New Publication!

We are happy to announce that our work on using deep eutectic solvents has now been published in Analytical Chemistry: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.analchem.2c03980 This work was done by Jessica Torres, a doctoral student in the lab, along with Karen Campos and undergraduate student currently in the lab.

Fluorescently labelling amino acids in DES

This work explores how one can do fluorescent labelling in deep eutectic solvents (DES). Our goal for this work is to apply DES to the analysis of amino acids in the search for evidence of past extraterrestrial life. But the implications of being able to do the direct labelling of analytes in a DES mean that those solvents could be useful in more sample preparation methods and still allow for the routine labelling reactions to be undertaken

HPLC 2022 Poster Award

Congratulations to Jessica and Karen for winning one of the HPLC 2022 Best Poster awards for their work on “Novel fluorescent labelling of amino acids for detection of past life via CE-LIF“.

Photo of the list of poster award winners.
Oops, we were back at the lab when the awards were announced

We are very excited that they were recognized for this work, particularly given it was a conference on column chromatography, and they are doing capillary electrophoresis based work. We hope to have the paper out for review and publication later this summer.

Harrison Lab Featured on KPBS

Jessica being interviewed by KPBS

Recently Thomas Fudge, the science reporter for KPBS got in touch with us about the research that Jessica is doing for her NASA funded research project. He was interested to learn about how we are going about developing the means to search for chemical traces of past life on Mars, or other planets.

So we were happy to have Thomas and his videographer/photographer Matthew Bowler come by and record materials for their feature on work.

You can see, read, and/or listen to the feature here.

Publicity of our research

Our NASA funded research looking for ways to detect chemical traces of past life has gained interest once again. The SDSU NewCenter wrote up a nice piece on the work that Jessica, and now Karen, have been undertaking on this project. The work is also featured on the College of Sciences web page.

It’s great to see the hard work of our research team getting the recognition that they deserve.

SDSU 2021 Research Highlights

We’re very proud that Jessica Torres’ research project was featured in the annual compilation of SDSU Research Highlights.

Jessica was awarded a prestigious NASA Fellowship award which will support her research efforts throughout her pursuit of her doctoral degree. Jessica’s project focuses on developing new approaches to searching for chemical traces of past life on rocks on other bodies in our solar system. The challenging project will further enable NASA’s goals of exploring and understanding the conditions for how life can arise in the Universe, and if life has existed elsewhere.

Jessica and Chris

A new toy for the lab!

New CE-LIF Instrument

Thanks to our friends at NASA/JPL we now have a new, powerful, instrument for the lab. Peter Willis’ group kindly donated an older CE-LIF instrument that they were no longer using to us. The instrument will greatly enhance our lab’s capability to do sensitive detection, opening up more avenues of research.

Internship at JPL

Congratulations to Jessica on starting an internship at JPL/NASA this week!

Jessica’s new home for the next 10+ weeks.
Jessica Torres

Jessica will be working with Dr. Peter Willis to help optimize, and improve CE techniques for the detection of chemical signatures of life. The overarching goal of this work is develop, and hopefully deploy, microfluidic devices on probes to other planets or moons, in order to search for the chemical signatures of past or present life on those worlds.

We will certainly miss having Jessica in the lab for the next 10+ weeks, but it’s a great opportunity for her, and she will bring back some new techniques and knowledge to share with our lab.

IMSD Scholars in the lab

Congratulations to Cat who joins Madee in the IMDS scholars program. The program is designed to aid underrepresented groups successfully enter Ph.D. programs in the sciences. We’re very excited to have two students in the lab who are so deserving of this opportunity, and we look forward to seeing their progress in the lab, and into their graduate careers.

Cat
Madee

Congratulations Cat!

Catrin Law

We’re very happy to announce that SDSU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program selected Cat’s summer research project as one of the few to be funded this year. The program provides a salary for Cat, as well as some funds for the research supplies that she will need to complete her project.

The goal of the work that Cat will be undertaking is to develop a ssDNA aptamer that will be capable of binding selectively to nicotine. It’s a big challenge, but she’s up to the task, and this should greatly help our THS analysis project.

End of the semester, start of the summer

The end of the spring semester is always an interesting time. On one hand, there is the palpable relief of having completed another academic year, and to have the renewed freedom to explore more in the lab. On the other hand, many of the lab members graduate in the spring, so it’s a time to bid them farewell.

Congratulations Ricko!

This semester we’re somewhat fortunate in that the only student to graduate is Ricko. Congratulations to you on all your hard work to get to this point!

Along with Ricko’s graduation a number of new students are joining the lab over the course of the summer (some right away, others after a short break). So check out the group members page to see who’s new, and who’s still working with us.