Monmouth / Academics / Faculty Profile

Audra G. Sostarecz

Academic Biography:
I have known that I wanted to be a chemistry professor since my sophomore year in high school when I began an independent research project with my chemistry teacher. I did a three-year project centered on the investigation of the effectiveness of sunscreens and I was fortunate to be able to present my results at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. My goal, when I started college at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, was to be a chemistry professor at a liberal arts college. Monmouth College is central to its liberal arts mission and the students and faculty are very integrated in the learning process. I truly enjoy seeing students learn and this happens most easily through active learning in the classroom which is possible with the small class sizes we offer. It is great to teach classes like the freshman Introduction to Liberal Arts where I am able to see 18 students grow intellectual in one semester through classroom discussions. I also enjoy teaching the non-majors courses such as Forensic Science where I have an opportunity to share the use of chemistry in the everyday world. Lastly, at Monmouth College, I am able to teach not only in the classroom but also in the research lab. It is the best feeling to know that past research students of mine are now in graduate school or working in industry and that their research experience was an important part of this process.

Research Interests:
The scientific research in my lab focuses on understanding biological processes through chemical molecular interactions. In my research lab, we use model cellular membrane systems known as Langmuir monolayers and liposomes to investigate both human cellular membranes and bacterial cellular membranes.

The projects that are carried out in my research lab are quite vast and involve the investigation of the following:

1. The use of new antibacterial molecules in combating cystic fibrosis.

2. The ability to establish a better drug delivery system for the acne drug Accutane® to avoid damage of the kidneys in drug delivery.

3. The mechanism behind the use of vanadium complexes as insulin mimics since these new forms of insulin would be able to be taken in pill form as opposed to injections.

4. The proof that cholesterol forms “rafts” in cells that are vehicles of transport for proteins to use to replicate viruses such as those related to Alzheimer’s Disease and HIV.

5. The investigation into the antibacterial effects of essential oils.

6. The analysis of all our model membrane systems with Atomic Force Microscopy.

Langmuir monolayers afford us the ability to systematically research the above diseases through the investigation of molecular interactions. For example, how do antibacterial molecules interact with the bacterial membrane in order to thin the lung mucus in cystic fibrosis patients and how do insulin mimics interact with the cellular membrane in order to increase glucose uptake in diabetic patients.

*Some of the above projects involve collaborations with faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Colorado State University.

Selected Research and/or Creative Work:
Selected Publications

A. G. Sostarecz, E. Gaidamauskas, S. Distin*, S. J. Bonetti, N. E. Levinger and D. C. Crans, “Correlation of insulin enhancing properties of vanadium dipicolinate complexes in model membrane systems: Phospholipid Langmuir Monolayers and AOT reverse micelles,” Chemistry – A European Journal, 20, 5149-5159 (2014).

M. C. Sostarecz and A. G. Sostarecz, “A Conceptual Approach to Limiting Reagents”, J. Chem. Educ., 89 (9), pp 1148–1151 (2012).

K. A. Woll, E. J. Schuchardt, C. R. Willis, C. D. Ortengren, N. Hendricks*, M. Johnson*, E. Gaidamauskas, B. Baruah, A. G. Sostarecz, D. R. Worley, D. W. Osborne, and D. C. Crans, “Gel Formulation Containing Mixed Surfactant and Lipids Associating with Carboplatin,” Chemistry and Biodiversity, 8(12), 2195-2210 (2011).

R. Bucki, A. G. Sostarecz, J. Byfield, P. B. Savage, and P. A. Janmey, “Resistance of the Antibacterial Agent Ceragenin CSA-13 to Inactivation by DNA or F-actin, and its Activity in Cystic Fibrosis Sputum”, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 60(3), 535-545 (2007).

C. M. McQuaw, A. G. Sostarecz, L. Zheng, A. G. Ewing, and N. Winograd, “Investigating Lipid Interactions and the Process of Raft Formation in Cellular Membranes Using TOF-SIMS”, Appl. Surf. Sci. 252, 6716-66718 (2006).

