Our Faculty

Aren Gerdon

Chair, Department of Chemistry and Physics; Associate Professor of Chemistry


Contact Information

617-735-9769

Gerdon Research Group


Office Hours

Office: Wilkens Science Center, Room 309-K

Fall 2014: Monday 12:30 - 2:30 pm, Tuesday 3:00 - 4:30 pm, Thursday 3:00 - 4:30 pm

Education

Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, Vanderbilt University; B.A., Chemistry, Hanover College


Bio

Chemistry is everywhere! Chemistry and chemicals make the paper (or screen) this is printed on brilliant white and the ink (or type) a deep black. It makes combustion engines run and chemical reactions are required in each step of our very complex digestive process. These molecular interactions have continually amazed me from the first time that I really learned about chemistry in high school. I believe that these exciting notions and my own excitement can get students in the door and on board with science. Understanding the principles behind everyday life is important, though there are other crucial skills that can be learned through chemistry. The most important skills that I have developed in my years as a chemistry student, laboratory researcher, and chemistry teacher are the abilities to think critically about all areas of science and to approach problem solving effectively. These skills have served me well in many aspects of life, from advanced laboratory research to understanding world issues. My philosophy is that chemists and all liberal arts students should be educated using real world examples that place an emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving. I believe that an undergraduate liberal arts education focusing in chemistry offers an ideal medium for the development of these skills and that critical thinking, not fact memorization, should be the focus of science education.

The Emmanuel Minute with Assistant Professor Aren Gerdon from Emmanuel College on Vimeo.

slideshowWhat I'm Working On


What I Love About Emmanuel:

I love that Emmanuel College embraces the liberal arts.  Chemistry majors put science in perspective through social analysis or moral reasoning while students focused on the humanities learn the importance of science in daily life.  The same is true for faculty members that work together to provide a learning environment without boundaries.

Courses I Teach

  • CHEM 1101 Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 1102 Principles of Chemistry II
  • CHEM 1103 Chemistry Perspectives
  • CHEM 2104 Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 2114 Chemistry of Fire and Explosives
  • CHEM 3108 Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHEM 4160 Senior Seminar

The Emmanuel Minute with Assistant Professor Aren Gerdon from Emmanuel College on Vimeo.


Publications + Presentations

PUBLICATIONS

  • Vasconcellos, K.B.; McHugh, S.M.; Dapsis, K.J.; Petty, A.R.; Gerdon, A.E. "Biomimetic nanoparticles with polynucleotide and PEG mix-monolayers enhance calcium phosphate mineralization" J. Nanoparticle Res. 2013, 15, 1942.
  • Ngourn, S.C.; Butts, H.A.; Petty, A.R.; Anderson, J.E.; Gerdon, A.E. "Quartz Crystal Microbalance Analysis of DNA‐templated Calcium Phosphate Mineralization" Langmuir 2012, 28, 12151‐12158.
  • Simpson, C.A.; Huffman, B.J.; Gerdon, A.E.; Cliffel, D.E. "Unexpected Toxicity of Monolayer Protected Gold Clusters Eliminated by PEG‐Thiol Place Exchange Reactions" Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2010, 23, 1608‐1616.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Csordas, A.; Adams, J.D.; Qian, J.; Oh, S.S.; Xiao, Y.; Soh, H.T. "Detection of Proteins in Serum Via Micromagnetic Aptamer PCR (MAP) Technology" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, 112, 365-368.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Oh, S.S.; Hsieh, K.; Ke, Y.; Yan, H.; Soh, H.T. "Controlled Delivery of DNA Origami on Patterned Surfaces" Small 2009, 5, 1942-1946.
  • Lou, X.: Qian, J.; Xiao, Y.; Viel, L.; Gerdon, A.; Lagally, E.; Atzberger, P.; Tarasow, T.; Heeger, A.; Soh, H. "Micromagnetic Selection of Aptamers in Microfluidic Channels" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2009, 106, 2989-2994.
  • Deravi, L.F.; Gerdon, A.E.; Cliffel, D.E.; Wright, D.W.; Sumerel, J.L. "Output Analysis of Materials Inject Printer" Appl. Phys. Lett. 2007, 91, 113114.
  • Gies, A.P.; Hercules, D.M.; Gerdon, A.E.; Cliffel, D.E. "Electrospray Mass Spectrometry Study of Tiopronin Monolayer-Protected Gold Nanoclusters" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 1095-1104.
  • Sumerel, J.; Lewis, J.; Doraiswamy, A.; Deravi, L.F.; Sewell, S.L.; Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W.; Narayan, R.J. "Piezoelectric ink jet processing of materials for medical and biological applications" Biotechnol. J. 2006, 1, 976-987.
  • Yu, S-J.; Liao, H-X.; Gerdon, A.E.; Huffman, B.J.; Scearce, R.M.; McAdams, M.; Alam, S.M.; Popernack, P.; Sullivan, N.; Wright, D.W.; Cliffel, D.E.; Nabel, G.; Haynes, B.F. "Detection of Human and Non-human Primate Ebola Virus Envelope Using Monoclonal and Polyclonal Antibodies in ELISA, Surface Plasmon Resonance, and a Quartz Crystal Microbalance Immunosensor" J. Vir. Methods 2006, 137, 219-228.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W.; Cliffel, D.E. "Epitope Mapping of the Protective Antigen of B. Anthracis Using Nanoclusters Presenting Conformational Peptide Epitopes." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 594-598.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W.; Cliffel, D.E. "Hemagglutinin Linear Epitope Presentation on Monolayer-Protected Nanoclusters Elicits Strong Antibody Binding." Biomacromolecules 2005, 6, 3419-3424.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W.; Cliffel, D.E. "Quartz Crystal Microbalance Characterization of Nanostructure Assemblies in Biosensing" in Characterization Tools for Nanosystems in Life Sciences, 1st Ed, Kumar, C. Ed, Wiley-VCH: New York, 2005, 109-144.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W.; Cliffel, D.E. "Quartz Crystal Microbalance Detection of Glutathione-Protected Nanoclusters Using Antibody Recognition." Anal. Chem. 2005, 77, 304-310.

