Prof. Cheruzel, in his third year at SJSU, has already secured research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Research Corporation, and CSUPERB, and has published his research group's results in several papers. For one example, see the article below. To read the award citation for Prof. Cheruzel, visit SJSU Today.

Professor Joseph Pesek Publishes 200th Paper

May 18, 2012
200 publications celebratory cakeOn Friday, May 18, the Department had a celebration to commemorate the 200th publication by Prof. Joseph Pesek. Prof. Pesek, along with his wife and research collaborator Dr. Maria Matyska-Pesek (Lecturer and Adjunct Professor in our Department), and his research students, have amassed this amazing publication record - an achievement that would even be significant at a Ph.D. granting institution. The Pesek research group is world renowned for their studies in the surface modification of capillaries for performing novel separation capabilities in chromatography. Our congratulations to Prof. Pesek and his research team - a remarkable accomplishment!


SJSU Chemistry Students Win Prestigious Awards

April 23, 2012
(left to right) SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, Killol Acharya, Phillip CalabrettaFor the second year in a row, a chemistry student has been named as Outstanding Graduating Senior at SJSU. Phillip Calabretta, pictured above on the right (photo by LiPo Ching, San Jose Mercury News Staff), is the recipient of the 2012 award and Andrew Ingram, now a doctoral student at Stanford University, received this honor in 2011. SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi (at left of photo) recognized Calabretta, along with mechanical engineering student Killol Acharya (center of photo), at the University Commencement ceremony on May 26 in Spartan Stadium. Calabretta, who graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry and who did research with both Prof. Daryl Eggers and Prof. Marc d’Alarcao, is being recognized for his scholarship and contributions to the community. He is planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Biology at the University of Wisconsin beginning in the fall. Read more about Calabretta’s achievements here.

Five current and former students that have done research in the SJSU Chemistry Department are recipients of coveted NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Jessica Killian (BS 2010) received the Fellowship in 2010 and is currently in a Physics graduate program at Cornell University. Killian did her undergraduate research with Prof. Bradley Stone. Both Victoria Chemistruck (BS 2010) and Cardius Richardson (BS 2010) were awarded the Fellowship in 2011. Chemistruck and Richardson, now in graduate school at the University of Minnesota and UC Santa Cruz, respectively, both did research with Prof. David Brook. Thao-Nhi (Lily) Le (BS 2010) and Andrew Ingram (BS 2011) are Fellowship recipients in 2012. Le, who did research with Prof. Elaine Collins, is now in graduate school at UC Santa Cruz, while Ingram is undertaking graduate study at Stanford after doing research with Prof. Gilles Muller. Each Fellowship awardee receives a $30,000 annual stipend plus a $12,000 cost of education allowance to their graduate institution for a total of three years.

Two SJSU chemistry students have been named as 2012 CSUPERB Presidents’ Commission Scholars.  Andy Dang, a third year student conducting research with Prof. Joseph Pesek and Jennifer Le, a second year student working with Prof. Eggers will each receive a $8,000 research scholarship. The Presidents’ Commission Scholarship program, in its inaugural year, is designed to support CSU students conducting biotechnology-related research in the summer.



Light-Powered Artificial Enzyme Prepared

October 5, 2011

Light-powered artificial enzyme preparedGlobal climate change and the current economic crisis have stimulated interest in developing technologies utilizing renewable energy, such as sunlight, to avoid the dependence on fossil fuels. In a striking development in this area, Prof. Lionel Cheruzel's research group has developed a semisynthetic light-powered redox enzyme. The first generation of these enzymes are hybrids containing a photosensitizer covalently attached to a cytochrome P450 BM3 heme domain enzyme. Upon light activation, these hybrid enzymes catalyze the selective hydroxylation of long chain fatty acids. A preliminary account of their achievement has been published recently in a paper in Chemical Communications. Cheruzel and his coworkers are now engaged in preparing the second generation of hybrid enzymes with improved catalytic activity and substrate recognition.

