Kesete Ghebreyessus, Ph.D.

Kesete Ghebreyessus

B.S. Chemistry, University of Asmara, Asmara, Eritrea
M.S. Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Clark Atlanta University
Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry, University of Nevada-Reno
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Iowa State University 

Phone: (757) 727-5475
E-mail: kesete.ghebreyessus@hamptonu.edu

Dr. Kesete Ghebreyessus is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research interests are in the design and synthesis of functional organometallic materials, and biological applications of organometallic complexes. He is involved in the second research project-Trust I of the PREM program 

Research Interests

Organometallic chemistry, Bioinorganic chemistry, Materials chemistry, Catalysis
The main focus of our research interests are in ligand design, synthetic organometallic chemistry, and materials chemistry with an emphasis on the synthesis of metal complexes with potential applications in catalysis, and as therapeutic agents. In one of our research projects, we are exploring the design, and synthesis of new ruthenium based compounds containing ligands modified with fluorescent chromophores, study their solution chemistry, and investigating their reactivity with DNA model nucleobases. We are also exploring the potential of the fluorescent properties of the ligands for the synthesis and development of photoactivated metal based therapeutic agents. Fluorescent properties of the ligands also offer the potential for following complexes reactivity with biomolecules or in catalytic applications. The second project involves the synthesis and characterization of ionic liquid functionalized mesoporous and nanoporous silica materials with potential application in catalysis, separation, and the synthesis of luminescent lanthanide compounds. 

Professional Experiences

  • 2005 - present Assistant Professor, Hampton University, Department of Chemistry
  • 2003 - 2005 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Iowa State University
  • 1998 - 2003 Research/teaching assistant, University of Nevada-Reno
  • 1996 - 1998 Research/teaching assistant, Clark Atlanta University

Teaching Experiences

  • Assistant Professor: 2005-present Hampton University
  • Instructor: undergraduate general chemistry for science majors Iowa State University Ames, IA Fall term 2004
  • 1998-2003: Teaching assistant, introductory general chemistry and advanced inorganic chemistry lab courses,  University of Nevada-Reno, NV.
  • 1996-1998: Teaching assistant, introductory general chemistry lab courses, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA. 

Professional Societies

  • American Chemical Society (2000 - present)
  • American Chemical Society (2000-present)
  • American Chemical Society Inorganic Division (2000-present)
  • American Chemical Society Hampton roads local section (2005-present) 

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding performance on graduate research award Department of Chemistry, University of Nevada-Reno (2003)
  • Special recognition and award for participating in a student poster competition, US department of Energy (1998) 

