Department of Chemistry


3 February 2023

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will continue with the research lecture on

"How surface chemistry of carbon nanomaterials may be used to tune the potential environmental impact of carbon nanomaterials - a safer-by-design approach"
by: Prof Emmauel Flahaut, Interuniversity Research Centre on Research and Engineering of Materials (CIRIMAT), University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

3 February 2023, 18:00 Astana time on Zoom.

Biographical Information

Dr E. Flahaut works as a CNRS Senior Researcher at the CIRIMAT (Inter-University Centre for Research and Engineering of Materials) at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. He obtained his PhD in 1999 from the University of Toulouse, in the field of the catalytic chemical vapour deposition (CCVD) synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and the investigation of CNT-containing nanocomposite ceramics. He has developed a synthesis route allowing the gram-scale synthesis of double-walled CNT (DWNT) with ca. 80% selectivity associated to a good purity. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at Oxford University in the group of Pr Malcolm Green where he worked mainly on the filling of CNT with 1D-crystals. His main research fields are the CCVD synthesis, functionalisation and filling of CNT (double-walled CNT in particular), for various applications in the fields of materials (interconnections in nanoelectronics, composite materials, sensors) and bio-medicine (Gadonanotubes for MRI, CNT scaffolds for tissue engineering, cargoes for drug-delivery, etc.). Dr E. Flahaut is working on the human health issues related to CNT and graphene and related materials, including the synthesis and functionalisation as well as the study of their environmental impact. He is expert for the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety since 2008.



Carbon nanomaterials (and especially carbon nanotubes) are often cited first when people are asked about “nanoparticles” in general. For some people, they represent a huge potential of applications due to their extraordinary properties (or more realistically because of their unique combination of different properties), while some others will mention first the (potential) related toxicity issues. We will quickly review different aspects related to the potential environmental toxicity of carbon nanomaterials and will summarize our main results in this field, obtained using different in vivo models (amphibians, algae). In particular, we have identified that the impact of carbon nanomaterials with very different morphologies ranging from zero-D (nanodiamonds) to 2D (few-layer graphene, graphene oxide) can be generalized when the metric used for the comparison of the data is the surface (m²/L) instead of the weight (g/L) [[1]]. Finally, we will see in the specific case of graphene oxide how the modification of surface chemistry (reduction) can be used to significantly decrease the risk during handling and use, in the framework of a “safer(r) by design” strategy [[2]]. This will be illustrated by examples using different biological models relevant for different compartments of the environment (air [[3]], water [[4]]).

  1. A. Mottier, F. Mouchet, C. Laplanche, S. Cadarsi, L. Lagier, J-C. Arnault, H. Girard, V. Léon, E. Vazquez, C. Sarrieu, E. Pinelli, L. Gauthier, E. Flahaut, Nano Letters, 16 (6), (2016), 3514-3518, “Surface area of carbon nanoparticle: a dose-metric for a more realistic ecotoxicological assessment”
  2. L. Evariste, L. Lagier, P. Gonzalez, A. Mottier, F. Mouchet, S. Cadarsi, P. Lonchambon, G. Daffe, G. Chimowa, C. Sarrieu, A-M. Galibert, C. Matei Ghimbeu, E. Pinelli, E. Flahaut, L. Gauthier, Nanomaterials, 9, (2019), 584:1-16, “Thermal reduction of Graphene Oxide mitigates its in vivo genotoxicity toward Xenopus laevis tadpoles”
  3. F. Candotto Carniela, L. Fortuna, M. Nepi, G. Cai, C. Del Casino, G. Adami, M. Bramini, S. Bosi, E. Flahaut, C. Martín, E. Vázquez, M. Prato, M. Tretiach, Hazardous Materials, 393, (2020), 122380:1-9, “Beyond graphene oxide acidity: novel insights into graphene related materials effects toward sexual reproduction of seed plants”
  4. G. Di Mauro, R. Rauti, R. Casani, G. Chimowa, A. M. Galibert, E. Flahaut, G. Cellot, L. Ballerini, submitted to Nanomaterials (MDPI), “Tuning graphene oxide nano-flakes reduction differently affects neuronal networks in the zebrafish”


27 January 2023

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will continue with the research lecture on

"Non-antibiotic strategies for eradicating bacterial biofilms"
by: Dr. Young Liu, Wenzhou Institute, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Zoom recording

Biographical Information

Dr. Liu is a principal investigator and professor at Wenzhou Institute, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (WIUCAS). His research interests are the design, synthesis, and self-assembly of bioactive polymer materials and their application in overcoming bacterial/cancer drug resistance. He has co-authored over 50 publications in the recent five years and applied for over 20 Chinese patents.


Bacterial biofilms have posed an ever-increasing threat to global human health. We have developed multiple supramolecular self-assemblies for antimicrobial delivery to combat multi-drug resistant bacteria, especially in their biofilm mode of growth. However, there is still a distinct lack of facile ways to fabricate non-antibiotic antimicrobial systems. Herein, two non-antibiotic strategies have been developed in our group: (1) natural product-based amphiphiles via dynamic covalent bonds, and (2) enzymatic cascade reactions will be introduced in this talk.

