The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering provides an outstanding environment to learn chemical sciences as an integrated subject that is not divided by traditional boundaries. We have state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. Our experienced faculty strives to be at the forefront of research in their respective fields. Our ethos is to produce world-class & socially responsible individuals by providing them with an excellent academic environment that combines unique curriculum, cutting-edge research, scholarship and service to the society.
Members of the very specie that accessed, utilized, and exploited…
Members of the very specie that accessed, utilized, and exploited fossil fuels for centuries, are now campaigning against it. Collectively, we’d start blushing out of embarrassment if a report card on our upkeeping of the environment were to be worn as a lanyard. But blush not – the seaweeds are here!
Seaweed, as a third-generation biofuel feed- stock, could potentially circumvent many of the challenges posed by traditional fossil fuel alternatives, as it requires no arable land, fresh water, or fertilizer for cultivation and exhibits a higher biomass yield per unit area of cultivation than its terrestrial counterparts. Unlike lignocellulose, macroalgae have almost no lignin; therefore, their sugars can be released by easier and more economic operations. Seaweed cultivation could also directly improve the marine environment by removing CO2, heavy metal pol- lutants, and dissolved nutrients that would otherwise cause eutrophication.
This study conducted by Dr. Rofice Dickson and his colleagues evaluates the environmental impacts, economic potential, and makes a case of producing bioenergy from seaweed via biological conversion pathways, including the: sugar pathway; volatile fatty acids pathway; and methane pathway to produce ethanol, ethanol and heavier alcohols, and heat and power, respectively. Much like any other form of plant-based agriculture, seaweed production consists of two stages: cultivation and harvesting. Cultivation can be subdivided into four stages: the collection of fertile seaweed; spore release and sporophyte formation; rearing and nursing of seedlings; and offshore cultivation. The harvesting consists of activities related to the collection of seaweed from the sea and their transportation to a harbor.
The maximum seaweed price and minimum product selling price are both calculated as economic indicators. Overall, results demonstrate that the sugar platform is economically superior, as it provides a higher average maximum seaweed price of USD 121.6/t compared with USD 57.7/t and USD 24.2/t for volatile fatty acids platform and methane platform, respectively. However, the study also concluded that production via fermentation is so far the best alternative for energy production since it led to better economic and lifecycle outcomes.
A seaweed biorefinery could be located near a city close to the shore, which will provide necessary infrastructure and labor, such as Karachi. A seaweed cultivation site in Republic of Korea, with a distance of 15 km from the shore to the biorefinery, was considered for the analysis of terrestrial transportation. The main challenge in seaweed transportation is its high moisture content of 85–90 wt%. If the biorefinery is located far from cultivation sites, hauling wet biomass significantly increases transportation costs. Seaweed-based food companies utilize artificial drying to optimize the storage time. When being sold as a food product, the high seaweed price compensates for its high drying costs.
Although this study provides deep insight into the economic and environmental sustainability of green energy extracted from seaweed via biochemical pathways, some barriers to large-scale deployment of seaweed biorefineries, including high-quality biomass at a low price and adequate supply to meet the demands of industrial biorefineries, remain. In this regard, mechanized offshore cultivation and efficient seaweed farming techniques need to be developed to increase productivity and decrease the seaweed production cost.
P. Fasahati, R. Dickson, C.M. Saffron, H.C. Woo, J. Jay Liu,
Seaweeds as a sustainable source of bioenergy: Techno-economic and life cycle analyses of its biochemical conversion pathways, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 157, 2022, 112011, ISSN 1364-0321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2021.112011
Harnessing solar energy is intricately linked with tinkering of…
Harnessing solar energy is intricately linked with tinkering of molecular structure inside state-of-the-art materials. Coating traditional silicon panels with a layer of perovskite has boosted our hopes for a better, much more efficient way of generating electricity from solar energy.
Pictured above is an artist’s rendition of what a perovskite crystal structure looks like.
