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2017 Department News Archive

Integrating synthetic, bioanalytical, and computational approaches to drug design

BChE Collab Pub

With its origins from a casual hallway conversation between Profs. Roger Acey and Kensaku Nakayama some years ago, these two began a collaboration focused on examining the development of inhibitors that targeted butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) at a time when researchers were largely focused on inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) to treat cognitive loss among patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Profs. Acey & Nakayama soon realized that simple structural modifications to organophosphorus inhibitors could greatly enhance the selectivity of BChE inhibition over that of AChE. These early observations encouraged their collaboration to search for more effective organophosphorus inhibitors, leading to their initial collaborative publication in 2007.
      Soon thereafter, Prof. Eric Sorin was enlisted to complement the synthetic and biochemical methods being employed with computer-based modeling and, more recently, this collaboration expanded to include Prof. Jason Schwans. The Nakayama, Schwans, and Sorin labs recently published their first collaborative article, "Synthesis, biochemical evaluation, and molecular modeling studies of aryl and arylalkyl di-n-butyl phosphates, effective butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors", in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry (2017, 25, 3171-3181), illustrating the sensitivity of inhibitor activity to chemical modification and providing a structural basis for the striking changes in inhibitor potency. The article was co-authored by five CNSM undergraduate and graduate students.
      These observations serve as the basis for additional families of derivatives now under investigation, as well as motivating much more time-consuming and computationally intensive studies to better understand the dynamic nature of the BChE-inhibitor complex. In addition, Professor Kevin Sinchak is contributing his expertise via animal studies to evaluate the potential of previous and future compounds of investigation to treat AD-related cognitive loss. This multi-pronged approach represents a fruitful integration of subfields within our Department aimed at the singular goal of identifying new compounds for potential use in mitigating neurodegenerative diseases.

A renaissance in analytical chemistry

CEN-cover-2017 The analytical chemistry business is growing rapidly, but academia struggles to keep up in educating new generations of analytical chemists. In addition, university curricula are often outdated, failing to reflect the current needs of industry. Prof. Kasha Slowinska at CSULB is a part of the initiative lead by Prof. Thomas Wenzel (Bates College), funded by National Science Foundation, to improve the training of students in analytical chemistry and to contemporize methods of teaching analytical chemistry following a "how to think, not just how to operate [instrumentation]" mindset. The full feature article, "Industry & academia rethink analytical chemistry", can be viewed in the June 5th issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Annabelle Cantu receives NSF-GRF!

Recent BS Chemistry graduate and Schramm Lab researcher Annabelle Cantu was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support her Ph.D. studies in synthetic organic chemistry beginning this fall at UC Los Angeles. Her proposal, "Exploration of a New Class of Supramolecular Catalysts", involves creating new molecular cages from chiral ligands and exploring their catalytic potential. Way to go, Annabelle!

Bhandari Lab News

Prof. Bhandari recently received a 3-year National Institutes of Health SCORE grant of over $400k for her project titled Novel Insights into Cancer Cell Survival during Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress. The grant will support her group's research into understanding how cancer cells gain a cytoprotective advantage during ER stress resulting in prolonged survival and chemo-resistance. Congrats to Dr. Bhandari and her student researchers!

CNSM Outstanding Graduate

Weers Lab undergraduate researcher Lukas Fuentes was selected by the CSU Long Beach Alumni Association (on recommendation from Dean Kingsford) as the 2017 Outstanding Graduate from the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics! Lukas recently completed our BS Biochemistry program while also studying apolipoproteins in the Weers Lab and serving as both a peer mentor and tutor in the College's Jensen SAS Center. Congratulations to Lukas and to his research mentor, Prof. Paul Weers.

Sorin Lab Pubs

The Sorin Lab recently published an article in Nucleic Acids Research that investigates the folding and conformational dynamics of the RNA pseudoknot motif using thousands of computers worldwide within the Folding@Home distributed computing network. The article, titled " Ensemble simulations: folding, unfolding and misfolding of a high-efficiency frameshifting RNA pseudoknot", was co-first-authored by BS Biochem graduate Khai Nguyen and Biochem/Physics double-major Yessica Gomez, who began her Ph.D. studies in Biocomputation this summer at UC San Francisco.

Tapavicza Lab News

The Tapavicza Lab recently published an article in Chem. Phys. Phys. Chem. on the role of tachysterol in vitamin D photosynthesis. Based on hundreds of quantum chemical molecular dynamics simulations computed and analyzed by CSULB students Cecilia Cisneros, Travis Thompson, Noel Baluyot, and Adam Smith, the paper presents an explanation for recent observations that vitamin D can be produced at long wavelengths, such as in winter, if tachysterol is present in the skin.

Vas News!

Prof. Vasanthy Narayanaswami was recently made a Fellow of the American Heart Association, an award that recognizes her outstanding scientific and professional accomplishments, as well as her voluntary leadership and service to the mission of the AHA and the American Stroke Association at the national and international levels. Congrats on such well-deserved and prestigious recognition, Dr.$

Schwans Lab News

Prof. Jason Schwans and his collaborators were recently awarded a multi-lab National Science Foundation grant to support his project "Collaborative Research: Systematic Investigation of the Structure, Dynamics, and Energetics of Hydrogen Bonds and the Protein Interior Using Ketosteroid Isomerase and Model Systems". The grant funds research in CSULB, Stanford, and UC San Francisco laboratories.

Mezyk Lab News

Provost Brian Jersky recently announced the 2017 University Achievement Awards: congratulations to Prof. Steve Mezyk on winning this year's Academic Affairs award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity, as well as to Mezyk Lab research student Jamie Gleason, who earned an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Student award.

Sorin Lab Pubs

An interdisciplinary team of CSULB student researchers in The Sorin Lab reported the use of massively parallel molecular simulations to characterize the interactions of organophosphate inhibitors with butyrylcholinesterase. The article, published in Bioenergetics, was co-authored by Walter Alvorado (MS Phys), Samantha Cao (BS Biochem), Amethyst Radcliffe (BS Phys), Phuc La (BS Biochem), and Yi An (MS Chem).

NSF-RUI Awards

Congratulations to Profs. Xianhui Bu and Michael P. Schramm who received NSF Research in Undergraduate Institutions awards to support undergraduate research at The Beach! Their funded proposals are titled "Development of a Synthetic Platform for Highly Tunable Cationic Porous Materials" and "Mono and Bis Gold Resorcinarenes: New, Potent Supramolecular Catalysts", respectively.

Bernal News!

Longstanding Department lecturer Elaine Bernal recently completed her Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) and published a book chapter titled Evaluating a Professional Development Program for Course Redesign With Technology: The Faculty End-User Experience in the new text "End-User Considerations in Educational Technology Design. Congratulations, Dr. Bernal!

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2016 Department News Archive

Summer Classes

Summer Classes are almost here and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry will be offering numerous courses this summer including Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 100), the General Chemistry (CHEM 111A/B) and Organic Chemistry (CHEM 220A/B and 223A/B) sequences, Quantitative Analysis (CHEM 251), and Fundamentals courses in both Organic Chemistry (CHEM 227) and Biological Chemistry (CHEM 448). Click Here for more information!

Weers Lab News

Weers Lab researcher and Beckman Scholar Lukas Fuentas received a Best Poster Award in Biochemistry at this year's Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students meeting in Tampa, Florida for his presentation titled "Ionic Interactions of the C-terminal Domain of Apolipoprotein AI are Responsible for Oligomerization". Way to go to, Lukas!

Slowinska Lab Pub

The Slowinska Lab recently reported a new analytical method that allows for target-free cell selection and uptake that has potential for clinical applications in cancer. The article, titled "Thermoresponsive Collagen/Cell Penetrating Hybrid Peptide as Nanocarrier in Targeting-Free Cell Selection and Uptake", published in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry, was co-authored by CSULB students Myungeun Oh, Chloe Hu, Selina F. Urfano, and Merlyn Arostegui.

Bhandari Pub

The Bhandari Lab recently had their manuscript "Biochemical, Biophysical and Cellular Techniques to Study the Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factor, GIV/Girdin" accepted for publication in Current Protocols in Chemical Biology. The manuscript reports protocols they have developed/optimized for studying the signaling protein GIV and was co-authored by biochemistry graduate student Peter Nguyen in collaboration with the Ghosh Lab at UCSD. Congratulations to Dr. Bhandari!

Shahab NSF Grant

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a 3-year $300k grant to Prof. Shahab Derakhshan through the Research in Undergraduate Institutions program. The proposed work was titled "Heavy Element Transition Metal Oxides; Low Dimensional Magnetism vs. Geometrical Magnetic Frustration" and the award will enable Derakhshan's team to study the impacts of various structural and electronic parameters in the resultant magnetism. Congratulations to Dr. Derakhshan and the Derakhshan Lab!

Tian Grant

Prof. Fangyuan Tian, whose primary research interests include heterogeneous catalysis, thin films, and methane capture, recently received a CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) New Investigator Award to support her project titled "Using metal organic framework film as a drug-eluting stent coating" ... Congratulations to the Dr. Tian and the Tian Lab!


On Saturday April 23rd our Dept was honored to host the 2016 Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference, which was a great success! Students from 10 CSU's (LB, Dominguez Hills, Pomona, Fullerton, Northridge, Channel Islands, LA, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, San Marcos), 3 UC's (LA, Riverside, Irvine), and 10 private colleges presented 28 talks and 90 posters. The event was capped off by an incredibly entertaining and informative Keynote Address by Dr. Greg Weiss of UC Irvine and SAACS did a fantastic job of sponsoring this event!


The NIH funded Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program is developing innovative means to recruit & develop the next generation of human health researchers. Our first cohort began working with research mentors in summer 2015. Profs. Buonora and Weers are the Director of the Research Enrichment Core and co-director of the student training core, respectively, and Profs. Mezyk, McAbee, and Sorin are developing curriculum for new research-infused courses.

Shon NIH Grant

The National Institutes of Health recently funded a 4-year grant for over $442,000 to Prof. Young-Seok Shon titled "Metalloenzyme Mimics with Unsupported Metal Nanoparticle Catalysts" to support the Shon group's research on understanding how near-surface steric controls, non-covalent interactions, and chiral interactions determine the catalytic properties of modified nanoparticles towards the model organic reactions relevant to biologically important transformations. Congratulations to Dr. Shon on his continued success!

Shahab Pubs

Derakhshan's Lab recently published two papers: "Long-Range Antiferromagnetic Ordering in B-Site Ordered Double Perovskite" has been accepted in Inorganic Chemistry with MS graduate David Russell as the first author, and "Synthesis, Crystal Structure and Magnetic Properties of the Two Polymorphs of Novel S =1 Osmate" has been accepted by the Journal of Solid State Chemistry with MS graduate Sophia Nguyen as the first author and Malinda Tan as the third author. Congrats to Team Derakhshan!

Tapavicsza Lab Publication

The Tapavicza Lab recently published an article in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A on the dynamics of photoinduced ring-opening of cyclohexadiene. Former chem major Noel Baluyot and physics graduate student Travis Thompson ran more than 100 quantum chemical simulations and computed the time-resolved photoelectron ionization spectrum. The study was published in collaboration with Dr. Oliver Schalk and Prof. Tony Hansson from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, who measured the TRPES experimentally. Way to go Team Tapavicza!

Vas Lab Publication

Former Vas Lab undergraduates Charina Fabilane and Patricia Nguyen, and former graduate student Roy Hernandez recently published their findings on the "Mechanism of Lipid Binding of Human Apolipoprotein E3 by Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange/Mass Spectrometry and Fluorescence Polarization" in Protein & Peptide Letters. This was the outcome of a collaborative project that was initiated with Dr. Claudia S. Maier of Oregon State University, Corvallis, when she visited CSULB as a seminar speaker.

Weers Lab News

The Weers lab recently published three manuscripts. With former students Jake Thistle and Daisy Martinon, they designed tryptophan variants in Galleria mellonella apoLp-III (Chem. Phys. Lipids 193, 18-23). In collaboration with Dr. Karin Crowhurst from CSU Northridge and with the help of MS student James Horn they are solving the NMR solution structure of G. mellonella apoLp-III (Biomolecular NMR Assignments), and with faculty from the University of Calgary they developed a biochemistry lab section on protein-membrane interactions (Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ. 44, 86-94). Congrats to Weers Lab authors!

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2015 Department News Archive

Distinguished Lecturer

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is pleased to announce our 2016 Allergan Distinguished Lecturer! Prof. Eric V. Anslyn of The University of Texas at Austin will visit campus on Wednesday, February 17th. Dr. Anslyn will provide a general talk at 11:00 AM and a research seminar at 4:00 PM. For more information, please click here for the official announcement.


The NIH funded Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program is developing innovative and transformative means to recruit and develop the next generation of human health researchers. Our first cohort of BUILD students began working with research mentors from our Department in summer 2015. Prof. Buonora is the Director of the program's Research Enrichment Core and Profs. Mezyk, McAbee, and Sorin are developing curriculum for new research-infused courses.

APS winners

The 2015 Far West (regional) meeting of the American Physical Society, which took place here at CSU Long Beach, saw two of our graduate student researchers win awards: David Russell (pictured, Derakhshan Lab) received the Margaret Burbidge award for Best Experimental Research by a graduate student and Walter Alvarado (Sorin Lab) received the Best Graduate Student Poster award. Way to go, gentlemen!

Award for Andrea Chen

Department Lecturer Andrea Chen has now been honored with back-to-back Mayfield Awards! Named after Prof. Darwin Mayfield, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry from 1956 to 1989, the award is given annually to the outstanding instructor chosen via popular vote by CNSM students. Congrats to Ms. Chen for earning such an honor twice in a row!

To match the American Chemical Society accreditation of our B.S. Chemistry program, our B.S. Biochemistry program was recently accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, making it one of only three such accredited degrees in California and the only ASBMB-accredited biochemistry program in Southern California.

Graduate student Skylar Chuang of the Vas and Shon Labs won 1st place in the statewide 29th Annual CSU Student Research Competition, held in San Bernadino this May, for his presentation titled "The Role of Nanogold apoE Reconstituted Vehicles (NERVs) as Potential Drug Delivery Systems." In addition, Mezyk lab undergraduate Brittany Dawes and Weers Lab undergraduate James Horn both received honorable mention in February's CSULB Student Research Competition.

The Shon Lab recently published their article "Graphene Oxide-Promoted Reshaping and Coarsening of Gold Nanorods and Nanoparticles" in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, co-authored by MS students Hanqing Pan & Serena Low and undergraduate Nisala Weerasuriya. Also published was a minireview "Catalytic Properties of Unsupported Palladium Nanoparticle Surfaces Capped with Small Organic Ligands" in ChemCatChem co-authored by MS student Diego Gavia.

Profs. Bhandari and Narayanaswami were both awarded 2015 CSUPERB research grants! Dr. Bhandari's funded project is titled "Unraveling Cell Survival Mechanisms During Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress," and Dr. Narayanaswami's project, which was written with Prof. Young Shon and includes a partnerhip with Dr. Hagen von Briesen of the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in Germany, is titled "ApoE/Gold Nanoparticles as drug delivery agents across the blood brain barrier." Congratulations to Drs. Vas and Deepali!

Professors Shon, Bu, and Derakhshan, in collaboration with Profs. Gredig and Peterson in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, recently received a $500,000 grant from the Keck Energy Materials Program (KEMP) to develop a new interdisciplinary, research-oriented, materials science degree program. We thank these dedicated teacher-scholars for earning such a prestigious award and for bringing a new and exciting program to CSULB!

The Li and Weers Labs were both awarded 4-year, $300,000 SCORE grants from the National Institutes of Health this year! Dr. Weers' project is titled "Antimicrobial activity of apolipoprotein A-I" and Dr. Li's project is titled "Non-heme Iron Nitrosyl Complexes: Structures, NO Release & Applications." Congratulations to Professors Li and Weers on their continued funding and highly productive research programs!

The Derakhshan Lab published an article entitled "CaYGaO4: a fully ordered novel olivine type gallate" in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds, co-authored by undergraduate Ryan Clark and recent B.S. Chemistry graduate Sarah Zhu. Professor Bu and his former postdoctoral researcher Dr. Shu-tian Zheng collaborated on the single crystal X-ray diffraction study.

