Doctorate in Environmental Sciences

Seminar Series

The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program hosts a weekly seminar series during the academic year featuring presentations by individuals (students, faculty and invited guests) discussing their research within the environmental sciences. These presentations are free and open to the public.

Click here to view previous semester's seminar schedules.

Our Next Seminar:


Monday, 22 September 2014 - 4:00 pm - Room CP 350

Enhancing Immunomodulation Effect by Shape Transition Among RNA Triangle, Square, and Pentagon Nanovehicles

Dr. Emil Khisamutdinov,
Ball State University

RNA nanotechnology elaborates the modularity and constructability of RNA sequence at multiple structural levels (secondary, tertiary and quaternary) to rationally design of functional nanoparticles for variety applications including pharmacological, medical, biomaterial, and electronics. The RNA nanotechnology has become an emerging field and the development of new approaches for the manipulation of RNA biopolymers remains challenging yet critical nowadays.

In this report, we demonstrated an approach to construct RNA triangle, square, and pentagon by changing the length of one of the strands in polygon construction. Precise shape control is an intriguing but challenging task in nanoparticle fabrication. Changing of the length of one RNA strand induced stretching of the angle of the RNA three-way junction from 60° to 90° or 108°, resulting in self-assembly of elegant RNA triangular, square, and pentagonal polygons as revealed by AFM imaging. We demonstrated that when immunological adjuvant was incorporated into these RNA polygons, their immunomodulation effect was greatly enhanced in vitro and animals.

The resulting RNA nanoparticles based adjuvants noninvasively and efficiently enter macrophage cells avoiding the need for transfection agents. The degree of immunostimulation greatly depended on the size, shape, and number of payload per nanoparticles. With the increasing number of adjuvant per polygon, stronger immune response is observed, demonstrating the advantage of the transition of triangle into pentagon which can carry five adjuvant.

Download a flyer (PDF) for this presentation.

This Semester's Seminar Schedule:

Perdue Monday, 18 August, 2014
Dr. Michael Perdue,
Director Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program

"Introduction to the Seminar Series"

Monday, 25 August, 2014
Dr. Andrew Hunt,
US Geological Survey

"Application of Noble Gas Geochemistry to USGS Scientific Investigations"

Monday, 1 September, 2014

Labor Day - No Seminar


Monday, 8 September, 2014
Dr. William Richardson,
US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

“Quantitative Analysis of Fatty Acids: A Biochemical Tool to Evaluate Food Quality, Source and Animal Health”


Monday, 15 September, 2014
Dr. Randy Bernot,
Ball State University

“Body Snatching Parasites: What Are They and What Are They Doing to Our Aquatic Ecosystems?”

Monday, 22 September, 2014

Dr. Emil Khisamutdinov,
Ball State University

"Enhancing Immunomodulation Effect by Shape Transition Among RNA Triangle, Square, and Pentagon Nanovehicles."


Monday, 29 September, 2014

Dr. Zhihai Li,
Ball State University

“Atomic and Molecular Point of View on Environmental Protection and Surface Corrosion”


Monday, 6 October, 2014
Dr. Thomas Lauer,
Ball State University 

“Exotic Critters of our Great Lakes (and other places): Biological Pollution in Action”

Monday, 13 October, 2014
Dr. Michael Sukop

Seminar title pending.


Monday, 20 October, 2014

Fall Break - No Seminar


Monday, 27 October, 2014
Dr. Lee Florea,
Ball State University

“Rates of Inorganic Carbon Flux and Landscape evolution in the Karst Aquifers of the Appalachian Lowland Plateaus”

Monday, 3 November, 2014
Jason Doll, Candidate, Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program

"History and Management of Walleye (Sander vitreus) in Indiana Reservoirs"


*TUESDAY*, 11 November, 2014

Dr. Eric Roden,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Iron Isotope Fractionation by Microbial Iron Reduction in Modern and Ancient Sediments"


Monday, 17 November, 2014

Speaker to be determined.

Monday, 24 November, 2014

Speaker to be determined.


Monday, 1 December, 2014
Dr. Richard Fluegeman,
Ball State University

Seminar title pending.

  Monday, 8 December, 2014

Speaker to be determined.