Chemistry Professor to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Russian Academy of Sciences

From the March 2018 Desktop News | UA chemistry professor Dr. Michael Bowman is being honored for his leading-edge work at the N.N. Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry in Russia with an honorary doctorate.

The doctorate comes from Bowman’s ground-breaking work in pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and its applications to triarylmethyl, or trityl, radicals, which can be used to enhance the identification of tumors.

“EPR, or electron paramagnetic resonance, basically looks at unpaired electrons,” said Molly Lockhart, a chemistry PhD student mentored by Bowman. “These radicals are interesting because they are stable and they have narrow EPR lines.”

Once the unpaired electrons are discovered, Bowman and his team use the trityl radicals for dynamic nuclear polarization, or DNP. This technique is used in nuclear magnetic resonance as a signal agent.

“They have a long relaxation, which allows them to be a really effective polarizing agent,” said Lockhart. “All that means is that they boost MNR or MRI signal that much more. So they’re interesting in a lot of different places, because you can use more signal in any technique.”

Bowman and his team are particularly interested in the use of trityl radicals in EPR imaging in the discovery and identification of tumors.

“They’re used as contrast agents there,” said Bowman. “It’s kind of like an MRI technique. Right now it’s being used to look at tumors in rats and mice. Hopefully, they’re going to move onto human trials soon.”

This research on trityl radicals is being done at the N.N. Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry, located in the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk, Russia. Established in 1957, the Siberian Branch focuses on the priority trends of fundamental research and the integration of science and education, as well as the application of the research in industries in the Siberian region.

The honorary doctorate comes from this institution to recognize his transformative achievements, as well as his long-term collaborations with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Lockhart explained that she believes the honorary doctorate will improve relations with the Russian Academy of Sciences. She also hopes that it will allow more students to go visit and collaborate with the institute in order to further EPR research in many areas of study.