May 19 Symposium & Lunch

Front row, L-R: Steve Soper, Heath Huckabay, Bita Moghaddam, Ted Kuwana, Sue Lunte, Huili Yao, Julie Stenken
Back row, L-R: George Wilson, Nick Dickenson, Tom Linz, Mark Schoenfisch, Matt Jackson, Chuck Henry, Bob Dunn

Our two-day alumni event began Friday, May 19 with a day-long symposium featuring short talks by several KU CHEM-affiliated speakers, along with a catered lunch for registered participants.

(Where available, links to speakers' presentations are indicated next to each talk's title; depending on the file size, some may take a little longer to load.)

Big 12 Room, 5th floor, Kansas Union

8:30-9:00 Arrival; check in at registration desk
9:00-9:10 Welcome and opening remarks
Sue LunteR.N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Director, Adams Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Kansas
Carl Lejuez, Dean of College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Kansas
Robert Goldstein, Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences & Mathematics, University of Kansas
9:10-9:25 Ted Kuwana, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Kansas
Buzz Adams research group alum
A Recollection of Ralph N. (Buzz) Adams’ Contributions on the 10th Anniversary of the Founding Of Adams Bioanalytical Institute
Professor Ralph N. Adams (1924 – 2002) was a distinguished professor who left a legacy that will be long- remembered. He was an innovative, risk-taking, creative teacher/scientist who was unafraid to venture forth in new avenues of inquiry, often opening complete new discipline areas. Examples include his seminal studies in elucidating the mechanism of organic electrode reactions, developing new electrode materials, and probing neurotransmitters in the brain. He fostered in his students, postdocs, visiting scientists, and the community-at-large this inquiry-based discovery by example. “If you love what you are doing, the rewards will take care of themselves.”

Session #1 (chaired by Sue Lunte)

9:30-10:00 Bita Moghaddam, Ruth Matarazzo Professor and Chair of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University
Buzz Adams research group alum
The Nature of the Potential
Ralph Adams used lessons of redox potential to bring out his students’ scientific potential. I will talk about how his way of thinking about science continues to guide me and some of the new directions of my research.
10:00-10:30 Julie Stenken​, 21st Century Chair & Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of Arkansas
Craig Lunte research group alum
"If you don't try, you can't win." Mentoring and scientific lessons learned from Craig Lunte and other KU faculty
A saying that Craig Lunte mentioned many times was that you cannot get things if you don’t apply or try for them in the first place. As I reflect on the 21 years that I have been in academia, it is surprising and astonishing to me how often this saying comes into context in a positive way for my career. This talk will discuss the many surprising things that I tried for the first time and received including a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, my first job (only applied to 2 schools), an NSF Career award, and an NSF/FDA grant to be a scientist-in-residence. Other vignettes along with new areas of bioanalytical chemistry that we tried to make headway into will be discussed in this talk.
10:30-10:45 BREAK
10:45-11:15 Mark Schoenfisch, Professor of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
George Wilson research group alum
From Lawrence to Chapel Hill and in between
I have been fortunate to have outstanding mentors, adventurous students and postdocs, some good and bad ideas, and a bit of luck in my career thus far. Little did I know after leaving Kansas that being a chemist could be so rewarding. Through my presentation, I hope to convey the importance of taking risks, failing, life’s unexpected turns, and believing anything is possible.
11:15-11:45 Nick Dickenson, R. Gaurth Hansen Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Utah State University
Bob Dunn research group alum
Structure-Function Studies of Shigella Type Three Secretion System Proteins Uncover Key Regulatory Mechanisms and Much Needed Therapeutic Targets
Many Gram-negative pathogens, including Shigella spp., use conserved type three secretion systems (T3SS) as key virulence factors. The Shigella T3SS relies on an associated needle-like type three secretion apparatus (T3SA) which penetrates the host cell membrane and provides a unidirectional conduit for injection of effectors into host cells. The rapid emergence of multi-drug resistant strains from this family of pathogens underscores the need to better understand not only the specific T3SS mechanisms supporting virulence, but to identify potential targets for non antibiotic based therapeutics. We are currently studying several potential targets, including surface exposed T3SS tip protiens that appear to play critical roles in environmental sensing and maturation of the apparatus as well as a recently identified T3SS ATPase that is required for proper protein secretion and apparatus secretion. Mechanistic and therapeutic implications for Shigella and related pathogens will be discussed.