Women & Philanthropy Scholars

Each year, W&P awards up to 20 scholarships across the University to support undergraduate research students and re-entry students. W&P has been very supportive of our Department in recent years, and this year is no exception: five of their eight 2015 W&P Undergraduate Research Scholarships were awarded to Chemistry & Biochemistry students. From left to right, our 2015 W&P Scholars include Chemistry major Annabelle Cantu of the Schramm Lab, Chemical Engineering & Chemistry double-major Kylie Couch and Biochemistry major Brittany Daws of the Mezyk Lab, Biochemistry major Dakota Rochelle of the Sorin Lab, and Biochemistry major Phuc "Sam" Nguyen (not pictured) of the Acey Lab.
       Annabelle, a future research chemist, is pursuing new methods of synthesizing boron-dipyrromethene fluorophores, which are expected to have future applications in drug discovery, biomedical imaging, and optical sensing. Kylie, a future environmental engineer, is studying the use of chlorine in the treatment and recycling of wastewater to address our water crisis. Future medical researcher Brittany is studying the remediation of pesticide-contaminated waters so as to reduce the incidence of bee colony collapse disorder. Dakota, who will enter dental school in 2016, applies computer modeling and simulation to study the physics of ribonucleic acids, with a focus on the structure and function of riboswitches and ribozymes. As a future biochemical researcher, Sam is studying stem cell differentiation and the role of the butyrylcholinesterase enzyme in normal neuron development.
       Our Department congratulates these outstanding students on their achievements and offers our gratitude to the Women & Philanthropy organization for supporting the scholars of tomorrow!

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2014 Department News Archive

Slowinski becomes new Assc. Dean

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Chair Kris Slowinski has been appointed to fill a new Associate Dean position within the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. As interim Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Evaluation, and Advising, Prof. Slowinski will focus on curriculum, enrollment, scheduling, and oversight of the CNSM Academic Advising Center. Congratulations to Prof. Slowinski on his new appointment!

vas Lab Publication

Prof. Vas' research team recently published their article "A Novel Pyrene Based Fluorescence Approach to Study Conformation of Apolipoprotein E3 in Macrophage-generated Nascent High Density Lipoprotein," which appears in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The article was co-authored by CSULB students Sea Kim, Shweta Kothari, Arti Patel, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab collaborator John Bielicki.

Acey Lab receives cash gift fot research

Prof. Roger Acey recently received a $125,000 private gift to support his research program at CSULB. This is the largest private gift that the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry has ever received and the largest private cash gift for research on our campus. Congratulations to Prof. Acey and the Acey Lab for their ongoing success!

Shon Publication Image

The Shon Lab recently published their article "Mechanistic Insights into the Formation of Dodecanethiolate-Stabilized Magnetic Iridium Nanoparticles: Thiosulfate vs Thiol Ligands" in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. The article is co-authored by MS student Diego Gavia and undergraduate Yeonjin Do, as well as collaborating author Prof. Jiyeong Gu of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, who studied the magnetic property of this iridium nanoparticle.

W&P Awards for Acey Lab Students

Acey Lab researchers Kaycee Villarreal (left) and Nancy Trujillo (right) were awarded 2014 Women & Philanthropy Scholarships to support their research endeavors. During its short history, W&P has awarded more than 150 scholarships, totaling approximately $200,000, many of which have been awarded to Chemistry & Biochemistry students. We thus offer our thanks to W&P for their continued support!


Students from the labs of Profs. Mezyk and Acey recently presented their research at the 24th Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air in San Diego, CA. Undergraduate DeeAnn Asamoto (Mexyk Lab, pictured) won first prize ($1000) in the student research competition and undergraduate Phuc "Sam" Nguyen (Acey Lab) won second prize ($500). Congratulations to both DeeAnn and Sam!

Award for Andrea Chen

Department Lecturer Andrea Chen was honored with this year's Mayfield Award, named after Prof. Darwin Mayfield, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry from 1956 to 1989. The award is given annually to the outstanding instructor chosen via popular vote by CNSM students. Congrats to Andrea for earning such an honor!

Grant for Dr. Tapavicza

Prof. Enrico Tapavicza received one of this year's CSUPERB New Investigator Grants, of which only eighteen were awarded across the entire CSU system. His research project, "Ab Initio Modeling of Vitamin D Photosynthesis in Solution," applies computation techniques to better understand the physics and chemistry of photosynthesis. Congratulations to Professor Tapavicza!

5 CSULB Scholarships to Dept students

Department research students Brittany Daws (Mezyk Lab), JoAnna Milam (Derakshan Lab), Khai Nguyen (Sorin Lab, pictured), Lauren Olson (Mezyk Lab), and Sahar Roshandel (Schramm Lab) were awarded 2014 CSULB Student Summer Research Assistantships. Only 37 such awards were funded campus-wide. Congratulations to these young scholars on their success!

3 honored by University

This year's University Achievement Awards honored three members of our Department: Prof. Stephen Mezyk (pictured) received the CSULB Outstanding Professor Award; Vas Lab graduate student Roy Hernandez received the Outstanding Graduate Research Student Award; and Prof. Vas Narayanaswami was awarded the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity.

Allergan Distinguished Lecturer Richard Zare

Professor Richard N. Zare of Stanford University will visit our Department as the 2014 Allergan Distinguished Lecturer on Wednesday February 26th! We cordially invite you to attend Prof. Zare's two talks, including a general lecture at 11:00 AM and a research lecture describing his recent work on a new cell sorting method for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases at 4:00 PM. For more information, please click here!

Kim Nguyen Pubs!

B.S. Biochemistry major Kim Nguyen, who is currently pursuing research at USC Medical School, recently had two articles accepted in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, including her study "Is TOBI Therapy effective in not only eradicating Pseudomonas aeruginosa in CF patients but also in decreasing exacerbations?". Congratulations to Kim and her co-authors!

