Accomplishments: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

February 4, 2021
Gary Kleiger (Chemistry) participated in an international collaboration with Brenda Schulman, director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. Published this week in Nature, their article describes at atomic structural resolution how enzymes called ubiquitin ligases function in human cells. How these enzymes work is also of considerable importance to a blossoming, new drug discovery area in biotechnology called targeted protein degration. 
January 27, 2021
James Louis-Jean (Chemistry) recently was published in the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry for his work on isotope analysis of nuclear materials with collaborators at Los Alamos National Lab. His other accomplishments include receiving the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Fellowship in fall 2020, the African American Partnership Program at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2019), and the Seaborg Research Fellowship (2018). Additionally, he was the recipient of a first-place...
December 14, 2020
Ashkan Salamat's (Physics and Astronomy) recent research about room-temperature superconductivity with colleague Ranga Dias from the University of Rochester was announced as one of 10 finalists in Physics World magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 2020.  The announcement of the Breakthrough of the Year will be made Dec. 17. This year’s Top 10 Breakthroughs were selected by a crack team of five Physics World editors, who have sifted through hundreds of research updates published on the...
December 10, 2020
Gary Kleiger (Chemistry and Biochemistry) is a co-corresponding author on a paper titled "Linkage-Specific Ubiquitin Chain Formation Depends on a Lysine Hydrocarbon Ruler" that was in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Alums Nicholas Purser, '19 BS Biology; Nicole Burton, '20 BS Chemistry; and Daniel Houston, '09 BA Psychology and BS Biology, played important roles in the study and are also co-authors. Purser will join the Kleiger lab as a PhD student in the spring.
December 7, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Economics, Chemistry, Brookings Mountain West, The Liny Institute, Honors), was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award during the fall 2020 Virtual Undergraduate Research Symposium, sponsored by the office of undergraduate research (OUR). This award recognizes one outstanding UNLV undergraduate student for excellence in research. In addition to her award, Blankenship also was selected to be a keynote speaker for the research symposium. An active...
December 3, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Economics, Chemistry, Brookings Mountain West, Honors) recently was featured in the Global News article "‘Playing with Fire’: How Politicians Can Perpetuate Baseless Conspiracy Theories" where she discusses steps individuals can take to stop the spread of misinformation on Twitter.
December 2, 2020
Hui Zhang and Hong Sun (both Chemistry and Biochemistry) received an RO1 grant, “Regulation of SOX Proteins by Methylation-dependent Proteolysis in Stem Cells and Development,” from the National Institutes of Health for four years for a total of $1,238,360. The objective of this RO1 grant is to investigate how the pluripotency and self-renewal of embryonic stem cells and neurogenesis during the development of the central nervous system are controlled by novel lysine methylation-dependent...
November 24, 2020
The office of undergraduate research (OUR) recently held its Fall 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium and the College of Sciences brought home several honors, including: The School of Life Sciences earned the Champions of Undergraduate Research Award for its commitment to excellence in research education. The school's leadership and faculty were commended for their contributions to elevating the role of experiential and discovery learning at UNLV and to advancing OUR’s mission. The College...
August 13, 2020
Sarah York and MaryKay Orgill (Chemistry & Biochemistry) published an article, "ChEMIST Table: A Tool for Designing or Modifying Instruction for a Systems Thinking Approach in Chemistry Education," in the Journal of Chemical Education. 
August 11, 2020
MaryKay Orgill (Chemistry and Biochemistry) recently was selected as a fellow of the American Chemical Society. She is one of 53 people named fellow for 2020.  Orgill was recognized for contributions to biochemistry education research, for making theoretical frameworks accessible to the chemistry education research community. She also was recognized for leadership in the Division of Chemical Education, as chair and long-term member of its Program and Biennial Conference Committees, and for...
July 13, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) recently co-authored "From the George Floyd Moment to a Black Lives Matter Movement, in Tweets" with Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution. They analyzed protest-related tweets between May 27 and June 4 to display the development of the Black Lives Matter movement. Blankenship is pursuing a double major in chemistry and economics, and recently completed a minor in Brookings public policy.
July 8, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) co-authored "How Misinformation Spreads on Twitter" with Carol Graham, Brookings Institution Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow. The pair discuss that while social media has many advantages, information pollution is prevalent and in some cases "generate[s] more engagement than factually reliable news." To illustrate this, Blankenship and Graham refer to their Twitter research on mass shootings where they extract data, such as hashtags and emojis, and analyze...