Accomplishments: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

September 13, 2018
Artem V. Gelis (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been awarded a U.S. patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the technology, "Immobilization of Organic Radioactive and Non-radioactive Liquid Waste in a Composite Matrix." A method for immobilizing liquid radioactive waste is provided, the method having the steps of mixing waste with polymer to form a non-liquid waste; contacting the non-liquid waste with a solidifying agent to create a mixture, heating the mixture to cause the...
August 9, 2018
Jun Yong Kang (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and his research team (Hai Huang and Jeffery Ash) published a research article, "Tf2O-Promoted Activating Strategy of Phosphate Analogues: Synthesis of Mixed Phosphates and Phosphinate," in Organic Letters. This research reports an efficient, mild synthetic method of phosphates and mixed phosphonates. Phosphonate derivatives are prevalent in bioactive small molecules, pharmaceuticals, and agrochemicals. This synthetic methodology will have significant...
July 27, 2018
Katherine Thornock Luebke (Chemistry and Biochemistry) won an award for best poster presentation at the annual Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D) University Program Review (UPR) meeting in June. Luebke's poster detailed her work on electrochemical recovery of uranium from uranium hexafluoride, the compound used in the uranium enrichment process to produce fuel for nuclear weapons. Her...
May 4, 2018
Hui Zhang (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and a team of UNLV biochemistry researchers recently published a paper in the journal Nature Communications. The paper is entitled “Methylated DNMT1 and E2F are Targeted for Proteolysis by L3MBTL3 and CRL4DCAF5 Ubiquitin Ligase”. Lysine-specific methylation of histones is a major epigenetic modification that regulates chromatin structure and gene expression. Emerging evidence indicates that a large number of nonhistone proteins are also lysine methylated...
April 18, 2018
Jun Yong Kang and Hai Huang (both Chemistry and Biochemistry), as well as computational study collaborators at the University of Colorado, Denver, published a research article, "Direct Aryloxylation/Alkyloxylation of Dialkyl Phosphonates for the Synthesis of Mixed Phosphonates," in Angewandte Chemie. This research demonstrates a new synthetic transformation of dialkylphosphonates to mixed phosphonates under mild reaction conditions. The mixed phosphonates are prevalent in pharmaceuticals and...
February 7, 2018
Hong Sun (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and her laboratory's research were featured in the most recent issue of Research Features for their model on target acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) for anti-cancer therapy. Titled, "Acid Sphingomyelinase – A Novel Target for Anti-Cancer and Degenerative Diseases?," their research explores how ASM interacts with key components of the plasma membrane of the cell, thereby influencing cell signaling. Her team has discovered that mutations or abnormal expression in...
November 8, 2017
Ken Czerwinski (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has accepted an invitation from the director of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to serve as an expert on a study mandated by Congress on the treatment of low-level radioactive waste at the Hanford site in Washington state. Czerwinski, a radiochemist, will serve on this task force for the next 20 months.      
November 8, 2017
David Hatchett (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was recently awarded a $232,936 research grant from National Security Technologies. The funding will support his “Metals Separation Project.”  
November 1, 2017
MaryKay Orgill (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was shocked by the news of the Oct. 1 incident on the Las Vegas Strip. How she reacted and some of her students' responses were featured recently in Chemical & Engineering News.   The morning after the incident, Orgill decided to talk to her class about how the mass shooting affected them. She brought up Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote, "“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that...
September 25, 2017
Jun Kang (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and the Division of Research and Economic Development have partnered with the reagent company Kerafast to market and distribute two novel reagents. The agreement allows Kerafast, a global supplier of biological research tools, to market two reagents that generate phosphorus- and nitrogen-containing compounds without toxic heavy metals. The reagents should make new drug development less costly and more environmentally friendly. These compounds are...
September 6, 2017
Laurel Raftery, Andrew Andres, Ai-Sun "Kelly" Tseng, and Boo Shan Tseng (all Life Sciences), and Hong Sun (Chemistry & Biochemistry), have been awarded a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant to purchase a multiphoton fluorescence imaging system titled "MRI: Acquisition of a High Speed Multiphoton Laser-Scanning Microscope for Research and Training at UNLV." Raftery is the principal investigator, while Andres, Sun, Tseng, and Tseng are co-principal investigators....
August 17, 2017
Jason Richards (Chemistry and Biochemistry), a doctoral student in the radiochemistry program, was awarded a first-place prize in the 2017 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's office of nuclear technology R&D. His award is in the open competition in the category of nuclear science and engineering. His award-winning research paper, “Selective Partitioning of Ruthenium from Nitric Acid Media,” was published in the journal Solvent...