CSUPERB Howell Winners!

The CSU Program to Enhance Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) 26th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium was held in Santa Clara, CA January 9-11, 2014. CSULB Biochemistry junior Patricia Nguyen (Vas Lab, pictured right) and Biochemistry senior Sam Nguyen (Acey Lab, Pictured below) both won the 2014 CSUPERB-Howell Research Scholars Award!

Acey Students at CSUPERB

Acey Lab students were recently selected for their project "Heavy Metal Sponge" as a finalist team in the CSUPERB Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge, an early-stage biotechnology commercialization competition for CSU students. The I2P competition culminates at the Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, where Acey Lab members presented their work. (Pictured: Undergraduate students Nancy Trujillo and Sam Nguyen with Prof. Acey.)

Schramm Lab Pubs!

The Schramm Lab has two upcoming articles including "p-tert-Butylcalix[6]arene hexacarboxylic acid conformational switching and octahedral coordination with Pb(II) and Sr(II)" in Chem. Comm. and "Calixarene mediated liquid membrane transport of choline conjugates" in Eur. J. Org. Chem. Congratulations to Prof. Schramm, Chem & Biochem post-docs Xiang Zhao and Birendra Adhikari, and B.S. Chemistry candidate Ayu Fujii on their recent publications!

Shon Lab Pub

Prof. Shon's Lab recently published an article in Applied Materials & Interfaces describing the catalytic property of water soluble unsupported Pd nanoparticles. The paper was co-authored by former MS student Diego Gavia and current MS candidate May Maung. In addition, Prof. Shon also recently published a book chapter titled "Metallic Nanoparticles with Monolayers: Synthetic Methods" in the Dekker Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CRC Press).

Bu Grant from NSF

Prof. Bu's grant proposal "Homochiral Crystalline Porous Materials for Enantioselective Applications" was recently funded by the National Science Foundation. The proposal "seeks to introduce new synthetic concepts and methods that can be employed to create homochiral porous materials as catalysts and adsorbents for the preparation of highly useful chemicals and pharmaceuticals." Congratulations Prof. Bu!

Shahab Lab Pub

Derakshan Lab undergraduate Malinda Tan, MS candidate Sophia Nguyen, and former MS student Frederike Wrobel recently co-authored an article in the journal Inorganic Chemistry titled "Partial Spin Ordering and Complex Magnetic Structure in BaYFeO4: A Neutron Diffraction and High Temperature Susceptibility Study." Congratulations to Prof. Derakshan and his team!

Vas Lab Pub

Vas Lab B.S. Biochemistry major and 2013 CNSM Graduate of the Year Tuyen Tran co-first authored the article "Acrolein Modification Impairs Key Functional Features of Rat Apolipoprotein E: Identification of Modified Sites by Mass Spectrometry" which was accepted for publication in the ACS journal Biochemistry. This publication represents a multi-institutional collaboration with scientists and students at Lawrence Berkeley National lab, UC Davis & Nagoya University. Congratulations to the Vas Lab and their collaborators!

NMR Cryoprobe

CSULB has allocated nearly $150k to purchase a Prodigy Cryoprobe for our new Bruker 400 MHz NMR to further enhance our NMR instrumentation. Congratulations to Prof. Michael Schramm and his co-PI.s Profs. Lijuan Li, Young Shon, Paul Buonora, Ken Nakayama, Eric Marniez, Jason Schwans, and Steve Mezyk for their efforts in upgrading the capabilities of our NMR facility!

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2013 Department News Archive

Jump Start Chem Summer 2013

Want to get a better grade in general chemistry and pass the CPT? Jumpstart is a custom designed preparatory course for the Chemistry Placement Examination (CPT) required for all students taking chemistry at CSULB. The course is an intense 45 hour workshop and covers critical topics from the CPT which are also key to succeeding in general chemistry. Click Here for more details!

Acey Lab Protein

The Acey group has isolated a novel metal binding protein. They are currently working to develop real life applications for the protein. Ten patents have been issued describing the use of this protein as a "heavy metal sponge" for the removal of toxic metals from solutions, such as the removal of the mercury based thimerosal from flu vaccines.


The local chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS), was named Student Organization of the Year by the associated student body (ASI). The award is presented to the student organization that is well-rounded and demonstrates a substantial contribution to students on and off campus. Congratulations to President Hannah Pham & the entire SAACS team!

Department students win awards

This year's Chemistry & Biochemistry Awards Banquet will be held on Tuesday May 7th. Among others being honored this year, Biochemistry majors Tuyen Tran and Phuc La will receive the Outstanding Graduating Senior of the College and the College Rhodes Award, respectively, for their outstanding academic achievements. For a listing of Departmental awards and honors, please click here!

Department Faculty win awards

Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty win awards:
Prof. Vas Narayanaswami
was named the 2013 Most Valuable Professor by the CSULB Alumni Association and Prof. Young Shon received this year's CSU Long Beach Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award! We congratulate Dr. Vas and Dr. Shon on this outstanding recognition!

Ronald Evans, 2013 Distinguished Speaker

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is pleased to announce our annual Allergan Distinguished Lecturer: Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute will visit campus on Wednesday, February 20th. Dr. Evans, whose work focuses on peroxisome proliferator activated receptors and their roles in diabetes and other metabolic disorders, will provide a general talk at 12:00 PM and a research seminar at 4:00 PM. For more information, please click here for the official announcement.

Vas Lab Publication

The Vas Lab recently published their article titled "Biochemical and Biophysical Characterization of Recombinant Rat Apolipoprotein E: Similarities to Human Apolipoprotein E3" in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Prof. Vas' co-authors include undergraduate students Tuyen Tran, Carlos Gallo, Max Amaya and Jessica Kyees, and graduate student Sea Kim.

