Victoria Volkis, Ph.D.

  •  
    Associate Professor 
    Department of Natural Science 
    Email:  vvolkis@umes.edu 
    Phone: (410) 651-6030.

     

    Education:

    • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
    • M.Sc. in Chemistry, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
    • B.A. in Chemical Technology, The Institute of Chemical Technology, 
      St. Petersburg, Russia

    Research:

    • Project 1:  Biocompatible Polymeric Sorbents for the Reversible Capturing of Carbon Dioxide
      Description: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an approach to minimize global warming by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources, such as power plants, and storing it instead of releasing it. Most of today’s methods for capturing CO2 utilize solid silica-based absorbents modified with amino-organic compounds. While solving the emission problem, this approach creates a new one: most modern CO2 absorbents are irreversible. As a result, once captured, CO2 is permanently linked to the absorbent, which is to be stored underground. Therefore, it is important to find methods for the reversible CO2 capturing in which CO2 can be released and utilized in another industrial process from the sorbent, and then the sorbent can be re-used. One such perspective is a bio-reactor producing fast growing biomass that can be easily transformed into ethanol fuel. Such application would require the absorbent to be not only reversible but also biocompatible. We currently work on samples of the natural and modified chitosan, pure or blended with modified polysulfone. Both of the polymers are biocompatible and are capable for wet CO2 chemo-sorption due to the presence of amino-groups. CO2 sorption happens at atmospheric pressure and room temperature. Applying deep vacuum at room temperature does not cause CO2 to release. However, under atmospheric pressure CO2 can be quickly released at temperatures as low as 45-50 °C. In addition, sorbent characterization before and after the CO2 capturing will be presented. 

    • Project 2. The Effect of Nitrogen Treatment On The Anthocyanin and Polyphenols Content of Aronia Melanocarpa Grown in Maryland
      Description: This project is in collaboration with Dr. Andrew G. Ristvey, University of Maryland Extension, Wye Research & Education Center, P.O. Box 169, Queenstown, MD  21658-0169. Black chokeberry or Aronia Melanocarpa is a small fruit-bearing shrub in the Rose family.  Its range is from Newfoundland, west to Ontario, south into Alabama and east to Georgia, and is hardy to zone 3. Aronia is a landscape quality plant with few pests and diseases and which persists in a variety of soils and temperate climatic conditions.  Because of this, it is an ideal candidate for organic fruit production.  The Aronia fruit has nutraceutical qualities, heightening its marketability and sales potential as a value added product. There is currently great interest in fruits and vegetables that contain high concentrations of flavonoids, considered potent antioxidants. Some recent studies have implicated the relationship between in-field plant nutrient fertility and antioxidant production in Aronia. We collect the data for antioxidant content of aronia melanocarpa as a function of different age, amount of time spent in the sun or shade, and nitrogen treatment levels of crops. We have shown that that the level of nitrogen treatment in the soil influence the antioxidant capacity significantly.  Detailed measurements and analysis of anthocyanin and polyphenols will be presented and discussed. The aim of the project is to determine the treatment that produces the highest capacity of antioxidants in Aronia.

    • Project 3. Biocompatible Polymeric Hooks for In-vivo Determination and Trapping of Free Radicals
      Description: Free radicals can be formed in living tissues under UV irradiation and/or when oxygen interacts with certain bio-molecules. Once formed these highly reactive particles are capable to start number of chain reactions involving living tissues. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. Physicians believe that free radicals in human blood can also lead to cancer. Currently it is very difficult to study free radicals in living tissues due to their short-lived life span. Mostly indirect methods focused on studying tissues affected by free radicals instead of direct observation and trapping of the latter. 
      We develop methods for the synthesis of biocompatible polymers based on polycyclic esters, in which fullerene C60, is chemically linked to the polymeric matrix. Fullerene is biocompatible and also known as a good radical scavenger capable to trap multiple small radicals from solutions.  In such a way, radical trapping from living tissues and blood can happen on the surface of biocompatible polymer which is in contact with physiological sample (for example as a filter built-in into infusion device) allowing in-vivo studying of free radicals effects. Alike pure fullerene C60 this biocompatible polymeric hook for free radicals may be used in tissues and physiological liquids in in-vivo experiments. Spot test rods or filter prepared from such polymers may be useful for studying of free radical formation in biomedical samples and in studying of antioxidant properties of some food additives, like for example lycopene and other carotenoids.

