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Colloquia Tuesdays

Every week, senior researchers in each department at ASDRP give public seminars presenting the current state of the field and disseminating how their research at ASDRP fits into the broader context of the frontiers of modern science and engineering. Colloquia are public events, and anyone can join. Click on the Colloquia link in the Event Calendar in your Student Portal to join the event.

Fall 2022 Colloquia Dates:

  • Sept 20 Guest Colloquia Edward Njoo, Sept 27

  • Oct  4, 11, 18, 25

  • Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

  • Dec 6, 13, 20

  • Jan 10, 17, 24, 31



Watch it again! Watch prior Colloquia on the ASDRP YouTube Channel.

Weekly - Every Tuesday
7:00 - 8:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Join the Colloquia
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

​Department of Engineering and Computer Science

Identifying and isolating collimated jets from heavy-ion collision open data through quantum optimization.

When a quark or a gluon ejects out of a heavy-ion particle collision, it pulls hadrons and other particles out of the vacuum and becomes a "cone" comprised of high-energy particles called jets. Jets are crucial event-shaped observable objects that are used in high-energy particle and heavy-ion physics. To determine the properties of the collision, namely of the original quark, jets and their products have to go under a technique called jet reconstruction (Salam, Gavin P., "Towards jetography"). Though physicists have found several ways to reconstruct the properties of quarks in a heavy-ion collision using the end products of jet creation and separate jets from other collision data utilizing another concrete event-shaped observable called thrust (V. D. Barger, R. J. N. Philips, "Collider Physics"), our topic aims to not only classify jets and non-jets through analyzing CERN's heavy-ion collision data from CMS but also utilize quantum annealing (a faster and comprehensive method to optimize machine learning algorithms which have been newly introduced to the realm of denoising data (J. Avron, "Quantum advantage and noise reduction in distributed quantum computing")) to isolate jet "clouds" from CERN's CMS data. We have developed a comprehensive method to develop this novel method to identify and isolate jets, which will allow us to not only determine the applications of modified deep learning in jet reconstruction but also the applications of quantum computing in general particle physics. To elaboriate further, we developed a hybrid quantum-classical approach to classify jets from data collected from high-energy heavy ion collisions, which has proved to be quite effective so far.

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Researcher: Akarsh O., BASIS Independent Silicon Valley '23


Advisor: McMahan, Computer Science and Quantum Computing

Keywords: Particle Physics | Quantum Physics | Artificial Intelligence | Quantum Computing | Jets | Denoising

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

Mechanistic insights into the design and synthesis of natural product analogs and modular mimics for anticancer and neurodegenerative therapeutics.

The study of natural products offers an excellent strategy toward identifying novel biological probes for a number of diseases. Historically, natural products have played an important role in the development of pharmaceutical drugs for a number of diseases including cancer and infection. Here, we overview the importance of natural product synthesis and the synthesis of analogs of multiple compounds. The research in our group focused on the synthetic optimization of rivastigmine and its analogs, utilizing computer modeling and biological assays to determine the most favorable analog for inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Additionally, our group has done significant synthetic efforts in analogs of andrographolide, an Nf-kB inhibitor and active anticancer therapeutic..

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Researcher: Harrison X., Dougherty Valley High School '23


Advisor: Njoo, Organic Chemistry

Keywords: Organic Synthesis | Natural Product Chemistry | Medicinal Chemistry | Chemical Biology

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

GUEST Speaker: Edward Njoo, Chair of the ASDRP

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

From the oceans and trees, to the laboratory, and back again: a history and philosophy of chemical synthesis and the close interrelationships between organic chemistry and biomedical innovation.

Since Friedrich Wohler's original chemical synthesis of urea in 1828, chemists have been involved in replicating the production of chemical structures from nature, synthetically in a laboratory. From this initial discovery came the advent of natural product synthesis, and combined with advances in catalyst development and synthetic methodology, our ability to construct complex natural products found in nature has greatly improved in its sophistication, efficiency, and scalability. Today, chemical science has progressed from one of merely making molecules that nature has made, to designing our own chemical structures with new and novel functions - some inspired by or derived from the natural realm, and others contrived out of de novo design, and certainly these advances have revolutionized downstream targets in medicines that treat or cure human disease or materials with newfound properties and unique utility. Along these lines, we discuss the impact of methodology in expanding the modern chemist's toolbox for constructing chemical bonds. Additionally, the modern chemist is faced with a number of considerations for developing an economical synthetic route, not only from a monetary cost perspective but also from the perspectives of atom economy and step economy. On a broader level, though, the chemist is faced with decisions of which chemical structures are the most important to make among the billions of possibilities in chemical space. To this end, we discuss a philosophy of designing both synthetic targets and synthetic routes, and the different orientations that one might adopt in creating chemical structures and synthetic routes motivated by function, by diversity, by bio-inspired design, or some combination of the aforementioned. We finish with a prospectus on the future of synthetic organic chemistry and its enabling impact on medicine, materials, and more, and how research in our laboratory at ASDRP has found its way into real-world impact in medicinal and process chemistry. 


Disclaimer: This presentation contains unpublished intellectual property (IP) from the Chemistry department at ASDRP and its collaborators. 




Advisor: Njoo, Organic Chemistry