SMU Department of Chemistry

Chemical probe confirms that body makes its own rotten egg gas, H2S, to benefit health

H2S 220x180A new study confirms directly what scientists previously knew only indirectly: The poisonous “rotten egg” gas hydrogen sulfide is generated by our body’s growing cells.

Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, in small amounts plays a role in cardiovascular health. In the new study, chemists developed a chemical probe that reacts and lights up when live human cells generate hydrogen sulfide, says SMU’s Alexander R. Lippert. Continue reading

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Circadian clock research may enable flexible designer plants; treat cancer and diabetes

How does a plant know when to sprout a leaf, fold its petals or bloom? Why do humans experience jet lag after a trip abroad?

The answer is the internal circadian clocks that are present in every organism and that respond to external cues such as light and temperature, says SMU chemist Brian D. Zoltowski. Zoltowski’s lab studies one of the many proteins involved in an organism’s circadian clocks. Continue reading

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CBS DFW: Is Aerial Spraying Safe?

CBS Channel 11 reporter Ginger Allen interviewed SMU chemist Brian Zoltowski for the station’s Aug. 15 report on aerial spraying over Dallas County to kill mosquitos that may be carrying West Nile Virus.

The report comes in the wake of a decision by Dallas County to address the spread of West Nile Virus with aerial spraying of a pesticide called Duet. Continue reading

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Science Daily: Scientists Find Simple Way to Produce Graphene

_53648191_graphene_chip.jpgThe online science news site Science Daily has covered the research of SMU Chemistry Department Professor John A. Maguire.

The June 21 article “Scientists Find Simple Way to Produce Graphene” reports the news that Maguire and a team lead by scientists from Northern Illinois University have discovered a simple method for producing high yields of graphene, a highly touted carbon nanostructure that some believe could replace silicon as the technological fabric of the future.

Read the full story.
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Dallas Business Journal: Firm is out to prevent neuron loss

Biehl%20lab%20400x300.jpgInvestigators at SMU and University of Texas at Dallas have discovered a family of small molecules that shows promise in protecting brain cells against nerve-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. SMU’s work is led by Chemistry Department Professor Edward R. Biehl.

Health care journalist Bill Hethcock covered the research for The Dallas Business Journal. His Feb. 25 article “Firm is out to prevent neuron loss” details how Dallas-based startup EncephRx Inc. was granted worldwide license to develop the jointly owned compounds.

Photo: SMU chemists Edward R. Biehl, center, Sukanta Kamila (right) and Haribabu Ankati (left). (Photo: Hillsman Jackson, SMU)
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Novel compounds show early promise in treatment of Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s

Biehl%20lab%20400x300.jpgInvestigators at SMU and UTD have discovered a family of small molecules that shows promise in protecting brain cells against nerve-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. SMU’s work is led by Chemistry Department Professor Edward R. Biehl.

Dallas-based startup EncephRx, Inc. was granted the worldwide license to the jointly owned compounds. A biotechnology and therapeutics company, EncephRx will develop drug therapies based on the new class of compounds as a pharmaceutical for preventing nerve-cell damage, delaying onset of degenerative nerve disease and improving symptoms.

Photo: SMU chemists Edward R. Biehl, center, Sukanta Kamila (right) and Haribabu Ankati (left). (Photo: Hillsman Jackson, SMU)
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Chemistry’s Sumerlin named 2010-2012 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow

Brent Sumerlin, associate professor of Chemistry in SMU’s Dedman College, has been named a 2010-2012 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. This exceptionally competitive award will provide Sumerlin a grant of $50,000 over two years to support his research, some of which could lead to the use of nano-scale polymer particles to automatically deliver insulin to diabetics.
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LED inventor named SMU Distinguished Alumnus

Gary E. Pittman received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award SMU can bestow upon its former students. Pittman and other recipients were honored at the November DAA celebration.

Pittman is a multifaceted researcher, whose discovery has transformed the electronics world and our daily lives. While working at Texas Instruments in the 1960s, he and a colleague co-invented the light emitting diode. More commonly known now as the LED, the invention led to formation of the multi-billion-dollar optical communications industry.
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Diabetics could get relief from daily injections

brent-sumerlin-lab.ashx.jpegChemist Brent Sumerlin, assistant professor in the Dedman College Department of Chemistry at Southern Methodist University, is assessing the potential uses for nano-scale polymer particles. One of those could be controlled drug delivery.

In one scenario, polymers could detect high glucose levels in a diabetic’s blood stream and automatically release insulin, freeing diabetics from a daily injection schedule. Continue reading

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