Latest News

Rapid quantification of hydrogen bond acceptor ability published as article with cover in J. Org. Chem.

May 11, 2021
In a recent featured article in JOC, the Franz Lab has reported the hydrogen bond accepting (HBA) abilities of over 100 molecules quantified using rapid and simple 19F and 31P NMR methods. The article was also selected for cover art, which illustrates two female scientists working collaboratively to develop the method, reflective of the authors -- a diverse group of women, several who are BIPOC and/or first-generation college students.

A Novel Biosensor for Determining Hallucinogenic Potential

April 29, 2021

In a recent Cell publication, the Olson and Tian Labs describe psychLight—the first biosensor capable of measuring hallucinogenic potential.  They then used the sensor to identify AAZ—a non-hallucinogenic analog of psychedelics that produces sustained antidepressant-like effects after a single administration.

Hidden protein structures key to understanding neurodegenerative disease

April 26, 2021

The latest publication from the Murray Laboratory describes new structural characteristics of the transcription factor protein TDP-43 and provides insight into the pathology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontal Temporal Dementia. The work has been honored by the American Chemical Society as an Editor’s Choice Article because it embodies the society’s goal of improving the human experience using the power of chemistry.

A Non-Hallucinogenic Psychedelic Analog for Treating Mental Illness

December 09, 2020

In a recent Nature publication, the Olson Lab used function-oriented synthesis to engineer tabernanthalog (TBG)—a non-hallucinogenic, non-cardiotoxic analog of the psychedelic ibogaine.  In addition to having an improved safety profile, TBG promoted neuroplasticity and demonstrated both antidepressant and antiaddictive properties.  This work highlights the power of synthetic organic chemistry for solving problems in neuroscience and medicine.

Detection of OG:A Lesion Mispairs by MutY Relies on a Single His Residue and the 2‑Amino Group of 8‑Oxoguanine

July 24, 2020

The chemical basis for detecting rare DNA lesions by base excision repair enzymes has captivated the imagination of the DNA repair field since it represents a statistically improbable feat. A collaboration between Sheila David’s lab and Andrea Lee’s lab at the University of Vermont provided key insights into the lesion recognition process by one such DNA repair enzyme. MutY, and it’s human homolog MUTYH, are adenine glycosylases proficient in locating rare and mutagenic OG:A mispairs and distinguishing them from structurally similar undamaged DNA.

Fast Proton Transfer and Hydrogen Evolution Mediated by [Co₁₃C₂(CO)₂₄]⁴⁻

July 09, 2020

In a recent publication (Berben and coworkers, Journal of American Chemical Society, 2020) the Berben Lab brings to light an approach for enhancing rates of hydrogen evolution using a metal-metal bonded molecular catalyst. Experiments demonstrate that [Co₁₃C₂(CO)₂₄]⁴⁻, containing multiple metal-metal bonds boosts the rate of hydrogen evolution compared to single-site metal complexes.

Catalyzing Enantioselective Si–H Insertions for Silicon-centered Chirality

July 07, 2020

In a recent publication (Jagannathan and coworkers) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Franz lab has joined forces with the Shaw lab to develop a new catalytic Si-H insertion reaction using diarylcarbenes that allows selective synthesis of chiral-at-silicon compounds with high yield and enantioselectivity. The incorporation of silicon-centered chirality into more complex structures such as drug candidates, polymers, and ligands is limited because there is a shortage of synthetic methods to access these chiral molecules.

Driving Torsion Scans with Wavefront Propagation

June 25, 2020

The quantum mechanical potential energy of a molecule along torsion (dihedral angle) degrees of freedom is a crucial factor in the conformational flexibility of molecules, and plays a major role in the development of force fields for molecular simulation.  In a recent publication in the Journal of Chemical Physics, the Wang research group describes an improved workflow for computing these potential energy surfaces using a recursive wavefront propagation algorithm.  The new algorithm improves on existing approaches because it is less likely to get stuck in high-energy local minima a

Direct Solid-State Nucleation and Charge-Transport Dynamics of Alkali Metal-Intercalated M₂Mo₆S₆ (M = K, Rb, Cs) Nanorods

June 25, 2020

In a recent publication (Perryman and coworkers, featured on the back cover of Journal of Materials Chemistry C, “Emerging Investigators” themed issue, available in early August 2020) the Velázquez Lab describes for the first time experimental evidence of microwave-induced 1-dimensional growth of a compositionally modular pseudo-Chevrel-Phase chalcogenide nanorod framework.

Olson Lab Research Featured on the Cover of ACS Chemical Neuroscience

June 19, 2020

In a recent publication, the Olson Lab used a variety of chemical tools to demonstrate that the marine natural product bryostatin 1 increases synaptogenesis while simultaneously reducing the number of protrusions that harbor synapses.  This unique effect has the potential to improve signal-to-noise ratio in the central nervous system and could possible explain why the natural product improves memory.  Bryostatin 1 is currently being investigated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Elucidation of the metal-binding site in C-peptide, a hormone related to insulin

June 09, 2020

A recently accepted publication by Heffern and coworkers in Inorganic Chemistry identifies the copper(II) and zinc(II) binding site on a peptide hormone known as C-peptide. C-peptide is made alongside insulin in the pancreas and may help with kidney and blood vessel damage in patients with diabetes. Their findings show that copper(II) and zinc(II) share the same site and compete with each other for binding at the N-terminus of the peptide.

Microwave-assisted synthesis of Ge nanostructures for energy storage

May 22, 2020

Nano-sized galvanic replacement reaction is a powerful tool to synthesize complicate nanostructures. In this work the Kauzlarich lab (Xiao, et al., ACS Applied Nano Materials, 2020) report an unconventional galvanic replacement reaction between GeI₂ and Ag NPs with morphological and compositional control. An inward and outward diffusion mechanism is proposed and supported by imaging the different stages of the reaction and analysis of the products. The unique mechanism allows the reaction to be self-terminated and achieve nanometer-sized accuracy.