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Three Chemistry Staff win Eberly College of Science Awards

Please join me in congratulating three of our outstanding staff on winning Eberly College of Science Staff Awards for 2013. They are:

Sandy Berkey - Financial Support Award
Eric Younken - Research Technical Support Award
Mike Joyce - Student Support Award

They will receive their awards at a reception held at the Nittany Lion Inn on November 21.

Ray Funk receives Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

Ray Funk receives Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

Ray Funk, Professor of Chemistry, has been selected to receive the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award.  The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry, the significance of which has become apparent within the five years preceding the year in which the award will be considered.

Zeal to Heal: Penn State Researchers Develop Way to Transport Medicine Directly to Cracks in Bones

Zeal to Heal: Penn State Researchers Develop Way to Transport Medicine Directly to Cracks in Bones

This article, written by Barbara K. Kennedy and featuring the work of Penn State Chemists, originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times (CDT) on 25 August 2013 in the weekly "Focus on Research" column, which highlights different research projects being conducted at Penn State.

Zeal to Heal: Penn State Researchers Develop Way to Transport Medicine Directly to Cracks in Bones

Like Jim and Huckleberry Finn floating down the Mississippi River "mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft," that's how medicines eventually brush up against a hurt that needs to be healed -- by riding free and easy on the river of blood inside a vein. But now chemists at Penn State, looking for a better way to heal cracks in bones, have invented a more-energetic, more-targeted system. They have used tiny self-powered nanoparticles to jet-ski a medicine directly to a bone as soon as it cracks.

The energy that revs the motors of these nanoparticles and sends them rushing toward the crack comes from a surprising source -- the crack itself. "When a crack occurs in a bone, it disrupts the minerals in the bone, which leach out as charged particles -- as ions -- that create an electric field, which pulls negatively charged particles toward the crack," said Professor of Chemistry Ayusman Sen, a leader of the research team. "Our experiments have shown that a biocompatible particle can quickly and naturally deliver an osteoporosis drug directly to a newly cracked bone."

Sen said that the formation of this kind of an electric field is a well-known phenomenon, but other scientists previously had not used it as both a power source and a homing beacon to actively deliver bone-healing medications to the sites most at risk for fracture or active deterioration. "It is a novel way to deliver medicines," he said.

Microcracks lead to broken bones in patients with osteoporosis and other medical conditions. To find a way to heal the cracks before they grow into breaks, Sen and his graduate student Vinita Yadav teamed up with the biomedical-engineering lab of Professor Mark Grinstaff at Boston University. The scientists then did a series of experiments in each of their labs. A scientific paper that describes these experiments is published this month in the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

Sen and Yadav's first series of experiments tested their novel way to deliver medicines in a model system using bone from a human tibia and femur and very small fluorescent particles called quantum dots made from a synthetic material. Sen said "We added fluorescence to these particles because fluorescence makes them so easy to see under a microscope." This first series of tests showed that negatively charged quantum dots did, indeed, move toward and pile up on a newly formed crack.

The scientists next tested their system using a natural biological material -- a protein molecule -- to see if it would perform on human bone as well as the synthetic quantum dots behaved. The results of these tests were encouraging. So Sen and his team set the bar even higher, doing their next set of experiments with nanomotors made from both a biological material and a synthetic material. They wanted to see if they could attach the biological material -- a drug used to treat osteoporosis -- onto a synthetic material that could carry it, like a nanotruck, to a crack in a human bone. The synthetic material the scientists selected to carry the osteoporosis drug has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and is in wide use in medical devices. The goal of this set of experiments was to make a self-powered nanotruck that could carry the osteoporosis drug and would have a good chance of being safe for use inside the human body.

Like the nanoparticles in the previous tests, the FDA-approved nanotruck material had a little fluorescent molecule attached to it so its movements could be seen under a microscope. "Our experiments show that this bio-safe nanomotor can, in fact, successfully carry the osteoporosis drug to a fresh crack in a human bone," Sen said. He explained that, even when these nanomotors were loaded with millions of molecules of their bone-healing cargo, each one still was 30 to 40 times smaller than a red blood cell.

In a final set of experiments, done in the Grinstaff lab at Boston University, graduate student Jonathan Freedman tested the same osteoporosis drug on live human bone cells. "The treated bone cells proliferated as compared with those that were not treated with the osteoporosis drug, which confirms other studies that have shown that this drug is effective in repairing human bones," Sen said.

"What makes our nanomotors different is that they can actively and naturally deliver medications to a targeted area," Sen said. "Current methods, in contrast, involve taking a drug and hoping that some of it gets to where it is needed for healing." Now that this nanomotor-powered medication-delivery system has gotten a start in Sen's lab, it will need many more tests and much further development, of course, before it may be proven safe and effective for preventing broken bones in patients with conditions like osteoporosis.

