Reno, NV, United States

University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV, United States

The University of Nevada, Reno is a teaching and research university established in 1874 and located in Reno, Nevada, USA. It is the sole land grant institution for the state of Nevada.The campus is home to the large-scale structures laboratory in the College of Engineering, which has put Nevada researchers at the forefront nationally in a wide range of civil engineering, earthquake and large-scale structures testing and modeling. The Nevada Terawatt Facility, located on a satellite campus of the university, includes a terawatt-level Z-pinch machine and terawatt-class high-intensity laser system – one of the most powerful such lasers on any college campus in the country. It is home to the University of Nevada School of Medicine, with campuses in both of Nevada's major urban centers, Las Vegas and Reno, and a health network that extends to much of rural Nevada. The faculty are considered worldwide and national leaders in diverse areas such as environmental literature, journalism, Basque studies, and social science such as psychology. It is also home to the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism, which has produced six Pulitzer Prize winners. The school includes 16 clinical departments and five nationally recognized basic science departments. Wikipedia.

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Disclosed herein are methods of treating and diagnosing muscular dystrophy. In some examples, the methods include treating muscular dystrophy by administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of an agent that alters the expression of at least one miR gene product, such as miRNA-124 and/or miRNA-29 thereby treating muscular dystrophy. In one particular example, the method of treatment includes administering an agent that decreases the expression or activity of miRNA-124. In another embodiment, the method of treatment includes administering a composition that includes one or more agents to decrease the expression and/or activity of miRNA-124 and one or more agents to alter the activity of miRNA-29 (increase or decrease). Also disclosed are methods of enhancing muscle regeneration, repair, or maintenance in a subject and methods of enhancing 71 integrin expression. Methods of prospectively preventing or reducing muscle injury or damage in a subject are also disclosed.

University of Nevada, Reno | Date: 2016-08-26

The present disclosure provides a method for producing organic compounds, such as esters, from an organic feedstock that includes at least one of a biopolymer or a lipid. The method includes heating the feedstock in the presence of a solid catalyst, such as a solid, inorganic Lewis acid catalyst, and reaction medium that includes an alcohol. At least certain ester products have an ester group corresponding to a substituent of the alcohol.

University of Nevada, Reno | Date: 2016-04-29

In particular embodiments, the present disclosure provides targets including a metal layer and defining a hollow inner surface. The hollow inner surface has an internal apex. The distance between at least two opposing points of the internal apex is less than about 15 m. In particular examples, the distance is less than about 1 m. Particular implementations of the targets are free standing. The targets have a number of disclosed shaped, including cones, pyramids, hemispheres, and capped structures. The present disclosure also provides arrays of such targets. Also provided are methods of forming targets, such as the disclosed targets, using lithographic techniques, such as photolithographic techniques. In particular examples, a target mold is formed from a silicon wafer and then one or more sides of the mold are coated with a target material, such as one or more metals.

University of Nevada, Reno | Date: 2016-12-16

Disclosed herein are 71 integrin modulatory agents and methods of using such to treat conditions associated with decreased 71 integrin expression or activity, including muscular dystrophy. In one example, methods for treating a subject with muscular dystrophy are disclosed. The methods include administering an effective amount of an 71 integrin modulatory agent to the subject with muscular dystrophy, wherein the 71 integrin modulatory agent increases 71 integrin expression or activity as compared to 71 integrin expression or activity prior to treatment, thereby treating the subject with muscular dystrophy. Also disclosed are methods of enhancing muscle regeneration, repair, or maintenance in a subject and methods of enhancing 71 integrin expression by use of the disclosed 71 integrin modulatory agents. Methods of prospectively preventing or reducing muscle injury or damage in a subject are also disclosed.

Shearer J.,University of Nevada, Reno
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2014

