SMU Department of Chemistry

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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Protecting brain’s neurons could halt Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

Biehl%2CEd%20lab.jpgResearchers at Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Dallas have identified a group of chemical compounds that slows the degeneration of neurons, a condition that causes such common diseases of old age as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotropic lateral sclerosis.

SMU Chemistry Professor Edward R. Biehl and UTD Biology Professor Santosh R. D’Mello teamed to test 45 chemical compounds. Four were found to be the most potent protectors of brain cells, or neurons. Continue reading

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New durable materials result from silicon polymers

Son2.JPGDavid Son uses some of the Earth’s most common building blocks to create complex new materials with potential wide-ranging applications.

Son conducts research on polymers containing silicon. One of the main elements in the Earth’s crust, silicon is the major ingredient in common sand, and is readily available.

“It’s fairly easy and inexpensive to transform silicon into compounds we can manipulate,” says Son, associate professor in SMU’s Department of Chemistry in Dedman College. “And because silicon is an inorganic element, it gives materials great stability against temperature changes and oxidation.”

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