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Chemists Dispel Long-Held Notion (September 2014)
View article By Laura Paisley

New fluorine chemistry research may help in the development of medicines and materials. The USC Loker Institute hosts the George A. Olah lecture and banquet Sept. 26 with speaker Nobel Laureate Arieh Warshel. G.K. Surya Prakash of chemistry has worked in fluorine chemistry for 25 years. Recently, his research proved the existence of a long-lived form of the trifluoromethanide anion, which many chemists considered impossible.

Prof. Prakash Named ACS Fellow (July 2014)
View article By Michelle Boston

G.K. Surya Prakash, a pioneer in the fields of hydrocarbon, mechanistic and synthetic organic chemistry, is elected a 2014 fellow of the American Chemical Society.

Plugging into a New Battery (July 2014)
View article By Robert Perkins

Intended for use in power plants, the battery is cheap, rechargeable, organic and can make the energy grid more efficient. Sri Narayan focuses on the fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemical energy conversion.

Prof. Travis Williams was named an Emerging Investigator by the editors of ChemComm. (January 2014)
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His recently published communication will be included in a special thematic issue in 2014 that highlights the work of young "emerging" investigators.

The paper is titled "A dual site catalyst for mild, selective nitrile reduction"
View full paper

Nealson, Petasis Named AAAS Fellows (December 2013)
View article By Robert Perkins and Pamela J. Johnson

Kenneth Nealson of earth sciences and Nicos Petasis of chemistry are chosen as fellows of the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

Two USC Dornsife scientists have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), selected for the honor by their academic peers.

Nicos A. Petasis, Harold and Lillian Moulton Chair in Chemistry and professor of chemistry and pharmacology, was selected for his pioneering contributions to organic chemistry and biomedical sciences, with the discovery of novel synthetically useful reactions and new paradigms involving chemistry, biology and medicine.
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Olah and Prakash Receive $1 Million for Fuel Research (October 2013)
View article By Robert Perkins

Israel awards the 2013 Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize to USC Dornsife’s George A. Olah, a Nobel laureate, and G.K. Surya Prakash for their research on methanol markets.

George Olah and G.K. Surya Prakash, pillars of the chemistry department at USC Dornsife, have received a first-ever $1 million prize from the State of Israel for their innovative research on alternative fuels. Olah, a Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Prakash, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, will receive the Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation.
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Honors from Their Other Homes (October 2013)
View article By Susan Bell

USC Dornsife’s George A. Olah, a Nobel laureate, and G. K. Surya Prakash have each been honored by their native countries for their lifelong career achievements in chemistry.

George A. Olah, a Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and G. K. Surya Prakash, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, are having a busy week. Shortly before the announcement that they had received a first-ever $1 million prize from the State of Israel for their innovative research on alternative fuels, the two pillars of the USC Dornsife chemistry department learned that each was to be honored by the nation of their birth for their lifelong achievements in chemistry. Olah was born in Budapest, Hungary, 86 years ago. Last week, he was recognized by the Semmelweis University, Hungary’s oldest medical school, which honored him with its prestigious 2013 Semmelweis Budapest Award.
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Beyond Headache Relief (February 2013)
View article By Robert Perkins

USC Dornsife scientists unlock the why and how of an age-old treatment — exploring how aspirin triggers the production of resolvins, shutting off heart-disease-causing inflammation.

A team from USC Dornsife and Harvard University has uncovered a key biological mechanism that makes aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids effective at reducing inflammation. Doctors have long prescribed aspirin together with a diet rich in omega-3s as a way to reduce inflammation caused by the body’s own immune system, which can exacerbate heart disease, lung and kidney disease, as well as arthritis and cancer, among other ailments.
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One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure (October 2012)
View article By Robert Perkins

USC Dornsife chemist G.K. Surya Prakash and his team discover a way to turn a harmful byproduct of Teflon — used on everything from cooking pans to armor-piercing bullets — into material for pharmaceuticals.

A team of USC Dornsife chemists has developed a way to transform a hitherto useless ozone-destroying greenhouse gas that is the byproduct of Teflon manufacture into reagents for producing pharmaceuticals. The discovery was published in a paper titled, “Taming of Fluoroform (CF3H): Direct Nucleophilic Trifluoromethylation of Si, B, S and C Centers,” in the Dec. 7 issue of Science. The method is also being patented.
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Hope Against Ovarian Cancer (October 2012)
View article By Robert Perkins

A recently published study co-authored by USC Dornsife’s Nicos Petasis reveals a new drug that may be an effective alternative for cancer patients resistant to currently available drugs.