20 January 2023

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will start with the research lecture on

"From molecules to DNA similar and atomium like superstructures: Building from the bottom-up with steroidal surfactants"
by: Prof. Luciano Galantini, Department of Chemistry, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Zoom Recording

Biographical Information

Luciano Galantini is Full Professor at the Department of Chemistry of the Sapienza University of Rome (SUR). Previously, he was Associate Professor (Physical Chemistry, 2010-2020) and Researcher (Physical Chemistry, 2000-2010) at SUR, and Researcher at the University of L’Aquila (Inorganic Chemistry, 1996-1999). Currently, he is Head of the Department of Chemistry and Delegate of the Rector – Upgrading of Research Laboratories of SUR. He is also responsible of the SAXSLab, a multi-functional platform for Small Angle X-Ray Scattering, Wide Angle X-ray Scattering e Grazing Incidence Small Angle Scattering, at SUR and member of the Board of the PhD in Mathematical Models for Engineering. He was visiting professor at: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem -Israel, 2012; Dept. of Physical Chemistry and Applied Chemistry of the University of Santiago de Compostela -Spain, 2003-2005, 2007 and 2009; Dept. Of Chemistry Costa Rica University, San Josè -Costa Rica, 2007. He has been Chair of the Conference of the European Colloid and Interface Society in 2016 and Invited Lecturer in several International Conferences.  His research focuses on physical chemistry of colloids, especially those formed by biological surfactants like bile salts, liposomes, proteins and bile salt polymer mixtures, to develop polymer based sequestrants of bile salts for hypercholesterolemia treatment as well as new steroidal antimicrobials.


As the eye rises from the infinitely small to the apparently never-ending expanding universe, Nature appears to be always able to arrange the matter according to specific structures [1]. At the nanoscale functional structures are adopted by macromolecules, which are extensively investigated in biology. At the same and larger scales, molecules and colloidal particles can arrange in diverse frameworks to form basic biological units, like cells, and extended superstructures, according to fundamental principles of hierarchical assembly [2,3]. Within this scenario, natural steroidal surfactants and rationally designed molecules obtained by their chemical modification allow a controlled self-assembly into supramolecular aggregates at the nanoscale (Fig. 1a,b), and a rationally directed association of these and other building blocks into specific functional superstructures at supracolloidal level [4-7]. The ability to mimic DNA superstructures [7] (Fig. 1a) and the effort to direct the supramolecular and supracolloidal association (Fig. 1c,d) into Atomium like frameworks [4,5] (Fig. 1d) are described.

Figure 1. Supramolecular and supracolloidal structures.

1. G.M. Whitesides et al., Science 2002, 295, 2418-2422.
2. M. Boncheva et al., MRS Bull. 2005, 30, 736-742.
3. A. C. Mendes et al., Nanomed. Nanobiotechnol 2013, 5, 582-612.
4. J. Cautela et al., Small 2018, 14, 1803215
5. J. Cautela et al., ACS Nano 2020, 14, 15748−15756
6. E. Severoni et al., ACS Nano 2020, 14, 16712–16722.
7. G. Du et al., Angew.Chem. 2022, 134, e202113279.

28 November, 2022
Congratulations to Prof. Vesselin Paunov and Dr. Timur Atabaev for ranking among the top 2% of scientists in the world

This is according to the systematic bibliometric study by researchers from Stanford University (link). Calculations were performed using all Scopus author profiles as of September 1, 2022. About 200 000 scientists are included in the list based on standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions, and a composite indicator (c-score) that focuses on impact rather than productivity.

17 November, 2022

Prof. Timur Atabaev presented a virtual research talk entitled "Uncovering the role of surface-attached Ag nanoparticles in photodegradation improvement of Rhodamine B by ZnO-Ag nanorods" at Chemical Science Symposium 2022: Sustainable synthesis and catalysis hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Further details of the conference and its speakers can be accessed here.

16 November, 2022

The Chemistry Department would like to invite you to attend a lecture on 

"Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022: Click Chemistry - a lesson from nature"
by: Dr. Mannix P. Balanay, Associate Professor, Chemistry Department, Nazarbayev University.

Date: November 16, 2022

Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM 

Room: 7.105 (Block 7)


The 2022 Nobel prize in Chemistry was awarded to Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi (Stanford University), Prof. Morten Meldal (University of Copenhagen), and Prof. K. Barry Sharpless (Scripps Research) for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Their research laid the foundation of a simple molecular building approach that snap together quickly and efficiently, hence the term “click”. In this lecture, we will talk about how click chemistry came about starting with the crown jewel of click chemistry “the copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition”. But we must take note that most complex chemical structures weren’t made by scientists, they were made by nature. Prof. Sharpless observed that nature builds all the molecules it needs out of around 35 carbon-based building blocks, none of which are really that complex. Nearly infinite compounds can be created from just a few relatively small molecules, just by linking them together with a nitrogen or oxygen atom. We will also discuss what are the characteristics that can be considered click chemistry and how can it be applied to material sciences.

9-10 November, 2022

Prof. Vesselin Paunov presented a virtual research talk entitled "Bioimprint aided cell recognition of human and bacterial cells: Perspectives and applications" at 3rd Virtual European Polymer Conference. Further details of the conference and its speakers can be accessed here.