Presentations

  • Peralta, A.; Paranawithana, S.; Katdare, M. Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "DNA-Binding and Cytotoxicity Studies of Naphthalimide-Tagged Ruthenium(II)-Arene Complexes" presented at the 19th School of Science Research Symposium (April 18, 2014).
  • Peralta, A.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "Ruthenium(II)-Arene Complexes with Naphthalimide-Tagged Chelating Ligands: synthesis and DNA-Binding Studies"  the 18th School of Science Research Symposium (April 19, 2013).
  • Peralta, A.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "Ruthenium(II)-Arene Complexes with Naphthalimide-Tagged Chelating Schiff Base Ligands: synthesis and DNA-Binding Studies" presented at the 64th Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS, Raleigh, NC, (November 14-17, 2012).
  • Green, L.; Hommerich, U.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "Synthesis and Characterization of Yb3+/Er3+ co-doped LaF3 nano-crystals with green-upconversion fluorescence" the 14th  School of Science Research Symposium Hampton University (April, 10, 2009).
  • Green, L. N.; Hommerich, U.; Brown, E. E.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "Synthesis and Characterization of Yb3+/Er3+ co-doped LaF3 nano-crystals with green-upconversion fluorescence" the 66th southwest and 62nd southeast of the ACS Regional Meeting in New Orleans, LA (December 1-4, 2010).
  • Green, L. N.; Hommerich, U.; Brown, E.  E.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y.  "Synthesis and Characterization of Yb3+/Er3+ co-doped LaF3 nano-crystals with green-upconversion fluorescence in DMSO" the 16th School of Science Research Symposium Hampton University with first place award (February 18, 2011).
  • Green, L. N.; Hommerich, U.; Brown, E. E..; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. "Synthesis and Characterization of Yb3+/Er3+ co-doped LaF3 nano-crystals with green-upconversion fluorescence in DMSO"  Emerging Research National (ERN) Conference with first place award (April, 2011).
  • Houston, K.; Ghebreyessus, K.  "Partial separation of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Methyl Esters in Biodiesel using Ionic Liquids using silica gel as an adsorbent" the 13th School of Science Research Symposium Hampton University (February 23, 2008).
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Schiltz, H.; Angelici, R. J. "Separation of Fatty Acids in Vegetable Oils: Binding of Unsaturated Fatty Acid Methyl Esters to Palladium", presented at the Bio-based Industry Outlook Conference at Iowa State University Extension, Ames Iowa, (March 7, 2004).
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.;  Angelici, R. J. "Equilibrium studies of the binding of fatty acid methyl esters to Palladium(II)", presented at the 228th ACS national meeting, Philadelphia, PA, (August 22-26, 2004).
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H. "Base promoted hydroalkylation reactions of mesitylene, cymene, durene,  hexamethyl benzene, paraxylene, and toluene ligands coordinated to ruthenium(II)", presented at the 219th ACS national meeting, San Francisco, CA, (March 26-30, 2000).
  • Ghebreyessus,  K. Y.; Ingram, W. C. "Catalyst design for the upgrading of heavy gas oil under Mild-Hydrocracking Conditions", presented at the 6th annual HBCU meeting, Ocean City MD, (Aril 27-29, 1998). 

Publications

  • Peralta, A.; Ghebreyesus, K.   (abstract) "Ruthenium(II)-Arene Complexes with Naphthalimide-Tagged Chelating Schiff Base Ligands: synthesis and DNA-Binding Studies"  Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS (2012).
  • Ghebreyessus , K. Y. (abstract): "Ruthenium(II)-arene complexes incorporating 1,8-naphthalimide modified N,N-chelating ligands". ACS National Meeting (2010).
  • Green, L. N.; Hommerich, U.; Brown, E. E.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y. (abstract) "Synthesis and Characterization of Yb3+/Er3+ co-doped LaF3 nano-crystals with green-upconversion fluorescence" the 66th southwest and 62nd southeast of the ACS Regional Meeting in New Orleans, LA  (2010).
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Angelici, R. J., "Isomerizing-hydroboration of the monounsaturated fatty acid ester methyl oleate", Organometallics, 25 (2006) 3040-3044.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Schiltz, H.; Angelici, R. J., "Partial Separation of polyunsaturated fatty acid esters from FAME mixtures by adsorption of silver nitrate-impregnated silica gel", J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc., 83 (2006) 645-652.
  • Ghebryessus, K. Y.; Ellern, A.; Angelici, R. J., "Equilibrium studies of the binding of unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters to palladium (II)", Organometallics 24 (2005) 1725-1736.
  • Ingram, C. W.; Ghebreyessus, K. Y., "Catalytic and selective behavior of MeAPO-36 in the mild hydrocracking of heavy gas oil", Per. Am. Chem. Soc., Pet. Div. 49 (2004) 92-97.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H., "Synthesis of enantiomerically pure P-chiral (n6-arene)ruthenium(II) complexes using enantiomerically pure ortho-metallated palladium(II) amine complexes", Organometallics, 22 (2003) 2977-2980.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H. "Conformationally rigid arene-ruthenium(II) complexes as catalyst for the transfer hydrogenation of ketones", J. Oganomet. Chem. 669 (2003) 48-56.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H., "Reactions of [(h6-Me6C6)RuCl2 (Ph2PCH=CH2)] with 1-ethynylcycloalkanols leading to methoxy-alkenyl carbenes via vinylvinylidene and allenylidene intermediates", Inorg. Commun. 6 (2003) 1044-1047.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H., "(h6-arene)ruthenium(II) complexes with hemilabile h3-dicyclohexylvinylphosphine (DCVP) and h3-diphenylvinyl phosphine (DPVP) phosphaallyl ligands: Formation of an expected trinuclear complex", Synth. React. Inorg. Met.-Org. Chem. 33 (2003) 1329-1349.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H., "Carbene and isocyanide ligation at ruthenium(II) with tethered phosphinopropylarene ligands", Inorg. Chim. Acta 350 (2003) 12-24.
  • Ghebreyessus, K. Y.; Nelson, J. H., "Synthesis and characterization of tethered arsinopropylarene-ruthenium(II) complexes", organometallics 21 (2002) 1727-1733.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Nelson, J.H. "Base promoted hydroalkylations reactions of mesitylene, cymene, durene, hexamethylbenzene, paraxylene, and toluene ligands coordinated to ruthenium(II)", Organometallics 19 (2000) 3387. 