However, it is not just light that perovskite is good at capturing. Let’s talk about heat – the greatest escape artist known to the physicist. Whether the process is chemical or physical in nature, or radioactive decay; heat always manages to escape into ‘the great outdoors’ of a given physical system. Wishful as it may be, imagine if this ‘wasted heat’ could be utilized to generate electricity, increasing efficiency of a thermoelectric system. Dr. Uzma Hira, a former student of Dr. Falak Sher (Chair, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, SBASSE) is the first author of a research paper that describes just that! A chemical doping process that can create a material which shows much better thermoelectric properties than conventional materials of similar kind. The answer is Hexagonal Double-Perovskite-Type Oxides, that substitutes Barium with Bismuth. The research paper entails how chemically doped Ba2−xBixCoRuO6 hexagonal double-perovskite-type oxides were prepared using a solid-state method and characterizes its interesting thermoelectric properties.
Shown above is the hexagonal interface of a double-perovskite type oxide, which offers promise as a p-type thermoelectric material. Pictured below is
Double perovskite oxides having the general formula A2BRuO6, where A is an alkaline-earth or rare-earth metal and B is a transition metal, show very interesting magnetic and electronic properties. The key parameter here is how effectively does a material demonstrate the Seebeck effect (named conspicuously after the Baltic German physicist, Thomas Johann Seebeck). In this fascinating phenomenon, temperature difference between two conductors can induce an EMF, generating a potential difference which can be measured. The material which Dr. Uzma’s team has worked on can be conveniently identified as Ba2CoRuO6, which is doped with Bismuth for better thermoelectric performance.
Conservative estimates suggest that about half of the total energy that we consume each year is lost to the environment as waste heat. Thermoelectric power generation offers an attractive route for the direct conversion of heat into electric power and is considered to be an important component of a sustainable future energy landscape. In fact, one need not invest too much into imagining the future of thermoelectric promise. As you read this, rovers on the planet Mars are creating kilometers worth of trails and roving the red planet using RTG technology as their primary power source. RTG can be unpacked as Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. RTG’s utilize the head from the natural decay of Plutonium.
The most common thermoelectric materials are alloys of chalcogenides such as Bi2Te3, PbTe, Bi2, and BixSb2−xTe3 are based on either bismuth telluride or lead telluride. These materials are relatively scarce and therefore expensive, toxic, and unstable at high temperatures. Transition-metal oxides were initially ignored in the search for potential thermoelectric materials until the discovery of high power factors in p-type NaxCoO2about twenty years ago. Since then, many other metal oxides have been explored and reported as promising thermoelectric materials. Yet, the performance of most oxide materials is still lower than that of non-oxide traditional TE materials, and the effort is still ongoing in the search for efficient novel TE metal oxides.
The crystal structures of hexagonal perovskite oxides that were studied in Dr. Uzma’s research were studied using XRD, SXRD, and NPD at room temperature. Their crystal structure was heated without liquefaction (sintered) at a blistering temperature of 1150 °C. An increase in the crystalline size was noticed. This increase in the grain size, which was inferred from the diffraction data, and can be explained by the presence of Bismuth. The solid-state chemical reactions consist of four main steps of diffusion, reaction, nucleation, and crystal growth. When the diffusion rate is faster and the nucleus’s growth rate is greater than the nucleation rate at the given reaction conditions, larger crystals are formed. The low melting point of Bi2O3 (817 °C) compared to BaCO3 (1360 °C) suggests that the diffusion of Bi3+ cations will be faster than that of Ba2+cations and, consequently, the crystallite/grain size will be larger in the Bismuth-doped samples for the given sintering time and temperature. Take a look at the electron micrographs obtained from this study.
The researchers, including Dr. Falak Sher and Dr. Uzma Hira, have concluded that doping the perovskite crystal with Bismuth makes for a much better choice when it comes to selecting thermoelectric materials for harnessing energy from heat.
Read more about this work here:
Ba2–xBixCoRuO6 (0.0 ≤ x ≤ 0.6) Hexagonal Double-Perovskite-Type Oxides as Promising p-Type Thermoelectric Materials. Uzma Hira, Jan-Willem G. Bos, Alexander Missyul, François Fauth, Nini Pryds, and Falak Sher. Inorganic Chemistry 2021 60 (23), 17824-17836. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c02442. Also see:
Good news for humans – bad news for pathogens. From the first therapeutic use of penicillin in…
Good news for humans – bad news for pathogens. From the first therapeutic use of penicillin in 1941 to the advent of antibacterial drugs, each newly marketed antibiotic has invariably resulted in the emergence of resistant bacterial pathogens. The emergence and spread of these unwanted life forms that have evolved mechanisms of resistance to multiple antibiotics is becoming a major threat to public health in the 21st century. The seriousness of antibiotic resistance lies in the fact that today bacterial strains are not only resistant to commonly available antibacterial medication but also may have acquired greater virulence, meaning they may have become more sinister and deadly. Therefore, the discovery and development of new antibiotics is of crucial importance to counter the explosive growth of multidrug resistant pathogens; the threat to our society is simply too big to ignore the rise of multi-drug resistance.
Worry not! One of the tributaries to the river of healthcare solutions may sprout from within SBASSE. Here’s the big idea – empowering drugs with Fluorine. One way to improve the efficiency of drugs is to introduce fluorine (or fluorinated groups) in the drug molecule. The incorporation of fluorine into a drug molecule can lead to improved metabolic stability, bioavailability, as well as more efficient binding when compared to the non-fluorinated counterparts. Consequently, about a quarter of all pharmaceuticals on the market contain fluorine, and almost all new drug candidates have fluorine in them in one form or the other. Commonly used fluorinated drugs include ciprofloxacin (antibiotic) and fluconazole (antifungal), the former selling like hot cakes in the months leading to winter.
In Pakistan, bacterial infection is very common and mortality rate is increasing. Unfortunately, we are totally dependent on other countries for the solution of our health-related problems. There is dire need to develop international quality synthetic medicinal chemistry research infrastructure in Pakistan to come up with indigenous solutions to our health problems, and to remove our dependence on foreign countries.
Sulfonamides (-SO2NH-) containing compounds such as cyanobenzenesulphonamide, and methylbenzene sulphonamide are synthetic antibacterial compounds that are generally wide-spectrum drugs active against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. In this proposal, Dr. Ghayoor Abbas and Dr. Shaper Mirza, a research team from LUMS; and Dr. Tariq, from Shalimar Institute of Health Sciences will investigate the use of novel fluorinated sulphonamides as potential antibiotics for killing resistant strains of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) and Staphylococcus aureus. A series of novel sulfonamides will be synthesized via SuFEx chemistry route from sulfonyl fluorides and will be evaluated for their antimicrobial activity using in vitro antibacterial assays. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) will also be determined.
This was certainly a million-rupee idea – quite literally. The Shahid Hussain Foundation has very generously awarded a fund of PKR 1.2 million for the development of this study. We congratulate all the researchers involved and wish them best of luck for their work. May the force of progress be with them.
The world still awaits a breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s disease. How long until we run out…
The world still awaits a breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s disease. How long until we run out of patience? Well, continue reading and you may see a glimmer of hope.
Researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Rahman Shah Zaib Saleem (Associate Professor) have been keeping busy exploring compounds that may help with how we think about treating Alzheimer’s disease. The clockwork that it is, our body responds to certain chemicals in a very specific and predictable way. The rut of the mill method in pharmacological interventions has been to design and deploy compounds in the body that stabilize and sequester Aβ (amyloid-beta peptide). The pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be driven by the production and deposition of amyloid-beta peptide, or Aβ, in the form of long, slender fibers, as the result of a process known as fibrillization. If an intervention can maneuver around this problem, then the pathway to treating Alzheimer can at least be scouted. In short – this compound is a target of interest!