[ Barbara K. Kennedy ]

Tom Mallouk named ACS Fellow

Tom Mallouk, DuPont Professor of Chemistry, has been named a 2013 Fellow of the American Chemical Society.  The ACS Fellows Program was created by the ACS Board of Directors in December 2008 “to recognize members of ACS for outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession, and the Society.”

Vinita Yadav to participate in NSF sponsored workshop

Vinita Yadav, a graduate student in Dr. Ayusman Sen's research group, has been selected to participate in the Georgia Tech Future Faculty Workshop sponsored by NSF.  The two-day workshop will seek to provide mentorship to students and post-doctoral fellows aspiring to become independent academic researchers in the broad areas of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Rosemary Kanters receives an MRI Fellowship

It is my pleasure to inform you that Rosemary Kanters (rosemary.kanters@gmail.com), an entering graduate student doing a rotation this summer with the Mallouk, Schaak, and Badding groups, has been awarded a MRI Fellowship for the 2013-2014 year.  She was selected to receive this award by the MRSEC faculty because of her accomplishments and promise.

Jessica Robbins to participate in NSF sponsored workshop

Jessica Robbins, a graduate student in Dr. Scott Phillips research group, has been selected to participate in the Georgia Tech Future Faculty Workshop sponsored by NSF.  The two-day workshop will seek to provide mentorship to students and post-doctoral fellows aspiring to become independent academic researchers in the broad areas of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Kate Masters promoted to Senior Lecturer

Kate Masters promoted to Senior Lecturer

Kate Masters has been promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Kate joined the Penn State faculty in 2004. She earned her Ph.D. in 2001 from Penn State University.

Penn State Chemistry to host NSF-funded IONiC Workshop

The Chemistry Department is hosting 20 inorganic chemistry faculty from across the country at a workshop entitled "VIPEr: Solid State Materials for Alternative Energy Needs."  IONiC, the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemistry, is organizing the June 23-29 workshop.  IONiC supports faculty interaction through its web home, VIPEr (Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource, www.ionicviper.org).

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together participants with varying inorganic subdisciplinary expertise and allow them to focus on recent research developments in solid-state inorganic chemistry.  Four chemists, Professors Ray Schaak (Penn State University), Amy Prieto (Colorado State University), Tom Mallouk (Penn State University) and Kyoung-Shin Choi (University of Wisconsin), will present talks on their current research.  Workshop participants will then create Learning Objects (LOs) about the research to bring back to their institutions and implement in their classrooms.  The LOs will also be posted on the VIPEr site and be accessible to the entire chemistry community.

The conference is organized by IONiC Leadership Council members Professors Maggie Geselbracht (Reed College), Barbara Reisner (James Madison University), Hilary Eppley (DePauw University), Betsy Jamieson (Smith College) and Joanne Stewart (Hope College).  "The outstanding solid state inorganic chemists at Penn State University made the choice for the site for this workshop easy," says Professor Reisner.  "The participants are eager to travel to State College and see the wonderful facilities. The department has been very gracious hosts in preparing for the workshop and I am confident it will be extremely productive."  The workshop is sponsored by a grant to IONiC from the National Science Foundation.

Four Penn State graduate students selected to participate in IONiC Workshop

Angela Jovanovic (Dr. Ben Lear's group), An Nguyen (Dr. Tom Mallouk's group), Megan Strayer (Dr. Tom Mallouk's group), and Dimitri Vaughn (Dr. Ray Schaak's group) have been selected to participate in the NSF funded workshop.

Thomas Wartik, in Memoriam, 1921 to 2013

Thomas Wartik, in Memoriam, 1921 to 2013

Thomas Wartik, professor emeritus of chemistry and dean emeritus of the Penn State University Eberly College of Science, died on 29 May 2013 at Foxdale Village in State College at the age of 91.

Born on 1 October 1921 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wartik began his career by graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 1943, doing research related to the Manhattan Project atomic-energy program at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University of Chicago during the Second World War, and then earning a Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1949 followed by a one-year postdoctoral fellowship there. He then began serving Penn State continuously since 1950.

In 1950, he became an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State, which at that time was named the Pennsylvania State College. He was promoted to associate professor in 1956 and to professor in 1961. He served as head of the Department of Chemistry from 1960 to 1971, including a research sabbatical year at the University of Cambridge, England, from 1963 to 1964. He then served as dean of the college from 1971 until his retirement in 1984.

