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Chemistry Department News 2013–2014

Professor Armitage Spends a Week Collecting Archaeological Rock Art Samples from Cuban Caves Dr. Ruth Ann Armitage

This summer, EMU faculty member, Dr. Ruth Ann Armitage was invited to Cuba where she collected rock art samples from the walls of several caves.  The samples have been returned to EMU where the age of the paintings can be determined.  This will allow the paintings to be properly attributed to the group who painted them and add to the knowledge of the ancient inhabitants of the island.  Click here to read about her adventures and see pictures of the caves and artwork.  Posted 8/25/14.

Alum Dr. Thomas Horvath Dr. Thomas Horvath Pursues Career Analyzing Medical Metabolites

Tom Horvath graduated from EMU with a degree in Chemistry and subsequently earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Since then he has pursued a career as a research scientist.  Click here to read about his career path and fond memories of his time at EMU. Posted 8/8/14.


Dr. Steven Backues

New Biochemistry Faculty Member to Start This Fall

The Chemistry Department is pleased to announce that Dr. Steven Backues will be starting a tenure-track faculty position this fall.  Dr. Backues is a biochemist who completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and recently served in a postdoctoral position at the University of Michigan.  Click here to read more about Dr. Backues. Posted 7/16/14.


Chemistry Students Receive 5 of 16 EMU Undergraduate Research Stimulus Awards for Summer 2014

Philip EwingThese $2000 fellowships are awarded by the office of the Provost to facilitate research between undergraduates and faculty mentors.  Chemistry student recipients (and their faculty mentors) are Philip Ewing (Wilmes), RaKeenja Fluellen (Emal), Brittany M. Jewell (Milletti), Alexa Salsbury (Holmes), and Brandie Yambrosic (Lindsay).  The complete list of recipients and the titles of their projects is available by clicking here.  Posted 7/5/14.

Carolyn Jackson Retires As Senior Secretary

After more than 20 years as senior secretary in the Chemistry Department, Carolyn Jackson retired at the end of June.  Carolyn is one the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and was a joy with which to work.  Carolyn was exceptional at her job.  Her initiative and attention to detail keep things running so smoothly that it would be easy to take her for granted.  However, we always appreciated her and everything she did for Chemistry and we wish her nothing but the best in her well-deserved retirement.  Posted 7/3/14.

Dr. Gavin Edwards

Professor Edwards Researches that "New Car Smell"

The interiors of new cars have been found to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), often called "New Car Smell". Although some find these odors enjoyable, "New Car Smell" could potentially have adverse health effects.  The development of an accurate and reliable model that describes the concentrations of various VOCs as a function of time is the focus of a research project in Dr. Gavin Edwards's research group.  Click here to read more.  Posted 6/25/14.

Dr. Elizabeth Petty
Noted Scientist Presents Regent Beth Fitzsimmons Lectures

This year's Regent Beth Fitzsimmons lectures were given by Dr. Elizabeth Petty. Dr. Petty is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin.  Click here to read more.  Posted June 2014.

EMU Graduate Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Ian Pendleton

Ian Pendleton, a current doctoral student in Chemistry at the University of Michigan received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  Ian graduated with a degree in chemistry from EMU in 2012.  Click here to read more.  Posted June 2014.

Alumni Lead Lunchtime Panel on Life after EMU

On Monday, June 23, several EMU alumni were part of a panel discussion on "Careers in Science". Each panel member is employed locally and they shared their experiences in finding positions and what life is like once school is over. All current students with an interest in pursuing a career in science were invited and encouraged to attend. The attached flyer has the relevant information and a list of the panelists.  Posted June 2014.

From EMU Student to Industrial Chemist Dr. Gerald Artman

Gerald Artman came to EMU with plans to become a history teacher.  However, the excitement of chemistry, in particular, undergraduate synthetic organic research with Dr. Howard, led him on a very different path.  Dr. Artman is now an industrial chemist working in the area of drug development.  Click here to read more.  Posted May 2014.

