Student & Faculty Research

Student Presentations

Patel, G., Castaldi, Epstein, J. M., Telidecki, P., Thao, N., Traba, C. Redden, P. Science and synthesis of artificial scents and flavors. American Chemical Society Fall Meeting August, 2014 San Francisco, CA.

Patel, G., Telidecki, P., Thao, N., Epstein, J., Castaldi, M., Traba, C. Redden, P., Student prepared videos to document department instrumentation and laboratory operations and procedures. American Chemical Society Fall Meeting August, 2014 San Francisco, CA.

Simple and facile hydrogenation of ethyl trans-cinnamate: An undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory experiment. Catalina Andorno, Enhui Chen, Department of Chemistry, Saint Peters University, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, Division of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society National Meeting New Orleans, April, 8, 2013

Preparation of Substituted Amino Tetrazoles via Deprotection,  ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA Spring, 2012, Michael J. Castaldi,*, Yazdekhasti, Hamid, Catalina Adorno, Irving Candelaria, Enhui Chen, Ma Angelica Ceballos, Ivana Grbelja, Luz Morales, Danny Palacios,  Saint Peter’s College, Department of Chemistry, Jersey City, NJ. 07306

Selective synthesis of oxolidinones and oxazinanoes. Irvin Candelaria*, Michael J Castaldi, Hamid Yazdekhasti,.  Ma Angelica  Ceballos* Department of Chemistry, Saint Peters University, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States. ACS National Meeting, Anaheim, CA, March 26-31 2011

presentation 1

Presentation at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, Anaheim CA, April 2010 by Irvin and Angelica

presentation 2

Presentation at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, CA April 2011 by Enhui and Danny

Yosra Badiei

Research Interests

Molecular catalysis, inorganic and organic synthesis, coordination chemistry, water-oxidation, and oxygen and hydrocarbon activation.

Solar-to-chemical energy conversion, also known by artificial photosynthesis, can lead to the storage of solar energy in the form of chemical bonds such as hydrogen from water and produce new biomass C1 building blocks (for e.g. methane, methanol) from CO2 to help in fuel growth and recycling of CO2 emission. This is a highly-promising strategy for the development of clean and sustainable fuel technologies. Progress in this field, however, will heavily rely on the use of catalysts made of cheap materials and earth-abundant metals to make it an economically viable energy resource.

My research focuses on the design and synthesis of new molecular catalysts for water-splitting, and the investigation of the details of catalytic mechanisms by exploring the structure, spectroscopy and kinetics of the intermediates. Emphasis is placed on exploring new earth-abundant transition metal-complexes that can replace the widely known expensive noble metal catalysts.

Selected Publications and Presentations

“New Water Oxidation Chemistry of a Seven-Coordinate Ruthenium Complex with a Tetradentate Polypyridyl Ligand” Muckerman, J. T.; Kowalczyk, M.; Badiei, Y. M.; Polyansky, D.E.; Concepcion, J.J.; Zong, R.; Thummel, R.; Fujita, E. Inorg. Chem. 2014, 53, 6904–6913.

“Water Oxidation with Mononuclear Ruthenium (II) Polypyridine Complexes Involving a Direct RuIV=O Pathway in Neutral and Alkaline Media” Badiei, Y. M.; Polyansky, D.E.; Muckerman, J.T.; Szalda, D.; Haberdar, R.; Zong, R.; Thummel, R.; Fujita, E. Inorg. Chem., 2013, 52, 8845–8850.

“Cp*Co(III) Catalysts with Proton-Responsive Ligands for Carbon Dioxide Hydrogenation in Aqueous Media” Badiei, Y. M.; Wang, W.H.; Hull, J.F.; Szalda, D.; Muckerman, J. T.; Himeda, Y.; Fujita, E. Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 12576–12586

“Mechanistic Insights into C-H Amination via Dicopper Nitrenes” Aguila, M. J. B.; Badiei, Y. M.; Warren, T. H., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 9399-9406.

” Activation by Bis(imino)pyridine Iron(II)−Thiolate Complexes” Badiei, Y. M.; Siegler, M. A.; Goldberg, D. P. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 1274-1277.

“Catalytic C-H Amination with Unactivated Amines via Copper(II) Amides” Wiese, S.; Badiei, Y. M.; Gephart, R. T.; Mossin, S.; Varonka, M. S.; Melzer, M. M.; Meyer, K.; Cundari, T. R.; Warren, T. H. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 1-6. ** ‘Hot Paper’

“Copper–Nitrene Complexes in Catalytic C-H Amination” Badiei, Y. M.; Dinescu, A.; Dai, X.; P., R. M.; Heinemann, F. W.; Cundari, T. R.; Warren, T. H. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 9961-9964. ** ‘Hot Paper’

“Transient Terminal Cu-Nitrene Intermediates from Discrete Dicopper Nitrenes” Badiei, Y. M.; Krishnaswamy, A.; Melzer, M. M.; Warren, T. H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 15056-15057.

