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NQPI Seminar | Chemistry of Useful Destruction, Sept. 29

The Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute (NQPI) 's Seminar Forum series presents Benjamin Bythell discussing Chemistry of Useful Destruction” on Sept. 29 at 4:10 p.m. in Walter 245.


Bythell is associate professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Ohio University.


Abstract: My research directly addresses identification of chemical structure. I strive to understand the structure, reactivity, and gas-phase behavior of biologically-, medically-, forensically-, and industrially-important chemicals. Fundamentally, chemical structure determines the properties and potential functions of any given chemical. Thus, by accurately determining the chemical structure of unknown chemicals we can then determine their specific function(s). I use a combination of analytical, computational, and biophysical chemistry techniques in my research. I utilize tandem mass spectrometry, separations, and spectroscopy coupled with regiospecific labelling. I develop methods for improved chemical characterization based on superior understanding of the key gas-phase chemistries involved in the diagnostic fragmentation of the relevant analyte ions. In tandem mass spectrometry-based approaches to chemical identification, each collection of fragment ions is characteristic of the specific precursor ion structure(s). We leverage our understanding of the gas-phase chemistry to enable identification of the precursor ion. Understanding the gas-phase chemistry comes from the application of targeted computational approaches coupled to the experimental work to model the molecular ion “destruction” (custom molecular dynamics, density functional and ab initio calculations, and kinetic modeling). My talk will address how the approach works, current successes, limitations, and prospects for the future.


Brief Biography

I received a MChem. from Bath University, UK in 2002 and a Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 2007. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany (2008-2010), and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University (2010-2013), I was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis (UMSL). I was granted tenure at UMSL and promoted to Associate Professor in early 2019, before accepting my current position in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ohio University. I re-acquired tenure at Ohio University in 2021. I have received grants from the ACS-PRF, NSF, and NIH. I am on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

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