Michael Neal Sullivan successfully defended his dissertation, “Electronic Spectroscopy of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Group IIA Metallic Oxides ” on Monday, April 10th, 2017. Michael’s committee was led by Michael C. Heaven with Tim Lian and Susanna Widicus Weaver as additional members.
During his time at Emory, Michael received the 2012 Outstanding TA Award for his work in physical chemistry lab. He also completed two internships (summer 2013 and 2014) at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Albuquerque, NM.
Next up, Michael will start a postdoctoral position with Dr. Lei Zhu at the New York Dept. of Health, Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY at the end of June.
Chen Qu successfully defended his thesis, “Potential Energy Surfaces and the Applications to Reaction Dynamics and Molecular Vibrations” in Spring 2017. Chen’s thesis committed was led by Joel Bowman with James T. Kindt and Michael C. Heaven as additional members.
Luyao Zou successfully defended his thesis, “Astrochemistry in star-forming regions: laboratory millimeter-submillimeter spectroscopy and broadband astronomical line surveys” on Thursday, March 9th, 2017. Luyao’s thesis committed was led by Susanna Widicus Weaver with Michael C. Heaven and Joel Bowman as additional members. Luyao will be returning to China to take a position as operation coordinator in science communication. Congratulations, Luyao!
Lewen Yang successfully defended his thesis, “Line tension assisted membrane permeation at the transition temperature in mixed phase lipid bilayers” in Fall 2017. Lewen’s thesis committed was led by James T. Kindt with Joel Bowman and Michael C. Heaven as additional members.
During his time at Emory, Lewen worked on explaining a phenomenon that was first observed in the early 1970’s, that ions can move more quickly through lipid bilayers when the temperature is close to the bilayer’s melting point. At that temperature, zones of ordered lipids, which are very hard to pass through, exist next to zones of disordered lipids. The experiments suggest that the presence of the ordered lipids make the disordered lipids even more permeable than they would be on their own. The explanation proposed originally, and widely cited still, is that the boundary between these zones is exceptionally leaky. Lewen performed simulations on a highly simplified model that pointed to a different explanation – that leakage doesn’t actually occur at the interfaces themselves, but rather that the line tension of the interface exerts a tension on the disordered lipids that makes them more permeable. He followed up this study with demonstrations, using a more realistic model, that the effect of the interface on the energy barrier to permeation could be predicted quantitatively. His work has opened up a whole new perspective on an interesting phenomenon that is relevant to efforts to use thermally activated lipid containers for targeted drug release.
Lewen started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Delaware with Prof. Ed Lyman in April, where he continues to use molecular simulation to understand lipid phase behavior.
Joshua Bartlett successfully defended his thesis, “Electronic and Photoionization Spectroscopy of Heavy Metal-Containing Diatomic Molecules” on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016. Drew’s thesis committed was led by Michael C. Heaven with James T. Kindt and Susanna Widicus Weaver as additional members. Joshua will begin a postdoctoral appointment at Los Alamos National Lab in October. Congratulations, Joshua!
Michael C. Heaven has been named Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry. The named professorship is awarded to Emory faculty who are deemed to have considerable future promise in research and teaching. Dr. Heaven joined the Emory University Department of Chemistry in 1986. He is co-author of over 220 peer-reviewed papers published in many of the highest impact journals for the field of molecular spectroscopy. He has also supervised 22 PhD students and 11 post-doctoral fellows. His research programs are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.