Office: Chemistry C205
Phone: (970) 491-1331
- Ph.D., University of Colorado
- B.A., Northwestern University, Integrated Science and Physics
Research in the Levinger group has two main thrusts: dynamics of molecules in confined environments and fundamental processes governing cell cryopreservation.
Dynamics in nanoconfinement
For many years, we have explored the role of nanoconfinement on the structure and dynamics of molecules in the condensed phase. We are particularly interested in learning how the heterogeneous environment at liquid interfaces influences molecules residing there and the chemistry that then occurs. We have used reverse micelles as a model system to prepare well defined liquid droplets on the nanoscale. Reverse micelles form in ternary or higher order mixtures of polar, nonpolar and amphiphilic molecules. Most often, the polar solvent used is water but we have also explored a range of non-aqueous polar solvents for these systems including ordinary organic solvents such as ethylene glycol, DMSO, formamide, etc. as well as novel room temperature ionic liquids. We have utilized the workhorse surfactant, AOT, for many of our studies as well as phospholipids, cationic and nonionic surfactants. We have utilized a range of experimental techniques, including steady state and ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopies, 1D, 2D and multinuclear NMR, and neutron scattering.
Fundamental processes governing cell cryopreservation
A new thrust for the Levinger group explores how and why some cells can withstand freezing conditions that would normally kill them. We are embarking on a project to explore the role of permeating cryopreservation agents, e.g., glycerol, DMSO. This project aims to uncover how these small molecules cross cell membranes, where they reside in cells and how they protect cells from cold.