Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology

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Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series2013-DPensak

         Eventbrite - "Fear, the biggest impediment to Innovation" Lecture by Dr. David Pensak

The Spring 2013 CMNST Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series continues with guest speaker Dr. David A. Pensak, Physical Chemistry & Technology innovator, Founder, The Innovation Institute.

CMNST Calendar

College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology Calendar of Events Submit events to calendar here.     © 2012 DSU CMNST, Dover, DE 19901

OSCAR Seminar 2012-1

"Illuminating Bad Behavior: Quantifying Tumor Cell Activities on Nano-Engineering Surfaces"

Guest Lecturer:  Samir Iqbal, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Department of Bioengineering (Courtesy), University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series

The Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series kicks off the new season with guest speaker Mrs. Jennifer Kmiec, Executive Director, Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. This event takes place at 6 p.m. in Mishoe Science Center Lecture Hall 139.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

DSU's Dr. Melikechi Prepares for NASA Work

Teaser for Home: 
DSU’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and his team of graduate assistants will soon assist the NASA in the analysis of the data that will come back from the Mars.
For updates on the Curiosity Rover, Go to NASA’s Curiosity Rover has landed on Mars. Now DSU’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi will soon contribute his optics expertise as part of the Curiosity ChemCam Team and assist the space agency in analyzing the data that comes back from Mars through the rover. Culminating a 367 million-mile and 36-week flight from earth, the Curiosity Rover was lowered gently by ropes from a rocket backpack onto the Mars surface inside its Gale Crater at 1:32 a.m. EST on Monday, Aug. 6. Dr. Melikechi, who is also the dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology as well as the University’s vice president of research, showed his excitement during a morning press briefing with local media on Aug. 6. “Imagine, you build something that you can’t test, send it 570 million kilometers, and it works for the first time,” said Dr. Melikechi, referring to the complex landing technique. “I am so proud to be a part of this mission, which includes about 300 scientists – of which I am one – and thousands of engineers.” Angela Lundberg is one of two graduate assistants who will work with Dr. Melikechi in the analysis of the Mars data. He and two graduate assistants, Alissa Mezzacappa and Angela Lundberg, are part of the mission’s ChemCam Team. The ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera suite), one of 10 instruments on the Curiosity, will be used to study the soil and rocks at each place Curiosity stops. The ChemCam will shoot an infrared laser – more than a million watts of power – at rock surfaces on the planet. The resulting light will be read by the unit’s spectrometer, which is expected to provide new information concerning the rock composition of the planet. The ChemCam utilizes a technology called laser-induced spectroscopy, which has been used in determine the composition of objects in extreme environments such as nuclear reactors and on the sea floor. However, this is the first time the technology has been used in space exploration. After the Curiosity does some preliminary checks and scientific work during its early days on the planet, the ChemCam will shoot its first laser blasts in mid-August, Dr. Melikechi said. The primary goal of the Curiosity mission is to study whether the Gale Crater area of Mars has evidence of past or present habitable environments. Dr. Melikechi said the mission will be looking for the past or present existence of liquid water, the chemical elements required to sustain life, and a source of energy, all necessary elements for habitability. “It is my hope that we will see something that no one expects,” Dr. Melikechi said. Dr. Melikechi will travel later this month and again in September to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to receive the first data from the ChemCam unit. One of the first images sent to earth from Curiosity shortly after its landing on Aug. 6.   State Sen. Brian Bushweller, in attendance at the press briefing, called the landing “a big day for the nation and a big day for DSU.” “Standing shoulder to shoulder with all the others involved in the mission is DSU and its Optics Program,” Sen. Bushweller said. “DSU has given the state something to be very proud of.” This collaboration with NASA on the Mars mission is the latest accomplishment in the career of Dr. Melikechi and in the development of the Optics Program at DSU. Beginning with the establishment in 1998 of the Applied Optics Center on campus, through Dr. Melikechi’s leadership the program has attracted two $5 million research grants from the National Science Foundation in 2006 and from NASA in 2009. The two grants resulted in the establishment of a Center for Research in Education and Optical Sciences and its Applications, and the Center for Applied Optics in Space Sciences. That expansion in the Optics Program infrastructure also led to the creation of master and doctoral optics degree programs, the creation of the University first-ever intellectual property – a laser-based diagnostic device to be used in hospitals – and the attraction of $10 million in state funding for the future construction of an optics facility on campus.

Laboratory of Chemical Genomics at DSU

Welcome to the home of The Laboratory of Chemical Genomics, located within the Department of Chemistry, on the main campus of the Delaware State University.   Photo: Dr. Eric Kmiec (front row, second from the left) is surrounded by members of his lab at a recent benefit awards ceremony. Dr. Kmiec's work in sickle cell disease has been recognized by several organizations, including the Proudford Foundation. View article here. Research in the Kmiec Laboratory For over twenty years, the Kmiec laboratory has studied the reaction mechanics, biochemistry and molecular genetics of gene editing in human cells. During the late 90s, this laboratory began a long-term investigation centered on understanding the mechanism and regulation of gene editing using single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides (ODNs). The lab was a pioneering force in developing the use of these specialized ODNs for the treatment of inherited disorders. Building largely on early genetic studies in lower eukaryotes, we were able to define a reaction protocol that can achieve a sustainable level of correction of genetic mutations in human cells. Development of clinical application is underway with a particular focus on utilizing nanofiber scaffolds as patches for implantation of gene edited cells into human tissues. For example, Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an amenable target for which nanofiber patches containing genetically modified cells can be implanted and the mutant phenotype reversed. These nanofiber scaffolds are constructed from natural biodegradable composite fibers, such as chitosan/PCC, created by electrospinning in both aligned and random configurations. Importantly, these patches enable robust proliferation of genetically modified cells. Since the nanofiber constructs are biodegradable, the 3D patchwork is slowly dissolved as the modified or gene corrected cells effectively implant in the target tissue. A major part of this effort centers on identifying chemical compositions of nanofibers that enable the greatest degree of expansion of cells that have been altered by the gene editing protocol. The laboratory is also investigating related reaction barriers including a reduced growth potential and the frequency at which gene editing activity takes place. The ultimate goal of all of this translational research is to develop a feasible protocol for the delivery of genetically modified cells into human tissues using biodegradable nanofiber patches. Back to Chemistry Department home page Back to College home page