Monday, April 30, 2012

Chemistry Student Receives SMART Grant

Chemistry major Rachel Warrell showed her chemical prowess as a freshman when she won the 2010 Chemical Rubber Company Chemistry Achievement Award.  She continues to excel in her all her endeavors and continues to research with organic chemist Professor McMillen this summer.  

It was just announced that Rachel has been awarded a SMART (Student Mentor Academic Research Team) grant for their two projects this summer.  The first project concerns the activation of elemental iodine for the oxidation of alcohols.  The second project is to extend the N-iodosuccinimide - potassium carbonate oxidation (currently limited to alcohols) to compounds such as aldehydes, ketones, and esters.  Congratulations Rachel - and good luck!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Undergraduate Research Conference


This year there were three poster presentations by students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Biochemistry major Ashley Compton (pictured right) presented Arsenite Oxidase Genes from Alcaligenes faecalis to E. coli: Gateway Cloning which described her 2011 summer work under Professor Gretchen Anderson under a SMART grant awarded by the university.  Also involved in this project was biochemistry student Mitchell Moseng and Biology Professor Kirk Mecklenburg.  Ashley won an honorable mention for her presentation.

Students Joshua Strychalski, Ryan Lubelski, and Aaron Gill from Anderson's C486 biochemistry laboratory course  summarized experiments that began as part of the course, but continued into the following semester. Their poster was titled Restoring Normal Function to Mutated Isocitrate Dehydrogenase.

Last, but not least, was the poster Electrochemical Analysis of Estrogenic Phenolic Compounds presented by biochemistry major Roxanne Sirhan (pictured left) who has researched, and published, with Professor Grace Muna.  The particular work she presented was done in collaboration with fellow students Bonnie Jaskowski, Adam Kaylor, and Craig Kelley.  All of these students made wonderful presentations and we are proud of their work. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Professor Grace Muna Receives Research Grant

Professor Grace Muna has just been awarded an internal Faculty Research Grant for this summer. Steroidal hormones are environment pollutants that disrupt the endocrine system.  Muna's research combines nanochemistry with electrochemistry using nickel deposited on a carbon electrode to develop an analytical technique for the detection and quantification of steroidal contaminants.  

Muna will also be training students to help her with this research, giving them a chance to learn new skills and master techniques to solve real-world problems in a setting more realistic than our standard laboratory classes.  As they will be analyzing water from the Saint Joseph river, don't fish there until they report their findings!  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chemistry-Physics Interdisciplinary Research

For several years, Professor Feighery and chemistry students have been working with physics professor, Ilan Levine, in the search for WIMPs - weakly interacting massive particles - that are hypothesized to be a component of the mysterious and  hypothetical dark matter.  Most recently Josh Benkhe (2011 chemistry graduate) and Adam Grandison (chemistry senior) were acknowledged for their technical support in an article just accepted, and soon to be published, in the Journal of Physics B.  

Tina Shepherd (2008 chemistry graduate) and Cynthia Muthusi (2006 chemistry graduate) have also contributed.  While Levine and his group of physicists have taught our students much that we could not, the exchange of knowledge has been two-way.    The physicists have come to depend on our students in certain areas of the research, such as operating and maintaining the GC-MS.  The following is a list of articles to which our students have contributed.  Josh Benkhe is also associated with another paper that is in preparation.

2012   Benkhe and Grandison, Physics Letters B, accepted
2011   Benkhe, New Journal of Physics, 13, 043006
2011   Benkhe and Shepherd, Physical Review Letters, 106, 021303 
2009   Shepherd, Physics Letters B, 682, 185-192 
2008   Shepherd, New Journal of Physics, 10, 103017
2005   Muthusi and Feighery, Physics Letters B, 624, 186-194
2005   Feighery, Physics Research A, 555, 184-204

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Faculty Milestone Service

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry relies heavily on its adjunct faculty to teach many of our high-enrollment service courses. Their continued service and quality teaching is vital to our department. On Thursday, April 19, three of our adjunct faculty will be honored for their milestone service in the annual Associate Faculty Reception. This event will take place at 4:00 in the Alumni Room of the Administration Building.

Clark Hartford (M.S. University of Notre Dame, 1967) and Pete McCasland (Ph.D. University of Notre Dame, 1971) have been teaching with us for a full decade. Rita Harnish (M.S. University of Maine, 1983) has taught for five years, often at our Elkhart campus. Thank you for your dedication to IU South Bend.