Colloquia Week

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 "Join the Colloquia" link to add the event to your calendar.

Research Shorts

Department of Biological, Human and Life Sciences

Tuesdays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Biology and Life Science Colloquium will resume next week.

We'll be back next week!

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Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

Fridays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Friday, May 7, 2021


Catalytic Testing of Novel Nanomaterial Inks for Fuel Cell Oxidation Reduction Reaction (ORR) Efficiency.

Hydrogen fuel cells are currently a prominent topic of research as an alternative zero emission energy source. An integral component of hydrogen fuel cells is the oxidation reduction reaction (ORR) facilitated by platinum alloy catalysts. An issue that currently prevents hydrogen fuel cells from commercial feasibility in the market is the high cost, slow kinetic activity, and unsustainable methods of mining platinum. As the hunt for alternative catalysts develops, my group has been researching the catalytic feasibility of nanocomposites of graphene quantum dots and nickel alloy in improving efficiency of fuel cells. Currently, we are in the process of testing our nanomaterials with Nafion, a perfluorosulfonic acid ionomer to create inks in which the nanomaterials are dispersed. Due to limitations on testing ORR capabilities of our inks with our current cyclic voltammetry apparatus using a three electrode electrochemical setup, our group is exploring alternative methods of testing in addition to alternative sustainable applications of our novel nanomaterials.

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Researcher: Aneri S., Mission San Jose High School

Advisor: Patel, Inorganic Chemistry & Materials Science

Keywords: Oxidation Reduction Reaction| Fuel Cells| Nanocomposites| High Surface Area Catalysts| Catalyst Inks| Green Energy| Electrochemistry| Materials Science

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

Fridays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Friday, May 7, 2021


Photochemical approaches to anti-cancer therapeutics: the study of photo-cleavable prodrug strategies for targeted cancer drug delivery and analysis of the photosensitizing ability of berberine for photodynamic applications.

A major challenge in pharmacology is fine tuning the specificity of drugs. This is especially evident with the treatment of cancer, as nonspecific drug release from chemotherapy often results in damaging side effects like hair loss, weight loss, even organ damage. To enhance specificity, photo-releasable prodrugs have been developed as a means to control local release of an active pharmaceutical drug. Understanding the kinetics of the o-nitrobenzyl linker in particular, a prodrug linker studied for its prevalence in biological processes, allows for the fine-tuning of this photo release mechanism. This is done through correlation of the reaction kinetics with substituent electronic profiles. In addition to this physical organic approach, natural product chemistry can also be used to optimize the anti-cancer function of a certain pharmaceutical drug. Berberine, a natural product alkaloid, exhibits photosensitizing properties when irradiated, leading to the production of singlet oxygen, a highly reactive oxygen species that intercalates with the guanine residue of DNA resulting in cell death. This can be directed towards applications in photodynamic therapy through its anti-microbial and anti-cancer activity.

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Researcher: Anika R., BASIS Independent Silicon Valley

Advisor: Njoo, Organic & Medicinal Chemistry

Keywords: Photochemistry | Physical Organic Chemistry | Prodrug | Natural Product | Photosensitizer | Berberine

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Wednesdays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


Correlation between COVID-19 and the energy stock sector?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the economy and stock market have both been negatively affected as a whole; both the numbers and numerous studies have confirmed that to be a fact. However, there are certain stocks which are less of a focus than others. This study aims to look at the impact of COVID-19 related news articles on the energy sector, a sector which is seldom covered by the mainstream news media in regards to the pandemic. We will be using an outsourced keyword extraction algorithm to find the most frequently appearing group of keywords in a certain article, which we then will map with the price of energy stocks on that given time after the article was published. Our ultimate goal is to find some correlation between those keywords and the stock prices immediately after and draw conclusions about COVID-19 news impact on the energy sector in general.

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Researcher: Krishiv A., Irvington High School

Advisor: McMahan, Quantum Physics

Keywords: Covid-19 | Stock market | Renewable energy | Non-renewable energy |