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2012 Department News Archive

Derakhshan Lab Publication

The Derakhshan Lab recently published their article "Synthesis, Crystal Structure, and Magnetic Properties of Li3Mg2OsO6, a Geometrically Frustrated Osmium(V) Oxide with an Ordered Rock Salt Structure: Comparison with Isostructural Li3Mg2RuO6," on which graduate student Sophia Nguyen was first author, in the journal Inorganic Chemistry.

Career Day

Chemistry & Biochemistry Career Day is Saturday October 13th! Have you thought about what will you do after you graduate with a BS or BA degree? Do you know what the career options are for a Chemistry or Biochemistry graduate? Attend our third annual Career Day. For more information, including a list of speakers, click here. Pre-registration is required.

Shon Lab Diagram

Prof. Shon's Group recently had two articles accepted for publication! The first, co-authored by graduate student Elham Sadeghmoghaddam (who now has three first authorship credits) and undergraduate student Hanmo Gu, will appear in ACS Catalysis. The second, co-authored by graduate student Diego Gavia, was accepted in Langmuir.

Slowinska Lab Publication Image

The Slowinska Lab recently published an article in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, titled "The microstructure of collagen type I gel cross-linked with gold nanoparticles", which was co-authored by undergraduates Thomas & Joseph Schuetz, grad students Nathan Richmond & Luciano Castaneda, and Aerospace Corp. collaborator, Dr. Marianne Harmon. The article reports on the structure of collagen cross-linked with gold nanoparticles.

Dr. Vas Book Cover

The Vas Lab recently had a research article and a book chapter accepted for publication! Dr. Vas' article, which reorts on the use of pyrene excimer fluorescence as a tool to measure intramolecular distances to characterize protein structure, co-authored by MS students Gursharan Bains and Sea Kim, and Prof. Eric Sorin, will soon appear in the journal Biochemistry, and her book chapter titled "Pathophysiology of Lipoprotein Oxidation" will appear in a new text titled Lipoproteins.

Department Awards Banquet Honors Sorin Lab Student

The 2012 Department Awards Banquet was held on Tuesday May 8th to honor this year's academic and research award recipients. Biological Sciences major and Sorin Lab researcher Erik Carpio was awarded this year's Glenn M. Nagel Undergraduate Research Fellowship by the wife of former College Dean and Professor of Chemistry Glenn Nagel.

Grad student Tom Cullen at the Denver ACS Convention

2012 ACS National Meeting! Professors Acey, Buonora, Maricich, McClain, Mezyk, Nakayama, Schramm, Shon, and Slowinska coauthored over 20 presentations at the Spring National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, California, with over two dozen postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student co-authors participating in the research and presentations.

Collagen Fibrils

Prof. Kasha Slowinska was awarded an NIH SCORE grant titled "Rigid-rod Peptides as Nanocarriers for Delivery of Cancer Drugs." The grant provides $433,500 over 4 years to support Prof. Slowinska's project. Congratulations to the Slowinska Lab on this outstanding success!

Acey Lab Members

The Acey Lab was the featured laboratory in the April 2012 edition of the Bachem PEPTalk Newsletter. The story, which focuses on the Acey Lab's work with metallothionein, a heavy metal binding protein with applications in the biochemical and environmental sciences, can be accessed here.

Honored Department Lecturer Tom Gufrey

Department lecturer Thomas Gufrey, who has been teaching chemistry at CSULB for 35 years, has been named among America's Top Undergraduate Professors by the Princeton Review in its newest guidebook "The Best 300 Professors," which was released in April. To read more click here!

Prof. Steve Mezyk Honored

Prof. Stephen Mezyk has been selected for the 2012 Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity. The award was presented on Thursday, April 19, during the University Achievement Awards program. Congratulations to Steve on this outstanding recognition!

Journal of Materials Chemistry Cover

The Slowinska Lab published an article titled "Self-assembly of collagen peptides into hollow microtubules" in a recent issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry, which was co-authored by undergraduates Armando Reimer, Katie Feher and Daniel Hernandez. The article describes the formation and characterization of a unique tubular hollow assembly from an FITC-modified non-helical collagen peptide Gly-Gly-(Pro-Hyp-Gly)4.

Dr. James Heath

On March 14, 2012 the Department will host this year's Allergan Foundation Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Professor James R. Heath of CalTech. Dr. Heath will present a general talk at 11:00 AM titled "Oncology from a Physical Scientist's Perspective," followed by a technical talk entitled "Surface Science at the Nanoscale" at 4:00 PM. We invite the campus community to join us for this special event!

Schramm Lab Publication

The Schramm Lab will soon see their article, "Embedding resorcinarene cavitands in lipid vesicles", in print in an upcoming issue of New Journal of Chemistry. The article, co-authored by undergraduates Katie Feher and Hai Hoang, describes a fluorescently labeled resorcinarene cavitand successfully embedded in DLPC lipid vesicles and imaged using confocal microscopy.

Amethyst & Sam present at CSUPERB

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department was well represented with 2 faculty and 9 students at the 24th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium at the Santa Clara Marriott this January. Amethyst Radcliffe and Samantha Cao (pictured at right) of the Sorin Lab presented their poster titled "Characterizing the Binding of Enzyme Inhibitors at the Molecular and Ensemble Levels."

Tuyen Tran

Also in attendance at this year's CSUPERB confrence: Dr. Vas and her students Tuyen Tran, Sea Kim, and Roy Hernandez presented 3 posters. Tuyen was a 2012 Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholar awardee. Dr. Paul Weers and his students, Ivan Biglang-awa and Pankaj Dwivedi presented 2 posters. Pankaj was awarded fall 2011 travel grant for the upcoming Biophysical Society meeting in San Diego.