PRESENTATIONS

  • Gerdon, A.E. "Chemistry for the developing world: Senior seminar at an undergraduate institution", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; CHED Presentation.
  • Gerdon, A.E. "Identifying and Analyzing DNA Aptamers for Calcium Phosphate Mineralization", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; ANYL Poster.
  • Gerdon, A.E. "Freshman join the team: Research in the General Chemistry lab", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; CHED Presentation.
  • Connelly, C.P.; Gerdon, A.E. "Surface Immobilization of Amorphous Calcium Phosphate for Protein Affinity Studies", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; ANYL Poster.
  • Conklin, G.; Gerdon, A.E. "Quartz Crystal Microbalance Integrated with Microfluidics and Optical Microscopy for Improved Study of Mineralization Kinetics", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; ANYL Poster.
  • Faulkner, S.; Watson, S.; Gerdon, A.E. "Selection and analysis of DNA biomimetic templates for the mineralization of hydroxyapatite", Abstracts of Papers, 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, 2014; INORG Poster.
  • Perrone, V.; Gerdon, A.E. "Calcium phosphate mineralization using nanoparticle templates as a research lab for undergraduate students", Abstracts of Papers, 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dallas, TX, 2014; CHED Poster.
  • Leavitt, J.; Gerdon, A.E. "In silico investigation into the conformational effects of phosphorylation in amelogenin proteins", Abstracts of Papers, 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dallas, TX, 2014; CHED Poster.
  • Leavitt, J.D.; Cicuto, T.; Petty, A.; Gerdon, A.E. "Investigation of Amelogenin Affinity for Hydroxyapatite In Vitro and In Silico" Gamma Sigma Epsilon National Convention, Frostburg, MD, 2013.
  • Nagy, A.; Ste. Marie, E.; Tan, K.; Tuohy, M.; Gerdon, A.E. "Water Hardness and Heavy Metals in the Muddy River" Abstracts of Papers, 7th Annual Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Boston, MA, 2013; Poster Session Award.
  • Gerdon, A.E. "Biomineralization of Calcium Phosphate towards Strong Bones" Invited Presentation, Gloucester County College, Sewall, NJ, 2013.
  • Gerdon, A.E.; Ngourn, S.C.; Butts, H.A.; Petty, A.R.; Anderson, J.A. "Quartz Crystal Microbalance Analysis of DNA‐templated Calcium Phosphate Mineralization" Abstracts of Papers, 2013 Pittsburgh Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 2013; Materials Science 1850:5P.
  • Butts, H.; Conklin, G.; Gagnon, L.; Leavitt, J.; Gerdon, A.E. "Quantification of metal content in Muddy River water using EDTA Titration and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy" Abstracts of Papers, 6th Annual Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Boston, MA, 2012; Poster Session Award.
  • Ngourn, S.; Butts, H.; Petty, A.; Baratham, V.; Gerdon, A.E. "Analysis of calcium phosphate biomineralization through structural DNA templates" Abstracts of Papers, 4th Annual Northeast Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium, Biddeford, ME, 2012.
  • McHugh, S.; Vasconcellos, K.; Dapsis, K.; Petty, A.; Gerdon, A.E. "Monolayer‐protected gold nanocluster scaffolds for hydroxyapatite biomineralization" Abstracts of Papers, 242nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Denver, CO, 2011; COLL Poster.
  • Ngourn, S.; Butts, H.; Baratham, V.; Gerdon, A.E. "Hydroxyapatite biomineralization through structural DNA templates" Abstracts of Papers, 242nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Denver, CO, 2011; INOR Poster.
  • Turman, D.; Harbottle, A.; Carr, L.; Gerdon, A.E. "Pesticide Detection and Analysis of Muddy River Water" Abstracts of Papers, 5th Annual Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Boston, MA, 2011.
  • Sheldon, P.; Tong, B.; Gerdon, A.E.; Berger, M. "Determination of Heavy Metals Using X‐Ray Fluorescence: Greener Analytical Methods" Abstracts of Papers, 5th Annual Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Boston, MA, 2011; Poster Session Award.
  • Ngourn, S.; Landry, S.; Anderson, J.; Gerdon, A.E. "Identification of DNA structural motifs for hydroxyapatite binding and biomineralization" Abstracts of Papers, 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, MA, 2010; INOR Poster.
  • Kirschning, K.; Biagioli, J.; Gendron, L; Sheldon, P.; Ferguson, S.; Gerdon, A.E.; Ryvkin, F. "Analysis of heavy metals in Muddy River water samples" Abstracts of Papers, 4th Annual Muddy River Research Symposium, Colleges of the Fenway, Boston, MA, 2010; Poster Session Award.

