School of Humanities and Sciences
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Associate Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research program is inspired by the challenge and importance of elucidating chemical structure and function in complex biological systems and the need for new strategies to treat infectious diseases. The genomics and proteomics revolutions have been enormously successful in generating crucial "parts lists" for biological systems. Yet, for many fascinating systems, formidable challenges exist in building complete descriptions of how the parts function and assemble into macromolecular complexes and whole-cell factories. We have introduced uniquely enabling problem-solving approaches integrating solid-state NMR spectroscopy with microscopy and biochemical and biophysical tools to determine atomic- and molecular-level detail in complex macromolecular assemblies and whole cells and biofilms. We are uncovering new chemistry and new chemical structures produced in nature. We identify small molecules that influence bacterial assembly processes and use these in chemical genetics approaches to learn about bacterial cell wall, amyloid and biofilm assembly.
Translationally, we have launched a collaborative antibacterial drug design program integrating synthesis, chemical biology, and mechanistic biochemistry and biophysics directed at the discovery and development of new antibacterial therapeutics targeting difficult-to-treat bacteria.
James K. Chen
Jauch Professor and Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology, of Developmental Biology and of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory combines chemistry and developmental biology to investigate the molecular events that regulate embryonic patterning, tissue regeneration, and tumorigenesis. We are currently using genetic and small-molecule approaches to study the molecular mechanisms of Hedgehog signaling, and we are developing chemical technologies to perturb and observe the genetic programs that underlie vertebrate development.
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Chidsey group research interest is to build the chemical base for molecular electronics. To accomplish this, we synthesize the molecular and nanoscopic systems, build the analytical tools and develop the theoretical understanding with which to study electron transfer between electrodes and among redox species through insulating molecular bridges
George A. and Hilda M. Daubert Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus
BioProfessor Emeritus James Collman has made landmark contributions to inorganic chemistry, metal ion biochemistry, homogeneous catalysis, and transition metal organometallic chemistry. He pioneered numerous now-popular research tools to reveal key structural and functional details of metalloenzymes essential to respiration and energy, and hemoglobin and myoglobin, essential to oxygen transport in the blood.
Born 1932 in Beatrice, Nebraska, James P. Collman studied chemistry at U. Nebraska–Lincoln (B.S. 1954, M.S. 1956). His doctoral work at U. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Ph.D., 1958) focused on Grignard reagents. As a faculty member at U. North Carolina, he demonstrated aromatic reactivity in metal acetylacetonates, and he developed metal complexes that hydrolyze peptide bonds under physiological conditions. He came to Stanford University as Professor of Chemistry in 1967. Among many honors, Prof. Collman’s was elected to the National academy of Sciences in 1975, and named California Scientist of the Year in 1983.
At Stanford, Prof. Collman invented a new paradigm for studying biological systems using functional synthetic analogs of metal-containing enzyme systems, free from the protein coatings that can affect metalloprotein chemical properties. This strategy allowed him to elucidate the intrinsic reactivity of the metal center as well as the effects of protein-metal interactions on biological function.
One focal point of this research has involved heme-proteins such as the oxygen (O2) carrier hemoglobin (Hb), and the O2-storing protein myoglobin (Mb). Prof. Collman was the first to prepare and characterize stable, functional analogues of the Hb and Mb active sites, which contain an iron derivative of the large flat “porphyrin” ligand. In his “picket fence” porphyrin, groups installed on the periphery block side reactions, which would otherwise degrade the structure. This protected iron complex manifests the unique magnetic, spectroscopic and structural characteristics of the O2-binding Hb and Mb sites, and exhibits very similar O2-binding affinities.
The Collman Group also prepared functional mimics of the O2-binding/reducing site in a key respiration enzyme, cytochrome c oxidase, CcO, which converts O2 to H2O during biosynthesis of the energy storage molecule ATP. This enzyme must be very selective: partial O2 reduction products are toxic. Prof. Collman invented a powerful synthetic strategy to create analogs of the CcO active site and applied novel electrochemical techniques to demonstrate that these models catalyze the reduction of O2 to water without producing toxic partially-reduced species. He was able to mimic slow, rate-limiting electron delivery by attaching his CcO model to a liquid-crystalline membrane using “click chemistry.” He demonstrated that hydrogen sulfide molecules and heterocycles reversibly bind to the metal centers at CcO’s active site, connecting a synthetic enzyme model to simple molecules that reversibly inhibit respiration. These respiration inhibitors exhibit physiological properties, affecting blood clotting and controlling the effects of the hormone, nitric oxide, NO.