SSRI Students Visit Avomeen EMU SSRI Group

Upon graduation, a chemist's most likely source of employment is working for industry. So, what is life like for an industrial chemist? Students participating in this summer's SSRI program got an opportunity to find out. On May 28, a group visited Avomeen, a local contract Analytical Laboratory.  Posted May 2014.


Summer Science Research Initiative

The SSRI is a series of supplemental activities for science and technology students who are on campus working on research projects with their faculty mentors during the summer months. The purpose of the program is to create a community of scholars consisting of both faculty and students that share ideas and get to know each other during a series of events such as general science lectures, laboratory tours, resume-building workshops, etc. Here is the link to the 2014 schedule of SSRI activities.  Posted April 2014.

Outstanding Students Recognized at Annual Chemistry Banquet

More than 50 students were recognized for their academic achievements and over $12,500 of scholarships were awarded at this year's Chemistry Alumni and Awards Banquet.  A partial listing of honorees is given in this EMU press release.  A more complete listing is available in the 2014 banquet program, available by clicking here.

April 4, 2014 News Briefs

  • Probationary faculty members Jeff Guthrie and Ingo Janser have been reappointed.
  • Jeff Guthrie has been awarded a Fall  2014 Faculty Research Fellowship for his project "Selection of DNA Aptamers for Small Molecules using Capillary Electrophoresis and Quantum Dots."
  • Nina Contis and Jose Vites presented a webinar, entitled "Creating a Faculty Fellows Community: Developing Collaboration Through Facilitation".
  • Nina Contis served as host and moderated a webinar on "80 Billion Euro Funding for Research in Europe" (broadcast on 2/6) through the ACS International Center in Washington D.C.
  • Harriet Lindsay has been appointed co-chair of the EMU STEM/STEM Education Working Committee.
  • Amy Johnson served on a panel for pre- and in-service writing teachers entitled "Writing for Real Audiences", which was part of the Literacy for Life program sponsored by the EMU Writing Project.
  • Larry Kolopajlo and Tim Friebe conducted an outreach activity in the Organic Lab for students from Greenhills High School on April 2.
  • Larry Kolopajlo gave the ACS local section Chemistry Olympiad Exam on March 21.
  • Larry Kolopajlo ran an all day Science Olympiad Tournament on Crimebusters at Detroit Country Day on March 1.

Dr. Nord Recognized at Two Athletic Events Along with Chemistry Majors, Daylen Harrison and Julia LombardiDr. Nord at MVP Recognition

Daylen HarrisonNear the end of each basketball season, every player has the opportunity to recognize a faculty member as a "Most Valuable Professor".  This season, senior Chemistry major Daylen Harrison selected Dr. Ross Nord, Professor of Chemistry, for recognition.  At this year's Student-Athlete Award Ceremony, Daylen was recognized for having the highest gpa among members of the men's basketball team.  As both a starting player on the basketball team and a chemistry major, this is an outstanding achievement and we congratulate Daylen on his academic and athletic accomplishments.Dr. Nord and Julia Lombardi

At the Student-Athlete Award Ceremony, Dr. Nord was also selected for recognition by Julia Lombardi, who was recognized as the outstanding scholar on the women's soccer team.  Julia is an outstanding student and carries an almost perfect gpa as a Biology and Chemistry major.  Congratulations to Julia on her well-deserved recognition.

Dr. Maria Milletti

Drs. Milletti and Friebe Celebrate Service Anniversaries

Two Chemistry Department faculty members have notable service anniversaries this year. Dr. Maria Milletti is completing her 25th year and Dr. Tim Friebe is completing his 15th year.  Click here to read more.  Posted April 2014.

March 7, 2014 News Briefs

  • Hedeel Evans has been invited to give a talk at the 24th International Conference on Arginine and Pyrimidines at the University of Oxford in July 2014.
  • Harriet Lindsay was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Determining the Efficacy of an Asymmetric Aza-Cope Rearrangement -- Mannich Cyclization."
  • Calvin Day (Armitage) received support from the CAS Dean's office for travel to attend the Pittcon conference in Chicago (March 2-9).
  • Sylvia Torres, a senior doing undergraduate research with Dr. Armitage, was featured in the February issue of Smart News.  Read about her research on developing a spectroscopic test to identify evidence of blood for forensic science.