ConspectusNickel superoxide dismutase (NiSOD) is a nickel-containing metalloenzyme that catalyzes the disproportionation of superoxide through a ping-pong mechanism that relies on accessing reduced Ni(II) and oxidized Ni(III) oxidation states. NiSOD is the most recently discovered SOD. Unlike the other known SODs (MnSOD, FeSOD, and (CuZn)SOD), which utilize "typical" biological nitrogen and oxygen donors, NiSOD utilizes a rather unexpected ligand set. In the reduced Ni(II) oxidation state, NiSOD utilizes nitrogen ligands derived from the N-terminal amine and an amidate along with two cysteinates sulfur donors. These are unusual biological ligands, especially for an SOD: amine and amidate donors are underrepresented as biological ligands, whereas cysteinates are highly susceptible to oxidative damage. An axial histidine imidazole binds to nickel upon oxidation to Ni(III). This bond is long (2.3-2.6 Å) owing to a tight hydrogen-bonding network.All of the ligating residues to Ni(II) and Ni(III) are found within the first 6 residues from the NiSOD N-terminus. Thus, small nickel-containing metallopeptides derived from the first 6-12 residues of the NiSOD sequence can reproduce many of the properties of NiSOD itself. Using these nickel-containing metallopeptide-based NiSOD mimics, we have shown that the minimal sequence needed for nickel binding and reproduction of the structural, spectroscopic, and functional properties of NiSOD is H2N-HCXXPC.Insight into how NiSOD avoids oxidative damage has also been gained. Using small NiN2S2 complexes and metallopeptide-based mimics, it was shown that the unusual nitrogen donor atoms protect the cysteinates from oxidative damage (both one-electron oxidation and oxygen atom insertion reactions) by fine-tuning the electronic structure of the nickel center. Changing the nitrogen donor set to a bis-Amidate or bis-Amine nitrogen donor led to catalytically nonviable species owing to nickel-cysteinate bond oxidative damage. Only the amine/amidate nitrogen donor atoms within the NiSOD ligand set produce a catalytically viable species.These metallopeptide-based mimics have also hinted at the detailed mechanism of SOD catalysis by NiSOD. One such aspect is that the axial imidazole likely remains ligated to the Ni center under rapid catalytic conditions (i.e., high superoxide loads). This reduces the degree of structural rearrangement about the nickel center, leading to higher catalytic rates. Metallopeptide-based mimics have also shown that, although an axial ligand to Ni(III) is required for catalysis, the rates are highest when this is a weak interaction, suggesting a reason for the long axial His-Ni(III) bond found in NiSOD. These mimics have also suggested a surprising mechanistic insight: O2 - reduction via a "H•" tunneling event from a R-S(H+)-Ni(II) moiety to O2 - is possible. The importance of this mechanism in NiSOD has not been verified. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Derevianko A.,University of Nevada, Reno | Pospelov M.,Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Nature Physics | Year: 2014

The cosmological applications of atomic clocks so far have been limited to searches for the uniform-in-time drift of fundamental constants. We point out that a transient-in-time change of fundamental constants can be induced by dark-matter objects that have large spatial extent, such as stable topological defects built from light non-Standard Model fields. Networks of correlated atomic clocks, some of them already in existence, such as the Global Positioning System, can be used as a powerful tool to search for topological defect dark matter, thus providing another important fundamental physics application for the ever-improving accuracy of atomic clocks. During the encounter with an extended dark-matter object, as it sweeps through the network, initially synchronized clocks will become desynchronized. Time discrepancies between spatially separated clocks are expected to exhibit a distinct signature, encoding the defect' s space structure and its interaction strength with atoms. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Dimensions of Biodiversity | Award Amount: 540.00K | Year: 2016

All species on earth interact with other species in complicated networks that include plants, animals, and microbes. These interaction networks have long fascinated biologists, who are interested in why some species depend on each other and in how these relationships matter for maintenance of biodiversity. For example, why do most insects that eat plants consume only a few types of plants in any one location? And, how did it happen that many of these insects depend on beneficial microbes (fungi and bacteria) that are found nowhere else except with those insects. This project will explore how such specialized interactions arise. Specifically, researchers will investigate the evolution of new interactions among insects, microbes, and an economically important plant (alfalfa) in western North America. By identifying the key factors that underlie the insect-microbe-plant interactions in this study system, the research will fill a substantial gap in our understanding of the diversity of life, and enhance our ability to predict how global change will affect biological diversity and ecosystem function. The researchers will also engage and collaborate with the public through a discovery-based citizen science program, and will develop new analytical tools to benefit other scientists who are interested in how species come to depend on each another.

This project examines a complex network of interacting biodiversity, including macroscopic and microscopic organisms, to answer a fundamental question: What role does biodiversity play in the evolution and maintenance of novel interactions? The research team takes advantage of a well-studied plant-insect-microbe system to investigate the importance of multiple layers of inter- and intra-specific diversity for predicting the evolution of novel interactions, specifically the colonization of alfalfa by the Melissa blue butterfly and microbes. The project combines a systems approach to biological complexity with manipulations that allow the researchers to integrate three focal dimensions of biodiversity: (1) functional diversity, encompassing how variation in phytochemistry, larval performance, and butterfly egg-laying preference are shaped by microbial, fungal, plant and caterpillar interactions; (2) genetic diversity, including the role of genomic variation within and among populations of interacting plants and insects, both in the wild and in an experiment context; and (3) phylogenetic diversity, focusing on gut bacteria in insects, as well as fungal and bacterial endophytes in plants.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Theory, Models, Comput. Method | Award Amount: 286.09K | Year: 2017

