Submitted by Marco Messina / University of Delaware on Sun, 03/03/2024 - 09:13
My Notes

This literature discussion was created on invitation as part of a broad collection of learning objects celebrating Spring 2024 ACS award winners conducting research in Inorganic Chemistry. This learning object is in celebration of Prof. Christopher J. Chang being awarded the Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic Chemistry "for advances in chemical sensor platforms to enable the determination of how metals function in biological systems and to decipher their signaling roles."

This learning object asks students to peer review and/or answer guiding question about one (or more) of the following papers from Prof. Chang's lab (links are included below under Web Resources):

Pezacki, A. T.; Matier, C. D.; Gu, X.; Kummelstedt, E.; Bond, S. E.; Torrente, L.; Jordan-Sciutto, K. L.; DeNicola, G. M.; Su, T. A.; Brady, D. C.; Chang, C. J. “Oxidation state-specific fluorescent copper sensors reveal oncogene-driven redox changes that regulate labile copper(II) pools” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2022, 119, e2202736119.

Dodani, S. C.; He, Q.; Chang, C. J. “A turn-on fluorescent sensor for detecting nickel in living cells” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 18020-18021.

Que, E. L.; Gianolio, E.; Baker, S. L.; Wong, A. P.; Aime, S.; Chang, C. J. “Copper-responsive magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 8527-8536.

Que, E. L.; Chang, C. J. “A smart magnetic resonance contrast agent for selective copper sensing” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 15942-15943.

Zeng, L.; Miller, E. W.; Pralle, A.; Isacoff, E. Y.; Chang, C. J. “A selective turn-on fluorescent sensor for imaging copper in living cells” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 10-11.

Learning Goals

After completing this assignment students should:

  • Have an understanding and appreciation of the scientific peer-review process.
  • Understand hard-soft acid-base theory and its application in sensor development.
  • Learn specific spectroscopic (NMR, UV-Vis, Fluorescence) tools used in the studies.
  • Gain an appreciation for the roles that transition metals play in biological processes.
  • Gain an appreciation for cross-disciplinary research and the importance of reading broadly.
Implementation Notes

Though this LO has not yet been implemented, I have performed similar literature discussions on other concepts as an exercise in the peer-review process. The assigned questions can be used to guide the students through the material and to ensure mastery of fundamental concepts.

Students may be placed in small groups and each group is assigned one of the manuscripts. Each group is asked to submit a peer-review of the manuscript for grading. Typically, peer-review summaries are about a paragraph to one page in length, though this is not strict.

The peer review should include the following:

1. A short summary of the work performed in the article and any interesting scientific advances. In this summary, you can also include your overall view of the article. You can note any strengths and weaknesses. The last sentence should be your recommendation to the editor (ie. publish as is, publish with minor revisions, or reject).

2. A point-by-point critique of specific issues that the authors should address. This may include feedback on experimental rigor, figure clarity, and/or the overall flow of the manuscript.

3. A rating of either Low, Medium, High, or Very High in the categories of Significance, Novelty, Broad Interest, and Scholarly Presentation.

4. A Yes or No answer for the following questions: Are the conclusions adequately supported by the data? Are the literature references appropriate and correct?

In my course, I provide an example of a peer-review summary I have received so that the students have a model to follow. The students are also directed to the ACS Review Lab website ( for additional information if needed, though they are not required to complete the course.

After students have completed this assignment, the groups will present to the class their opinions for discussion.

Another option for this literature discussion is to simply assign one or a couple of the papers to each student and have them complete the guiding questions for grading. The guiding questions are broad enough to be applied to each paper and instructors should feel free to edit the questions as necessary.

Time Required
1 hour
Evaluation Methods

The instructor may choose to grade both the guiding questions and the peer-review. Additionally, open discussion of the peer-review offers an opportunity for the instructor to assess knowledge mastery.

Evaluation Results

This LO has not yet been implemented.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA