Monday, March 6, 2017

Rizk Offers Insight into Graduate School

Last week, Professor Rizk gave a presentation titled "So you wanna go to grad school, eh?" at the request of the TriBeta and Biology-Chemistry Clubs.  Some of the items he discussed were ...
  • Why you might want to go to graduate school.
  • What tests to take now to prepare for applications.
  • When and where you should apply.
  • The timeline of a typical program.
  • The master degree option.
  • You get paid - up to $30,000 per year at some schools!

If you missed this talk and are interested in graduate school, please contact any of your professors for more information (we've all attended - and graduated!).

Friday, January 6, 2017

Muna to Research at Notre Dame

This semester Professor Grace Muna is taking a research sabbatical to work in Professor Lieberman's group at University of Notre Dame to develop electrochemical paper-based analytical devices that screen pharmaceutical drugs as contaminants in water samples. Muna has successfully recruited and trained IU South Bend students in her laboratory over the years, but now she lends her experience to another laboratory where she can learn a few new skills as well.
Electrochemical detection for paper analytical devices is attractive because it offers excellent attributes such as high sensitivity and selectivity while providing low detection limits of the target analyte compared to colorimetric detection. Paper-based electrochemical detection also requires inexpensive instrumentation and portable hand-held potentiostats are commercially available for on-site measurements.  Both latter two features make these devices especially attractive in developing countries. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Anderson To Develop Nanochemistry Course

If you are looking for a class with Professor Gretchen Anderson this semester, then you will have to wait.  Anderson is taking a break from teaching this semester to design a new freshman level course: N190 Introduction to Nanochemistry.  This survey course will have a laboratory component and will be based on a highly successful course developed by Professor George Lisensky at Beloit College. While surveying the remarkable applications of nanochemistry in industry and medical research, students will synthesize their own solar cells (partially from raspberry juice and titanium dioxide), conductive thin films, gold and silver nanoparticles, and a variety of semiconductors. This course will be one of a trio of courses to constitute a Nanoscience concentration as part of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology BS degrees:

    Introduction to Nanochemistry (under development - an N190 course)
    Nanotechnology (offered Fall 2016 for the first time - an N390 course)
    Nanobiomedicine (under development by the Biological Sciences)
The nanoscience concentrations in various departments are expected to better serve the campus by introducing current students to this relatively new field - but are also expected to help grow the university by attracting students that otherwise might leave the local area in search of instruction in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Two of the three courses are designated "Natural World" courses to satisfy general education requirements.
Pictured at the top of this post is an artist's rendition of single-walled carbon nanotubes.  Each is essentially a sheet of graphene (one-atom thick version of graphite) rolled into a tube. The image is taken from the front page of the Journal Nanomaterial Chemistry and Technology. These nanotubes are remarkable in many ways: stronger than steel and excellent conductors of heat - some of them are even excellent electrical conductors. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

McMillen Promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor

Organic chemist Doug McMillen has been promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He starts his new position this Spring semester, but will continue to lecture organic chemistry this semester only.  In the photograph he is receiving congratulations from Dean Dunn of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
McMillen has been a vital part of our department for two decades as our only organic chemist and has dominated the instruction of our sophomore chemistry students.  But during the last decade he has taken on part-time administrative duties and assumed temporary roles as dean when vacancies required someone to step up and take charge.  While we are sad to see McMillen leave teaching for administration, that is only because we will lose a dedicated and experienced teacher; we are very happy that he has this opportunity to grow professionally within the university and serve our students in a new manner.  Congratulations and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Printing 3D Protein Models

Under the guidance of biochemist Shahir Rizk, students in CHEM-C 486 Biological Chemistry Laboratory ended the Fall semester printing 3D models of the proteins they had been working with in this capstone course for the biochemistry major.  Rizk obtained an internal MALT (Materials for Active Learning Techniques) grant to help promote visual literacy in this project to better appreciate the three-dimensional nature of biological molecules.  Students were able to hold in their hands models of protein and substrate to experience how they interact, move, and change their structures to promote biological processes.  To create the models, students first prepared digital code for their molecules with the help of  the molecular visualization software PyMol.  They then used the code to program our own IU South Bend 3D printing facility to print the models in clear resin. The students were very excited to see the results of their work. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Biochemistry Major Khai Pham Presents at ACS Meeting

Last month biochemistry student Khai Pham presented a poster at the 51st Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  Her poster was titled A Novel Benchtop Time-of-Flight GC-MS System for High Throughput Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in Human Urine and is now on display on the walls of Northside Hall.  Clicking on the title will take to you a larger version of the poster that is readable.  This poster details work done by Pham and colleagues at Leco Corporation this past summer where she completed an internship.  She collaborated with Adjunct Professor David Alonso who works at Leco full time, but generously teaches organic chemistry laboratories for us in the evenings.  Leco is an international company with its world headquarters not so far away in Saint Joseph, Michigan.  They produce many types of analytical equipment and develop testing procedures for these devices.

Presenting at this regional conference is a step-up for Pham who last year tied for best presentation in the Natural Science Division of our campus's Undergraduate Research Conference describing research she helped conduct during the prior summer at the Eck Institute for Global Health of the University of Notre Dame. With two summer research experiences and two conference posters under her belt, Pham is rounding out her resume very nicely.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chemistry Picnic on Campus next Monday

Chemistry and biochemistry majors unite!  Join us at our fall celebration pinic to meet classmates, alumni, and professors. Model your lab coats and show us your tie-dyed apparel. Get to know your fellow majors and network for opportunities (research, tutoring, scholarships, and internships). Eat pizza and play corn hole.  Bring your appetite and any questions you might have about our program.

When?     Monday, September 19, 5:00 PM
Where?   Riverside Pavilion (across the street from Northside)

Be there, or be cyclobutane!