    Other research interests include:

    • Synthesis of biocompatible organometallic catalysts for ring opening and olefin polymerizations. Bridged dimeric boron clusters as potential ligands for such catalysts
    • Incorporation of boron clusters into polymers (nylons, polyurethanes and polycyclic acids) using methods of chemical polymerization.
    • Preparation of two and three dimensional polymer networks with substituted boron clusters incorporated using methods of chemical polymerization. Conductive wires and wire-type capacitors.
    • Chemical incorporation of flame retardants into polyolefins.
    • Herbal extracts for antifouling protection


    Professional Experience:

    • Assistant Professor of chemistry, Department of Natural ScienceSchool of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 2010 – till date
    •  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 2006 -2010
    • Assistant Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, The Technion – Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, 2001 – 2006
    • Assistant Lecturer, Department of Biology ,Faculty of Sciences and Science Education .University of Haifa – Oranim, 2005 - 2006
    • Postdoctoral Position, Department of Chemistry, The Technion – Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, 2001 – 2006

    Publications:

    7 patents, 37 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 1 book chapter, 20+ invited and contributed talks and about 40 poster presentations nationally and internationally.

    Select publications:

    • U. S. Patent application No 61/151,424 “Branched Homo Polymers Formed by Radical polymerization.” Josef Michl, Victoria Volkis. March 3d, 2009

    • U. S. Patent, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “Process for the Production of Stereoregular Polymers and Elastomers of α-olefins and Certain Novel Catalysts Thereof”, Moris S. Eisen, Victoria Volkis, Michal Shmulinson, Claudia Aberbuj and Edith Tish. Sept 30, 2003, No US 6,627,574B2

    • U. S. Patent, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “Process for the Production of Stereoregular Polymers and Elastomers of α-olefins and Certain Novel Catalysts Thereof”, Moris S. Eisen, Victoria Volkis, Michal Shmulinson, Claudia Aberbuj and Edith Tish. Nov 25, 2003, No US 6,653,413B1

    • ANDREW G. RISTVEY, SUDEEP MATHEW, BLESSING AROH2 AND VICTORIA VOLKIS . Effect of organic nitrogen rate on fruit yield, brix and other quality parameters in two cultivars of Aronia. Accepted to Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology

    • V. Volkis, R. Shoemaker, J. Michl. Highly Branched Polyisobutylene by Radical Polymerization under Li[CB11(CH3)12] Catalysis. Macromolecules2012, 45, 9250-9257

    • Fekadu Jiru, 1 Rajesha A. Kumar, 2 Arun M. Isloor, 2 and Victoria V. Volkis*1 Biocompatible Polymeric Blends for the Reversible Capturing of Carbon Dioxide. Polymer Preprints2012, PMCE-409

    • V. Volkis, C. Douvris and J. Michl. LiCB11Me12 catalyzed High-Temperature Cationic Polymerization of Isobutylene Induced by CB11Me12.  J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133(20), 7801-7809

    • Janata, M.; Vl_cek, P.; L_atalov_a, P.; Svit_akov_a, R.; Kaleta, J.;  Valasek, M.; Volkis, V.; Michl, J. J. Polym. Sci. A, Polym. Chem.: March 9, 2011.

    • Volkis, Victoria; Aharonovich, Sinai; Eisen, Moris S. Deuterium labeling and mechanistic insights in the polymerization of propylene promoted by benzamidinate complexes. Macromolecular Research 201018(10), 967-973

    • Clayton, J. R.; King, B. T.; Zharov, I.; Fete, M. G.; Volkis, V. and Michl, J. Dodecamethylcarba-closo-dodecaborate(-) Anion, CB11Me12-, and Dodecamethylcarba-closo-dodecaboranyl Radical, CB11Me12·, Inorganic Synth2010, 35, 56-63

    • Hua Mei, C. Douvris, V. Volkis and J. Michl. Radical Copolymerization of Isobutylene and Ethyl Acrylate with Li[CB11Me12]  catalyst. Macromolecules, 2011, 44, 2552-2558

    • V. Volkis and J. Michl. LiCB11Me12 catalyzed High-Temperature Cationic Polymerization of Isobutylene Induced by CB11Me12 ? In print. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 2011

    Honors and Awards:

    • 2012: First price for faculty oral presentation. 2012 UMES Research Symposium
    • 2004: “Best 16 Posters” nomination on 2nd COP Conference, Sorrento, Italy
    • 2001-2004: Israel Institute of Catalysis Fellowship
    • 2000: Teaching Award, Department of Chemistry, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Haifa. Israel
    • 1999: “The best poster award”, "Chemistry and Interfacial Phenomena in Polymers    and Plastics" - the Meeting of the Israeli Polymers and Plastics Society

    Professional Affiliations:

    • American Chemical Society member
    • Division of Polymer Chemistry member
    • Material Research Society

    Course List:

    • CHEM 211 Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 212 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM 213 Organic Chemistry Lab I
    • CHEM 214 Organic Chemistry Lab II
    • CHEM 498 Independent Study
    • CHEM 421 Instrumental Analysis
    • CHEM 432/632 Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • CHEM 499 Independent Research
    • CHEM 697 Graduate Chemistry Seminar
    • CHEM 799 Master Thesis

    Extension/Outreach Projects:

    • Aronia Twilight Tours. Wye Research and Education Center. UMD Extension. Queenstown, MD