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1.  Iron oxide nanoparticles induce Pseudomonas aeruginosa growth, induce biofilm formation, and inhibit antimicrobial peptide function† 
Environmental science. Nano  2014;1(2):123-132.
Given the increased use of iron-containing nanoparticles in a number of applications, it is important to understand any effects that iron-containing nanoparticles can have on the environment and human health. Since iron concentrations are extremely low in body fluids, there is potential that iron-containing nanoparticles may influence the ability of bacteria to scavenge iron for growth, affect virulence and inhibit antimicrobial peptide (AMP) function. In this study, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA01) and AMPs were exposed to iron oxide nanoparticles, hematite (α-Fe2O3), of different sizes ranging from 2 to 540 nm (2 ± 1, 43 ± 6, 85 ± 25 and 540 ± 90 nm) in diameter. Here we show that the greatest effect on bacterial growth, biofilm formation, and AMP function impairment is found when exposed to the smallest particles. These results are attributed in large part to enhanced dissolution observed for the smallest particles and an increase in the amount of bioavailable iron. Furthermore, AMP function can be additionally impaired by adsorption onto nanoparticle surfaces. In particular, lysozyme readily adsorbs onto the nanoparticle surface which can lead to loss of peptide activity. Thus, this current study shows that co-exposure of nanoparticles and known pathogens can impact host innate immunity. Therefore, it is important that future studies be designed to further understand these types of impacts.
PMCID: PMC4158920  PMID: 25221673
2.  Noncentrosymmetric Packings Influenced by Electronic Properties of Products of Click Reactions 
Crystal Growth & Design  2014;14(3):893-896.
Though 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole rings have been utilized as electronic bridges in the solution phase, the use of a triazole ring to serve as an electronic bridge of small molecules in the crystalline state has been underdeveloped. Here two compounds with a central 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole ring are synthesized to investigate the electronic bridging between terminal stilbazole and pyridine groups in the crystalline phase. The electronic properties of the molecules are characterized through solution phase UV–vis spectroscopy, single crystal X-ray diffractions, and density-of-state and gas-phase DFT calculations. We show that the electronic bridging behavior of a 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole ring derived from a click reaction is maintained in the solid state by rare head-to-head (hh) packing in noncentrosymmetric crystal environments.
Triazole rings derived from the click reactions are studied as electronic bridges in the organic solid state. We show that the electronic bridging behavior of a 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3- triazole ring derived from a click reaction is maintained in the solid state by rare head-to-head (hh) packing in noncentrosymmetric crystal environments.
PMCID: PMC3983149  PMID: 24803847
3.  H2S mediated thermal and photochemical methane activation 
Sustainable, low temperature methods of natural gas activation are critical in addressing current and foreseeable energy and hydrocarbon feedstock needs. Large portions of natural gas resources are still too expensive to process due to their high content of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) in mixture with methane, CH4, altogether deemed as sub-quality or “sour” gas. We propose a unique method for activating this “sour” gas to form a mixture of sulfur-containing hydrocarbon intermediates, CH3SH and CH3SCH3, and an energy carrier, such as H2. For this purpose, we computationally investigated H2S mediated methane activation to form a reactive CH3SH species via direct photolysis of sub-quality natural gas. Photoexcitation of hydrogen sulfide in the CH4+H2S complex results in a barrier-less relaxation via a conical intersection to form a ground state CH3SH+H2 complex. The resulting CH3SH can further be heterogeneously coupled over acidic catalysts to form higher hydrocarbons while the H2 can be used as a fuel. This process is very different from a conventional thermal or radical-based processes and can be driven photolytically at low temperatures, with enhanced controllability over the process conditions currently used in industrial oxidative natural gas activation. Finally, the proposed process is CO2 neutral, as opposed to the currently industrially used methane steam reforming (SMR).
PMCID: PMC3880144  PMID: 24150813
methane; H2S; CH3SH; C-H bond activation; DFT; light
4.  Product-to-Parent Reversion of Trenbolone: Unrecognized Risks for Endocrine Disruption 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6156):347-351.