Sergey Varganov of the University of Nevada, Reno is supported by an award from the Chemical Theory, Models, and Computational Methods program in the Chemistry Division to develop new theoretical and computational methods for studying chemical reactions involving a change of electron spin. (Electrons can be thought of as tiny spinning tops, but in reality electron spin is a purely quantum mechanical property that has no classical physical analogue.) Such reactions, referred to as spin-forbidden, are important in different areas of chemistry, physics and biology. Varganov and his research group focus on two types of methods: a highly accurate approach applicable to small molecules and a simple statistical approach designed for very large biological molecules. They are using these methods to understand the fundamental properties of spin-forbidden reactions and the role of electron spin in complex biological molecules capable of accelerating industrially important reactions, such as hydrogen reduction and oxidation. These studies are facilitating development of new advanced materials for different energy applications. Prof. Varganov is also developing demonstration and computational tools to enhance the teaching of chemistry and the impact of outreach activities. These tools include 3D-printed models representing energy landscapes of chemical reactions and simplified versions of computational chemistry methods suitable for use in graduate and undergraduate chemistry courses.

This project is aimed at developing state of the art theoretical and computational methods to investigate the kinetics and dynamics of spin-forbidden processes, including intersystem crossings, spin crossovers and spin-forbidden reactions, in complex systems. The focus is on the novel nonadiabatic statistical theory and efficient multiple spawning molecular dynamics methods. The statistical theory is made applicable to spin-forbidden processes in systems with thousands of atoms by implementing new algorithms within the fragment molecular orbital method. The multiple spawning molecular dynamics provides a general approach to account for dynamic effects in the spin-forbidden kinetics calculations. The new methods are validated on small molecules and used to investigate catalytic hydrogen oxidation/reduction on the metalloenzymes [NiFe]-hydrogenase and Ni-substituted rubredoxin. The education component is centered on the molecular dynamics demonstrations using 3D-printed potential energy surfaces of simple chemical reactions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 468.54K | Year: 2016

Magnesium alloys are the lightest structural metals with densities near 34% lighter than aluminum alloys, and are thus very attractive for automotive and aerospace applications where improved fuel efficiency is urgently needed. However, strengthening magnesium alloys through the conventional alloy design approaches that are effective for aluminum alloys has proved difficult. The ductility of magnesium alloys is also low, which results in poor formability at room temperature. The low strength and ductility have limited the industrial applications of magnesium alloys, and new alloy design and processing strategies are needed to overcome these barriers. This award supports fundamental research for a new scheme for magnesium alloy design that departs from conventional approaches, and has the potential to lead to high-strength, ductile magnesium alloys. Computer simulations and experiments will be combined to identify alloying elements that can lead to high strength and ductility. The outcome of this research will provide guidelines for design of new magnesium alloys, leading to improved fuel efficiency of vehicles and reduced emissions. Educationally, this project provides an opportunity for engineering students to conduct computer simulations and experimental studies for alloy design.

Twinning induced plasticity is very effective in achieving high strength and ductility in steels with high manganese concentrations in which mechanical twinning is strain-induced and contributes to the plastic flow and hardening, resulting in superior mechanical properties. In stark contrast, application of twinning induced plasticity is lacking in magnesium alloys, despite the fact that profuse twinning can be activated, because twinning is stress-induced at low stress levels in these alloys. Thus, to introduce twinning induced plasticity into magnesium alloys, the critical stress for twinning must be increased. In this research project, first principles calculations will be performed to identify alloying elements that have significant influences on the c/a ratio of magnesium alloys and the energy barrier for atomic shuffling during deformation twinning. These parameters control the critical stress for twin nucleation and growth. After these alloying elements are identified, alloy synthesis and thermomechanical processing will be conducted to achieve the optimal mechanical properties. This strategy opens a new window for sustainable design and processing of high performance magnesium alloys without resorting to expensive and exotic alloying elements.

Sheridan R.S.,University of Nevada, Reno
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2013

The chemistry and electronic structures of heteroarylcarbenes have played significant roles in the fundamental understanding of carbenes in general. The six-membered ring heteroarylcarbenes are exemplified by the 2-, 3-, and 4-pyridylcarbenes, 7, 8, and 9, respectively. More extensive work has been carried out on the solution photochemistry of the pyridyl-3-chlorodiazirines, where chlorine stabilizes the singlet state of the carbenes, and the halodiazirines have less tendency to rearrange to diazo compounds. The 2-PyrCCl and 3-PyrCCl carbenes could be detected directly by laser flash photolysis (LFP). The intimate details of the dynamics in the heteroarylcarbene rearrangements are still incompletely understood. In particular, bicyclic intermediates such as 117 and 308 are generally elusive and directly observable in only select cases at low temperatures.

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