Rising Stars in Analytical Chemistry Spring 2022

Congrats Rising Stars Spring 2022!

Meet the Rising Stars in Analytical Chemistry:

May 11th, 2022 1:00-2:00 pm EST

Dr. Melanie Odenkirk

An Online Structural-based Connectivity and Omic Phenotype Evaluations (SCOPE) Cheminformatics Toolbox for Lipidomic Data Visualization

Biography: Melanie spent the first half of her childhood in New Jersey and her second half in Virginia. She stayed in state to complete her B.S. in 2018 at James Madison University where she found her passion for mass spectrometry conducting undergraduate research on fundamental electrospray ionization mechanisms with Dr. Christine Hughey. Melanie did her PhD at North Carolina State University under the direction of Dr. Erin S. Baker on “Evaluating Lipidomic Perturbations in Biological Systems Using Cheminformatic Data Analysis Capabilities” which she defended in March 2022. Her time as a graduate student resulted in five first-author publications in addition to a series of presentations and accolades. In June, Melanie will begin a postdoctoral position in Dr. Michael Marty’s group at the University of Arizona where she will focus on advancing lipidomics to study membrane protein-lipid interactions and membrane biophysics.

Abstract: Lipidomic analyses using mass spectrometry have traditionally been complicated by an abundance of isomeric species that recent analytical advancements have improved upon significantly. Data interpretation, however, still faces challenges as existing lipid pathways often rely on broad speciation that is insufficient for the lipidomic data currently being generated. To overcome this limitation, we have previously developed a structural-based connectivity and omic phenotypic evaluation (SCOPE) cheminformatic data analysis toolbox to relate individual lipid species with their associated biological significance and clinical data. However, the caveat of this work thus far has been its accessibility to users with limited coding experience. Therefore, the capabilities of SCOPE have been further developed into an online program, thereby removing all previous coding requirements while maintaining user-defined properties for visualizing a variety of lipidomic studies. Altogether, the development of SCOPE Online further facilitates the exploration of structure-function relationships for the lipidomics community.

Sondrica Goines

Investigating the Redox Mechanisms of PFOS Cytotoxicity within Hep G2 via Hyperspectral Assisted-Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy

Biography: Sondrica Goines received her B.S. in chemistry from the College of Charleston in 2018. Her research in the lab of Dr. Katherine Mullaugh investigated the surface chemistry of Ag nanoparticles. Sondrica also participated in an REU at Georgia Tech with Dr. Younan Xia, where she synthesized Au and Ag nanoparticles. Currently, Sondrica is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey E. Dick. Sondrica’s work is focused on advancing live-cell microscopy by combining electrochemical and optical imaging with spectroscopy within a single platform. As an undergraduate, Sondrica actively promoted diversity and inclusion as an ambassador of the College. During her graduate career, Sondrica has remained active in diversity initiatives through her involvement on the recruitment committee and her lifestyle podcast. Additionally, she was awarded the NOBCChE Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership Award in 2020.  

Abstract: The advancement of biological imaging requires an unambiguous understanding of cell-to-cell heterogeneity, emphasizing the importance of studying the smallest unit of life – a single, living cell. While fluorescence imaging has served as a minimally destructive method for analysis, it may also be compromised by low signal-to-noise and phototoxic effects. To overcome these barriers in live-cell microscopy, we combine a typical biological scanning electrochemical microscope platform with a variable fluorescence bandpass source for obtaining electrochemical, optical, and spectral data, simultaneously. Our novel imaging platform widens the scope of biological imaging by allowing one to capture spectral data with 1 nm resolution to probe dynamic extra- and intra-cellular interactions via hyperspectral assisted-SECM. To demonstrate the robust capabilities of our imaging platform, we use hyperspectral assisted-SECM to investigate a relevant public health concern: the mechanism of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) cytotoxicity in a two-dimensional cell culture of hepatocarcinoma (Hep G2) cells.  

