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  • Professor Nancy Levinger
    10/29/18 - 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

    Special Seminar: Professor Nancy E. Levinger

    Special Seminar

Sweet Confinement: Carbohydrate Osmolytes in Reverse Micelles

Confinement to nanoscopic proportions can have dramatic impact on the properties of materials. We explore the impact that soft nanoconfinement in reverse micelle has on water properties. This presentation will focus on the effects of water on carbohydrates and carbohydrates on water in reverse micelles. When introduced to reverse micelles, carbohydrates such as glucose, sorbitol, and trehalose result in smaller particles than those prepared with only water. Through a range of measurements we are developing a model to explain the reverse micelle size variations.  At the same time, we explore the impact of  carbohydrates on water in the reverse micelle nanoconfined environment, where we measure dramatic slowing of chemical exchange rates between carbohydrates hydroxyl groups and water. This presentation will discuss implications of these results for interfacial chemistry and implications for cryopreservation of cells.


Research in Professor Levinger's group has two main thrusts: dynamics of molecules in confined environments and fundamental processes governing cell cryopreservation. For many years, researchers have explored the role of nanoconfinement on the structure and dynamics of molecules in the condensed phase. They are particularly interested in learning how the heterogeneous environment at liquid interfaces influences molecules residing there and the resulting chemistry. A new thrust for the Levinger group explores how and why some cells can withstand freezing conditions that would normally kill them. This project aims to uncover how small molecules cross cell membranes, where they reside in cells, and how they protect cells from cold.

Professor Levinger

Professor Levinger earned her bachelor's degree with double majors in integrated science and physics from Northwestern University. As an undergraduate, she pursued research in the Van Duyne group at Northwestern and with Branka Ladanyi at Colorado State University. She earned her doctorate in chemical physics working with W. Carl Lineberger at the University of Colorado, Boulder. From 1990 to 1992, she performed research as a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow, working with Paul Barbara at the University of Minnesota. Levinger began her independent career at Colorado State University in 1992, rising through the ranks to professor in 2005. In 2007, she was named a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, one of the two highest honors given by Colorado State University. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society.

  • Event Details

    Location: Kate & Michael Bárány Conference Room (117/119 Smith Hall)
    Host: Professors Peter Carr, Aaron Massari, and Graduate Student Evan Anderson
    • Professor Nancy E. Levinger
    • Nancy Levinger
    • Department of Chemistry
    • Colorado State University
    • Fort Collins