Kansas Room, 6th floor, Kansas Union

11:45-1:00 LUNCH for registered participants
Remarks at 12:15pm by:
Neeli Bendapudi, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, University of Kansas

David Benson, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Kansas

Big 12 Room, 5th floor, Kansas Union

Session #2 (chaired by Bob Dunn)

1:15-1:45 Huili Yao, Associate Researcher, Department of Chemistry, University of Kansas
Mario Rivera research group member
Unravelling a new role for bacterioferritin (BfrB) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a step toward rational targeting of bacterial iron homeostasis
There is an urgent need to discover novel antibiotics due to severe multidrug resistance developed by many pathogens. Among them, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is the major pathogen responsible for the lethal infections among CF (cystic fibrosis) patients and immune-compromised patients such as cancer patients, AIDS patients, and burn victims. Bacterial iron homeostasis plays a crucial role on cell growth and cell fitness. Among the proteins involved in regulating bacterial iron concentrations in the cytosol, the iron storage protein-bacterioferritin (BfrB) is probably a unique target for new antibiotic development, due to the following reasons: 1) It only exists in bacteria. 2) To mobilize iron stored in BfrB into the bacterial cytosol a physiological partner (Bfd) is needed. 3) Our previous studies identified the key residues stabilizing the BfrB-Bfd interaction. In this talk I will present results from inhibiting the BfrB-Bfd interaction in P. aeruginosa cells, which demonstrate that targeting the BfrB-Bfd interface exposes bacterial vulnerabilities. The results show that BfrB is the major iron storage protein in PA cells. Perturbation of the BfrB-Bfd interaction causes irreversible iron accumulation in BfrB and causes low free iron levels in the cytosol. Irreversible iron accumulation in BfrB also causes secretion of high levels of iron chelators, whose function is to help bacterial cells acquire iron from the environment, which is a signal of acute bacterial iron starvation. Finally, the study also showed that iron stored in BfrB is the main source of iron for incorporation into iron-utilizing proteins. Hence, when iron is irreversibly “trapped” in BfrB due to inhibition of the BfrB-Bfd interaction, bacterial cell growth is inhibited. These findings take us a step closer to our long-term goal of developing novel antibacterial strategies that target bacterial iron homeostasis.
1:45-2:15 Charles Henry, Professor & Chair of Chemistry, Colorado State University
Sue Lunte research group alum
Point-of-Need Paper-Based Sensors
One major push in the field of sensor development is production of very cheap and easy to use sensors that require minimal external equipment. Microfluidic Paper-based Analytical Devices (mPADs) have received significant attention in this field because they are cheap (costing pennies per device), easy to use, and can carry out a wide range of chemical assays. This talk will focus on recent developments from the Henry laboratory using colorimetric (mPADs) and electrochemical paper-based analytical devices (ePADs) with applications in both environmental and clinical diagnostics. Colorimetric mPADs offer a simple, visual indication of analyte presence and concentration. For screening applications where cost and speed are critical, this format is very attractive. Recent developments in the use of mPADs for detecting pathogenic bacteria will be shown as an example application. While mPADs are attractive for screening applications, they can be limited by their sensitivity and selectivity. ePADs are attractive for these applications because they can be made selective through control of potential, variations in electrode material, and/or chemical modification of the electrode surfaces. New ePAD systems for detecting bacteria and viruses will be presented as an example application of these systems.
2:15-2:30 BREAK
2:30-2:50 Matt Jackson, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Chemistry, University of Kansas
Steve Soper research group member
Liquid Biopsies for Managing Cancer Treatment: Biomarkers and Diagnostics
2:50-3:10 Thomas Linz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Wayne State University
Sue Lunte research group alum
Microfluidic-Based Point-of-Care Assays
Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics enable significantly expedited medical testing compared to those carried out in centralized laboratories. POC tests can be rapidly performed at the site of collection to facilitate timely diagnoses in low resource settings. The technology required to conduct POC measurements must have high sensitivity and selectivity, low sample volume requirements, and be amenable to automation for practical implementation in the clinic. Microfluidic devices are uniquely suited to meet these criteria. This talk will describe two microfluidic systems that have been developed to conduct POC analyses. Analytical methods employing separations-based sensors or microwell arrays were optimized to quantify clinical biomarkers from patient blood samples. These findings illustrate the potential utility of our technologies to perform automated POC diagnostics without the need for user intervention.
3:10-3:30 Heath Huckabay, Materials Scientist, Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Bob Dunn research group alum
An Overview of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Early Career Highlights
Starting my career as an analytical chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory working on the nuclear fuel cycle has been a rewarding experience. I have worked on an array of multidisciplinary projects, landed several of my own, and learned much in the process. So far, my experience has reinforced my appreciation of collaboration, taught me how valuable creativity can be in research and development, and led me down an unplanned but satisfying career path. I will provide a brief overview of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s history and research portfolio and discuss my experience beginning a career in the national laboratory complex.
3:30-3:45 Closing remarks
George Wilson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Kansas
Steve Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas

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