26 October, 2022
Prof. Vesselin Paunov delivered an invited lecture entitled "Nanotechnologies in the fight against antimicrobial resistance" at the EngSurf EU Project Workshop on New Frontiers in Engineered Surfaces and Thin Films: Approaches & Application,25th-27th October 2022, Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey.
This interdisciplinary workshop by EU Horizon 2020 project EngSurf-Twin was aimed to gather internationally recognized speakers from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Australia and United Kingdom’s Universities and SMEs, aiming to outline and discuss various novel approaches for new frontiers in engineered surfaces and thin films. Click here for the workshop program.

11-12 October, 2022

Dr. Mannix Balanay was invited to give a talk on "Environmental challenges in Sustainable Development" during the conference on the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development - Interdependencies and Linkages in a Transforming World last October 11 - 12, 2022 at the School of Medicine, Nazarbayev University. This was sponsored by WHO, NU, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Aga Kahn Agency for Habitat.

August 30, 2022

Dr. Andrey Y. Khalimon has been appointed as a Guest-Editor of a special issue "Metal-Catalyzed Hydrogenation and Hydroelementation Reactions" in the section "Organometallic Chemistry" of Inorganics (MDPI). Inorganics (ISSN 2304-6740; Q2, IF 3.149, citescore 5.1) is an international peer-reviewed open access journal that covers all aspects of inorganic chemistry research, including synthesis, characterization and applications of inorganic compounds, structure and bonding in inorganics, mechanisms of inorganic reactions, organometallic compound, inorganic cluster chemistry, coordination chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, inorganic solid-state chemistry, and inorganic materials.

May 30 - June 3, 2022

Prof. Timur Atabaev presented a virtual research talk titled "Facile spin-coating deposition of crack-free TiO2-rGO thin films for solar harnessing devices" at the prestigious E-MRS Spring Meeting. The European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) was established in 1983 to enhance the links between materials science and industry and to provide a voice for the materials community.

April 16, 2022

The Chemistry Department would like to invite you to participate in the 

2nd Eurasian International Conference on
Antimicrobial and Biomedical Nanotechnologies (ABN)
13th - 15th May 2022

Organized and hosted as a hybrid event by Nazarbayev University, Nur-sultan, Kazakhstan

 This interdisciplinary conference will gather internationally recognized speakers from US, British, European, Asian, Middle Eastern and Kazakhstani universities aiming to discuss outline and in person various novel approaches for biomedical applications of nanotechnology, including nano-pharmaceutical platforms, biosensing and targeting of antimicrobial resistance and biofilms with nanotechnology. The conference attendance is free and open to students and researchers (subject to prior registration). All talks will also be broadcasted on zoom. The number of online participants is unlimited. As a hybrid event, the in-person participants will be limited to 30 on a first come-first registered basis. All participants attending in person must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to get access to NU campus.

The ABN 2022 presentations will focus non-exclusively on the following topics:

  • Novel antimicrobial nanoparticles
  • Targeting antimicrobial resistance and biofilms with nanotechnology
  • Advanced biosensing strategies
  • Nanotechnology for drug delivery and therapies
  • Biomedical nanotechnologies

For further information, please click on the link for the conference website.

April 13, 2022
Prof. Paunov group developed sprouting co-culture cell clusteroids for tissue engineering applications

Paunov research team developed a high throughput method to for 3D co-culture clusteroids. The co-cultured clusteroids with different cell ratios of mixed Hep-G2/ECV304 cells were obtained by using w/w Aqueous Two-Phase Pickering emulsion.

The co-cultured clusteroids sprout when proliferated into a hydrogel ECM and give rise to an enhanced production of VEGF, urea, and IGFBP which indicate the angiogenesis progress triggered by the co-culture pattern. The method allows easy, high throughput production of vascularized 3D co-cultured clusteroids in vitro, which are expected to be utilized in drug testing and a variety of tissue engineering applications.

Read more about this research in the recent publication in ACS ABM.

April 12, 2022

Dr. Timur Atabaev has been appointed as an Associate Editor for Nanoscience section at the prestigious Frontiers in Chemistry journal. Frontiers in Chemistry is high visibility and quality journal, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across all chemical sciences. Associate editors for the Nanoscience section are seeking pioneering fundamental and applied research across all aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

March 20-24, 2022

Dr. Timur Atabaev presented a virtual research talk at the prestigious ACS Spring 2022 conference, which was hosted in San Diego, USA, March 20-24, 2022. Title of the talk: “Terbium and barium co-doped mesoporous SiO2 nanoparticles as a promising multifunctional nanoprobe for theranostic applications”.

March 1, 2022

A recent study published by Dr. Atabaev's group in Coatings journal has been highlighted in AZO Materials news.

AZO Materials is the leading online publication that educates and informs a worldwide audience of researchers, engineers, and scientists about the latest industry news, information, and insights from the materials science industry.

February 25, 2022

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will continue with the research lecture

"3D printing of hard materials for surfboards"
by: Prof Marc in het Panhuis, Professor of Materials Science and Surf Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia.


Please click the link for the recording of the lecture.