At the time of his retirement, when he was honored with the ranks of emeritus professor and emeritus dean, Penn State president Bryce Jordan honored Wartik for his "superb leadership and dedication to science." Under Dean Wartik's leadership, undergraduate enrollment in the college increased by 41 percent and support for research grants and contracts increased from about $3 million to more than $15 million. Jordan said, "Penn State has the national science reputation that it does in large part because of Tom Wartik's leadership in the areas of teaching and research." Wartik also played a key role in attracting a $10-million gift from the Eberly Family that created an endowed chair in each of the college's academic departments, a gift that Jordan predicted "will assure a very bright future for Penn State's College of Science."

The Eberly College of Science Alumni Society honored Wartik in 1987 with its Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his "leading the college to national recognition by dedication to the highest academic and scientific standards, dynamic administration, and effective fund raising." Also in 1987, Penn State honored Wartik by naming a large new research facility on the University Park campus in his honor, Wartik Laboratory. After his retirement until just recently, Wartik had continued to participate actively in the college in a variety of ways and to contribute to Penn State with his advice, support, and wisdom.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, June 22, 2013, at 2 p.m., at Foxdale Village in State College. In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be made to: Penn State Eberly College of Science, 427 Thomas Building, University Park, PA 16802. Please indicate "Thomas Wartik" on the memo line of the check. Gifts may also be made online at www.givenow.psu.edu by checking the "Eberly College of Science" box and indicating that the gift is in memory of Thomas Wartik in the "other:" box.

[ B K K ]

MORE INFORMATION
The obituary published on 2 June 2013 in the Centre Daily Times is online
at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/centredaily/obituary.aspx?n=thomas-wartik&pid=165096253#fbLoggedOut

CONTACTS
Barbara Garrison (Head, Penn State Department of Chemistry): bjg@psu.edu
Barbara Kennedy (PIO): science@psu.edu, 814-863-4682

Will Noid promoted to Associate Professor

Will Noid promoted to Associate Professor

Will Noid has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."

Noid joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph.D. in 2005 from Cornell University.

Tae-Hee Lee promoted to Associate Professor

Tae-Hee Lee promoted to Associate Professor

Tae-Hee Lee has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."

Lee joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Lasse Jensen promoted to Associate Professor

Lasse Jensen promoted to Associate Professor

Lasse Jensen has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."

Jensen joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen University in the Netherlands.

Squire Booker promoted to Professor

Squire Booker promoted to Professor

Squire Booker has been promoted to the rank of professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."

Booker joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph.D. in 1994 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mary Beth Williams promoted to Professor

Mary Beth Williams promoted to Professor

Mary Beth Williams has been promoted to the rank of professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."

Williams joined the Penn State faculty in 2001. She earned her Ph.D. in 1999 from The University of North Carolina.

Gong Chen receives Amgen Young Investigator's Award

Gong Chen receives Amgen Young Investigator's Award

Gong Chen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been selected to receive the 2013 Amgen Young Investigator's Award.  Amgen writes " Chemistry continues to be the enabling science in the field of drug discovery, and we recognize that the scientific contributions and commitment to academic excellence from young investigators, like you, greatly impact our industry. "

Kaitlin Haas receives Rustum and Della Roy Award

Kaitlin Haas, a graduate student in Dr. Ben Lear's research group has been selected by the Graduate School to receive the 2013 Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award.  It honors interdisciplinary materials research at Penn State which yields valuable, unexpected results and recognizes genuine innovation not previously achieved.

Kaitlin is the 5th student from the Chemistry department to receive this award since it's inception in 2006. Previous winners were in 2012 (Jacob S. Beveridge), 2011 (Benjamin Smith), 2007 (Thomas J. Mullen, III), 2006 (Walter Paxton).

Kaitlin will receive the award at the Taylor Lecture, on April 23, 2013 at the HUB Auditorium.

David Boehr receives Priestley Prize

David Boehr receives Priestley Prize

David Boehr, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been selected to receive the 2012 Priestley Prize for Outstanding Teaching in Chemistry.

The prize will be formally given at the Chemistry Department commencement reception in May.

The Priestley Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in Chemistry is awarded annually to a faculty member in the Chemistry Department for excellence in undergraduate chemistry instruction.

The Priestley Prize was established in 2002 to recognize the best undergraduate teachers in the Chemistry Department as measured by the increase in learning and enthusiasm for the subject by the students in chemistry courses.

Nick McCool and Isamar Ortiz receive NSF Graduate Fellowships

Nick McCool a graduate student in Dr. Tom Mallouk's research group and Isamar Ortiz a graduate student in Dr. Ayusman Sen's research group have been awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.

Madeline Sherlock to participate in the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Madeline Sherlock, a junior undergraduate student in Dr. Phil Bevilacqua's research group, has been selected to participate in the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this summer in Lindau, Germany.

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