Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- February 01, 2002

Cal State L.A.'s Chemistry Professor Receives Teacher-Scholar Award

Cal State L.A.'s associate professor of Chemistry Feimeng Zhou (Temple City resident) received a $60,000 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for his project, "DNA Sensing and Protein Metal-Electron Transfer at the Metal-Solution Interface."

In an award letter addressed to Professor Zhou, it states: "The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award places you among a select group of scientists. Not only have you displayed continuing dedication to education of undergraduates, but you have also demonstrated outstanding scientific accomplishments. The award is presented to you in acknowledgement of both these aspects of advancing the chemical sciences and in the expectation that you will continue to be a leader in the research and non-research components of chemistry education."

Zhou, who holds a Ph.D. from University of Texas at Austin, specializes in instrumental analysis and quantitative analysis. He has been a faculty member at Cal State L.A. since 1997.
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program was established by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation to strengthen the teaching and research careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. Criteria for selection included a commitment to education and an independent body of scholarship that signaled the promise of continuing outstanding contributions to both research and teaching. The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program, specifically, stresses teaching, mentorship, and the nominees' accomplishments in research and teaching, primarily with undergraduates.

Research Project Description

DNA microarray technology is having a significant impact on genomics, drug discovery, and toxicological research. In the project, various chemical schemes for fabricating DNA films onto metal surfaces and glass slides have been explored. Surfaces covered with various DNA molecules have been systematically characterized by a variety of analytical and surface analysis tools. The objective of this research is to understand the relationship between surface parameters (e.g., the surface density and orientation of the immobilized DNA molecules, sizes of the DNA molecules analyzed, and properties of the underlying solid substrates) with the ultimate DNA sensor or microarray performances.

The incorporation of metals such as zinc or copper confers steric possibilities, catalytic activity, or redox properties to the acceptor metalloproteins to control important biological processes as varied as gene expression, respiration, and acid/base balance. It has been hypothesized that the thiolate clusters that coordinate the metals in metallothioneins (MTs) may render the molecule redox characteristics and can modulate the metal transfer between MT and a biological substrate. The research group is testing this hypothesis and to quantify the amount of metal release using several advanced analytical instruments. Results from this research should help elucidate the role of MTs in heavy metal detoxification and regulation of essential metals in cellular environments.

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