Biographical Information

Marc in het Panhuis is from Grevenbicht (Limburg, the Netherlands). He is a chemical engineer (Ingenieur, University of Twente, the Netherlands) and a physicist (PhD, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland). At present, he is the Professor of Materials Science and Surf Engineering at the University of Wollongong in Australia. His research activities are focused on tough hydrogels, additive manufacturing (3D/4D printing), edible/living electronics, soft robotics and surfing equipment (fins and surfboards). He is an Associate Editor for Journal of Materials Chemistry B and Materials Advances. Website:


Surfing is an iconic sport that is extremely popular in coastal regions. Current surfboard fin manufacturers produce high end products using an expensive injection moulding process to create hydro-foil shaped fins. This process, however, does not allow for easy customisation or rapid prototyping. I will discuss the development of surfboard fins (a hard material) using a performance feedback loop and rapid prototyping. This loop involves the unique combination of computational fluid dynamics, computer aided design, 3D printing of hard materials, stiffness/flex testing, ocean testing (surfing the waves), embedded sensors / wearables and surfers’ perceptive experiences. I will finish my talk with explaining how we measure the mechanical flex behaviour of surfboards, including vibration analysis and (what we call) ‘fingerprint’ analysis.

"Interfacial particles for controlling flow properties and creating functional materials"
by Prof. Paul Clegg, Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Please click the link for the recording of the lecture.

Biographical Information

In 2020, Paul Clegg was promoted to Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Edinburgh and currently he serves as the Director of the Graduate School (responsible for 180 PhD students) for my department. He is known for his experimental research on particle-stabilised emulsions and gels including a unique composite material called the bijel. He has also pursued the applications of his research, for example, on using emulsions for the delivery of agrochemicals via a Royal Society Industry Fellowship in partnership with Syngenta Crop Sciences (2013-2015). Paul Clegg held an honorary lectureship at the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen (2013-2015) and visiting Professorships at the ESPCI in Paris (2017 and 2018). He has given 29 invited talks at international meetings including in 2019 “Edible Soft Matter” Le Mans, France and “Materials Research Society Fall Meeting” Boston, USA. He has also given keynote lectures at the NSTI Nanotech Meeting 2010 (Anaheim, CA), Petrophase 2011 (London), UK Colloids 2014 (London) and at Food Colloids 2018 (Leeds). In 2020, he edited a book “Bijels: Bicontinuous particle-stabilized emulsions” for the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Nanoparticles and larger colloids can become trapped at liquid interfaces provided they have appropriate surface chemistry. The particles modify the elastic properties, permeability, and interactions of the interfaces. As a consequence, they are important building blocks for designing delivery technologies, modifying flow properties and for creating functional materials. For example, this approach has been used to create unique tricontinuous media, growing droplets and capsules which can be switchable or can give burst release. In this talk, I will show how functionality is a consequence of the mesoscale size of the particles.

February 11, 2022

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will continue with the research lecture

"Microfluidics for flow chemistry and material synthesis"
by: Prof. Dr. Nicole Pamme,
Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry of Stockholm University, Sweden


Please click the link for the recording of the lecture.

Biographical Information

Prof. Nicole Pamme holds a chair in Analytical Chemistry at Stockholm University in the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, and she is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Hull (UK) in the Department of Chemistry. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Her research activities focus on Lab-on-a-Chip devices for environmental analysis, biomedical research and material synthesis in collaboration with Chemistry, Engineering and Biomedical Sciences. She has authored >150 peer reviewed publications, patents and book chapters in this area. Prof. Pamme has been on the Board of Directors of the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS) including as President (2019-21). She is an Associate Editor for the Analyst (RSC Publishing) and serves on the editorial advisory boards of Lab on a Chip (RSC Publishing), Analytical Chemistry (ACS Publications) and Analytica Chimica Acta (Elsevier). Nicole Pamme obtained a Diploma in Chemistry from the University of Marburg (Germany) in 1999. For her PhD studies she went to Imperial College London (UK) where she joined the group of Prof. Andreas Manz. It was here that she first started working with microfluidic devices, more specifically, on single particle analysis inside microfluidic channels. In 2004, she moved to Tsukuba (Japan) as an independent research fellow in the International Centre for Young Scientists (ICYS) based at the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science. She was appointed as a lecturer in Hull in December 2005 and moved up to Professor by 2014. In 2021, she moved to Stockholm.


Our research centres on the study of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices applied to measurement sciences as well as flow chemistry and the synthesis of smart materials. Microfluidic devices offer a high control over reaction conditions as well as large surface areas compared to volume for heterogeneous catalysis. They also enable us to create tightly controlled droplets and emulsions. In this presentation I will give an overview of our research projects in microfluidics for flow chemistry and material synthesis, including light induced catalysis to generate reactive oxygen species and on-chip continuous flow production of drug delivery vesicles.

February 4, 2022

The Chemistry Seminar at NU will start with the research lecture on

"Molecularly Imprinted Nanoparticles Enable Rapid, Reliable, and Robust Thermal Detection of Environmental Contaminants"
by: Dr. Marloes Peeters (School of Engineering, Newcastle University, UK)


Please click the link for the recording of the lecture.