Grants + Recognition

  • Gerdon, A.E. "RUI: Selection and Assessment of Biomimetic Templates for Mineralization", National Science Foundation, Research at Undergraduate Institutions, July 2013 - June 2016, Awarded: $240,086.
  • Gerdon, A.E. Instrumentation Grant, 2012 Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program, 2012, Awarded: $3,461.
  • Gerdon, A.E., Yamakoshi, Y., Fratzl, P., Beniash, E. (co‐investigators); Margolis, H.C. (principle investigator); "Matrix Protein Regulation of Enamel Mineral Formation", National Institute of Health, Recovery Act Administrative Supplement, August 2009 - July 2010, Awarded: $139,021 (total); $14,460 (Emmanuel College).

Research Fous

My research interests fall into three main areas: bioanalytical chemistry, biomineralization, and nanotechnology. I am primarily interested in taking analytical and chemical approaches to addressing challenges in these areas. I believe that these are three areas where significant challenges lay and where significant improvements can be made. Current projects in these areas are outlined below:

Templates for Improved Biomineralization of Hydroxyapatite. Biomaterials have been widely developed for use in a variety of healthcare applications, including biological implants and bone regeneration, though few have achieved clinical success due to the stringency of stability, toxicity, and bioactivity required. Hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2;HAP) is one biomaterial that has promise for success in this area and is therefore of great research interest. This is due to its close resemblance to the mineral phase of bone, its porosity, and excellent biocompatibility. In order to improve the success of HAP in biological devices, a fundamental understanding of biomineralization, including templated nucleation, quantitative kinetic analysis of precipitation, and control of crystallinity is required. New templates will be studied to improve the rate of biomineralization and sample crystallinity of hydroxyapatite. Reaction kinetics will be assessed quantitatively using quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). Research in this area of chemistry will expose students to kinetics, quantitative analysis, and bioinorganic concepts as well as require multidisciplinary work in biology and materials science.

Matrix Protein Regulation of Enamal Mineral Formation. This project is designed to study the structure and mechanism of formation of higher order assemblies of enamal matrix proteins and their influence on biomineralization in vivo. One protein of interest, related to enamal formation, is amelogenin. We will study the interaction of amelogenin with hydroxyapatite using Quartz Crystal Microbalance technology. This project is in collaboration with Henry Margolis at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Mass., and was previously currently funded by the National Institute of Health.

Metal Nanoparticle Synthesis, Characterization, and Application. The promise of nanotechnology continues to be touted and explored throughout the scientific community. One important material to emerge from this research is noble metal particles covered in a protective organic shell, known as monolayer protected clusters or MPCs. These nanoparticles, with diameters ranging from 0.5 to 50 nm, have been studied for their unique optical and electronic properties and have been used in applications ranging from batteries to vaccine development. In the realm of biochemistry, MPCs offer a unique scaffold on which to build biologically-relevant surfaces that have the potential to interface with the immune system, cellular systems, or other biomaterials. Our research will first focus on the synthesis, purification, and characterization of the particles. A particular challenge with MPCs is the size distribution that is common to the Brust synthetic approach. Once particles of appropriate diameter and quality are obtained we will look to study MPC effect on biomineralization and also to utilize MPCs as scaffolds for the design of protein mimics.