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The Central Science. Chemistry is the link that connects problems in the fundamental nature of matter to the most complex problems in the processes of life. Members of our department bring chemistry to life as cutting-edge researchers and as teachers for students across the university.

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Welcome to Junqi Li and Alex Graham to the ISU chemistry faculty.

Junqi Li and Alex Graham will be joing the ISU chemistry faculty as assistant professors begining August 16, 2019. For more information about their background and research please see below.

Junqi Li

Short bio:

Junqi received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in chemistry from National University of Singapore. She completed her graduate studies with Professor Martin Burke at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2015, where she focused on developing a more systematized approach for automating small molecule synthesis via iterative coupling of MIDA boronate building blocks. She subsequently pursued her postdoctoral work under the joint supervision of Professors Dean Toste and Scott Miller at University of California, Berkeley and Yale University, working on enantio- and site-selective reactions with phosphoric acid catalysts. She will be joining the chemistry faculty at Iowa State University in August 2019.

Research areas: Molecular editing with transition-metal catalysis and organocatalysis

Research interest:

The constant search for new chemical entities for the treatment of diseases necessitates the development of chemical synthesis methods that can rapidly access derivatives of complex small molecule structures.

Research in the group is centered on developing new molecular editing strategies with transition-metal complexes and organocatalysts. More specifically, the group is interested in 1) functional group editing by enabling methylene-heteroatom exchanges to modify hydrocarbon frameworks; and 2) scaffold editing by designing new organocataysts for product-selective transformations from a common intermediate to access topologically complex natural product-like scaffolds.

List of selected publications:

Li, J.; Grillo, A. S.; Burke, M. D. From synthesis to function via iterative assembly of MIDA boronate building blocks. Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 2297-2307.

Li, J.*; Ballmer, S. G.*; Gillis, E. P.; Fujii, S.; Schmidt, M. J.; Palazzolo, A. M. E.; Lehmann, J. W.; Morehouse, G. F. and Burke, M. D. Synthesis of many different types of organic small molecules using one automated process. Science 2015, 347, 1221-1226. *equal contribution

Li, J. and Burke, M. D. Pinene-derived iminidodiacetic acid (PIDA): A powerful ligand for stereoselective synthesis and iterative cross-coupling of Csp3 boronate building blocks. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 13774-13777.

Alex Gundlach-Graham

Short bio:

Alexander Gundlach-Graham received his B.A. in chemistry from Earlham College in 2008.  He obtained his Ph.D. in 2013 from Indiana University under the supervision of Prof. Gary Hieftje.  Alex’s Ph.D. research focused on the development of distance-of-flight mass spectrometry.  In 2014, Alex joined the group of Prof. Detlef Günther at ETH Zurich as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Scholar.  At ETH, his research centered on the combination of laser ablation with inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ICP-TOFMS) for high-resolution elemental imaging and on the detection of engineered nanoparticles by single-particle ICP-TOFMS.  Alex joins the faculty of Iowa State as an Assistant Professor in August 2019. 

Research Areas:

Analytical Chemistry, Atomic Mass Spectrometry, Nanomaterial Analysis, Mass Spectrometer Design

Research Interests:

Research in the Gundlach-Graham group focuses on the development and application of atomic mass spectrometry (MS) to address current measurement challenges in environmental and bioanalytical sciences.

We investigate the use of single-particle inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (sp-ICP-TOFMS) for analysis of inorganic nanomaterials in complex matrices such as biological fluids and environmental samples.  We place specific emphasis on the development of novel sample introduction approaches, calibration strategies, and NP classification strategies with sp-ICP-TOFMS.  Accurate quantification of nanoparticles in terms of composition and particle-number concentration is critical for assessing routes of nanomaterial exposure and supporting nanotoxicological studies. 

In a second research project, we investigate a new high-power nitrogen-sustained microwave inductively coupled atmospheric-pressure plasma (MICAP) source for atomic mass spectrometry.  This research is motivated by persistent limitations of the conventional argon-sustained ICP, such high cost of operation, incompatibility with ambient (air-based) aerosol sample introduction, and argon-based polyatomic interferences that complicate mass-spectral analysis.  Here, we explore the combination of the MICAP source with mass spectrometry to develop a next-generation argon-free ICP-MS.

Selected Publications

Graham, A. W. G.; Ray, S. J.; Enke, C. G.; Barinaga, C. J.; Koppenaal, D. W.; Hieftje, G. M., First Distance-of-Flight Instrument: Opening a New Paradigm in Mass Spectrometry. J. Am. Soc. Mass. Spectrom. 2011, 22 (1), 110-117. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13361-010-0005-8)

Gundlach-Graham, A.*; Burger, M.; Wang, H.A.O; Allner, S.; Schwarz, G.; Gyr, L.; Grolimund, D.; Hattendorf, B.; Günther, D.  High-Speed, High-Resolution, Multi-Elemental LA-ICP-TOFMS Imaging: Part I.  Instrumentation and Two-Dimensional Imaging of Geological Samples.  Analytical Chemistry. 2015. 87 (16), 8250-8267. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01196)

Praetorius, A.; Gundlach-Graham, A.; Goldberg, E. S.; Fabienke, W.; Navratilova, J.; Gondikas, A.; Kagi, R.; Gunther, D.; Hofmann, T.; von der Kammer, F., Single-Particle Multi-Element Fingerprinting (SPMEF) Using Inductively Coupled Plasma Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (ICP-TOFMS) to Identify Engineered Nanoparticles against the Elevated Natural Background in Soils. Environmental Science: Nano2017, 4(2), 307-314. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6EN00455E)

Schild, M.; Gundlach-Graham, A.; Menon, A.; Jevtic, J.; Pikelja, V.; Tanner, M.; Hattendorf, B.; Günther, D., Replacing the Argon ICP: Nitrogen Microwave Inductively Coupled Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma (MICAP) for Mass Spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry. 2018, 90 (22), 13443-13450. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.8b03251)

Hendriks, L.; Ramkorun-Schmidt, B.; Gundlach-Graham,* A.; Koch, J.; Grass, R. N.; Jakubowski, N.; Günther, D., Single-particle ICP-MS with online microdroplet calibration: toward matrix independent nanoparticle sizing. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 2019. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C8JA00397A)