Prof Derakhshan

Dr. Shahab Derakhshan and Dr. Yohannes Abate (CSULB Physics Department) jointly received an award from the DoD Research and Educational Program for HBCU/MI for $590,000 over a 3-year period. This award will enable them to work on the proposal titled "Near-field Nanoscopy of Metal-Insulator Phase Transitions Towards Synthesis of Novel Correlated Transition Metal Oxides and Their Interaction With Plasmon Resonance".

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2011 Department News Archive

Grad student Tom Cullen at the Denver ACS Convention

Professors Acey, Brazier, Bu, Buonora, Li, Marinez, Mezyk, Nakayama and Schramm coauthored 19 presentations at the Fall 2011 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver, Colorado. Thomas D. Cullen (pictured right) was one of 16 postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student co-authors also presenting at the conference.

2nd Annual Chemistry and Biochemistry Career Day

This year's 2nd Annual Chemistry & Biochemistry Career Day will be held on Saturday October 15, 2011. This year's event will include a number of speakers from local industrial, forensic, and academic institutions and is aimed at providing aspiring chemists and biochemists with an overview of some directions they may want to consider going after graduation. To see the agenda and list of speakers, or to register for this event, CLICK HERE.

Vas Authors

The Narayanaswami Lab came out with a review article, "Pyrene: A Probe to Study Protein Conformation and Conformational Changes" in September 2011. Published in a Special Issue of "Fluorophores - The Fluorescent Toolbox in Biological and Biomedical Research" in Molecules, the article is authored by Gursharan Bains, Arti Patel and Vas Narayanaswami.

Schramm LKab SCORE grant

The National Cancer Institute awarded Professor Michael P. Schramm a National Institutes of Health SCORE grant (SC2) for $433,500 over a 3 year period to work on "Selective Small Molecule Membrane Transport Using Cavitand Receptors."


This year's Southern California Conference for Undergraduate research (SCCUR) will take place on November 19, 2011 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut California. SCCUR provides a forum for the presentation of the best research, scholarship, and creative activities of undergraduate students in the Southern California region across all scientific disciplines. For more information, please visit their website.

Schram Lab Image

The Schramm Lab will soon see their article, "pH Influenced Molecular Switching with Micelle Bound Cavitands", in print in an upcoming issue of Chemical Communications. The article, co-authored by high school student Yeon Joo Kim and undergraduate Mark Lek, describes a "two component chemical switch, where we can control the orientation of a bound molecule inside the receptor."

Bu Lab image

A paper from Dr. Bu's lab in an upcoming issue of Angewandte Chemie, "Multi-Component Self-Assembly of A Nested Co24/Co48 Metal Organic Polyhedral Framework," has been chosen as a "Hot Paper" by the Editors "for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of current interest." Congratulations to Dr. Bu and Master's candidate Burcin Irfanoglu for scoring their lab's second hot paper this year!

Shon Lab image

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Professor Young Shon a SCORE grant (SC3) for over $400k over a 4 year period to fund Professor Shon's research entitled "Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticle-Cored Dendrimers Linked with Fluorophores and Antibodies: Smart Biomarkers for Cancer Treatments"

Jocelyn Del Cid on The Hill

Acey Lab member Joselyn Del Cid was chosen to present her research to Members of Congress in Washington, D.C. as part of the Council of Undergraduate Research "Posters on the Hill Program." Joselyn's abstract was one of 74 accepted for presentation. In addition, Joselyn was accepted into the Stanford Summer Research Program/Amgen Scholars Program. Congratulations Josselyn!

W&P Scholars 2011

Our Department would like to thank Women & Philanthropy for their continued support of our undergraduate research program! Three of this year's four awards were given to students in our Department including Sorin Lab members Sam Cao and Carolyn Kusaba and Garrett McKay of the Mezyk Lab. These awards support student summer research activities in a variety of research areas.

Gursharan and Duc

Biochemistry undergraduate Duc Le (Weers lab) and graduate student Gursharan Bains (Vas lab) recently participated in the CSULB Student Research Competition (Biological Sciences section). Duc was awarded 1st place ("Lysine residues mediate antimicrobial activity of apoLp-III") and Gursharan won 2nd place ("Developing Pyrene Fluorescence as a Powerful Probe to Study Conformation of Protein: A New Aspect of an Old Tool"). In May Duc and Gursharan will visit Fresno State to represent CSU Long Beach in the 25th CSU system-wide student research competition.

Chemistry journal cover

Professor Bu's recent article entitled "Porous Lithium Imidazolate Frameworks Constructed with Charge-Complementary Ligands" has been listed in the Hottest Articles in Inorganic Chemistry from Wiley Publishing Company. Congratulations once again to Dr. Bu!


Materials Chemistry journal

Prof. Young Shon's lab recently published a paper in the Journal of Materials Chemistry describing the catalytic property of ligand-capped Pd nanoparticles. This paper was selected as a Feature Article (January 2011) and was co-authored by M.S. candidate Elham Sadeghmoghaddam and former undergraduate Caroline Lam.

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2010 Department News Archive


Progress in Lipid Journal

Biochemistry Professor Vas Narayanaswami had two publications accepted for publication in Sept 2010: an original research article in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta with undergraduate students Khumsupan, P., Ramirez, R. & Khumsupan, D. on the use of apoE as a nanovehicle to transport anti-amyloid bioflavonoids, and a review article in Progress in Lipid Research on apolipoprotein E: From lipid transport to neurobiology with collaborators from the Children.s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

cover page

Chemistry Career Day is taking place on Saturday October 9 from 9 AM to 2 PM. Speakers from biotechnology, patent law, environmental analysis, and academia will discuss the job benefits of a chemistry degree. Seating is limited and you must preregister for the event. The registration fee is $5 and includes lunch for attendees. More information is available here.