Biographical Information

Dr Peeters graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) with a degree in Chemistry & Chemical Engineering. For her PhD, she moved to the research institute IMO/IMOMEC in Belgium where she was part of the BIOSensors group of Prof Wagner. After finishing her PhD, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher within the same group to develop a novel thermal detection method for measurements of both small molecules and proteins in complex matrices. Since 2014 she is in the UK where she started as a postdoctoral researcher within the organic chemistry group at Queen Mary University of London. Her independent research career commenced at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015, and she was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. In 2019, she was appointed as Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University where she will continue to work in the area of biosensors and bioelectronics.  Dr Peeters is the current deputy director of Chemical Engineering with a flourishing research group on biosensors, particularly in the development of polymer-based sensors and thermal detection techniques.


The majority of current diagnostic test rely on the use of antibodies as recognition elements which are costly, have limited stability and exhibit high batch-to-batch variation.  Moreover, many antibodies are still derived from animals with as many as 1M animals being used and sacrificed in the EU each year to produce antibodies for diagnostics. Molecularly imprinted nanoparticles (nanoMIPs) are synthetic mimics of biological receptors that can overcome these problems since they are robust, low-cost, and compatible with mass-production. Furthermore, nanoMIPs are versatile and can be used for the detection of a range of environmental contaminants such as small organic compounds (antibiotics, pesticides) to larger macromolecules (bacteria, SARS-COV-2). We have developed a straightforward procedure involving electrografting of nanoMIPs onto screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) to develop a patented multiplex thermo-electric sensing platform. This sensor platform used disposable 3D-printed flow cells, enabling to measure sample volumes as low as 0.1mL. Furthermore, it was possible to obtain fast (<15 min) measurements with low limits of detection (generally low nM range) in buffered solutions. These low limits of detection were maintained in complex environmental solutions, such as wastewater, without complex pre-treatment needed. The used thermal technique was patented in our lab and relies on monitoring the thermal resistance at the solid-liquid interface of a MIP-functionalised thermistor – a miniaturised resistor which is highly susceptible to changes in temperature. In the talk, I will show some examples of our work including thermal detection of antibiotics to monitor antimicrobial resistance and detection of SARS-COV-2. The robustness of the nanoMIPs will be demonstrated by showing its response after exposure to “extreme” conditions (autoclaving, wide pH range, presence of enzymes). Moreover, I will go into detail on how we can incorporate optical and/or electrochemical probes into the polymer network to develop a dual sensing platform. This dual sensing platform does not only enable direct validation of the results but also provides the potential to have an in-situ sensor to determine water quality. The nanoMIPs are unique in their robustness and versatility and have found their first applications in the field of purification and chromatography. Their use in sensors is limited but we believe our functionalisation strategy with SPEs holds potential for commercial use. In the future, we envisage there is scope for a platform that can monitor in-situ how antibiotic pressure leads to the accelerated development of antimicrobial resistant pathogens.

February 2, 2022

We invite you to attend the following Livestream:    

"Ph.D. in Chemistry in a changing world"

In this Livestream, you will have a chance to get detailed information about our new program, Ph.D. in Chemistry

from Associate Professor of Chemistry Department Mannix P. Balanay

Date: February 3, Thursday

Time: 8 PM (Nur-Sultan time)

Language: English

Invitation link:

December 6, 2021

Prof. Timur Atabaev presented a research talk entitled "Improvement of Light-Harvesting in Perovskite Solar Cells by Post-Modification with Fluorescent Layer" at the prestigious 2021 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit conference virtually.

November 15-18, 2021

Prof. Timur Atabaev presented a research talk "Terbium-doped Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Biomedical Purposes" at the 15th IEEE International Conference on Nano/Molecular Medicine & Engineering (IEEE-NANOMED 2021) virtually. The conference is one of the premier annual events organized by the IEEE Nanotechnology Council (NTC), dedicated to providing a forum to discuss the latest developments in all areas of Nano/Molecular Medicine & Engineering.

October 25, 2021

Open Rank Positions at the Department of Chemistry
of the School of Sciences and Humanities

Nazarbayev University is seeking highly-qualified faculty at the Assistant Professor level to join its rapidly growing Department of Chemistry in the School of Sciences and Humanities (SSH) to begin in August 2022. Areas of research interest and expertise may include but are not limited to: experimental materials chemistry, medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry, synthetic polymer chemistry, food chemistry, biological chemistry, analytical chemistry with experience in microfluidics to complement existing research and teaching capacities.

Applicants should attach a detailed CV with the full list of publications, cover letter, the contact information of three professional referees, teaching and research statements. Please indicate for what rank position you would like to be considered. The academic rank will be determined according to the successful candidate's teaching and work experience and the relevant research productivity. A review of applications will begin immediately but full consideration will be given to applications submitted no later than November 30, 2021.

For more information, please click on the following links:


To apply, please click the following link.


September 24, 2021

Prof. Timur Atabaev and Dr. Anara Molkenova were invited to serve as guest editors for a special issue in a "Sustainability" journal. The special issue is focused on recent advances in the preparation of functional nanocomposites to tackle some environmental problems such as soil, water, and air pollution.

