Isiah Warner has created a "hierarchical mentoring" model that fuses research, education, and mentoring to give undergraduates an opportunity for advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.
Biomedical Applications of Ionic Liquids and GUMBOS
My research group has been exploring the development of novel materials using room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) for several years. Recently, we have extended the range of these materials to include materials based on similar solid phase materials, i.e. organic salts with melting points of frozen ionic liquids (25 °C to 100 °C) up to melting points of 250 °C. To contrast these new materials from RTILs, we have created the acronym, GUMBOS (Group of Uniform Materials Based on Organic Salts). These GUMBOS have similar tunable properties to RTILs, including solubility, melting point, viscosity, thermal stability, and functionality. Thus, these materials have a myriad of applications in biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics. Current projects include research in the areas of bioanalytical and materials chemistry (biosensors, environmental sensors, thin films for optoelectronics and OLEDS applications, molecular spectroscopy, drug development for cancer and infectious diseases, and nanotechnology).
Development of Novel Sensors
We have recently begun the development of a sensor based on measurements using the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). Our QCM-based sensor is truly novel and has a rapid response time, complete regeneration, high sensitivity, low detection limits, and wide dynamic ranges with unique capabilities for molecular weight determination. In this project, the responses of this sensor toward many common industrial solvents and environmental pollutants will be determined and evalauted.
Students involved in this project will use this sensor to explore many different forensic applications. The potential forensic applications of our unique sensor include molecular weight determination, detection and discrimination of environmental pollutants, biological detection, head space analysis, body order detection, and many more. In addition, the rapid response time of our sensor may allow its use as a gas chromatography detector. This would drastically enhance capabilities for many other kinds of detection not mentioned here.
Other sensors being developed in our laboratory involve detection through response properties such as fluorescence quenching and enhancement, as well as array detection based on absorbance and fluorescence measurements. One application involves selective detection of proteins. Students involved in this project will examine the response of this sensor toward biological materials such as proteins. Possible applications include detection of biomarkers for certain diseases.