Trenbolone acetate (TBA) is a high-value steroidal growth promoter often administered to beef cattle, whose metabolites are potent endocrine-disrupting compounds. We performed laboratory and field phototransformation experiments to assess the fate of TBA metabolites and their photoproducts. Unexpectedly, we observed that the rapid photohydration of TBA metabolites is reversible under conditions representative of those in surface waters (pH 7, 25°C). This product-to-parent reversion mechanism results in diurnal cycling and substantial regeneration of TBA metabolites at rates that are strongly temperature- and pH-dependent. Photoproducts can also react to produce structural analogs of TBA metabolites. These reactions also occur in structurally similar steroids, including human pharmaceuticals, which suggests that predictive fate models and regulatory risk assessment paradigms must account for transformation products of high-risk environmental contaminants such as endocrine-disrupting steroids.
PMCID: PMC4096139  PMID: 24072818
Polypropylene fumarate (PPF) scaffolds fabricated by rapid prototyping technique were surface modified by solution deposition of electrically conductive polypyrrole coatings with or without hydroxyapatite. Scaffolds were electrically conductive with resistivity as low as 2Ω. Scaffold characterization by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and thermo gravimetric analysis shows both polypyrrole and hydroxyapatite are present. Cell viability, attachment, proliferation, and differentiation were analyzed using human fetal osteoblast cells. These studies show that surface modification using hydroxyapatite improved cell attachment and proliferation of osteoblasts onto the PPF scaffolds. Alkaline phosphatase activity as a marker for osteogenic differentiation of cell to mature osteoblasts was analyzed. Our data reveal that osteoblasts maintained their phenotype on PPF scaffolds with and without coatings. Thus, these scaffolds could be appropriate candidates for our future in vivo studies.
PMCID: PMC4026939  PMID: 22051167
6.  Development of Electrically Conductive Oligo(polyethylene Glycol) Fumarate-Polypyrrole Hydrogels for Nerve Regeneration 
Biomacromolecules  2010;11(11):2845-2853.
Electrically conductive hydrogel composites consisting of oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) and polypyrrole (PPy) were developed for applications in nerve regeneration. OPF-PPy scaffolds were synthesized using three different anions: naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid sodium salt (NSA), dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt (DBSA), and dioctyl sulfosuccinate sodium salt (DOSS). Scaffolds were characterized by ATR-FTIR, XPS, AFM, dynamic mechanical analysis, electrical resistivity measurements, and swelling experiments. OPF-PPy scaffolds were shown to consist of up to 25 mol% polypyrrole with a compressive modulus ranging from 265 to 323 kPa and a sheet resistance ranging from 6 to 30 × 103 Ohms/square. In vitro studies using PC12 cells showed OPF-PPy materials had no cytotoxicity and PC12 cells showed distinctly better cell attachment and an increase in the percent of neurite bearing cells on OPF-PPy materials compared to OPF. The neurite lengths of PC12 cells were significantly higher on OPF-PPyNSA and OPF-PPyDBSA. These results show that electrically conductive OPF-PPy hydrogels are promising candidates for future applications in nerve regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3947846  PMID: 20942380
hydrogel; electrical; conductive; nerve; tissue regeneration
7.  Periodic DFT study of acidic trace atmospheric gas molecule adsorption on Ca and Fe doped MgO (001) surface basic sites 
The journal of physical chemistry. A  2012;116(30):7950-7958.
The electronic properties of undoped and Ca or Fe doped MgO (001) surfaces, as well as their propensity towards atmospheric acidic gas (CO2, SO2 and NO2) uptake was investigated with an emphasis on gas adsorption on the basic MgO oxygen surface sites, Osurf, using periodic Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations. Adsorption energy calculations show that MgO doping will provide stronger interactions of the adsorbate with the Osurf sites than the undoped MgO for a given adsorbate molecule. Charge transfer from the iron atom in Fe doped MgO (001) to NO2 was shown to increase the binding interaction between adsorbate by an order of magnitude, when compared to that of undoped and Ca doped MgO (001) surfaces. Secondary binding interactions of adsorbate oxygen atoms were observed with surface magnesium sites at distances close to those of the Mg-O bond within the crystal. These interactions may serve as a preliminary step for adsorption and facilitate further adsorbate transformations into other binding configurations. Impacts on global atmospheric chemistry are discussed as these adsorption phenomena can affect atmospheric gas budgets via altered partitioning and retention on mineral aerosol surfaces.