May 18th, 2022 1:00-2:30 pm EST

John A. Adegoke

Miniaturized Ultraviolet/Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrscopy- A New Pathway for Rapid Detection of Malaria Infection

Biography: John A. Adegoke received his undergraduate degree in Industrial Chemistry from University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 2010 where he majored in analytical chemistry. He then joined the Chemical and allied product Plc, Nigeria as a research and development chemist where he was actively involved in product development, raw materials validation and strategic planning. In 2015 he  undertook a Masters degree in chemistry at the University of Eastern Finland under the supervision of Professor Janne Jänis where he performed detailed chemical fingerprinting of callus resins from coniferous trees using ultra high-resolution mass spectrometry. In 2019, he joined the centre for Biospectroscopy at the School of Chemistry, Monash University, Australia under the supervision of Professor Bayden Wood as a doctoral student where he is worked in the areas of malaria parasite infection, fibrosis and more recently bone degradation utilising state-of-the-art spectroscopic modalities based on ultraviolet-visible and near infrared spectroscopy. His research aims to create novel diagnostic methods and approaches that could enable early detection of disease and facilitate timely intervention.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including but not limited to Monash University graduate scholarship for international student, University of Eastern Finland excellence research award for research chemist, Estonia ministry of education Student academic excellence and Monyeh scholarship for excellence. In addition to his PhD studies, he works as a teaching associate at the School of Chemistry and currently serves as the Student representative on the Australian Synchrotron User Advisory Committee of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO).

Abstract: The magnitude of diseases in the twenty-first century created an urgent need for point-of-care diagnostics. Acute deficiencies in diagnostic assays and testing devices have had a significant impact on the ability to test patients for early infection and the possibility of receiving urgent treatment. Here we report on an inexpensive spectroscopic device based on UV-visible and near infrared spectroscopy in combination with machine learning algorithms for rapid detection of diseases including malaria infection, tissue fibrosis and the assessment of bone degradation. By using an inexpensive (USD $2000) matchbox size box near infrared spectrometer for malaria detection from dried blood spots we were able to achieve an improve the quantification limit compared to optical microscope and PCR gold standard conventional technique. To eliminate the drying and sample preparation steps associated with the existing spectroscopic method, we further explored, the capabilities by combining UV-visible-NIR  to develop a technique to quantify low level malaria parasitemia in aqueous whole blood. It is the first example combining both electronic and vibrational regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to diagnose a disease agent. Then, we extended the technique to discriminate the different erythrocytic life cycle stages of the malaria parasite in single functional red blood cells. The ability to quantify different stages of malaria parasites is important in disease monitoring in terms of both progression and recovery.  

Dr. Yao Yang

Operando Methods for Interfacial Electrocatalysis

Biography: Yao Yang received his B.S. (Honors) in Chemistry at Wuhan University in 2015 and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Cornell University in 2021. During his PhD, he worked with Profs. Héctor Abruña, a leading electroanalytical chemist, and David Muller (Applied Physics) and Francis DiSalvo (Chemistry). His research focuses on the design of precious-metal-free electrocatalysts for alkaline fuel cells and the characterization and understanding of their reaction mechanisms employing operando analytical techniques, including electrochemical liquid-cell scanning transmission electron microscopy (EC-STEM) and synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopic and scattering methods. As a Miller fellow at UC Berkeley (2021-2024), he works under the supervision of Prof. Peidong Yang to investigate electrocatalysts for CO2 electroreduction to liquid fuels in an effort to provide an atomic/molecular-level picture of dynamic electrocatalytic processes with advanced analytical techniques. He received the Wentink Award (Highest Graduate Award in Chemistry at Cornell, 2020), Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) Student Research Award (2020) and Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Student Poster Award (2019).


Electrocatalysis lies at the interface between chemistry and physics and represents one of the most promising approaches for enabling the wide-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies, such as fuel cells, water splitting and CO2 reduction, to mitigate carbon emissions. One of the key challenges in electrocatalysis is understanding how to achieve and sustain high electrocatalytic activity, under operating conditions for extended time periods. Such fundamental understanding calls for the use of operando/in situ analytical methods.

This presentation is centered around the question: “How can the new-generation of (electro)analytical chemists use recently developed advanced analytical techniques to tackle the great challenges associated with the understanding of energy-related electrochemical processes and technologies?” The first part of the presentation will deal with research on operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) studies of synergistic Co-Mn spinel oxides as non-precious oxygen reduction electrocatalysts in alkaline media. I will then introduce our recent progress on developing operando electrochemical liquid-cell scanning transmission electron microscopy (EC-STEM) and four-dimensional (4D) STEM, which simultaneously enable quantitative electrochemistry on microelectrodes and direct visualization of underpotential electrodeposition at nanocrystal surfaces at the nm-scale. The presentation will conclude with some future directions.

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