Metabolomics by Capillary Electrochromatography

May 23, 2011

Michael Nshanian

A new manuscript highlights how capillary electrochromatography can be used for the analysis of metabolites. Michael Nshanian, a graduate student in Prof. Joseph Pesek's research group, wrote the manuscript titled "Open tubular capillary electrochromatography of small polar molecules using etched, chemically modified capillaries" based on the results from his M.S. thesis. The methods reported have applications in biomarker discovery, in disease diagnosis, and for drug analysis. The paper, coauthored by Prof. Pesek and Dr. Maria T. Matyska, has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed international journal Electrophoresis.

SJSU Hosts ACS Northern California Undergraduate Research Symposium

May 20, 2011
Northern California Undergraduate Research SymposiumThe 23rd annual American Chemical Society Northern California Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on May 14, 2011 on the SJSU campus. Many thanks to the keynote speaker, Prof. Kenneth N. Raymond from the University of California at Berkeley and to all the volunteers from the SJSU SAACS Chemistry Club and the SJSU Chemistry Department for helping to make this a very successful event.

High School Researcher in Collins Lab Wins Science Fair Awards

April 1, 2011
Eesha Kare in front of her projectEesha Kare, a student at Lynbrook High School, won four awards at the 2011 Synopsys Silicon Valley Science & Technology Championship: 1st Award, Individual Project, Chemistry Category; 3rd Place Award, ACS Santa Clara Valley Local Section; Grand Prize Alternate - Physical Sciences - Trip to State Science Fair, Santa Clara Valley Science & Engineering Fair Assn - Board of Directors Awards - High School Finalist; The Synopsys Outreach Foundation n+1 Prize.  Her project “A Novel Method Using Chemically Engineered CYP101 Enzyme and Light to Hydroxylate Camphor” was initiated when Eesha was a 2010 summer intern in Prof. Collins’ lab at SJSU through the Johnson & Johnson Bridges to Employment (BTE) Silicon Valley program.  The project is in collaboration with Prof. Cheruzel at SJSU and teacher Amanda Alonzo at Lynbrook High.

Does Water Structure Matter?

February 1, 2011
Model of effects of secondary solutes on biological equilibria Yes! In a paper published in Biochemistry, Prof. Daryl Eggers describes a new phenomenological model for interpreting the effects of secondary solutes on biological equilibria, including protein folding. The model is based on the idea that changes in water structure, as induced by specific boundary conditions, are important because they reflect changes in the free energy of water. Co-existing subpopulations of water are related to a desolvation energy term that, in turn, may be used to explain the thermodynamic contribution of water to any aqueous reaction. Read Prof. Eggers' paper. An interview with Prof. Eggers, entitled “A New Perspective on Water,” was featured in the Winter 2009 issue of the alumni magazine, the SJSU Washington Square.



Magnetic Nanomaterials from Stable Free Radicals

August 10, 2010
Magnetic nanomaterials from stable free radicalsA verdazyl free radical is that most uncommon of species: a stable free radical. Now Prof. David Brook's laboratory, in collaboration with Prof. Gordon Yee's group at Virginia Tech, has used a novel dipyridyl verdazyl ligand to generate a nickel (II) complex. In a recent paper published in Chemical Communications, these researchers demonstrate strong ferromagnetic coupling between paramagnetic ligand and metal suggesting possible uses of such complexes as new magnetic nanostructures.

Collins Receives IBM Faculty Award

July 25, 2010
Elaine CollinsProf. Elaine Collins was named a recipient of the IBM Faculty Award. This is a worldwide competitive intended to "foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and service organizations; and promote courseware and curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM". Read more at the IBM Awards page.


Silber Selected as ACS Fellow

July 23, 2010
Herbert SilberProf. of Chemistry and Interim Associate Dean Herbert Silber has been selected as a 2010 ACS Fellow. This new ACS program recognizes members for "outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession, and the Society". In addition to his duties as faculty member and Interim Assoc. Dean, Silber has been highly active in supporting minority student access to careers in chemistry and is the Program Director for the MARC U-STAR program at SJSU supported by the National Institutes of Health. He is also the winner of the ACS Shirley B. Radding Award to "recognize demonstrated, dedicated, unselfish leadership, service and significant contributions, over a sustained period of time, to industrial or applied chemistry and to the American Chemical Society at local, regional and national levels."

Modifying Materials and Cells with Fluorine

June 22, 2010
coating cell surfaces with fluorinated carbohydrates leads to reduced cell adhesionIt is well known that coating surfaces with fluoralkyl groups makes them both hydrophobic and lipophobic. The most well known example of this is DuPont polymer Teflon that can be used to generate an array of non-stick products from frying pans to stadium roofs. Now two research groups at SJSU have discovered that fluoroalkyl coatings can be used to significantly modify the surface properties of cells and chromatography materials. Prof. Joseph Pesek's research group recently published in Separation Science the finding that their newly prepared silica hydride-based fluorinated stationary phases have very promising retention properties for small hydrophilic analytes in aqueous normal phase HPLC. In a recent paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Prof. Marc d'Alarcao's research group, in collaboration with Prof. Krishna Kumar's research group at Tufts University, report the finding that coating cell surfaces with fluorinated carbohydrates leads to reduced cell adhesion. This result may be important in the development of antimetastasis agents and diagnostic methods for cancer.

Undergraduate Student Goes to Germany for Research

June 2, 2010

Josh Young at work Josh Young, an undergraduate chemistry major at San Jose State University, traveled to Germany recently to help analyze the properties of silica hydride by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Silica hydride, a unique material developed by the Pesek Research Group, has been shown to be more adaptable to the chromatographic analysis of samples ranging from simple organic compounds to large biological molecules than currently available commercial materials which are based on ordinary silica. Analysis of complex mixtures is essential for such fields as disease diagnosis, drug development, forensics, food safety and environmental monitoring. The new separation material, developed at San Jose State University, provides major benefits in all of these critical areas.  In Germany, Young studied the material by nuclear magnetic resonance in collaboration with Prof. Klaus Albert at the University of Tübingen. Practical applications of silica hydride are being developed by laboratories across the country and around the world.

Graduate Student Places in Statewide Competition

May 1, 2010
Meenakshi GoelGraduate Student Meenakshi Goel (M.S. 2010) won 2nd place in the statewide Student Research Competition in which students from the 23 California Sate University campuses compete. Goel competed in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences division of the competition. Goel's research involves the synthesis of small carbohydrates with anticancer properties. Read her award-winning thesis.



Understanding Student Misconceptions

December 18, 2009
Symbolic drawing of chemical equationStudents studying general chemistry often develop misconceptions about the molecular details of the processes that they study. How can teachers prevent, or at least reduce these? In a recent paper published in the Journal of Chemical Education, Prof. Resa Kelly and her group begin to answer this question. In an NSF-funded study, Kelly's team examined student misconceptions about simple aqueous precipitation reactions by asking students to depict in drawings the molecular details of symbolic chemical equations. A careful analysis of the results reveals a range of misconceptions mainly dealing with misunderstanding the detailed meanings of the symbolic representations. These conclusions lead Kelly's group to make a series of recommendations for people teaching these principles.



Muller Wins Dreyfus Award

August 5, 2008
Gilles MullerProf. Gilles Muller has been awarded a prestigious Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program recognizes young faculty that "have demonstrated leadership in original scholarly research of outstanding quality with undergraduates and excellence and dedication in undergraduate education."


Singmaster Named Professor of the Year

March 25, 2008
Karen SingmasterProf. Karen Singmaster was named San Jose State University Outstanding Professor. Upon announcing the award, SJSU President Don W. Kassing stated "Karen is a committed and passionate professor who gives her all to the advancement of education."