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SUNY Potsdam maintains a vigorous undergraduate research program in areas such as protein structure, nanoscience, cancer prevention, green chemistry and biosensors.  Recent grants include:

  • National Science Foundation (2020), $387,030 (Bou-Abdallah)
  • Research Corporation for the Advancement of Sciences (2020), $18,500 (Bou–Abdallah)
  • National Institutes of Health (2019), $414,047 (Bou–Abdallah)
  • Eppley Foundation (2019), $22,651 (Bou–Abdallah)
  • National Science Foundation (2018), $ 9,974 (Nazeer)
  • National Institutes of Health (2018), $310,197 (Rossiter)
  • IUPAC (2018), $12,500 (Walker, co–PI)
  • Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2016), $60,000 (Bou–Abdallah)
  • National  Institute  of  Health (2015), $260,611 (Bou–Abdallah)
  • SUNY Research Collaboration Fund (2014), $50,000 (Hepel, co–PI)).
Fadi Bou-Abdallah: Iron-proteins and disease

Gideon Smith and Aliaksandra Reutovich with Dr. Bou-Abdallah

Our research interests are in the general area of iron-protein biochemistry and part of a major international effort to understand the role of iron in health and disease. The goal is to elucidate structure-function relationships of different iron-binding, iron-transport, and iron-storage proteins and better understand their roles in the regulation of cellular iron homeostasis.  Our hope is to generate new knowledge that is essential for the rational development of new treatments for iron overload diseases and other defects in iron metabolism.

Recent publication: “Mutant L-chain ferritins that cause neuroferritinopathy alter ferritin functionality and iron permeability.” Justin R. McNally, Matthew R. Mehlenbacher, Sara Luscieti, Gideon L. Smith, Aliaksandra A. Reutovich, Poli Maura, Paolo Arosio and Fadi Bou-Abdallah Metallomics 2019, 11, 1635-1647.

David Gingrich: Zinc transport proteins

Danielle McPherson and Allison Rust with Dr. David Gingrich at the 2019 Learning & Research Fair

Our research interests involve the roles of metal ions in biological systems – including mechanisms for transporting essential and toxic metal ions into and within cells.  Examples include the copper transport proteins defective in Menkes and Wilson diseases and metallochaperone molecules involved in inserting the correct metal ions into specific metalloproteins.  These studies utilize molecular biology techniques along with various protein purification and analysis methods.

Maria Hepel: Nanoscience, DNA and biosensors

Dr. Maria Hepel with Ty Santiago, Amanda Marotta, Mackenzie Palmer, Logan Running, Taylor Durgan and Madison Smith at the 2017 ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, CA

Our research recently has been focused on developing novel nanobiosensors and theranostic targeted drug delivery nanocarriers.  We have designed a range of piezoimmunosensors for various biomarkers, toxicants, and pollutants, as well as new surface-enhanced Raman scattering probes based on plasmonic nanocarriers immobilized on a gold electrode. We are also developing biosensors based on DNA with electrochemical redox or fluorescent labels, enabling studies of DNA damage by drugs and toxicants.

In 2017, Dr. Hepel won the National Award of the American Chemical Society for Research at an Undergraduate Institution.

Recent publication: Plasmonic nanocarrier grid-enhanced Raman sensor for studies of anticancer drug delivery. K Kurzątkowska, T Santiago, M Hepel Biosensors and Bioelectronics Biosensors and Bioelectronics 2017, 91, 780-787

Fathima Nazeer: Understanding cancer pathways

Dr. Fathima Nazeer with Dr. Tyson Terpstra and Alex Hofler at the 2019 Learning & Research Fair

Our research focuses on the interplay between the DNA damage response and mRNA processing in eukaryotic cells. Several lines of evidence suggest links between mRNA processing factors, DNA damage response factors and tumorigenesis.

We study the roles that specific proteins play in regulating the DNA damage response and mRNA processing in yeast. We have found some unexpected interconnections between these two pathways and we expect our findings will help understand some of the molecular mechanisms that lead to human cancer.

Recent publication (with Claire L. Moore et al): KDM5 lysine demethylases are involved in maintenance of 3′UTR length, Science Advances 2016, 2:e1501662

Clifford Rossiter: Detecting and preventing infections

Dr. Clifford Rossiter’s research student Jasmine Ruiz working in the laboratory

We are interested in the area of inorganic chemistry and include bioinorganic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and biosensors. We focus on the application of scientific principles to issues endemic to the North Country with particular focus on the dairy industry. Two distinct projects are under way. The first utilizes essential oils for the treatment of Bovine Mastitis, inflammation of the mammary gland, while the second project focuses on developing more sensitive biosensors for the detection of bacteria.

Recent publication: Few constraints limit the design of quinone methide-oligonucleotide self-adducts for directing DNA alkylation. Clifford S. Rossiter, Emilia Modica, Dalip Kumar and Steven E. Rokita Chem Commun (Camb). 2011 47(5), 1476-8.

Martin Walker: Green chemistry for schools & synthesis

Two of Dr. Martin Walker’s students, Eric McNair and Aaron Charlack, present their research at the 2019 Learning & Research Fair.

Our group is mainly focused on developing green chemical processes, especially methods for carbon-carbon bond formation.  We are currently studying the use of the sulfone group as a versatile directing group, and coupling via C=C double bonds to circumvent use of polluting groups such as halogens.  We have also developed a series of green chemistry experiments for use in high schools, now being used around New York State.

We also study chemical information, with a particular focus on chemical reaction searching and standards.

Recent publication: “Improving Information Literacy Skills through Learning To Use and Edit Wikipedia: A Chemistry Perspective.”  Martin A. Walker, Ye Li Journal of Chemical Education, 2016, 93, 509–515.