Scientists at USC have discovered a new type of drug for the treatment of ovarian cancer that works in a way that should not only decrease the number of doses that patients need to take, but also may make it effective for patients whose cancer has become drug-resistant.

The drug, which so far has been tested in the lab on ovarian cancer cells and on mice tumors, was unveiled last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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Breaking the Barriers for Low-Cost Energy Storage (August 2012)
View article By Robert Perkins

USC Dornsife-led team develops a battery that could help California transition to renewable energy sources.

A team of researchers has developed a cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly battery that could be used to store energy at solar power plants on rainy days. Led by Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry in USC Dornsife, the team developed an air-breathing battery that uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates that are exposed to the oxygen in the air — a process similar to rusting.
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Chemistry Professors Elected to Prestigious Science Societies (June 2012)
View article By Robert Perkins

G. K. Surya Prakash and Sri Narayan were recently lauded for their scientific research.

Two stars of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute have been recognized for their ongoing achievements with elections to academic societies. G. K. Surya Prakash, director at the institute, was elected as a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC); Sri Narayan, research professor of chemistry, was elected as a fellow of The Electrochemical Society.
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USC Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel Cells (August 2011)
View article By Robert Perkins

A team of USC scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source.

Hydrogen makes a great fuel because it can be converted easily to electricity in a fuel cell and because it is carbon free. The downside of hydrogen is that, because it is a gas, it can only be stored in high pressure or cryogenic tanks.

In a vehicle with a tank full of hydrogen, “if you got into a wreck, you’d have a problem,” said Travis Williams, assistant professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
View full article with link to ACS paper

Breakthrough Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Technology Portfolio Licensed from USC/Caltech by SFC Energy, Inc. (May 2011)
View info on the DOE web site

DMFC technology is clean, efficient, and grid-free source of energy for the planet.

The University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, and SFC Energy, Inc. today announced the execution of a license to an extensive portfolio of U.S. patents for direct methanol fuel cell technology (DMFC). The nonexclusive license to the universities’ patents will facilitate SFC Energy, Inc.’s expansion of its methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market. View full article

Dr. Sri Narayan awarded ARPA-E grant (October 2010)
View info on the DOE web site

Dr. Sri Narayan was awarded a $1.75 million grant from the Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a robust and low-cost, green, iron-air battery for enabling alternative energy systems.

This is major milestone for USC, the College, and the Department in Alternative Energy Research. Dr. Sri Narayan is the PI for the project. Co-PI s are Prof. Surya Prakash and Dr. Andrew Kindler of JPL. View full article

Olah, Scholtz Named to National Academy (article by Diane Ainsworth February 2009)
View full article on the USC college web site

USC Viterbi is one of only six schools in the nation with two or more elected members in the National Academy of Engineering each of the last two years.

Nobel Prize winner George A. Olah, who holds a joint appointment at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and USC College, and Robert A. Scholtz, the Fred H. Cole Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, were among 65 newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering announced in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6.

This is the second year in a row that two engineers from USC have been elected to the academy, making USC one of only six schools in the nation with two or more elected faculty members per year. (In 2008, the engineers were USC Executive Vice President and Provost C. L. Max Nikias and USC Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.) Membership in the academy is the highest professional distinction that can be accorded an engineer.

The election of Olah and Scholtz brings the total number of USC Viterbi School academy members to 33.

“We are very proud that the academy is recognizing two of our faculty for their superb contributions,” Yortsos said. “NAE membership is an indicator of excellence and a testament to the impact of an individual’s scholarly work in the field.”... View full article

Petasis Named Cope Scholar for 2009 (article by Carl Marziali September 2008)
View full article on the USC college web site

USC chemist Nicos Petasis, an authority on organic synthesis and drug discovery, including the anti-inflammatory compounds known as lipoxins and beneficial substances such as omega-3 fatty acids, has received the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society.

The award honors excellence in organic chemistry and is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field.

Petasis, the Harold E. & Lillian M. Moulton Professor of Chemistry in the USC College’s Loker Hydrocarbon Institute, is the first USC recipient.

The award, given annually to nominees from the United States and other countries, carries a $5,000 cash prize, a certificate and an unrestricted $40,000 research grant.

The names of the winners for 2009 were announced by the American Chemical Society. Each of the 10 Cope scholars is invited to address the Arthur C. Cope Symposium, to be held next August at the society’s national meeting in Washington, D.C.... View full article

Saving the Planet With Carbon Dioxide (article by Terah U. DeJong July 2008)
View full article on the USC college web site

Don’t waste your breath – it may be the fuel of the future.

At least that’s the scenario examined by a group of scientists at a workshop co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the USC College’s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute.

