Remediating Interior Building Surfaces Contaminated by Methamphetamine
Research has the overall goal of determining the best way to remediate clandestine methamphetamine labs (“Clan Labs”). After the discovery of a Clan Lab, removal of the gross quantities of hazardous materials is carried out by first responders. Afterwards, cleanup (remediation) must be carried out by property owners. Remediation costs can range anywhere from $30,000.00 to $300,000.00. Sometimes, demolition is chosen, rather than remediation. An understanding of the physico-chemical factors that are important for effective cleansing of interior building surfaces is desired, especially if such understanding ultimately leads to lower costs of remediation. This project requires a manifold approach. Reproducible methods for applying to and then recovering materials from typical surfaces found in buildings are being developed. The chemistry of effective cleansing agents is also being explored. Methamphetamine model compounds (surrogates) are used in these studies.
The interdisciplinary and bionanotechnology oriented physicochemical research laboratory has been established in Dyson Hall. The general research direction of the lab is to model natural biochemical reactors using a combination of polymer network and lipid bilayer within artificial membrane/hydrogel system (lipobeads) with controlled properties. In particular, we study natural (bacterial spore) and synthetic (hydrogel) ionic reservoirs, mechanobiochemical systems with ability to convert environmentally sensitive mechanical energy into biochemical energy of living processes. The current focus of the lab is to encapsulate anticancer drugs into lipobeads and develop a platform for the targeted chemotherapy with superior tumor response and minimum side effects even at a greater loading concentration by reaching and killing the targeted malignant cells without healthy cells being affected.
Bio-Analytical Chemistry and Biosensors
A successful integration of a conducting transducer and a bio-molecular recognition (e.g., enzyme, antibody, tissue) should lead to a most exhilarating electron transfer phenomenon that can be probed toward the assay of key in-vivo/ex vivo/in situ metabolite concentrations and, or their mechanistic investigations. Broadly called Biosensors aka bio-electro-analytical chemistry, and as evident by its proliferation of published scholarships, patents and technology transfers of the past few decades, this exciting discipline is poised to immeasurably impact the monitoring of key ultra-trace substances of clinical, environmental, forensic, industrial, or medical significance in complex matrices. Hence, the concept of implantable array of such micro-sensors coupled with pharmaceutical micro reservoirs to monitor the levels of key metabolites for optimal homeostasis in human body, is not any longer a science fiction but rather, a pleasant reality attainable on the horizon!
Quantum Spacetime, History and Philosophy of Physics
Professor Garakani is a theoretical physicist who works on developing a unified quantum theory for gravity and spacetime. His approach is based on Segal's idea of algebraic simplicity (specifically, focusing on semi-simple Lie algebras and Clifford algebras) which was further applied to spacetime structures by David Finkelstein. Professor Garakani also studies issues in history and philosophy of contemporary physics, concentrating on foundation of quantum theory.