Workshops and Seminars

  • Chemistry Information and proposal development worship sponsored by QEM and NSF. Baltimore,   MD (January 14-15, 2011).
  • NIST-UMD Chemical Sciences Symposium and workshop organized through the Science and Engineering Alliance (SEA) Gaithersburg, MD, (October 8-9, 2008).
  • Student professional development workshop for STEM faculty at grantee institutions in the NSF's HBCU-UP program sponsored by QEM and NSF. New Orleans, LA, (June 6-7, 2008).
  • Seminar: "Modifying the Fatty Acid Ester Composition and Structure of Soybean oil-Based Biodiesel: Separation and Catalytic Conversion", George Mason University, Department of Chemistry, Fairfax, VA 22030, Department Seminar, (October 25, 2007).
  • Proposal development workshop for the NSF major research instrumentation program sponsored by QEM and NSF. Baltimore, MD, (October 27-28, 2006).
  • Proposal development workshop for the NSF Faculty Early Career Development program sponsored by QEM and NSF. Memphis, TN, (February 10-11, 2006). 

Research Grant and Mentoring 

Hampton University Faculty Research Fund (2013- )
Ruthenium(II)-Arene Complexes with Naphthalimide-Tagged Ligands as Potential Anticancer Agents. The overall goal of the research activities is to design and synthesize new ligands that possess specific features to enhance target specificity and improve the overall efficacy of ruthenium based therapeutic agents. Specifically, with the aim of improving the specificity of ruthenium(II)-arene complexes towards DNA, we are exploring the synthesis of multifunctional ligands whose DNA binding properties can be reversibly switched upon irradiation with light.

Co-PI: US-Army Research Grant (2014-2015)
Purchase of Microwave Reactors for Implementation of Small-scale Microwave-accelerated Organic Chemistry Laboratory Program in the Undergraduate Curriculum and Synthetic Chemistry Research at Hampton University. The main goal of this instrument acquisition is to improve product yield and synthetic efficiency of the proposed ligand design and metal complexes by using microwave irradiation.

Senior-Personnel: CREST-center Grant (NSF) (2011-2016)
Participates as senior personnel in the NSF-supported CREST center in student training and research Research supplies for the design and synthesis of chromophoric ligands is provided.

Co-PI: NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant (2007-2010)
Acquisition of a 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer for Research in Organic Materials and Student Training 

Mentoring Undergraduate Students in Research

Supervising and mentoring undergraduate students in my area of research.

  • Kaiulani Houston (graduated in 2008). Now graduate student at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (pursuing Ph.D. studies in Biological Chemistry). Dissertation defense date June 20, 2014
  • Shanwnta Lloyd (graduated in 2009) pursing public health studies at Emory University.
  • Leopold Green (graduated in 2011). Now graduate student at the University of California Riverside (pursing Ph.D. studies in Biomedical Engineering).
  • Ashley Peralta (graduated in 2014). She will be attending graduate school at Virginia Tech (pursing Ph.D. studies in Bioinorganic Chemistry)
  • Jada Henderson (current undergraduate student)