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Lab Updates!

Here is our January 2018 Newsletter!


Winter break at SSRL!


Dr. Jake Pushie shows Morgan and Kate how to close up shop after an all-nighter at beamline 7-3.

Our group made a second trip in 2017 to Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) to collect X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) data and characterize the structures of a few human proteins’ metal binding sites. Four undergraduate students (Morgan, Erica, and Kate), one graduate visiting scholar (Ewelina), Dr. Haas and baby Ariana made the trip to meet our collaborator, Jake, at Beamline 7-3. (Thanks to Dr. Haas’s husband for a week of Beamtime Babysitting!)

It was a fun and productive trip! As always, we took advantage of the location to explore local attractions and sample some of Palo Alto’s wonder restaurants.


Morgan closing the hutch safety door during a sample change.


Visting SSRL in December 2017. From left to right: Dr. Kathryn Haas and Ariana Parise (baby), Kate McMahon (SMC ’18), Erica Slogar (SMC ’19), Dr. Jake Pushie, Ewelina Stefaniak, Morgan Matthews (SMC ’18).

Discovery of Cu(I) binding to HSA!

HSA_CuZnCys_1Congratulations to Madison on her first paper, and to the rest of our terrific research team!! Madison Sendzik lead our group’s efforts in the discovery and characterization of human serum albumin’s Cu(I) binding site! Her important discovery is published in the American Chemical Society Journal, Inorganic Chemistry (10.1021/acs.inorgchem. 7b02397). Madison also wrote a free educational article on HSA and its metal-binding properties on LibreText (click here!), and she made a 3D print of HSA available on Shapeways (click here!).

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Madison first announced the newly-discovered Cu(I)-albumin binding site at the undergraduate poster session the National American Chemical Society Meeting in August 2017.

Welcome, Ariana!

A big welcome to our newest honorary lab member, Ariana Louise (“Ari-Lou”)! I’ll put baby updates on this post for those who want to see baby pictures.

Haas Group Presents Research at the National American Chemical Society Meeting


Thanks to a Neuhoff Summer Research Communities Award from Saint Mary’s College, and a 2016 Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation for Science Advancement, our group has had an amazing summer of undergraduate research! We were even lucky enough to catch a photo with the American Chemical society Mole!

Welcome, Ewelina!

In addition to her terrific research, Ewelina is interested in the local culture of South Bend, IN. Fortunately, there is much to offer in this little town. Here is Ewelina at her first American Football Game!

We are fortunate to welcome Ewelina Stefaniak to the Haas Lab from August 2017 through January 2018! Ewelina is a visiting scholar from the Institute for Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences (IBB-PAS), where she is a graduate student in the Bal Lab, and is working to earn her PhD. Her visit to Saint Mary’s College is supported through a Grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation and additional funding from a Research Corporation for Science Advancement Cottrell Scholar Award.

While Ewelina is visiting, she will be working on a collaborative project between the Bal and Haas labs toward understanding how Cu interacts with proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease. We look forward to learning more about this important disease through Ewelina’s research! Welcome, Ewelina! we wish you a fun and productive visit to Saint Mary’s College!

Bio-XAS at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL)

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Several members of the Haas group, and our collaborator Dr. Dominic Babinni, traveled to Stanford, CA to spend five days at the Synchrotron. Our long-time collaborator, Dr. Jake Pushie, met us there where he organized and delivered a comprehensive workshop on X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The whole group took shifts on the beam line so that we could collect data 24 hours a day on the Cu binding sites of some important human proteins. We are grateful to Dr. Pushie for his excellent training and the opportunity to learn from him! It has been a fun and productive trip and we look forward to the next one!


Amber Boot Camp! Corcelli Group trains SMC researchers to use Molecular Dynamics (MD) Simulation

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The Haas and Corcelli groups are collaborating to tackle exciting problems in bioinorganic chemistry! This week, Dr. Steve Corcelli and his group held an intimate workshop to train Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s researchers to use Amber16 to conduct Molecular Dynamics Simulations.  Thank you, to Dr. Corcelli and graduate students Cory Ayres and Shelby Brantley for your fun and informative workshop!

Bioinorganic Chemistry in 3D!

Thanks to generous funding from Research Corporation for Science Advancement, students got the fun opportunity to dive into biochemistry through project-based learning with 3D printing and molecular animation as the key features!

Students in CHEM 342 (Bioinorganic Chemistry and Material) learned fundamental concepts of inorganic and biological chemistry through a comprehensive project. Each student chose a bioinorganic system to study throughout the semester. Their task: apply fundamental inorganic and biological chemistry concepts to understand how their particular system works… then, teach their classmates and THE WORLD about their topic. Students wrote papers, created 3D print files, and printed their molecules. To top it off, each student created a molecular animation and educational video to teach the chemistry of their molecule. All of these materials will be soon be available YouTube and on LibreText (ChemWiki) so that others have access to these learning resources!

ProLab: Undergraduate Research in the Curriculum!

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The Department of Chemistry and Physics has broken new ground on campus by integrating undergraduate research fully into our Chemistry Majors’ curriculum! The new “Pro-Lab” course for juniors and seniors now involves authentic, open-ended research projects! We’ve just finished this semester’s first project after 8 weeks, and we’ve made exciting new discoveries about the human copper transporter!

Way to go Chem Bells! We are so impressed and proud of your hard work. Prepare to see your data, your analysis, and your excellent writing (and your names!) in a scientific journal article soon!

The Haas Lab was featured in the Council for Undergraduate Research Blog! Check it out here:  Cottrell Scholars – A new generation