Physical Chemistry Seminar: Professor Nancy Levinger, Colorado State University

Nancy Levinger

Photo Credit: Andrea Starr, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Date Range
Tue April 18th 2023, 3:00 - 4:00pm
Sapp Center Auditorium 111

About the Seminar

Visualizing Cryoprotectant Permeation and Location Confined in Plant Cells and Tissues

In the Colorado winter, we are likely to see a conifer tree covered with snow. Ever wonder how the needles stay alive all winter long as the temperature dips below freezing? Like pine trees, some organisms possess molecules that naturally enable them to withstand cold. Scientists have copied nature to develop methodology to cryopreserve biological materials, storing them at low temperatures for future use. The first step in any cryopreservation protocol involves dosing the sample with a cocktail of cryopreservation agents, that is molecules that help them stay viable. Although we know what cryopreservation agents work for some samples, these solutions are not universally cryoprotective and the how these solutions protect cells and tissues from freezing damage remains elusive. The Levinger group has embarked on a project enlisting coherent Raman microscopy to explore how plant cryopreservation agents interact with plant cells and tissues. This presentation will highlight results showing precise times and locations of the cryoprotecting agents as they interact with living rice callus cells and mint shoot tips. We follow cryoprotecting molecules using as they interact with samples to measure how and why they work to protect materials at low temperatures.

About the Speaker

Nancy E. Levinger is a Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University where she holds a tenured faculty position in Chemistry and courtesy appointment in Electrical Computer Engineering. She earned B.A. degrees from Northwestern University in integrated science and physics where she began research in the lab of (the late) R. P. Van Duyne. Her Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from the University of Colorado working with W. C. Lineberger investigated spectroscopy and dynamics in large cluster ions.  As a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, she worked on ultrafast electron transfer dynamics with (the late) P. F. Barbara at the University of Minnesota.  Since joining the faculty at Colorado State University in 1992, her work has focused on dynamics of molecules in the condensed phase, especially water and molecular assemblies, molecules at liquid interfaces and in confined environments. She utilizes a broad range of techniques from ultrafast spectroscopies to NMR to neutron scattering to coherent Raman microscopy understand details for complex systems. She has published nearly 100 peer reviewed papers and presented more than 130 invited talks.  She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Chemical Society. She has contributed the science community with leadership roles in the ACS PHYS division executive committee, APS DCP as a councilor and on the executive board, AAAS on the chemistry division nominating committee, as president of Telluride Science, and most currently as the chair of the science advisory board for the IDREAM EFRC.

Levinger has a strong interest in educational issues, incorporating innovative teaching ideas to her courses and a proponent of involving students at all levels in research. Throughout her career, Levinger has also been a strong advocate for women in science.

Host: Michael Fayer