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Albers wins ACS organic chemistry fellowship

Aaron Albers
Aaron Albers

September 10, 2007

Aaron Albers, a graduate student in the research group of Chris Chang, has been selected to receive the Emmanuil Troyansky Fellowship of the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry.

Albers won the fellowship for his research on the use of fluorescent probes to monitor levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), mercury and other reactive chemicals inside of living cells

Hydrogen peroxide is a major reactive oxidative stress byproduct in living organisms and a common biological marker for oxidative stress. “Many diseases associated with human aging, including such debilitating human afflictions as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, have a strong oxidative stress component,” says Albers.

However, little is known about the particular mechanistic details concerning intracellular H2O2 generation and function. “Fluorescent probes are ideally suited to map the distribution of H2O2 in a cellular environment due to the high degree of resolution achievable with such reagents,” says Albers.

Hydrogen peroxide has become better known in the media recently as a component of explosives manufactured by terrorist organizations. “Hydrogen peroxide sensors could also be useful for detecting trace amounts of the chemical for security purposes,” Albers adds.

Albers was born and raised in Aberdeen, SD, a town with a population of about 24,000, in a region known for its hot summers and cold winters—record-setting temperatures there span the range from minus 45 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

He departed for a more temperate region—San Diego—where he was stationed for eight years (1992-2000) as a quartermaster and rescue swimming instructor with the U.S. Navy.

Albers completed his B.S. in chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego in 2002. Before coming to UC Berkeley in 2004, Albers worked in the San Diego biotech industry at Immusol and Pfizer Global Research and Development.

This ACS fellowship includes a stipend of $24,000 for the 2007-08 academic year.

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