Organizing Enzymes to Create Electricity

Ian Wheeldon

Ian Wheeldon

Ian Wheeldon, UCR’s assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, has received a $360,000 grant from the Young Investigator Program to better organize enzymes to create nanoscale devices that more efficiently convert the chemical energy of sugars and complex carbohydrates into electricity. He will receive the funding over three years.

Enzymes are often in precisely organized multi-enzyme structures and spatial organization of multi-enzyme pathways has resulted in increased power density in biofuel cells. However, there is lack of understanding of the principles that govern reaction pathway kinetics.

Wheeldon’s project is to define the relationships between multi-enzyme scaffold design and pathway reaction rate and to apply the newly developed understanding of multi-enzyme pathways to create novel anodes for enzymatic biofuel cells.

Beyond biofuel cells, other applications from this research include new synthesis routes for pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, and commodity chemicals, such as ethers and biofuels.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Premieres Ian Dicke’s Work

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s New Music Ensemble premiered the musical work “Grand Central” by Ian Dicke, assistant professor of digital composition. The work was commissioned by the conservatory through the Hoefer Prize, an award given annually to one composition alumnus, and is scored for chamber orchestra, live audio processing, and video projections captured by photographer Elisa Ferrari and edited by the composer.

“Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most cherished destinations with its famous classical façade, elaborately decorated astronomical ceiling painted by Paul César Helleu, and immense columns,” Dicke said. “This 20-minute work is inspired by the terminal’s architecture and rich cultural history.”

Dicke’s said his composition is cast in four movements: “Solari di Udine,” named after the Italian manufacturer of split-flap departure boards once used in train stations and airports around the world; “Underground,” which prominently features the violoncello to create an intricate web of live loops, over which soaring melodic phrases are supported by winds and brass and passing subway cars punctuate the loneliness of underground station platforms; “Grand Stage,” which investigates the terminal’s microcosm of endless social exchanges through the digital and acoustic manipulation of time; and “Iron Horse,” which references the nickname given to steam locomotives in the early industrial revolution and is fast-paced, rife with layered ostinati and motives inspired by the sounds of railroading—bells, whistles, and rollicking wheels.

Susan Ossman Students Collaborate on “On the Line/Second Look”

Graduate students in Susan Ossman’s seminar on art and archaeology and faculty from UCR, La Sierra University and California Baptist University collaborated in a seminar and exhibition, “On the Line/Second Look,” on March 6. The seminar was an extension of Ossman’s “On the Line” solo exhibition at La Sierra’s Brandstater Gallery, an exhibition that contemplated clotheslines to investigate lines of all kinds.

“In California, where many housing developments outlaw clotheslines, where drawing has been erased from the school curriculum, and where writing in full lines seems a vanishing practice even among English majors, contemplation of lines might be seen as a kind of ‘salvage’ anthropology,” explained Ossman, professor of anthropology and a painter. “‘On the Line’ invokes the sensuous qualities of fabric on the line with the same nostalgia with which one might consider lost languages or civilizations. It registers my own experience of seeing a practice I took for granted while living in Europe and North Africa interpreted as a quaint survival when I moved to California.

“‘On the Line’ leads us to recall fresh laundry’s associations with purity, intimacy and propriety and to question which social bindings are loosened when the fresh scent and delicate touch of sheets on the line become just a memory. … This collaboration between anthropologists, artists, musicologists and art historians offers food for thought about interdisciplinary, collaborative  research practices.”

Visual artists, anthropologists, musicians and dancers to shared the work they produced from their examinations of “On the Line,” ranging from works of art and musical performances to ethnographic fieldwork based on viewer responses, such as “recording memories of sheets on the line or jump rope jingles about hanging clothes out to dry or offering further reflections on the political economy of washing and drying cloth.” This work became part of the exhibition for the “second look,” Ossman said.

Also participating in the seminar was Christina Schwenkel, associate professor of anthropology.

Amir Zaki Exhibition to Open in LA

Amir Zaki’s solo exhibition of black-and-white photographs opens at the ACME gallery in Los Angeles on March 23 and continues through April 27. An opening reception is scheduled at 6 p.m. March 23. The exhibition, “Time moves still,” will feature two series of photographs: trees that are isolated against an open sky and cropped so there is no ground, and steep cliff sides as seen from the beach along the Southern California coast, according to the gallery website. Zaki is an associate professor of art.

An exhibition by Brandon Lattu, associate professor of art, continues through April 6 at the Leo Koenig Inc. gallery in New York City. “Not Human” centers around projected slide shows and sculptural, photographic reliefs that extend his “ongoing considerations about the current ideological stakes of the photographic image in relation to the archive as well as particular legacies of Modernism, including the readymade and the monochrome,” according to the gallery website.

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