Book Chapter

“Synthesis and Reactivity of High-Valent Transition Metal Corroles and Corrolazines” McGown, A. J.; Badiei, Y. M.; Leeladee, P.; Prokop, K. A.; DeBeer, S.; Goldberg, D. P. Handbook of Porphyrin Science, Kadish, K. M.; Smith, K. M.; Guilard, R. 2011, 14, 525-599.

Joseph W. Brauner, Professor

Research interests include calculating the amide I band contour in the IR spectrum of globular proteins from a known (protein data bank) or assumed three-dimensional structure at the atomic level; and using the calculations to unravel the structural transformations occurring during the folding and unfolding of proteins.

Selected publications:

Wang, L., Brauner, J. W., Mao, G., Crouch, E., Seaton, B., Head, J., Smith, K., Flach, C. and Mendelsohn, R. 2008 Interaction of Recombinant Surfactant Protein D with Lipopolysaccharide:  Conformation and Orientation of Bound Protein by IRRAS and Simulations Biochemistry 47(31):  8103-8113.

Bryan, M. A., Brauner, J. W., Anderle, G., Flach, C. R., Brodsky, B. and Mendelsohn, R. 2007 FTIR Studies of Collagen Model Peptides:  Complementary Experimental and Simulation Approaches to Conformation and Unfolding J. Am Chem. Soc 129(25):  7877-7884.

Brauner, J. W., Flach, C. R. and Mendelsohn, R. 2005 A Quantitative Reconstruction of the Amide 1 Contour in the IR Spectra of Globular Proteins:  From Structure to Spectrum J. Am. Chem. Soc127(1):  100-109.

Brauner, J. W., Dugan, C. and Mendelsohn, R. 2000 C Isotope Labeling of Hydrophobic Peptides. Origin of the Anomalous Intensity Distribution in the IR Amide 1 Spectral Region of the b-Sheet Structures J. Am. Chem. Soc. 122(4):  677-683.

Michael Castaldi, Scientist in Residence

Research Interests

Education Research in Scientific literacy, pedagogy in laboratory science and teacher training. Chemistry Research interests include organic synthesis of pharmaceutically active compounds, synthesis of small ring heterocyclic compounds, structure activity relation (SAR) Workshops with Columbia Teachers College

Selected Publications

A Case Study to Identify Factors that can Enhance Student Learning and Retention in General  Chemistry,  Michael Castaldi,*  Hamid Yazadasksti,  Christopher Edmin, Felicia Mensah, Patricia Redden, Catalina Andorno,  Enhui Chen,  Department of Chemistry, Saint Peters University, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States. American Chemical Society National Meeting New Orleans, April, 8, 2013

Undergraduate organic chemistry research on a shoestring budget Michael J Castaldi.*, Hamid Yazdekhasti, Angelica Ceballos, Irvin Candelaria, Andrew Thompson. Department of Chemistry, Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey, United States. , ACS National Meeting, Anaheim, CA, March 26-31, 2011

Process for the preparation of substituted 5-aminotetrazoles. Michael Castaldi, michael.j.castaldi@pfizer.com1, Thomas A. Brandt, David Whritenour, Mark Shaffer,and Susan LilleyChemical Research and Development, Pfizer Inc, Eastern Point Rd, Groton, CT 06340, (2) Chemical Research and Development, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Eastern Point Road, Groton, CT 06340, (3) Pfizer Global Research, Groton, CT 06340. ACS National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, March 22-26, 2009

Development of a large-scale Stereo selective process for novel CETP inhibitors. Bruce Bechle,, Michael Castaldi,, Mary Didiuk, Ryan Kelley, David Whritenour, Michael R. Makowski, David A. Perry, and Thomas A. Brandt (Development, Eastern Point Road, Groton, CT 06340. ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 6-10, 2008

From discovery to development: The story of Trovan, a quinolone antibacterial.
224th ACS National Meeting, Boston, Ma.  Technical Achievements Award Address
Organic Chemistry Awards address.  August 21, 2002.  Michael J. Castaldi, (Invited awards presentation)

Antiviral properties of 3-quinolinecarboxamides: a series of novel non-nucleoside antiherpetic agents Wentland, Mark P.; Perni, Robert B.; Dorff, Peter H.; Brundage, Pauline; Castaldi, Michael J.; Carlson, John A.; Bailey, Thomas R.; Aldous, Suzanne C.; Carabateas, Philip M.; Bacon, Edward R.; Kullnig, Rudolph K.; Young, Dorothy C.; Woods, Maureen G.; Kingsley, Susan D.; Ryan, Kathryn A.; Rosi, David; Drozd, Marion L.; Dutko, Frank J.  Drug Des. Discovery (1997), 15(1), 25-38.

