Saturday, May 14, 2016

Awards and Graduates 2016

Our department is blessed with many clever, industrious, and friendly students that make our jobs so enjoyable.  Most of them were able to attend the graduation ceremony and are eager to start the next phase in their life - whether work, medical school, or graduate school.  Many of the students pictured above in cap and gown are award winners, but each year the department also honors excellent students that have yet to graduate. After graduation, many students were able to gather with faculty, family, and friends for a relaxing evening of food, conversation, and games.  Congratulations to all these students for their hard work and success!

Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award
   Madison Kozlowski
Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
   Christopher Warkentin
Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry
   Rebecca Shembarger
Student Excellence Award in Biochemistry
   Krista Schilling
Student Excellence Award in Chemistry
   Mackenzie Redman
Joseph H. Ross Seminar Award
   Mackenzie Redman
Zeider Excellence in Biochemistry Scholarship
   Michael Rauschenbach
George V. Nazaroff Scholarhip
   Hannah MacLoed
   Christopher Warkentin

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fun in Organic Chemistry Lab

Students in Organic Chemistry lab finished off the semester by making polymers, including nylon 66 and polyvinyl alcohol gel. Student Ashley Dawson demonstrates the delights of synthetic polymers as she shows off her "slime" (polyvinyl alcohol gel).

This is the second year of the return of organic chemist Professor Doug McMillen to the lecture hall after many years of absence due to administrative duties. This year we also welcomed biochemist Professor Gretchen Anderson to the laboratory section. Our adjunct professors are a vital part of our department and serve our department and students wonderfully, but it is good to also have representation from the full-time research faculty in this sophomore chemistry sequence that caters to biology majors as well as chemistry and biochemistry majors.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Professor Rizk Receives Community Honor

Photo by Bluekrishna Photography

Biochemistry professor Shahir Rizk was recognized this afternoon at the Gillespie Conference Center by the Michiana Forty Under 40 program for his contribution and accomplishments in both the workplace and community.  One might claim that IU South Bend is where "it all" started for him: while much of the world was worrying about possible Y2K problems in 2000, Rizk was focused on graduating from IU South Bend with a B.S. in Biology and applying to graduate school.  But a more honest assessment must be that Rizk is one of those rare alumni who give back more than they have received.

Rizk chose to attend Duke Univeristy and obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2006 for his thesis on rational design of biosensors and multi-sensor arrays.  Rizk then worked as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago in the field of antibody engineering and drug delivery for brain cancer research.  In 2012 he returned to the state of Indiana as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame where he engineered antibodies to study the pathogens that cause malaria and Ebola. He also served as Director of External Programs at the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases where he worked to connect rare disease patients within the community with healthcare professionals and researchers through outreach programs. There he remained until last fall semester when he joined our department and set up a research lab with undergraduate students just as easily and quickly as he delivered successful lecture and laboratory courses.  His scientific enthusiasm and interest in students makes them, in turn, interested in and enthusiastic for biochemistry.

As a musician and a published poet, Rizk has a deep interest in promoting the arts and art education in the Michiana area and proves himself as a Renaissance man of sorts. He is founding member and president of Ulreia, Inc, a local non-profit organization that has organized and supported several local productions in visual, musical, theatrical and literary arts.  Rizk is currently leading an initiative to showcase the integration of different forms of art with elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  He can often be found at Langlab South Bend, a venue partner for Ultreia, Inc.

We are thrilled that Rizk was chosen this year to be among the forty young professionals honored in the Michiana area, but we are more thrilled that he has chosen to work with us at IU South Bend in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  We hope that this award is icing on the cake of a wonderful academic year.  Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Upcoming Online Course in Nanotechnology

This spring Professor Marmorino (top right) completed an 8-week course in distance education to prepare him for the development of our department's first online course: Nanotechnology.  We decided to go with the broader course nanotechnology rather than nanochemistry for many reasons, two of which are that (1) the field is so interdisciplinary that is hard to stick to just chemistry, and (2) this will be the only "nano" course at our campus so we wanted to give it a wider appeal.  The course will be offered this fall as a general education course (Natural World, N390) that simultaneously serves as a chemistry elective. Below is a tentative description of the course - tentative because Marmorino will spend the summer hashing out the details of topic spread and depth along with the method of delivery and evaluation.
Nanotechnology is the application of the science of small – small particles, but also small features on macroscopic objects. The size scale is so small that the atom must be constantly considered and the properties of bulk matter no longer apply. The course begins by developing an appreciation of the small scale and the implications this has on the variability of the properties of matter once thought to be constant for a given substance regardless of size. Students learn about naturally occurring nanoparticles and their impact in the natural word, but also consider the anthropogenic production of materials and the probing of their properties (mainly through various types of microscopy). Applications of nanomaterials to different disciplines are investigated with a focus on how the peculiar behavior of matter on the nanoscale allows technological advance. Selected topics may include air pollution, clouds, dust, DNA, proteins, micelles, drug delivery, buckyballs, nanotubes, surface tension, diffraction, scaling laws, quantum dots, wave-particle duality, compact discs, paint, and even Himalayan salt lamps.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Professor Anderson Wins Teaching Award


Our department is proud to announce that Professor Anderson was recently awarded a Trustee's Teaching Award for her sustained and consistent teaching excellence.  Especially impressive is that she was able to keep up her level of excellence while serving as department chair - a role which might have diverted the focus of lesser faculty.  Although we are proud, we are certainly not surprised; all the chemistry and biochemistry faculty recognize Anderson as a leader in education. If this one award does not convince you, then one need only consider the many other awards she was won for teaching and advising - and the many awards students have won to research with her as their mentor.  Congratulations Professor Anderson!

Friday, April 22, 2016

2016 Undergraduate Research Conference

Last Friday several students presented their work at our campus's annual Undergraduate Research Conference.  Biochemistry major, Khai Pham (top left), tied with another student for best presentation in the Natural Science Division with her poster presentation Comparison [of] Growth Rates in Cultured Malaria Parasites which described research she performed with colleagues at the Eck Institute for Global Health of the University of Notre Dame last summer. Chemistry major Chris Warkentin (top right) presented his summer research under a SMART grant with our analytical chemistry Professor Grace Muna entitled Preparation of Ni-Pd Modified Glassy Carbon Electrodes and their Characterization by Cyclic Voltammetry and won an honorable mention.  From last fall's biochemistry capstone laboratory course were biochemistry majors Krista Schilling (bottom left) and Andrea Vrydaghs (bottom right) presenting Developing a Biosensor for Glyphosate, the Active Ingredient in RoundUp which highlighted the results from a group of seven students under the guidance of biochemistry Professor Shahir Rizk.
Thanks go to Professors Grace Muna and Shahir Rizk as faculty organizers and also biochemistry major Riley Bigelow for their help to make the conference possible and run smoothly. And naturally we must thank the students presenters for their dedication to perform research as undergraduates and their courage to showcase their work to the students, faculty, and general public who attended the conference.

Student Photographs to Appear in Academic Bulletin

Look for these students from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the new edition of the IU South Bend Academic Bulletin.  Some of our students were chosen for this special photo shoot and we are pleased to have them advertise our programs and the university.