PMCID: PMC3498610  PMID: 22775293
8.  Heterogeneous Atmospheric Chemistry of Lead Oxide Particles with Nitrogen Dioxide Increases Lead Solubility: Environmental and Health Implications 
Environmental science & technology  2012;46(23):12806-12813.
Heterogeneous chemistry of nitrogen dioxide with lead-containing particles is investigated to better understand lead metal mobilization in the environment. In particular, PbO particles, a model lead-containing compound due to its wide spread presence as a component of lead paint and as naturally occurring minerals, massicot and litharge, are exposed to nitrogen dioxide at different relative humidity. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that upon exposure to nitrogen dioxide the surface of PbO particles react to form adsorbed nitrates and lead nitrate thin films with the extent of formation of nitrate relative humidity dependent. Surface adsorbed nitrate increases the amount of dissolved lead. These reacted particles are found to have an increase in the amount of lead that dissolves in aqueous suspensions at circumneutral pH compared to unreacted particles. These results point to the potential importance and impact that heterogeneous chemistry with trace atmospheric gases can have on increasing solubility and therefore the mobilization of heavy metals, such as lead, in the environment. This study also show that surface intermediates, such as adsorbed nitrates, that form can yield higher concentrations of lead in water systems. In the environment, these water systems can include drinking water, ground water, estuaries and lakes.
PMCID: PMC3518381  PMID: 23057678
9.  Electronic properties and reactivity of simulated Fe3+ and Cr3+ substituted α-Al2O3 (0001) surface 
Metal oxide based minerals naturally contain transition metal impurities isomorphically substituted into the structure that can alter the structural and electronic properties as well as the reactivity of these metal oxides. Natural α-Al2O3 (corundum) can contain up to 9.17% (w/w) Fe2O3 and 1.81% (w/w) of Cr2O3. Here we report on changes in the structural and electronic properties of undoped and doped α-Al2O3 (0001) surfaces using periodic density functional theory (DFT) methods with spin unrestricted B3LYP functional and a local atomic basis set. Both structural and electronic properties are altered upon doping. Implications for doping effects on photochemical processes are discussed.
As metal oxides are major components of the environment, including atmospheric mineral aerosol, DFT was also used to study the effect of transition metal impurities on gas/surface interactions of a model acidic atmospheric gas molecule, carbon monoxide (CO). The theoretical results indicated that the presence of Fe3+ and Cr3+ impurities substituted on the outer layer of natural corundum surfaces reduces the propensity toward CO adsorption relative to the undoped surface. However, CO-surface interactions resemble that of bulk α-Al2O3 when the impurity is substituted below the first surface layer. The presence and location of the mineral dopant was found to significantly alter the structural and electronic properties and gas/surface interactions studied here.
PMCID: PMC3568980  PMID: 23411748
10.  Effects of Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic Ash on Innate Immune System Responses and Bacterial Growth in Vitro 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(6):691-698.
Background: On 20 March 2010, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted for the first time in 190 years. Despite many epidemiological reports showing effects of volcanic ash on the respiratory system, there are limited data evaluating cellular mechanisms involved in the response to ash. Epidemiological studies have observed an increase in respiratory infections in subjects and populations exposed to volcanic eruptions.
Methods: We physicochemically characterized volcanic ash, finding various sizes of particles, as well as the presence of several transition metals, including iron. We examined the effect of Eyjafjallajökull ash on primary rat alveolar epithelial cells and human airway epithelial cells (20–100 µg/cm2), primary rat and human alveolar macrophages (5–20 µg/cm2), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PAO1) growth (3 µg/104 bacteria).
Results: Volcanic ash had minimal effect on alveolar and airway epithelial cell integrity. In alveolar macrophages, volcanic ash disrupted pathogen-killing and inflammatory responses. In in vitro bacterial growth models, volcanic ash increased bacterial replication and decreased bacterial killing by antimicrobial peptides.
Conclusions: These results provide potential biological plausibility for epidemiological data that show an association between air pollution exposure and the development of respiratory infections. These data suggest that volcanic ash exposure, while not seriously compromising lung cell function, may be able to impair innate immunity responses in exposed individuals.