Two Former Students Found Software CompanyBryan Harmon

Former EMU Chemistry Students Bryan Harmon and Nick Anagnostou found their own software company, World Lister.  Click here to learn about their company and how they applied synthetic chemistry to software development.  Posted February 2014.

February 7, 2014 News Briefs

  • Debbie Heyl-Clegg was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Fighting Bacterial Resistance: Hydrophobic Aromatic Modifications in a Linear Antimicrobial Peptide."
  • Maria Milletti was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Molecular Modeling Calculations in Support of Three Collaborative Projects."
  • Evert Njomen (Evans) received support from the CAS Dean's office for travel to attend the ACS National Meeting (March 16-20).

January 10, 2014 News Briefs

  • Yuan Ross (Janser), Yegi Park (Heyl-Clegg), and Philip Elugbemi (Emal) were granted Undergraduate Research Stimulus awards for Winter 2014.
  • Harriet Lindsay and Maria Milletti were awarded a College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Program Development Initiative grant for their proposal entitled "Toward a Sustainable EMU Summer Science Research Initiative".
  • Cory Emal and Gregg Wilmes were awarded a College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Program Initiative grant for their proposal entitled "Design of a Fermentation Science Program".
  • Cory Emal, Karen Sanders, and co-authors recently had an article published:  "Mechanistic characterization and crystal structure of a novel small molecule inactivator bound to plasminogen activator inhibitor-1." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013, 110, E4941-E49449.

Ray Hough Retires after 23 YearsRay Hough

It was clear to any student who had him, or any faculty member who visited his classroom, that Ray Hough was a gifted teacher.  He served as a lecturer in the Chemistry Department for 23 years, the vast majority of them he was full-time.  Ray especially excelled in courses taken by less traditional audiences, including Chemistry and Society (taken for general education by non-science students) and Chemistry for Elementary Teachers.  To read some of Ray's reflections upon his retirement, click on this link to the Spring 2014 department newsletter and turn to page 2.

December 6, 2013 News Briefs

  • The department joined with Gavin and Kimberly Edwards in welcoming their son Ryan Edwards, who was born on Saturday, November 30th.
  • Brianna Moe (Evans), Jason Miller (Emal), Chelsea Swanson (Janser), and Sean Blackburn (Janser) each received a Winter 2014 Honors Undergraduate Fellowship.
  • Vance Kennedy, whose "amazing" passion and expertise for teaching chemistry was mentioned recently at the Board of Regents by at least one-third of the 2013/2014 Presidential Scholars.
  • Chris Friebe (Lindsay), was awarded a Chemistry SURF (Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship) award.
  • Amy Johnson was one of 50, from a total of 650, applicants to be a chosen as a curator for the middle school collection in support of the Next Generation Science Standards in Charlotte, NC .
  • Harriet Lindsay was, once again, chosen as the chair of the 2014 Undergraduate Symposium Organizing Committee.
  • Ingo Janser, Jeff Guthrie, and Hedeel Evans were each awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award.
  • Hedeel Evans, Roshini Fernando, Mahalakshmi Kotichukkala, and Deborah Heyl-Clegg (and co-authors) had an article recently accepted for publication entitled "Intersubunit communication in the dihydroorotase-asparatte transcarbamoylase complex of Aquifex aeolicus" in Protein Science (DOI: 10.1002/pro.2396).
  • Hedeel Evans, Roshini Fernando, Edward Grimley, and Melissa Cordes (and co-authors) had an article recently accepted for publication entitled "The Mononuclear Metal Center of Type I Dihydroorotase from Aquifex aeolicus" in BMC Biochemistry.
  • Megan Connolly (Vites) and Jacinda Lisi (Vites) were awarded Women in Philanthropy Grants.  Megan's project is entitled "The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Mentorship Program" and Jacinda's project is entitled "EMU STEM-athon" which is a project to increase the math skills of entering freshmen.
  • Briana Moe (Evans) and Sherif Hassanien (Lindsay) were awarded Senior Thesis/Project and Symposium Awards.