The team of Dr. Ghayoor Abbas, Dr. Rahman Shah Zaib Saleem and his MS students Umme Kalsoom and Syed Usama, has synthesized a library of selenadiazole-based compounds, that can prevent the fibrillization of Aβ in the neurological tissues, thereby shattering these long, slender molecular spires and preventing fibrillization. This synthesis saw collaboration with Dr. Ghayoor Abbas, who has worked extensively on the applications of iridium-catalyzed aromatic C-H borylation in organic synthesis in the past. The selenadiazole compounds arrest the Aβ molecule in its monomeric form and prevent the ‘graduation’ into oligomerization. This effect was confirmed using a suite of instruments such as ThT assay, CD spectrophotometry, and TEM imaging.
In this research, other compounds were also studied that affected Aβ fibrillization in different ways, by docking differently to Aβ. For example, some completely inhibit the ‘molecular spires or fibrils from forming, leading to Aβ toxicity that can creep into the blood-brain barrier as well, while others only partially inhibit the process. It turns out that compounds that stabilize the Aβ monomers seem to work best, compared to partial and noninhibitors. The results encourage preclinical development of these ‘magical’ selenadiazole compounds for a potential therapy of Alzheimer’s disease. We wish the best of luck to Dr. Rahman Shah Zaib and his group for the future prospects of this research work.
Kalsoom, U., Alazmi, M., Farrukh, H., Chung, K., Alshammari, N., Kakinen, A., Chotana, G., Javed, I., Davis, T. & Saleem, R. Structure Dependent Differential Modulation of Aβ Fibrillization by Selenadiazole-Based Inhibitors. ACS Chemical Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.1c00478
Anthropological sources, including emissions from power plants, industries, and vehicles, have decreased the quality of air that we breath over the last few centuries. This has led to concerns over the impact of air pollution on human health and the earth. Air pollution is a multi-faceted issue. ChE 202 – Air Pollution course, will study the science behind it, the policy implications on it, and the threats it poses. The focus of this course will be the underlying science behind air pollution and how it originates. Various types of air pollutants and the sources of these pollutants will be described. Physical and chemical interactions between pollutants will also be covered. The topic of indoor air pollution will be introduced which will also highlight the importance of duration of exposure to pollutants.
The course will move into studying some of the biological effects of exposure to air pollution, and how these effects are gauged. The apparent and projected effects of air pollution on the health of the earth will be examined. Policy interventions play an important role in the extent of air pollution. The effect of different policy interventions implemented across the world will be analyzed to understand the role that policy and regulation play on air pollution. Science-based and policy-based steps to mitigate air pollution will be presented to help describe possible pathways towards achieving cleaner air. Dr Shahana Khurshid from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering will be teaching this course in Spring of 2022 at SBASSE, LUMS.