C. M. McQuaw, A. G. Sostarecz, L. Zheng, A. G. Ewing, and N. Winograd, “Lateral Heterogeneity of Dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine-Cholesterol Langmuir-Blodgett Films Investigated with Imaging Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and Atomic Force Microscopy”, Langmuir 21(3), 807-813 (2005).

A. G. Sostarecz, C. M. McQuaw, A. Wucher, and N. Winograd, “Depth Profiling of Langmuir-Blodgett Films with a Buckminsterfullerene Probe”, Anal. Chem. 76(22), 6651-6658 (2004).

A. G. Sostarecz, C. M. McQuaw, A. G. Ewing, and N. Winograd, “Phosphatidylethanolamine-Induced Cholesterol Domains Chemically Identified with Mass Spectrometric Imaging”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126(43), 13882-13883 (2004).

A. G. Sostarecz, D. M. Cannon, Jr., C. M. McQuaw, S. Sun, A. G. Ewing, and N. Winograd, “Influence of Molecular Environment on the Analysis of Phospholipids by Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry”, Langmuir 20(12), 4926-4932 (2004).

A. G. Sostarecz, S. Sun, C. Szakal, A. Wucher, and N. Winograd, “Depth Profiling Studies of Multilayer Films with a C60+ Ion Source”, Appl. Surf. Sci. 231-232, 178-182 (2004).

Selected Presentations

A. G. Sostarecz, "The Importance of Writing in the Sciences and Designing a Writing Course on a Limited “Budget”, Monmouth College, Spring 2015

A. G. Sostarecz, “The Structure-Function Relationship: Importance of Molecular Interactions in Cellular Membranes Investigate with Langmuir Monolayers”, The 243rd National American Chemical Society Meeting, March 2012. (accepted to give a talk)

A. G. Sostarecz, “The Structure-Function Relationship: Importance of Molecular Interactions in Cellular Membranes”, Monmouth College, Fall 2011 (talk)

A. G. Sostarecz “Langmuir Monolayers: A Systematic Investigation of Molecular Interactions in Biological Systems”, Colorado State University, May 2011 (invited talk)

A. G. Sostarecz and J. Eary “STEM Classes at Monmouth College’s College for Kids: a Report”, AAUW: Monmouth College Branch, Fall 2010 (invited talk)

A. G. Sostarecz, M. Tucker, and L. Moore “Women in Science”, AAUW: Monmouth Branch, Fall 2010 (invited talk)

A. G. Sostarecz, “Langmuir Monolayers for the Invesitgation of the Molecular Interactions Involved in the Indulin-enhancing Effect of Vanadium Dipicolanto Complexes”, Gordon Research Conference on Metals in Medicine, Proctor Academy, June 2010.

A. G. Sostarecz, “Langmuir Monolayers for the Analysis of Membrane Lipid Interactions”, Gordon Research Conference on Bacterial Cell Surfaces, Colby-Sawyer College, June 2008.

A. G. Sostarecz, “Langmuir Monolayers for the Analysis of Membrane Structure”, The 42nd Midwest Regional American Chemical Society Meeting, November 2007.

A. G. Sostarecz, “Langmuir Monolayers for the Analysis of Membrane Structure” , Kent State University Colloquium, Kent, OH, March 2007.

Courses Taught:
CHEM 100 Chemistry of the Environment
CHEM 102 Forensic Science
CHEM 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis
CHEM 220L Quantitative Chemical Analysis Lab
CHEM 340 Instrumental Analysis
CHEM 325 Integratd Lab
INTG 101 Introduction to Liberal Arts

B.S. Muhlenberg College 1998
Ph.D. Penn State University 2004
Post Doc University of Pennsylvania 2006

Contact Info:
Office: Rm 356 Ctr for Sci & Busi