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Department ofChemistry and Biochemistry


Korin Wheeler and her research assistants

Korin Wheeler and her research assistants

Wheeler Lab 2018

It’s been a whirlwind year in the Wheeler lab. Our research focuses on using biochemistry to study nanomaterials and inform safe and sustainable design of nano-based products. At the start of 2017, there were eight students in the group: Zoe Amaris (2017), Danny Freitas (2017), Matt Findlay (2017), Mai-Loan Nguyen (2017), Eva Bouzos (joint with Asuri lab in Bioengineering, 2018), Madeline Eikin (2019), Karl Baumgartner (2019), and research assistant Erik Berggren (chemistry alumni, 2016). Since then, we’ve had three student presentations at a national meeting, celebrated the graduation of half the research group, and had two papers published.

We worked to share our research results at conferences and through publications. In March, our group was well represented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco. Zoe gave a talk on her work evaluating the effects of silver nanomaterials on zinc protein structure and function. Danny, Matt, and Mai-Loan each presented posters as well. In addition to student presentations, I shared our work at the Environmental Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference (Stowe, VT) and the International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials (University of Birmingham, England).

We also had two publications accepted. Matt and Danny’s work to develop robust methods to characterize the hundreds of proteins that coat nanomaterials was published in Environmental Science: Nano. Our work with CHEM 12H to develop experiments that introduces first

Photo: Most of Wheeler Lab after a group dinner in 2017 year chemistry students to nanoscience and research approaches was also published in the Journal of Chemical Education with student co-authors Zoe, Danny, Karen Mac (2019), and Kyle Gerner (2015). Danny and Matt are working toward their master’s degrees in engineering here at SCU, Mai-Loan started an MPH program at OHSU, and Zoe is working at Genentech. We are so proud to see your successes!

I was lucky to have Madeline, Karl, Eva, Matt, and Erik join me in the lab during the summer 2017. Madeline and Karl were awarded a Clare Boothe Luce and Hayes award for their research, respectively. It was a fun and productive summer, but it felt quite short. It was only a few taco outings and one marathon pipetting competition (Karl won - even against me!), before I left for my sabbatical at ETH in in Zürich, Switzerland in mid-August. Since then, I’ve been keeping in touch with the group back at SCU via video conference calls, learning new approaches in environmental chemistry, and giving talks on our work at various places in Europe. I’m excited to bring new skills, collaborations, and ideas back to SCU when I return for summer 2018.