by Roger Renteria
SOCORRO, N.M., June 13, 2008 – Yanyan Guo, a second-year doctoral student in the chemistry department, was awarded the Langmuir Award for Excellence in Research at commencement May 17, 2008. The award is for an outstanding scientific research paper published in a professional journal.
“I was very excited upon receiving the award,” she said. “I wish to thank my advisor, Dr. Zhang for his help.”
Guo is developing new nano-particle technology, which could lead to the next generation of photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy uses light to target and damage malignant cells or tissue.
Her research led to an article titled “Nanoparticle-Based Photosynthesizers under CW Infrared Excitation” that was published in the December 2007 issue of Chemistry of Materials. She co-authored the paper with Manoj Kumar, a doctoral student in chemistry at New Mexico Tech, and Dr. Peng Zhang, assistant professor of chemistry at New Mexico Tech.
Photodynamic therapy has been used in recent years as a technique for cancer and antibacterial treatment. The process works by concentrating the production of singlet oxygen molecules, a species of oxygen that is very reactive, which can affect or kill targeted cells, such as cancers or tumors.
Her work brings forth new promise in utilizing photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy. Guo said she is excited to work in developing new technologies to help fight cancer.
Her advisor, Dr. Zhang, said the results of Guo’s research could lead to new advances in cancer-fighting methods.
“A lot of projects in science, you can’t always predict what would happen. You explore it. It’s not like building a house with the pre-determined plan. You can hope, but not predict exactly what will happen,” said Dr. Zhang. “This one turned out to be working well.”
Guo earned a master’s in chemistry from Xiamen University, in Xiamen, China. She is continuing her research, applying photodynamic therapy to treating bacteria.
Chemistry of Materials is one of the most popular and widely read journals in materials science and has an impact factor of 5.1. The paper also received a large number of citations.
“The impact factor is measured by the average number of citations for a publication in a journal,” says Dr. Zhang. The greater the impact number, the more influential the journal is in the field.
She said she received much assistance from Tech faculty members. She thanked Dr. Snezna Rogelj, professor of biology, Dr. Scott Shors associate professor of biology, Troylyn Zimmerly, biology lab coordinator, Jing Qiu recent masters of biology graduate, and Hong Tang, post-doctoral researcher in biology.
– NMT –