Thursday, February 4, 2016

Guest Speakers in Senior Seminar

Our senior chemistry and biochemistry majors are once again preparing their formal capstone seminars. By choosing topics related to their future jobs, students use the senior seminar to provide closure of undergraduate work and also launch their careers.  Several guest speakers were invited to give tips on preparing student talks and review papers.
Two weeks ago,  Dr. Betty Lise Anderson (Professor of Electrical Engineering at The Ohio State University) provided invaluable information via her seminar, “Terrific Technical Talks” and fielded questions such as  “What happens if you run out of time before your last slide?” Her answer: “That means you didn’t practice your talk. Cut to the last slide." Anderson has been a guest speaker in this course for several years  - and many students have benefited from her advice.
This week, two alumni of the biochemistry program gave tips from the students' perspective: Calvin Streeter (Biochemistry, 2011) is in his second year of medical school at the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis, while Geoffrey Taghon (Biochemistry, 2015) won a research award last spring that led him to be coauthor of a biochemical research article published just last month (click here for the full story). Both students are previous winners of the Joseph H. Ross Seminar Prize awarded to the best seminar each year. Their take away lesson: start preparing early, use your coach, and practice your talk.


Calvin Streeter, is pictured above with Professor Gretchen Anderson, who has been teaching the seminar course for the past several years and has made plans to expand the course to allow it to satisfy general education requirements in the future. With 16 students in senior seminar (record breaking!), there will be a wide variety of topics, ranging from nanochemistry to medicinal chemistry to environmental chemistry. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Student Publishes Resarch on Ebola Virus

Last spring biochemistry major Geoffrey Taghon was awarded the campus' first RC MedReview Fellowship which enabled him to research last summer with  Dr. Robert Stahelin (of the Harper Cancer Research Institute) at the University of Notre Dame. Our department just received word that their work on the Ebola virus was published in the January issue of Nature's Scientific Reports. Taghon and his colleagues investigated one of the proteins produced by the virus; specifically they explored its binding to the cell membrane and its organization into a hexamer.  Taghon graduated last fall and is now in the process of applying to graduate school. Previously he had planned to attend medical school, but he enjoyed his summer research so much that he has decided to become a different type of doctor by earning a Ph.D.  This illustrates one of the many advantages of an undergraduate research experience: a glimpse into the career of a research scientist. His picture above was taken in the hallway at IU South Bend where research posters of other students are seen in the background.  Congratulations, Geoffrey, we are all very proud of you!