NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
May 7, 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.
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)
Invitation link: https://www.
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
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.
February 26, 2021
Biographical information: Dr. Polina Prokopovich joined the Cardiff School of Pharmacy in January 2011 as Cardiff Academic Fellow. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Nanotechnology and Biomaterials, and has research interests are in the area of Materials/Biomaterials and Drug Delivery. In particular, her research focuses on development of the targeted drug delivery for joint diseases; anti-inflammatory drug delivery systems to prevent wear particles-induced inflammation; orthopaedic antimicrobial nanocomposite bone cements; multifunctional hydrogels as bone graft materials and study of nanomechanical and surface properties of cells post exposure to metal, ceramic and polymeric wear particles. Research in Dr. Prokopovich’s group is sponsored by Wellcome Trust, Welsh Government, Innovate UK, EU funds and industries.
Abstract: Musculoskeletal diseases are the second largest cause of disability, affecting 1.7 billion people worldwide. Bone, back and joint pain disorders cost the EU’s economies 200 billion each year and are the primary cause of UK absenteeism from work with an estimated 31 million days work lost per year. Majority of my research is focused on various aspects of musculoskeletal disease with understanding that there is an urgent need to reduce the incidence of long-term disability resulting from musculoskeletal diseases. Specifically in my research group we focus on developing novel therapeutics and delivering them effectively to a specific site of interest for joint disease treatment (such as osteoarthritis, OA). For the last stage of OA treatment, joint replacement we develop targeted anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial orthopaedic bone cements and functional coatings on prosthetic devices.
February 12, 2021
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
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
ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS AND DEVICES (AFMD) cluster
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
January 29, 2021
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
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.
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.