In addition, Prof. Collman performed fundamental studies of organometallic reactions. He also prepared and characterized homodinuclear and heterodinuclear complexes having metal-metal multiple bonds, and made the first measurements of the rotational barriers found in multiple metal-metal bonds.
Prof. Collman’s impactful textbook “Principles and Applications of Organotransition Metal Chemistry” has seen multiple editions. His book “Naturally Dangerous: Surprising Facts About Food, Health, and the Environment” explains the science behind everyday life, and received favorable reviews in Nature and The Washington Post.
Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur objective is to develop new biophysical methods to advance current understandings of cellular machinery in the complicated environment of living cells. Currently, we are focusing on four research areas: (1) Membrane curvature at the nano-bio interface; (2) Nanoelectrode arrays (NEAs) for scalable intracellular electrophysiology; (3) Electrochromic optical recording (ECORE) for neuroscience; and (4) Optical control of neurotrophin receptor tyrosine kinases.
Director, Precourt Institute for Energy, Fortinet Founders Professor, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemistry
BioCui studies fundamentals and applications of nanomaterials and develops tools for their understanding. Research Interests: nanotechnology, batteries, electrocatalysis, wearables, 2D materials, environmental technology (water, air, soil), cryogenic electron microscopy.
The J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood Professor of Chemistry
BioProfessor Dai’s research spans chemistry, physics, and materials and biomedical sciences, leading to materials with properties useful in electronics, energy storage and biomedicine. Recent developments include near-infrared-II fluorescence imaging, ultra-sensitive diagnostic assays, a fast-charging aluminum battery and inexpensive electrocatalysts that split water into oxygen and hydrogen fuels.
Born in 1966 in Shaoyang, China, Hongjie Dai began his formal studies in physics at Tsinghua U. (B.S. 1989) and applied sciences at Columbia U. (M.S. 1991). He obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard U and performed postdoctoral research with Dr. Richard Smalley. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1997, and in 2007 was named Jackson–Wood Professor of Chemistry. Among many awards, he has been recognized with the ACS Pure Chemistry Award, APS McGroddy Prize for New Materials, Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics and Materials Research Society Mid-Career Award. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The Dai Laboratory has advanced the synthesis and basic understanding of carbon nanomaterials and applications in nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, energy storage and electrocatalysis.
The Dai Lab pioneered some of the now-widespread uses of chemical vapor deposition for carbon nanotube (CNT) growth, including vertically aligned nanotubes and patterned growth of single-walled CNTs on wafer substrates, facilitating fundamental studies of their intrinsic properties. The group developed the synthesis of graphene nanoribbons, and of nanocrystals and nanoparticles on CNTs and graphene with controlled degrees of oxidation, producing a class of strongly coupled hybrid materials with advanced properties for electrochemistry, electrocatalysis and photocatalysis. The lab’s synthesis of a novel plasmonic gold film has enhanced near-infrared fluorescence up to 100-fold, enabling ultra-sensitive assays of disease biomarkers.
Nanoscale Physics and Electronics
High quality nanotubes from his group’s synthesis are widely used to investigate the electrical, mechanical, optical, electro-mechanical and thermal properties of quasi-one-dimensional systems. Lab members have studied ballistic electron transport in nanotubes and demonstrated nanotube-based nanosensors, Pd ohmic contacts and ballistic field effect transistors with integrated high-kappa dielectrics.
Nanomedicine and NIR-II Imaging
Advancing biological research with CNTs and nano-graphene, group members have developed π–π stacking non-covalent functionalization chemistry, molecular cellular delivery (drugs, proteins and siRNA), in vivo anti-cancer drug delivery and in vivo photothermal ablation of cancer. Using nanotubes as novel contrast agents, lab collaborations have developed in vitro and in vivo Raman, photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging. Lab members have exploited the physics of reduced light scattering in the near-infrared-II (1000-1700nm) window and pioneered NIR-II fluorescence imaging to increase tissue penetration depth in vivo. Video-rate NIR-II imaging can measure blood flow in single vessels in real time. The lab has developed novel NIR-II fluorescence agents, including CNTs, quantum dots, conjugated polymers and small organic dyes with promise for clinical translation.
Electrocatalysis and Batteries
The Dai group’s nanocarbon–inorganic particle hybrid materials have opened new directions in energy research. Advances include electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction and water splitting catalysts including NiFe layered-double-hydroxide for oxygen evolution. Recently, the group also demonstrated an aluminum ion battery with graphite cathodes and ionic liquid electrolytes, a substantial breakthrough in battery science.