Dr. Cory Emal Dr. Emal Receives Teaching Award

Dr. Cory Emal was one of six EMU faculty to receive a Teaching Excellence Award from the EMU Alumni Association.  Dr. Emal has taught organic chemistry at EMU since 2005.  The Alumni Association of Eastern Michigan University is committed to providing encouragement and incentive for superior teaching achievement and honors faculty members who have distinguished themselves as teachers. This is the twenty-third year that these awards have been given.  Click on the link to see a list of previous Chemistry Department recipients.

October 4, 2013 News Briefs

  • Caitlin Baumer (Milletti), Chris Friebe (Lindsay) and Yuan Ross (Janser) were awarded summer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (sponsored by a grant from the Dreyfus Foundation, Camille Henry).
  • Ruth Ann Armitage had two articles published:

Baker, S.; Armitage, R.A. Cueva la Conga: First Karst Cave Archeology in Nicaragua, Latin American Antiquity 24(3), 309-329, 2013.

Fraser, D.F., Selvius DeRoo, C., Cody, R.B., and Armitage, R.A. Characterization of Blood in Encrustation on an African Mask: Spectroscopic and Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometric Identification of Haem, Analyst, 138, 4470-4474. DOI: 10.1039/C3AN00633F.

  • Sherif Hassanien (Lindsay) received a Fall '13 Honors Fellowship.

September 6, 2013 News Briefs

  • Tim Brewer was promoted to Full Professor.
  • Vance Kennedy, received an outstanding teacher/mentor award from the Honors College (nominated by Erika Van Goethem).
  • Jeff Guthrie was one of three selected (out of 43 applicants) to receive a William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award (nominated by Joshua Hunt).
  • Larry Kolopajlo received a TARDEC grant to run a CSI summer camp for Scarlett Middle School students.
  • Gregg Wilmes and Ruth Ann Armitage received FRF cash awards for research supplies from the Provost's Office.
  • Ingo Janser had an article published "Ethacrynic acid as a lead structure for the development of potent urease inhibitors" (accepted in April, Comptes Rendus Chimie 2013, vol. 16, 660-664).
  • Caitlin Baumer, Amanda Dewyer, and Mordechai Sadowsky (Milletti) were awarded Fall 2013 Honors Undergrad Fellowships.
  • Yuan Ross (Janser) received the Chemistry SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Summer 2013 Award.
  • Christine Hart (Janser) received support from the CAS Dean's office for travel to the 43rd National Organic Chemistry Symposium in Seattle, WA.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage had her research featured on the back cover of Analyst, 2013, 138.
  • Jamie Scaglione resigned her faculty position and relocated to the state of Wisconsin.

Don Schoolmaster, Manager of Chemical Stores, Retires Don Schoolmaster

Don Schoolmaster retired at the end of June after 25 years as Manager of Chemical Stores.  Don received both his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from EMU.   He had previously served the EMU Chemistry Department by working as the Lab Services Specialist and as a part-time lecturer.  To read Don's reflections upon his time at EMU, click on this link to the Spring 2014 department newsletter and turn to page 3.

April 12, 2013 News Briefs

  • Probationary faculty members Jamie Scaglione, Jeff Guthrie, and Ingo Janser have all been reappointed.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage gave a presentation on "Analyzing the Past: Chemistry, Art and Archaeology," at TEDxEMU (March 15).
  • Seven Chemistry Department faculty have received Faculty Research Fellowships from the Provost's Office for the 2013-2014 academic year:  Ruth Ann Armitage (50% Fa/50% Wi), Cory Emal (100% Winter), Debbie Heyl-Clegg and Hedeel Evans (one 50% release each for Fa or Wi), Ingo Janser (100% Fa), Harriet Lindsay (100% Fa), and Gregg Wilmes (100% Wi).
  • Jevit Tith (Brewer), Olufunke Oyelade (Emal), Calvin Day (Armitage), Cristian Chirosca (Lindsay), and Caitlin Baumer (Milletti), each received Undergraduate Research Stimulus awards for Summer 2013.
  • Debbie Heyl-Clegg was selected as a Spring Writing-Across-the-Curriculum fellow.


The Department of Chemistry is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold