Welcome to the Research Brief Report: A compilation of highlights from Husker’s latest research and creative activity.
“One of our major epidemic control projects”
An 81-page overview, written by Husker, of how large biological molecules can spur discovery of the catalysts and chemical reactions that drive innovation. Recently Posted on the Cover of Chemical Reviewsa journal published by the American Chemical Society.
Coming from the lab of David Berkowitz, professor of chemistry at Willa Cather in Nebraska, the article reviews the ways in which three classes of biomolecules—enzymes, antibodies, and nucleic acids—have simplified the search for the catalysts and the biochemical reactions that catalyze them.
“This review can be considered one of our major anti-epidemic projects,” said Berkowitz, who wrote the paper with doctoral alumni Stephanie Ramos de Dios and Christopher McKeown, postdoctoral researcher Virendra Tiwari, and former Nebraska State postdoc Ranjit Doukali. “The period of brainstorming, defining the approach, researching the literature, writing and polishing overlapped very closely with the two critical years of the pandemic, and proved to be really useful for our time in this period where it was sometimes difficult or even impossible to do lab research.”
Chemical reactions — the rearrangement of atoms in elements or compounds to produce other chemicals — are fundamental to building replicas or variants of carbon-based molecules that would otherwise be produced in nature. These lab-created molecules have found wide use in pharmaceutical drug development, biochemical process study, and advanced materials design.
The chemical reactions that eventually produce these molecules often depend on catalysts or substances that speed up the reactions without undergoing any change. in their reviewBerkowitz and colleagues outline several biomolecular-based approaches that have been devised to sense and read the properties of these underlying catalysts. one of those ways, on site Enzymatic assay, devised by the Berkowitz group to rapidly explore the reaction space and evaluate candidate catalysts. With support from the National Science Foundation, those efforts since then Push discovery feedback and highly detailed chemistry with special promise for disease control.
Although supercomputing and machine learning have opened up new avenues of discovery based on computations, Berkowitz said the review underscores the continuing importance of experimental approaches.
He said, “Reaction discovery and catalyst optimization are highly experimental endeavors, and new tools that facilitate these kinds of experimental endeavors are invaluable in chemistry, in both academia and industry.”
Antibodies, usually produced by the immune system to fight harmful infections, can cause allergic reactions by attacking harmless substances such as pollen, peanuts, fish, and others. Although multiple test kits use antibodies to detect the presence of fish allergens, many commercially available versions have focused on species found predominantly in the northern hemisphere.
Together with colleagues from the University of New South Wales, Stephen Taylor and Joseph Bomert of Nebraska have unveiled a test that can detect a wide range of allergenic fish species that inhabit the Southern Hemisphere. A previous study of three commercially available allergen detection groups found that only 12 of 57 fish species were identified by all of these groups. As detailed in the Journal of Food ChemistryThe new test was able to detect 28 of 37 species that are regularly caught and consumed in Australia. It also identified allergens from fish residues in five highly processed products, including fish extracts.
Huskers Stephen Morin, Jessica Wagner, and Jared Fletcher have developed a simple, scalable, and inexpensive method Adhesion of certain metals to commercially viable plastics An attractive option for engineers of wearable electronics, smart packaging, and other technologies.
The deposition of functional metals on plastics has proven to be a useful way to add circuits to flexible and round surfaces, unlocking electronic functions of products that have traditionally been lacking. But depositing these metals generally involved multiple and expensive steps or resulted in poor adhesion between metal and plastic.
After treating many plastics with ultraviolet ozone, a class of molecules that binds particularly well to charged metal atoms, the Nebraska researchers showed that the treated surfaces would adhere strongly to traces of copper, nickel, silver and gold. The team then demonstrated the function of those effects by creating circles that light up Droves and simple battery cell electrodes that turn on and off.