PMCID: PMC3672917  PMID: 23478268
bacteria; epithelium; innate immunity; iron; macrophage; volcanic ash
11.  Organic Nanocrystals of the Resorcinarene Hexamer via Sonochemistry: Evidence of Reversed Crystal Growth Involving Hollow Morphologies 
Nano- and micrometer scale crystals of a self-assembled hexamer have been synthesized via sonochemistry. The application of ultrasonic irradiation afforded hollow rhombic dodecahedron crystals of the C-methylcalix[4]resorcinarene hexamer. The formation of the hollow crystals is attributed to a reversed crystal growth mechanism heretofore only described in the synthesis of inorganic-based materials.
PMCID: PMC3375374  PMID: 22332828
12.  Aflaquinolones A–G: Secondary Metabolites from Marine and Fungicolous Isolates of Aspergillus Spp.† 
Journal of Natural Products  2012;75(3):464-472.
Seven new compounds (aflaquinolones A – G; 1 – 7) containing dihydroquinolin-2-one and terpenoid units have been isolated from two different fungal sources. Two of these metabolites (1 and 2) were obtained from a Hawaiian fungicolous isolate of Aspergillus sp. (section Flavipedes; MYC-2048 = NRRL 58570), while the others were obtained from a marine Aspergillus isolate (SF-5044) collected in Korea. The structures of these compounds were determined mainly by analysis of NMR and MS data. Relative and absolute configurations were assigned on the basis of NOESY data and 1H NMR J-values, comparison of calculated and experimental ECD spectra, and analysis of a Mosher’s ester derivative of 2. Several known compounds, including alantrypinone, aspochalasins I and J, methyl-3,4,5-trimethoxy-2((2-((3-pyridinylcarbonyl)amino) benzoyl)amino) benzoate, and trans-dehydrocurvularin were also encountered in the extract of the Hawaiian isolate.
PMCID: PMC3311757  PMID: 22295903
13.  Coal Fly Ash Impairs Airway Antimicrobial Peptides and Increases Bacterial Growth 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57673.
Air pollution is a risk factor for respiratory infections, and one of its main components is particulate matter (PM), which is comprised of a number of particles that contain iron, such as coal fly ash (CFA). Since free iron concentrations are extremely low in airway surface liquid (ASL), we hypothesize that CFA impairs antimicrobial peptides (AMP) function and can be a source of iron to bacteria. We tested this hypothesis in vivo by instilling mice with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA01) and CFA and determine the percentage of bacterial clearance. In addition, we tested bacterial clearance in cell culture by exposing primary human airway epithelial cells to PA01 and CFA and determining the AMP activity and bacterial growth in vitro. We report that CFA is a bioavailable source of iron for bacteria. We show that CFA interferes with bacterial clearance in vivo and in primary human airway epithelial cultures. Also, we demonstrate that CFA inhibits AMP activity in vitro, which we propose as a mechanism of our cell culture and in vivo results. Furthermore, PA01 uses CFA as an iron source with a direct correlation between CFA iron dissolution and bacterial growth. CFA concentrations used are very relevant to human daily exposures, thus posing a potential public health risk for susceptible subjects. Although CFA provides a source of bioavailable iron for bacteria, not all CFA particles have the same biological effects, and their propensity for iron dissolution is an important factor. CFA impairs lung innate immune mechanisms of bacterial clearance, specifically AMP activity. We expect that identifying the PM mechanisms of respiratory infections will translate into public health policies aimed at controlling, not only concentration of PM exposure, but physicochemical characteristics that will potentially cause respiratory infections in susceptible individuals and populations.
PMCID: PMC3585163  PMID: 23469047
14.  Preservation of York Minster historic limestone by hydrophobic surface coatings 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:880.
Magnesian limestone is a key construction component of many historic buildings that is under constant attack from environmental pollutants notably by oxides of sulfur via acid rain, particulate matter sulfate and gaseous SO2 emissions. Hydrophobic surface coatings offer a potential route to protect existing stonework in cultural heritage sites, however, many available coatings act by blocking the stone microstructure, preventing it from ‘breathing' and promoting mould growth and salt efflorescence. Here we report on a conformal surface modification method using self-assembled monolayers of naturally sourced free fatty acids combined with sub-monolayer fluorinated alkyl silanes to generate hydrophobic (HP) and super hydrophobic (SHP) coatings on calcite. We demonstrate the efficacy of these HP and SHP surface coatings for increasing limestone resistance to sulfation, and thus retarding gypsum formation under SO2/H2O and model acid rain environments. SHP treatment of 19th century stone from York Minster suppresses sulfuric acid permeation.