Link to the special issue:

September 20, 2021
Paunov Research Group developed a 3D human urothelial cell model for testing antifungal nanotechnologies

Candida urinary tract biofilms are increasingly witnessed in nosocomial infections due to reduced immunity of patients and the hospital ecosystem. Paunov research group reported a novel biofilm-infected 3D human urothelial cell culture model to test the efficiency of NPs-based antifungal therapeutics.

The NPs were designed based on shellac cores, loaded with Fluconazole (antifungal) and a coating of the cationic enzyme lysozyme. The NPs formulation exhibited high activity against Candida biofilms and low toxicity to the human urothelial cells. This study provides a reliable in-vitro model for Candida urinary tract biofilm infections which could potentially replace animal models in testing of such antifungal nanotechnologies. This testing model can give valuable insights into the formation and clearing of fungal biofilms and could accelerate the clinical use of antifungal nanotherapeutics.

Read more about this research in the recent publication in the RSC journal Biomaterials Science.

September 9, 2021

Prof. Timur Atabaev presented an oral contribution entitled "Facile preparation of rGO-TiO2 composite thin films for potential applications in solar harvesting devices" at the 31st International Conference on Diamond and Carbon Materials hosted by Elsevier publisher.

September 8, 2021

Prof Paunov presented a Keynote lecture at the 35th European Colloid and Interface Society (ECIS 2021) conference, which was hosted in Athens, Greece, 5-10 September 2021. His talk was entitled “Nanotechnologies in the fight of antimicrobial resistance.”

ECIS conference program

August 20, 2021

Prof. Andrey Khalimon presented his research group projects at IUPAC/CCCE 2021 Virtual during August 13-20, 2021.


June 2, 2021
Paunov Research Group developed biofilm-infected human cell clusteroids for testing antimicrobial nanotechnologies

Microbial biofilms are a major concern in wound care, implant devices and organ infections. Biofilms allow bacteria to have higher tolerance to anti-bacterial drugs, can impair chronic wound healing, and can potentially lead to sepsis. Our team reported for the first time the use of an innovative bacterial biofilm-infected keratinocyte clusteroid model which mimics an infected surface wound. We demonstrate that bacterial biofilms of S.aureus and P.aeruginosa grown on the clusteroids can be efficiently cleared by treatment with a formulation of Alcalase-coated ciprofloxacin-loaded nanogel particles while preserving the viability of the co-cultured human keratinocytes.

These promising results show that our 3D co-culture model can be exploited as a novel platform for testing the biofilm-eradicating efficiency of various nanoparticle (NPs) formulations. This platform allows emulating skin and wound infections and could have wider applicability to replace animal models in similar experiments with nanoparticles. This testing platform could help in developing more effective antibacterial nanotechnologies for clinical applications of antiplaque dental treatments, implants, infection control and wound dressings.

Read more about this research in the recent publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Good news to all Chemistry enthusiasts!

The Chemistry Department would like to announce the offering of our new Ph.D. program

starting August 2022.

For inquiries, please contact our department chair, Prof. Vesselin Paunov

March 18, 2021

We invite you to attend the following Livestream:    

"Fundamental science: An introduction to the MSc in Chemistry program"

In this Livestream, you will have a chance to get detailed information about the program, requirements, and career opportunities

from Assistant Professor of Chemistry Department Andrey Khalimon.

Date: March 18, Thursday

Time: 8 PM (Nur-Sultan time)

Language: English

Invitation link:

March 16, 2021
Prof. Paunov research team developed a novel enhanced antimould nanotechnology

A research team led by Prof Paunov discovered that by functionalizing copper oxide nanoparticles with phenylboronic acid surface groups their efficiency as antimould agents can be significantly enhanced. The phenylboronic acid groups can form boronic ester bonds with cis-diol groups from carbohydrates abundant on the mould hyphae, which concentrates the functionalized antimould particles on their cell walls and helps to kill the mould. Good results were obtained against black mould (Aspergillus niger) and other species, like Penicillium chrysogenum.

A. niger has negative impact on grapes, apricots, onions and peanuts and produces a mycotoxin called ochratoxin, which can contaminate various substrates both in the fields and after harvesting. P. chrysogenum, occurs in damp building materials and is also identified as a food‐spoilage agent.

Read more about this research in the recent publication in Biomimetics.

March 15, 2021

The collaborative research work of Dr. Davit Hayarpetyan and Dr. Andrey Y. Khalimon has been recently featured in Org. Chem. Highlights: Reduction at the Organic Chemistry Portal.

The Organic Chemistry Portal offers an overview of recent topics, interesting reactions, and information on important chemicals for organic chemists. It is a universally used tool where chemists can find the most important organic transformations, abstracts of articles in the most highly regarded organic chemistry journals, information on widely used chemical reagents in organic synthesis, organic chemistry books reviews, links on interesting scientific and educational resources, organic chemistry job opportunities and many others.

March 13, 2021
We cordially invite you to the 

Organizers: Vesselin Paunov (Chair) and Enrico Marsili (Co-Chair), Nazarbayev University

Workshop Topics: (i) Rapid screening and detection of bacteria; (ii) Advanced biofilm sensing strategies; (iii) Novel antimicrobial nanoparticles; (iv) Targeting antimicrobial resistance with nanotechnology; (v) Nanoparticles for targeting bacterial and fungal biofilms; (vi) Drug delivery strategies and therapies for implants.