“We all have to agree: We’re burning a lot of fossil fuels and making a lot of CO2,” said Luis Echegoyen, director of the NSF’s chemistry division. “We’re going to have to do something about it – and that’s why we’re here.”

For two days, more than 50 researchers from academia, industry and national laboratories put their heads together to explore how carbon recycling – using CO2 as a building block for fuel, plastics and more – could help reverse global warming.

As CO2 in the atmosphere grows to worrying levels, some scientists and entrepreneurs have been exploring how to capture carbon dioxide and pump it into the deep sea or elsewhere.... View full article

New Anti-inflammatory Agents Developed (article by Carl Marziali February 2008)
View full article on the USC college web site

Scientists at USC and Harvard Medical School have developed new anti-inflammatory agents designed to avoid the side effects that caused the withdrawal of Vioxx and related drugs from the market. The researchers, led by USC College chemist Nicos Petasis and biologist Charles Serhan of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, propose an alternative approach for treating inflammation.

Rather than blocking the action of pro-inflammatory agents such as the COX-2 enzyme – the target of drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors, which also block other processes important to human health – Petasis and Serhan suggested using synthetic compounds that mimic the action of anti-inflammatory molecules produced by the body. “If you want to shut down inflammation, you don’t necessarily have to go after the bad molecules,” Petasis said.

Instead, the researchers are making more of the good molecules. There are no guarantees of success. But one of Petasis’ first compounds led to a drug being tested in a clinical trial for inflammatory bowel disease. Another has shown promise for treatment of periodontal disease.

Both are synthetic versions of natural substances known as lipoxins. When inflammation flares up, the body tries to control it by releasing lipoxins and other anti-inflammatory chemicals. Lipoxins were discovered more than 20 years ago, but they are too unstable to be used as drugs. Petasis and Serhan have been developing longer-lived relatives, or analogs, of the substances.

Their newest compounds are described in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.... View full article

USC to Team on Clean Energy Technology (article by Elisa Wiefel December 2007)
View full article on the USC college web site

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that it will partner with the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute to develop and commercialize new technology to transform carbon dioxide into clean-burning alternative fuels.

USC developed fundamental chemistry to transform carbon dioxide to methanol or dimethyl ether, two potentially cleaner-burning alternatives to traditional transportation fuels, thereby reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas known to contribute to global warming.

Nobel Laureate and USC professor George A. Olah, director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, his colleague, professor G.K. Surya Prakash, and their team of researchers have developed fundamental chemistry that could aid in the improved production of methanol and/or dimethyl ether from a variety of sources such as natural gas and coal.

Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of combustion of any carbon-containing material. Based on the chemistry developed at USC and the collaborative efforts with UOP and USC to develop industrial processes now underway, CO2 could become a major feedstock for alternative fuels.

The agreement grants UOP exclusive access rights for commercialization of technology and intellectual property developed by USC researchers for production of methanol, dimethyl ether and other chemicals from undesirable carbon dioxide. UOP and USC will jointly work on development for a commercially viable process.... View full article

UOP and USC Announce Partnership Agreement (Press Release December 2007)
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Today, University of Southern California announced a landmark licensing agreement enabling UOP, a Honeywell company, and USC to collaboratively develop an improved methanol and dimethyl ether production process and a large-scale industrial recycling of carbon dioxide generating methanol and tradable carbon credits at the same time.

This agreement could have a significant impact on global warming, by making available future clean energy technologies to the UOP roster of clients, including major petroleum refining companies. Moreover, this agreement could pave the way towards the practical implementation of the “Methanol Economy™, a concept that involves the production and use of methanol on a massive scale.

Nobel Laureate, Professor George A. Olah, Director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at USC, his colleague, Professor G.K. Surya Prakash, and their team of researchers have developed fundamental chemistry that could aid in the improved production of methanol and/or dimethyl ether from a variety of sources such as natural gas, coal, including carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of combustion of any carbon containing material, is a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. However, based on the chemistry developed at USC and the collaborative efforts of UOP and USC to develop industrial processes now underway, CO2 could become a major feedstock for alternative fuels.

All along, our goal has been to foster a long-term, collaborative relationship with an industrial partner who understood our motivations, and could realize our vision of making maximum societal impact with the science developed at USC. Partnering with UOP was a strategic decision, given UOP’s proven track record, roster of clients, and strong management team. We are working with UOP now, and in the future, to improve the technology and bring methanol to the mainstream, with the additional goal of making significant reductions in manmade global carbon dioxide emissions.

Ed Beres was the licensing team member who facilitated the deal.

View full Press Release

 

 

(c) 2014 Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences