This simulation was chosen for the cover of the September 2018 issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Catalysis Science & Technology, accompanying the paper "The effect of topology in Lewis pair functionalized metal organic frameworks on CO2 adsorption and hydrogenation" by Pitt CRC associate director J. Karl Johnson, PhD, with co-authors Jingyun Ye and Lin Li.
Dr. Johnson, associate director at Pitt CRC and William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, explains the research. "We are identifying the potential of two metal organic frameworks (MOFs) - compounds of metal ions grouped in clusters. These compounds have the potential to be used for both CO2 capture from exhaust gas, and for catalytic conversion of CO2 into valuable chemicals."
Left: Design of a nano-material capable of separating CO2 (in red and gray) from N2 molecules (blue) and also capable of causing a catalytic reaction of CO2 with hydrogen molecules to produce formic acid, a valuable precursor molecule for synthesis of fuels.
Students step into science by identifying and naming thousands of bacteriophages - viruses that attack bacteria - as part of the SEA-PHAGES program headed up by Pitt biologist Graham Hatfull. CRC powers the sequencing and analysis of a sliver of the billions-plus-strong, ever-changing population of bacteriophages. “Bacteria and phages are locked in a 3-billion year war,” Hatfull says simply. “Dynamic populations have been evolving for a long time, and they keep evolving.”
Left, Pitt students Aishwarya Mukundan and Daniel Zipfel hunt for phages in Pitt's SEA-PHAGE lab.
Congratulations to Pitt CRC's own J. Karl Johnson for a groundbreaking paper illustrating a long-sought explanation of the molecular-level creation of the indispensable polymer polyisobutylene (PIB). Johnson, William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering and associate director of Pitt CRC, was PI on the project funded by the Ohio-based Lubrizol Corporation.
Left: a simulated reaction mechanism of a proton transfer from a catalyst to isobutylene, the first step in the process of PIB becoming a polymer. (Minh Nguyen Vo/Johnson Research Group).
With CRC support, James Pipas and Paul Cantalupo analyze virus genomes found in mosquitoes - and in the blood meal mosquitoes draw from their prey. The mosquitoes are located, trapped, and identified using advanced drones and robotic traps in Texas, the Caribbean island of Grenada, and Tanzania. It is all part of Project Premonition, a global effort led by Microsoft Research to identify existing and emerging viruses.
CRC high-performance computing resources enhance the productivity of Pitt researchers - and help improve teaching. Pitt CRC research faculty consultants serve as a resource for faculty members to explore new methods to enrich student learning while preparing them for careers.
"Teaching and learning enhance CRC’s computing research mission. We play a role in helping grow the research community from the ground up."
- Barry Moore II, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Research Computing
University faculty members obtain free access to Pitt CRC resources via a streamlined submission and proposal process. Each faculty member is automatically eligible for 10,000 compute hours (or service units) on Pitt CRC computer clusters. What does 10,000 service units mean? That is roughly the equivalent of running a laptop 24/7 for a year. And the laptop never crashing.
Lillian Chong, Associate Professor in Chemistry, combines her passions for science and writing. She works at the forefront of expanding the possibilities of molecular dynamics simulations while also founding Pitt’s Creative Science Writing Program. Her workshops on science and creativity bring together students from Chemistry and English – a crowd that customarily doesn’t intermingle.
“Science is creative,” Chong tells the students. “Science and writing can reinforce each other.”