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February 12, 2021

Lecture Link

Biographical information: Prof. Dr. Stoyanov has over 20 years of industrial R&D experience in Unilever and Henkel, managing R&D teams and has in-depth understanding of product formulation and knowledge of raw material functionality, product formulation and processing in the foods and home and personal care areas. Over the last 17 years, he has been working at Unilever R&D in the Netherlands and UK, having various roles such as Director of Advanced Materials, Leader of Unilever Global Strategic Partnerships, Senior Scientists, technical NPD project leader and R&D team leader. Prof Stoyanov is also a special chair professor at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, visiting professor at the University College London, UK and adjunct professor at North Carolina State University in USA. He is a co-inventor of more than 80 patents and co-author 130 high-profile peer-review publications. The scientific interest of Prof. Stoyanov includes applied aspects of colloid & interface science and soft-matter, foams and emulsion formulation and control, interfacial rheology, encapsulation and delivery of actives, nanotechnology and development of functional food and pharmaceutical products.

Abstract: In this lecture we will look closely into the (colloid) science of ice cream and will learn what is ice cream, how it is made and most importantly what are the multiple functionalities of ice cream main ingredients. The lecture assumes some basic knowledge of physical chemistry and colloid science and is intended for a broad audience. Most importantly, you will learn many of the ice cream secrets for free and will be able to tell them to your friends and family.

February 8, 2021

Dr. Mannix P. Balanay was recently appointed as a member of the Editorial Board for PLoS One Journal. PLOS One is one of the journals that is published by the Public Library of Science which includes PLoS Biology, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Medicine, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLoS Pathogens. PLOS One is a multidisciplinary open-access journal that covers science, engineering, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities. The Journal Impact Quartile of PLoS One is Q1 under the multidisciplinary category. For more information and submission guidelines, please click on the link.

February 5, 2021

Lecture Link

Biographical information: Viktor Brus did his Ph.D. in Solid-State Electronics at the Institute for Problems of Materials Science of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2012 and received his Doctor of Sciences degree in Physics of Semiconductors and Dielectrics from Chernivtsi National University in 2018. From 2013 until 2020, he was doing research and teaching at Chernivtsi National University (Assistant Professor), Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (Green Talents Fellow and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow), and the University of California Santa Barbara (Project Leader at the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids, established by the Nobel laureate Prof. Alan Heeger).  Now he is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics of Nazarbayev University. His research interest is materials science and physics of semiconductor devices.

Abstract: Emerging solution-processed semiconductor materials exhibit great potential in the areas of self-powered buildings, remote electronic gadgets, health sensors and medical implants due to their unique photo-electronic properties, in combination with low-cost processing and inherent mechanical flexibility/stretchability. This talk will discuss our results on the development and understanding of novel solution-processed organic and hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite photovoltaic materials and devices by applying a multidisciplinary approach at the interplay of cutting edge materials science, device physics and engineering.

February 4, 2021


is pleased to invite you to AFMD Research Seminar titled

"Applications of metal-organic frameworks for green energy and the environment"

by Prof. Mannix Balanay

WHEN: Thursday, 4 February 2021, 5 PM

Zoom link  

SEDS Research seminar

January 29, 2021

Lecture link

Biographical information: Professor Marsili has nearly 18 years of academic experience in various research centres and Universities in Italy, USA, Ireland, Singapore. His current research is focused on microbial biofilms. Following his PhD in Chemical Engineering at University of Rome, Italy, he worked at Center for Biofilm Engineering and University of Minnesota, USA, on biofilm electrochemical characterization. In 2012, he moved to SCELSE-NTU, Singapore, and established research facilities for biofilm electrochemistry in a multidisciplinary research centre on biofilms. Dr. Marsili has been a principal investigator in the National Centre for Sensor Research (Dublin City University, Ireland) from 2009 to 2014. He has been awarded a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (2008-2012), industrial funding from Utilities Company (2013-2016) in Singapore, and funding from several Research Funding Agencies in Ireland and Singapore. In 2019, he joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, where is building a small research group in Biofilms, Biosensors and Microbially Influenced Corrosion.

Abstract: Bioelectrochemical sensors based on viable biofilms could be a viable alternative to enzymatic sensors in environmental systems. These sensors, which rely on extracellular electron transfer between bacteria and a polarized electrode, could be used to measure concentration of key nutrients and antimicrobial agents in water and remote environments, or implemented in biomedical devices for early detection of microbial contamination and antimicrobial resistance. In this seminar, I will give a brief introduction to electrochemical biofilm characterization and show our recent bioelectrochemical sensors research.

January 22, 2021

Lecture link

Biographical information: Professor Paunov graduated with a PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1997 from Sofia University. He specialized at the University of Patras (Greece), University of Erlangen (Germany) and the University of Delaware (USA). In 2000 he took a faculty position at the University of Hull (UK) and was promoted to Professor of Physical Chemistry and Advanced Materials in 2013. His research has been funded by the UK Research councils, Cancer Research UK, HEIF and industrial partners. At the end of 2020 he was appointed as a Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Nazarbayev University. His current research interests include colloid science, formulations, microencapsulation, stimulus triggered release of actives, anisotropic materials, smart surfaces, biosensors, tissue engineering, bioimprinting and antimicrobial nanotechnologies.