Construction of the (1,5,6-6-amino-3-azabicyclo[3.1.0]hexane ring system. Braish, Tamim F.; Castaldi, Michael; Chan, Samantha; Fox, Darell E.; Keltonic, Tom; McGarry, James; Hawkins, Joel M.; Norris, Timothy; Rose, Peter R.; et al. Synlett (1996),   (11), 1100-1102.

Synthesis of (1,5,6)-6-amino-3-azabicyclo[3.1.0]hexane, a novel achiral diamine. Brighty, Katherine E.; Castaldi, Michael J.. Synlett (1996),   (11), 1097-1099.

3-Quinolinecarboxamides. A series of novel orally-active antiherpetic agents. Wentland, Mark P.; Perni, Robert B.; Dorff, Peter H.; Brundage, R. Pauline; Castaldi, Michael J.; Bailey, Thomas R.; Carabateas, Philip M.; Bacon, Edward R.; Young, Dorothy C.; et al. J. Med. Chem. (1993), 36(11), 1580-96.

Wentland, Mark P.; Bailey, Denis M.; Alexander, E. John; Castaldi, Michael J.; Ferrari, Richard A.; Haubrich, Dean R.; Luttinger, Daniel A.; Perrone, Mark H. Synthesis and antidepressant properties of novel 2-substituted 4,5-dihydro-1H-imidazole derivatives.   J. Med. Chem. (1987), 30(8), 1482-9.

Book Chapter

Mediated Methoxylations of Aryl Iodides in the Presence of Anilines Preparation of 2,5-Dimethylpyrrole via Copper (I). Org Syn vol 78 (2000) pp 63-70 J.A. Ragan, T.W. Makowski, M.J. Castaldi, P.D. Hill

Jessica Epstein, Associate Professor

Research Interests

Ethanol Fuel – This project seeks to develop environmentally friendly and cost effective technology to ferment large amounts of ethanol from waste plant material such as grass or wheat straw. Pedagogy in science higher education laboratory and lecture.

Selected publications:

Epstein, J., Vieira, M., Aryal, B., Vera, N., Solis, M. 2010 Developing Biofuel in the Teaching Laboratory:  Ethanol from Various Sources Journal of Chemical Education 86 (7):  708-710.

Epstein, J.  2012 Stereochemistry of Drug Action:  Case Studies with Enantiomers Journal of College Science Teaching, 41 (3): 64-68.

Epstein, J., Vieira, M., Aryal, B., Vera, N., Solis, M. 2010 Developing Biofuel in the Teaching Laboratory:  Ethanol from Various Sources Journal of Chemical Education 86 (7):  708-710.

Epstein, J. 2009 Weapons of Mass Destruction:  It’s all about Chemistry Journal of Chemical Education 86 (12):  1377-1381.

Christian Traba

Research Interests

The research focus of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Laboratory at Saint Peter’s University involves functional and responsive/intelligent polymers and their potential pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. More specifically in this lab, smart biopolymers will be developed/synthesized and used to create responsive materials. Understanding these polymer materials at the interface, will involve all of the physical sciences as well as biomedical sciences. Constructed nano-biotechnology enabled surfaces will be applied to solve biotechnology problems related to tissue and cell engineering, biosensors, and infections associated with implanted biomaterials/devices. In this lab, constructed surfaces will possess good biocompatibility along with antibacterial activity. Other applications of synthesized biopolymers will be specifically designed for drug formulation and delivery as well as gene delivery.

Selected publications and presentations:


Traba C., Liang JF. Antibiotic-free anti-fouling surfaces, Provisional Patent (approved by Stevens Patent Committee)


Traba C., Liang JF. Susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms to reactive discharge gases, Biofouling, Vol. 27. No. 7. August 2011, 763-772

Traba C., Chen L., Liang JF. Low power gas discharge plasma mediated inactivation and removal of biofilms formed on biomaterials, Current Applied Physics 13 (2013) S12-S18

Traba C., Chen L., Azzam R., Liang JF. Insights into discharge argon mediated biofilm inactivation, Biofouling, 2013;29(10):1205-13

Traba C., Liang JF. Intelligent anti-biofilm surfaces triggered by bacterial adhesion and colonization, Journal of Controlled Release, (Accepted)

Traba C., Chen L., Park JW., Azzam R., Liang JF. Antibacterial and Anti-Biofilm Activity of Polymer Grafted Surfaces, Advanced Functional Materials, (Submitted)

Liang JF, Chen TP, Azzam R, Castaldi M Bryan J, Traba C. The Inactivation of Staphylococcus arueus Biofils Using Low Power Argon Plasma in a Layer-By-Layer Approach, Biofouling (Submitted)