PMCID: PMC3509547  PMID: 23198088
15.  Computational Studies of CO2 Activation via Photochemical Reactions with Reduced Sulfur Compounds 
The journal of physical chemistry. A  2012;116(37):9331-9339.
Reactions between CO2 and reduced sulfur compounds (RSC) - H2S and CH3SH - were investigated using ground and excited state density functional theory (DFT) and coupled cluster (CC) methods to explore possible RSC oxidation mechanisms and CO2 activation mechanisms in the atmospheric environment. Ground electronic state calculations at the CR-CC(2,3)/6-311+G(2df,2p)//CAM-B3LYP/6-311+G(2df,2p) level show proton transfer as a limiting step in the reduction of CO2 with activation energies of 49.64 and 47.70 kcal/mol, respectively, for H2S and CH3SH. On the first excited state surface, CR-EOMCC(2,3)/6-311+G(2df,2p)//CAM-B3LYP/6-311+G(2df,2p) calculations reveal that energies of <250 nm are needed to form H2S-CO2 and CH3SH-CO2 complexes allowing facile hydrogen atom transfer. Once excited, all reaction intermediates and transition states are downhill energetically showing either C-H or C-S bond formation in the excited state whereas only C-S bond formation was found in the ground state. Environmental implications of these data are discussed with a focus on tropospheric reactions between CO2 and RSC, as well as potential for carbon sequestration using photocatalysis.
PMCID: PMC3461351  PMID: 22920727
16.  The Development of Electrically Conductive Polycaprolactone Fumarate-Polypyrrole Composite Materials for Nerve Regeneration 
Biomaterials  2010;31(23):5916-5926.
Electrically conductive polymer composites composed of polycaprolactone fumarate and polypyrrole (PCLF-PPy) have been developed for nerve regeneration applications. Here we report the synthesis and characterization of PCLF-PPy and in vitro studies showing PCLF-PPy materials support both PC12 cell and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurite extension. PCLF-PPy composite materials were synthesized by polymerizing pyrrole in pre-formed PCLF scaffolds (Mn 7,000 or 18,000 g mol−1) resulting in interpenetrating networks of PCLF-PPy. Chemical compositions and thermal properties were characterized by ATR-FTIR, XPS, DSC, and TGA. PCLF-PPy materials were synthesized with five different anions (naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid sodium salt (NSA), dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt (DBSA), dioctyl sulfosuccinate sodium salt (DOSS), potassium iodide (I), and lysine) to investigate effects on electrical conductivity and to optimize chemical composition for cellular compatibility. PCLF-PPy materials have variable electrical conductivity up to 6 mS cm−1 with bulk compositions ranging from 5 to 13.5 percent polypyrrole. AFM and SEM characterization show microstructures with a root mean squared (RMS) roughness of 1195 nm and nanostructures with RMS roughness of 8 nm. In vitro studies using PC12 cells and DRG show PCLF-PPy materials synthesized with NSA or DBSA support cell attachment, proliferation, neurite extension, and are promising materials for future studies involving electrical stimulation.
PMCID: PMC2893281  PMID: 20483452
Electrically Conductive; Polypyrrole; Nerve; PCLF
17.  Hymenopsins A and B and a Macrophorin Analogue from a Fungicolous Hymenopsis Sp.⊥ 
Journal of natural products  2010;73(3):404-408.
Hymenopsin A (1), hymenopsin B (2), and a new macrophorin analogue, 2′,3′-epoxy-13-hydroxy-4′-oxomacrophorin A (3), have been isolated from a fungicolous isolate of Hymenopsis sp. (MYC-1703; NRRL 37638). The structures and relative configurations of these compounds were assigned on the basis of 2D NMR and MS data, and the identity of 1 was confirmed by X-ray crystallographic analysis. The absolute configuration of 2 was proposed on the basis of CD analysis using both empirical and computational methods. Compounds 2 and 3 showed antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. Compound 3 was also active against Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides.
PMCID: PMC2846221  PMID: 19928955

Results 1-17 (17)