Abstract: In this lecture we will discuss the recent developments in whole cell bioimprinting for the purposes of cell recognition with application for selective targeting of microbial cells and circulating tumours. My research team developed new method for depletion of peripheral blood from leukemic cells by using cell shape recognition mediated by bioimprint-cell interactions. We demonstrated that the bioimprint-cell attraction combined with surface modification and flow rate control allows enhanced removal of the leukemic cells which has the potential for development of alternative therapies of acute myeloid leukaemia. We also applied a similar approach for retention of circulating pancreatic tumour cells on prefabricated matching bioimprints which can be used for collection of liquid biopsies and early detection. Recently, we also reported a bioimprint-aided sandwich ELISA method for rapid screening for bacteria.

November 25, 2020

Prof. Timur Atabaev has won the independent Web of Science Award “Leader of Science” in the “Top peer reviewer” nomination. Every year Clarivate Analytics presents the Web of Science Award “Leader of Science” to educational establishments, research institutions, scientific journals, and individual scholars, whose contribution to the development of higher education and scientific research is the most impactful and meaningful. This award is often referred to as one of the most prestigious in global and regional academic communities and the number of awardees in any year never exceeded 500 worldwide. Since 2011, these awards have been presented in Kazakhstan at the annual award ceremony, featuring well-known scientists and researchers as well as representatives of public authorities and mass media.

November 12, 2020

Dr. Mannix P. Balanay talked about the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry program, its current research activities, and internship opportunities.

Please click the link to listen to the recorded Instagram video.

October 14, 2020

Dr. Rostislav Bukasov's research group recently published a review article in Talanta Journal (Elsevier) entitled "Review: Detection and quantification of proteins in human urine".

The highlights of the review paper are as follows:

  • Urinary protein biomarkers are useful for diagnosis of many conditions: kidney and cardio vascular diseases, cancers.
  • Liquid chromatography – mass spectroscopy is a powerful tool for urine proteomics, but used mostly in science.
  • Immunoassays are widely used in both clinical and bio-analytical laboratories.
  • IR and Raman spectroscopies are promising tools for diagnostics of urine due to low-cost and rapidness.

Please click the link to read the full article.

Talanta Graphic Abstract Bukasov

September 3, 2020

The Laboratory of Functional Materials and Computational Chemistry (fmc2) under the supervision of Dr. Mannix P. Balanay (group leader) has published an article in Chemical Communications (Royal Society of Chemistry) entitled "Nanostructured flower-shaped CuCo2S4 as a Pt-free counter-electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells". They demonstrated a solvothermally prepared cost-effective, mesoporous, and high surface area nanostructured flower-shaped CuCo2S4 counter-electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells. The new counter electrode exhibited comparable results with a traditional Pt-based counter electrode, 7.56% vs. 7.42%, respectively. The electrochemical analysis demonstrated superior electrocatalytic activity of the product, which was stable even after 6 months of aging.

Please click the link to read the full article.

August 13, 2020

Dr. Andrey Khalimon's recent paper "Efficient co-catalyzed double hydroboration of nitriles: Application to one-pot conversion of Nitriles into Aldimines" which was published in Chemistry: A European Journal has been highlighted as a SynStory in a Thieme group journal SYNFORM. SYNFORM complements the information provided by the Thieme Chemistry E-Journals. It serves the international chemistry community by publishing timely information about: new scientific advances in organic chemistry and related fields of research, facts, and people from the world of chemical sciences, highlights from international chemistry conferences. SynStories feature new scientific advances, as reported in exciting recent papers in the field of organic chemistry, accompanied by the author’s personal views.

About the research

The development of new transformations allowing for selective synthesis of amines from readily accessible precursors continuously attracts significant attention from the synthetic chemistry community, since amines play an indispensable role as building blocks for the synthesis of many natural products, biologically active molecules, pharmaceutical compounds, agrochemicals, etc. In this regard, catalytic reduction of readily available simple feedstock molecules, such as nitriles, to amines using abundant first-row transition-metal catalysts represents an attractive alternative to conventional wasteful stoichiometric reduction methods and catalytic reductions with precious metal catalysts. However, examples of such base metal catalytic systems for efficient and selective room-temperature reduction of nitriles to amines are still scarce and generally require rather sophisticated ligands. Corresponding authors, Andrey Khalimon (PI of the project) and his collaborator Dr. Davit Hayrapetyan (a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Chemistry) are interested in the development of economical and readily available abundant transition-metal pre-catalysts for the reduction of challenging unsaturated molecules and the application of such transformations in the synthesis of more complex organic molecules.

Please click the link to read the full article.

June 1, 2020

Dr. Timur Atabaev was appointed as an Associate Editor for the Micro & Nano Letters journal starting from June 01, 2020. Micro & Nano Letters journal (IET Digital Library, UK) offers express online publication of short research papers containing the latest advances in miniature and ultraminiature structures and systems.

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