Laura M.K. Dassama
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
BioLaura Dassama is a chemical biologist who uses principles from chemistry and physics to understand complex biological phenomenal, and to leverage that understanding for the modulation of biological processes. Her current research focuses on deciphering the molecular recognition mechanisms of multidrug transporters implicated in drug resistance, rational engineering and repurposing of natural products, and control of transcription factors relevant to sickle cell disease.
Joseph M. DeSimone
Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine, Professor of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Operations, Information and Technology at the Graduate School of Business
BioJoseph M. DeSimone is the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. He holds appointments in the Departments of Radiology and Chemical Engineering with courtesy appointments in the Department of Chemistry and in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
The DeSimone laboratory's research efforts are focused on developing innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems centered around advanced polymer 3D fabrication methods. In Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, the lab is pursuing new capabilities in digital 3D printing, as well as the synthesis of new polymers for use in advanced additive technologies. In Translational Medicine, research is focused on exploiting 3D digital fabrication tools to engineer new vaccine platforms, enhanced drug delivery approaches, and improved medical devices for numerous conditions, with a current major focus in pediatrics. Complementing these research areas, the DeSimone group has a third focus in Entrepreneurship, Digital Transformation, and Manufacturing.
Before joining Stanford in 2020, DeSimone was a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University. He is also Co-founder, Board Chair, and former CEO (2014 - 2019) of the additive manufacturing company, Carbon. DeSimone is responsible for numerous breakthroughs in his career in areas including green chemistry, medical devices, nanomedicine, and 3D printing. He has published over 350 scientific articles and is a named inventor on over 200 issued patents. Additionally, he has mentored 80 students through Ph.D. completion in his career, half of whom are women and members of underrepresented groups in STEM.
In 2016 DeSimone was recognized by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest U.S. honor for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. He has received numerous other major awards in his career, including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (1997); the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention (2005); the Lemelson-MIT Prize (2008); the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2009); the AAAS Mentor Award (2010); the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment (2017); the Wilhelm Exner Medal (2019); the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2019 U.S. Overall National Winner); and the Harvey Prize in Science and Technology (2020). He is one of only 25 individuals elected to all three branches of the U.S. National Academies (Sciences, Medicine, Engineering). DeSimone received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1986 from Ursinus College and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990 from Virginia Tech.
Justin Du Bois
Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems BiologyOn Leave from 04/01/2022 To 06/30/2022
BioResearch and Scholarship
Research in the Du Bois laboratory spans reaction methods development, natural product synthesis, and chemical biology, and draws on expertise in molecular design, molecular recognition, and physical organic chemistry. An outstanding goal of our program has been to develop C–H bond functionalization processes as general methods for organic chemistry, and to demonstrate how such tools can impact the logic of chemical synthesis. A second area of interest focuses on the role of ion channels in electrical conduction and the specific involvement of channel subtypes in the sensation of pain. This work is enabled in part through the advent of small molecule modulators of channel function.
The Du Bois group has described new tactics for the selective conversion of saturated C–H to C–N and C–O bonds. These methods have general utility in synthesis, making possible the single-step incorporation of nitrogen and oxygen functional groups and thus simplifying the process of assembling complex molecules. To date, lab members have employed these versatile oxidation technologies to prepare natural products that include manzacidin A and C, agelastatin, tetrodotoxin, and saxitoxin. Detailed mechanistic studies of metal-catalyzed C–H functionalization reactions are performed in parallel with process development and chemical synthesis. These efforts ultimately give way to advances in catalyst design. A long-standing goal of this program is to identify robust catalyst systems that afford absolute control of reaction selectivity.
In a second program area, the Du Bois group is exploring voltage-gated ion channel structure and function using the tools of chemistry in combination with those of molecular biology, electrophysiology, microscopy and mass spectrometry. Much of this work has focused on studies of eukaryotic Na and Cl ion channels. The Du Bois lab is interested in understanding the biochemical mechanisms that underlie channel subtype regulation and how such processes may be altered following nerve injury. Small molecule toxins serve as lead compounds for the design of isoform-selective channel modulators, affinity reagents, and fluorescence imaging probes. Access to toxins and modified forms thereof (including saxitoxin, gonyautoxin, batrachotoxin, and veratridine) through de novo synthesis drives studies to elucidate toxin-receptor interactions and to develop new pharmacologic tools to study ion channel function in primary cells and murine pain models.