Anthropological sources, including emissions from power plants, industries, and vehicles, have decreased the quality of air that we breath over…
Seminars and Conferences
کیا آپ کسی ایسے کیمیائی مادے کو جانتے ہیں جو گھریلو ٹوٹکوں سے لے کر سائنسی تجربہ گاہ تک میں استعمال ہوتا ہو؟ قدرت کے اِس کارآمد کیمیائی نگینے کو سکسینک ایسڈ کے نام سے جانا جاتا ہے۔ یہ ایک ایسا سفید قلمی نامیاتی تیزاب ہے جسے اکثر اشیائے خوردونوش کی تیاری اور دواسازی میں بھی استعمال کیا جاتا ہے۔ صنعتی سطح پر سکسینک ایسڈ کو کیمیائی طور طریقوں سے تو بنایا جا ہی رہا ہے مگر پیداوار کا یہ روایتی طریقہ مہنگے خام مال اور ماحول دشمن نتائج کی وجہ سے زیادہ کارگزار نہیں۔ کیا ہی اچھا ہو کہ اِس اہم کیمیائی مرکب کی پیداوار کا ذمہ حیاتیاتی طرزِعمل کو سونپ دیا جائے! شعبۂ کیمیا اور کیمیائی انجنئیرنگ کے ڈاکٹر روفس ڈِکسن کی تحقیق اسی مرکزی خیال کو عملی جامہ پہنانے کی ایک با معنی کوشش ہے۔
ڈاکٹر ڈِکسن کا تحقیقی مقالہ حال ہی میں ایک نامور سائنسی جریدے Energy and Environmental Science میں شائع ہوا ہے۔ اِن کی تحقیق میں سکسینک ایسڈ کو سستے، موثر اور ماحول دوست طریقوں سے بنانے کی تجویز دی گئی۔ دراصل ڈاکٹر ڈِکسن کی تحقیق ۵ اہم سوالات کے جواب تلاش کرتی ہے:
۱۔ سکسینک ایسڈ کی پیداوار میں کون سا خام مال استعمال ہونا چاہیے؟
۲- پیداوار کو مزید سستا کرنے کے لیے کون کون سی فنیات و صنعتیاتی ترکیبیں استعمال کی جا سکتی ہیں؟
۳- پیداوار سے جڑے معاشی اور ماحولیاتی اثرات کیا ہوں گے؟
۴- اس پورے عمل کو سرمایہ کار کے لیے معاشی طور پر پُرکشش کرنے میں کونسے عناصر اہمیت کے حامِل ہیں؟
۵- سکسینک ایسڈ کی پیداوار میں کون سے معاشی مسائل قابلِ نظر ہیں؟
ان سوالات کو سلجھانے کے لیے ایک ایسی سیمولیشن تیّار کی گئی ہے جِس میں صرف ایسے خاکوں پر نظرثانی کی گئی جو معاشی طور پر استحکام فراہم کر سکیں۔ “مونٹیکارلو” قِسم کی سیمولیشن کے ذریعے ہر ممکن حل کے جوکھم کا تخمینہ بھی لگایا گیا۔ ایک پیچیدہ ریاضیاتی ماڈل کے ذریعے ۸۵ ہزار سے زائد متغیر عناصر اور ۳۵ ہزار سے زائد پابندیاں لگائی گئیں، گویا سکسینک ایسڈ کی حیاتیاتی طرزِعمل کے ذریعے پیداوار کو مختلف زاویوں سے مستحکم اور قابلِ عمل بنانے کی کوشش کی گئی۔ معلوم ہوا کہ سکسینک ایسڈ کو بڑے پیمانے پر بنانے کے لیے گلیسرول سے اخذ کردہ طریقہ سب سے موثر ہے، جس کی سالانہ لاگت ۱۳.۵ کروڑ ڈالر ہوگی۔
کسی بھی سرمایہ کار کے لیے نقصان سے بچاؤ اُس کی پہلی ترجیح ہوتی ہے۔ چنانچہ اِس پوری کاوِش کو صنعتی اعتبار سے کارآمد بنانا ڈاکٹر ڈِکسن کی بھی اوّلین ترجیح رہی ہے تاکہ سکسینک ایسڈ کی بڑے پیمانے پر تیاری کو حقیقی جامہ پہنایا جا سکے اور اِس اہم کیمیائی مرکب کی ماحول دوست اور معاش دوست پیداوار کو یقینی بنایا جا سکے۔ ہم ڈاکٹر ڈِکسن کی اِس قابلِ ستائش کوشش پر اِن کو مبارک باد پیش کرتے ہیں اور امید کرتے ہیں کہ ان کو مستقبِل میں بھی ایسی کامیابیاں ملتی رہیں۔
Sustainable Bio-Succinic Acid Production: Superstructure Optimization, Techno-Economic, and Lifecycle Assessment Energy & Environmental Science, Apr. 2021 doi:10.1039/D0EE03545ADickson, Rofice
کیا آپ کسی ایسے کیمیائی مادے کو جانتے ہیں جو گھریلو ٹوٹکوں سے لے کر سائنسی تجربہ گاہ تک میں استعمال ہوتا ہو؟ قدرت کے اِس کارآمد کیمیائی…