Professor Paul Weers

Professors Steve Mezyk and Paul Weers (pictured at right) and were recipients of this year's Pretty Darn Good Professor Award, which is given by the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics for excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service!

Lecturer Nancy Gardner

Lecturer Nancy Gardner, who recently completed co-authoring a chemistry text to be published this spring, was recently honored for her role in the video series "Understanding Chemistry in Our World," which won a 2010 Emmy Award for Best Instructional Series. Nancy and several Department faculty were recognized at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' 62nd Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards ceremony on July 31st!

Nucleic Acid Research journal coverpage
Professor Sorin's lab recently published two manuscripts, one studying RNA folding and the other investigating the accuracy of molecular models applied to helical proteins. The former, co-authored by undergraduate students Ali DePaul, Erik Thompson, Sarav Patel, and Kristin Haldeman, was selected as a Featured Article in Nucleic Acids Research. The latter, authored by the same team, appears in PLoS One.

Professor Sorin, now finishing his third year in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is particularly proud of his first batch of graduating students, all of whom are now planning for future careers in medical fields or the sciences ... Graduating Sorin Lab Biochemistry major Allison DePaul is headed off to the UCSF Pharmacy program in fall 2010, while Mathematics & Statistics major Kristin Haldeman will be going to UC Davis to pursue a PhD in Biostatistics. Chemical Engineering major Erik Thompson, who won the 2010 Hypercube Computational Chemistry Award, will be entering the local job force, and previous Biochemistry graduate Sarav Patel has been accepted to medical school at UCI.

Biochemistry Textbook coverpage Biochemistry Professor Narayanaswami and her research team kicked off the New Year on an excellent note: they had two manuscripts accepted for publication! The first paper entitled "Pyrene Fluorescence Analysis Offers New Insights into the Conformation of the Lipoprotein-Binding Domain of Human Apolipoprotein E" will appear in BIOCHEMISTRY. Arti B. Patel, a graduate student in Biochemistry, is the primary author on this paper and Panupon Khumsupan, an undergraduate student in Biochemistry is the second author in this 3-author paper.

The second paper entitled "A new HDL mimetic peptide that stimulates cellular cholesterol efflux with high efficiency greatly reduces atherosclerosis in mice" will be published in the Journal of Lipid Research, a publication from The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Arti Patel and Vas Narayanaswami are co-authors in this multi-laboratory collaborative project. The biophysical studies on the peptide were carried out at CSULB. Arti played an enthusiastic role in this project and worked very hard to generate the data in a timely fashion. The authors in this paper are: John K. Bielicki1, Haiyan Zhang, Yuan Cortez, Ying Zheng, Vasanthy Narayanaswami, Arti B. Patel, Jan Johansson and Salman Azhar.

Arti Patel and Panupon Khumsupan received travel awards from CSUPERB to present their findings at the 54th Annual meeting of Biophysical Society to be held in San Francisco Feb 20-24, 2010. Arti also received a travel award from the Biophysical Society and will be participating in a poster competition for graduate students during the meeting.

Advanced Nanomaterials journal coverpage

In a recent paper in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Professor Young Shon and recent BS graduate Tuong Dinh reported that their C60-gold nanoparticle hybrid films are very sensitive to UV illumination. The films respond with a decrease in currents upon exposure, followed by a recovery of currents upon removal of the UV lights. The creation of photosensitive device arrays based on the C60-gold nanoparticles was achieved entirely under ambient condition.

In Advanced Nanomaterials published by Wiley-VCH (Jan. 2010), Shon lab research on "Nanoparticle-Cored Dendrimers and Hyperbranched Polymers" is included as a book chapter.

Professor Roger Acey

Professor Roger Acey and Dr. Richard Kanner, a former graduate of the department, had a patent issued that describes a medical device for the removal of mercury based preservatives from vaccines and other clinical products.

Understanding Chemistry in our World by Nancy Garner

Nancy Gardner has co-authored a chemistry text to be published this spring! According to Nancy: "This is a liberal arts chemistry text, entitled Understanding Chemistry in Our World. The text focus is the relevance of chemistry in our lives and is meant to stimulate student curiosity and promote their natural desire to learn. We use simplified explanations about combustion reactions, oxidation-reduction, solutions you find in your home, environmental issues we are experiencing, and of course some water chemistry. Soon to be released will be a Student Guide and Lab Manual to accompany this text. In a few more months, we will release a video series to accompany the text that covers topics such as water reuse in Orange County, the story of Erin Brokovich entitled Opposites Attract, chemical reactions in Yellowstone, the use of organic compounds in cooking among many more topics. Our team is excited about the purchase of our video series by PBS."

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2009 Department News Archive

protein helix diagram

In December 2009 ProfessorPaul Weers was awarded a 4-year grant from the NIH SCORE program (SC3). The funded project is titled "Molecular mechanism of apolipoprotein binding to lipopolysaccharides".

Doctor Bu

Dr. Bu's manuscript "Versatile Structure-directing Roles of Deep Eutectic Solvents and Their Implication in Generation of Porosity and Open Metal Sites for Gas Storage" by Jian Zhang, Tao Wu, Shumei Chen, Pingyun Feng, Xianhui Bu has been accepted as a "Hot Paper" in Angew. Chem.!

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