Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nick Vukotic wins Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship from the International Centre for Diffraction Data

Congratulations to Nick Vukotic, who has been awarded the Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship from the International Centre for Diffraction Data.

Nick has been involved in trying to create a three-dimensional, interlocking network of functioning molecular machines. The foundation of his work is built on X-ray diffraction, a process which involves analyzing the crystallized forms of chemical compounds by bathing them in a stream of nitrogen and hitting them with an intense X-ray beam in order to obtain a computerized visual image of their molecular structures.

“He’s become a real expert on this technique for analyzing the structure of solid state materials,” said Steve Loeb, Vukotic’s academic supervisor and a Canada Research Chair in Materials Science and Technology. “He’s very creative and he’s an exceptional student.”

Click here to read the whole story on the UWindsor Daily News.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Windsor student discovers promising cancer treatment option

Congratulations to Carly Griffin: Carly defended her Ph.D. thesis successfully on Jan 6th 2011.

by Meghan Scanlan — The Lance (University of Windsor)

WINDSOR, Ont. (CUP) — After her father was diagnosed with colon cancer, Carly Griffin made it her life’s ambition to find a cure for cancer.

After the devastating loss of her father and several years of research, she may have reached her goal.

“Ultimately, that fuelled my decision to study biochemistry at the University of Windsor,” said Griffin.

In her third year at the University of Windsor, she actively pursued her goal of finding a cure by inquiring about a position in Siyaram Pandey’s research lab. It is in this lab that Griffin would work on the substance of her PhD, now proven to be a promising advance in cancer research.

The key to Griffin’s success is found in the rare Hawaiian spider lily plant. The plant and its cancer-killing compounds according to Griffin “have been studied by organic chemists for decades.”

Pandey became interested after attending a weekly seminar hosted by the chemistry department. Interested in testing the plant’s anti-cancer activity, Pandey handed the task off to two volunteer undergraduate students.

According to Griffin, two very exciting things happened for Pandey, his volunteers and for the world of cancer research.

The volunteer research students found that pancratistatin, a compound found in the Hawaiian spider lily plant, was very potent against cancer cells. They also found that there was currently no other research group actively studying pancratistatin.

In 2004, Griffin joined the research group and says she has “spent the last six years trying to figure out how pancratistatin works against cancer.”

To see the entire article, please check out the following link:

Professor Siyaram Pandey receives three year CIHR grant for $302,000

Congratulations to Professor Siyaram Pandey, who as received a research grant of $302,000 over three years (2011-2014) for a research project entitled "Investigation of mechanism of neuroprotection by a water-soluble CoQ10 in a paraquat induced model of Parkinson's disease," in collaboration with Dr. Jerome Cohen (Psychology). This project application was ranked in the top three in this grant review committee.

For more information on Dr. Pandey's research, please visit:

For more information on CIHR funding, please visit:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Aaron Rossini awarded Marie Curie Fellowship for Post-Doctoral Studies

French fellowship promising for doctoral grad and wine enthusiast spouse
Published on UWindsor Daily News: Jan 21, 2011
Last Modified: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:09am

Aaron Rossini is thrilled to be heading to southern France to continue his research in chemistry, but thinks his new wife might be even more excited by the prospect.~

Dr. Rossini, who successfully defended his PhD in September, recently learned that he was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship which will begin next month at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon, France under the direction of professor Lyndon Emsley.

The fact that the facility—described by his academic supervisor Rob Schurko as one of the best in the world—is located within several hours’ drive from the globally-renowned Bordeaux wine region wasn’t lost on his new bride Erin, a UWindsor chemistry master’s graduate who recently completed a certificate program in viticulture and enology at Brock University.

“She’s pretty pumped,” Rossini said with a grin. “She’s hoping she might get some experience with some really good French wineries.”

A local native who graduated from St. Anne’s High School in Tecumseh, Rossini studies the chemical process of how certain molecules and compounds behave as catalysts in the production of polyolefin, a polymer that’s used in the production of plastic products such as shrink wrap and plastic bottles. He uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to help define the many characteristics of those molecules.

The technology used to make polymers has been around a long time, but much of the work is done by trial and error, he said.

“There’s still a lot of basic chemical understanding that is lacking,” he said. “If we can get a good snapshot of the molecular structure of these catalysts, then we can reduce a lot of the trial and error in their design and application, optimize the process and make them much more efficient.”

Throughout his career at UWindsor, Rossini has worked on the 400 megahertz NMR spectrometer in Dr. Schurko’s Essex Hall lab, but also travelled regularly to Ottawa where he used the dedicated solid-state 900 megahertz spectrometer at the National Ultrahigh-field NMR Facility for Solids. The machine he’ll be conducting his research on in France is rated at 1,000 megahertz and worth an estimated $16 million, Schurko said.

“This is one of the best research environments France has to offer,” said Schurko, who spent part of his sabbatical there in 2007. “It’s just phenomenal. This is just a huge opportunity for him.”

Rossini and his wife depart for France on January 25.

— Stephen Fields

Originally posted at the following link: