The following individuals have been nominated for the CHESS User Executive Committee:
Catherine Royer, Professor of Biological Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
My name is Catherine Royer. I am a Professor of Biological Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a physical biochemist interested broadly in the sequence determinants and molecular mechanisms of biomolecular function. About half of the projects in my group concern biomolecules involved in human health and disease. We are also interested in how biomolecules from extremophiles differ from their mesophile homologues in terms of their structure-dynamics-function relationships. In particular, >90% of the microbial biomass on the planet lives at high pressure, and little is known about pressure adaptation of biomolecular sequences and function. We use a variety of biophysical approaches to characterize protein and RNA structure and dynamics under a variety of physical conditions. Our work at CHESS has been aimed at characterizing the compactness of proteins and RNA in the pressure-temperature plane. These results are used in combination with fluorescence and NMR experiments to map structural and energetic landscapes of these biomolecules. CHESS offers the only high pressure SAXS experimental setup on a beamline dedicated to biomolecular studies in the United States. I have been very impressed by the innovation and enthusiasm for new, out-of-the-box science at CHESS. I feel such efforts should be supported and would enjoy working on the CHESS User Executive Committee (UEC) to help in whatever way I can to support the CHESS effort.
Lymari Fuentes-Claudio, Universidad Ana G. Mendez, Cupey Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dr. Lymari Fuentes-Claudio is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Universidad Ana G. Mendez, Cupey Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is also the leader of the Educational and Outreach Program of the National Science Foundation-Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (NSF-PREM)-Center for Interfacial Electrochemistry of Energy Materials (CiE2M), in partnership with CHESS. The incorporation of ecofriendly processes in energy materials synthesis is Dr. Fuentes-Claudio main research area of interest. Last December, she had the opportunity to be one of the first users of the new PIPOX beamline to study the effect of biotemplating in the TiO2 particles chemical structure, a solar energy material.
Being a Professor at a private MSI undergraduate institution in Puerto Rico and a new CHESS user, Lymari will bring a fresh perspective to the CHESS Users Executive Committee. Their approach and impact in education and outreach for the scientific community, and public in general, will be excelled through her participation.
Darren Pagan, Penn State (starting August 2020)
My research focuses on understanding the microscale origins of mechanical response and failure in structural materials. Use of synchrotron radiation to probe material state during in-situ loading is a critical portion of my research.
I am excited about the possibility to continue to work with the CHESS community in a new role as a member of the UEC. My previous experience at CHESS will help to make me an effective advocate for the needs of the user community.
Micronutrients such as iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are required for plant growth and development and are important components of the human diet. Cadmium (Cd), on the other hand, is a non-essential and a highly toxic element that competes with essential elements for the uptake and tissue partitioning, disturbs mineral nutrient homeostasis, and thus, threatens crop productivity and human health. My lab uses synchrotron x-ray fluorescence (SXRF) imaging to identify and characterize genes involved in mineral nutrient uptake into plant roots, distribution in the plant body and storage in edible plant tissues. We aim to apply this knowledge for improving crop grain yield, nutritional quality and safety on agricultural soils and soils considered as marginal.
My motivations to become a member of the CHESS User Executive Committee include promoting plant science research at CHESS, engage the user community in utilizing SXRF imaging tools, and continue communication with prospective funding agencies regarding developing an innovative beamline at CHESS dedicated to SXRF imaging. I am also eager to fulfill other duties that are expected of CHESS-UEC members.
Ashley Bucsek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. She has been an active CHESS user since 2013. Her group uses high-energy diffraction microscopy, microcomputed tomography, microdiffraction, and powder diffraction to elucidate the relationships between microstructure, micromechanics, and material behavior in structural and functional materials.
Ashley is motivated to serve on the UEC to communicate the needs of the CHESS user community to CHESS leadership and to broaden and diversify the CHESS user base.