Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry welcomes new faculty Erin Iski

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

E_Iski_ChemA native to Tulsa, Dr. Iski attended Tulsa Schools Public schools, including Booker T. Washington High School. For college, she began at Boston University, but transferred to the University of Tulsa for her sophomore and subsequent years of school. While at TU, Dr. Iski was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She was also active in research within the chemistry department and CSURP working with Dr. DiCesare, Dr. Roberts, and Dr. Potter. After graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2005, she attended Tufts University under the direction of Dr. Charles Sykes. While at Tufts, her research focused on the surface chemistry of large molecules on metal surfaces as studied with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM). Utilizing the powerful instruments in the Sykes Lab that were capable of low temperature scanning (down to 5K) and ultra-high vacuum conditions, Dr. Iski successfully published over 15 peer reviewed publications and graduated with a Ph.D. in 2011. One of the most recognized projects involved the first demonstration of a single molecule motor, which was reported in multiple news articles and in the Guinness Book of World Records. She then moved to Argonne National Lab for her post-doctoral work where she continued to focus on surface chemistry and STM, while also expanding her attention to graphene research. 

                The focus of the Iski research group at TU will be centered on the use of ambient, liquid Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) to study the self-assembly of amino acids on metal surfaces. This research field pertains to the origin of homochirality in biology, the preference for specific secondary structures of proteins, and the characterization of non-covalent supramolecular interactions. The use of ambient STM utilizes both the incredible molecular resolution of STM and the ability to apply the findings to real-world applications, since the data is obtained at ambient pressures and temperatures. The aim of the group is to develop strong interdisciplinary collaborations in a variety of fields such as nanoscience, engineering, and biochemistry, and to significantly engage with the TU Nanotechnology Institute. Students in the group will be trained in highly valuable scientific techniques, be exposed to groundbreaking science, and obtain results publishable in notable scientific journals. Dr. Iski will teach General Chemistry 1 this fall and Physical Chemistry 2 in the spring. Eventually, she plans to teach a graduate course in nanotechnology and/or surface chemistry. Additionally, Dr. Iski hopes to continue her outreach work in the Tulsa community.