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Chemistry Department News 2014–2015

Dr. Nina ContisDr. Nina Contis is named a 2015 ACS Fellow

Beginning in 2009, the American Chemical Society has annually recognized a select group of members for their contributions to science and the chemical profession.  Professor Ellene (Nina) Tratras Contis of the Chemistry Department was one of this year's 78 honorees (out of a total ACS membership exceeding 158,000).  Professor John Texter of the EMU Polymers and Coatings Program was also an honoree.  Click here to read more, including the ACS press release, about Professor Contis.  Posted 7/24/15.

Professor Bruce Graves

Bruce Graves, former Chemistry Department faculty member,  passes away.

Professor Graves was a member of the EMU Chemistry Department between 1967 and 1980.  He specialized in physical and analytical chemistry, with a research program focused upon electrochemistry.  He also was an expert glassblower (as he was demonstrating in the photograph at the right).  Profesor Graves passed away in June.  The department extends its condolences to his family and loved ones.  Posted 7/16/15.

Don Snyder attends international conference on advanced materials

WCAM 2015 AttendeesProfessor Don Snyder recently returned from the 4th Annual World Congress of Advanced Materials-2015 (WCAM-2015), held in Chongqing International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Chongqing, China on May 27-29.  More than 300 world-renowned experts, professors, laboratory principals, project leaders and representatives of well-known enterprises attended the conference.  Professor Snyder chaired a session on advanced polymers and also made an invited presentation entitled "Optical Phase Shift Dynamics in Transparent Polymers: Applications of Wavefront Detectors in Chemical Analysis and Sensor Design".  Posted 7/9/15.

Two Chemistry faculty members have recently moved into upper-level administration positions.  Dr. Wade Tornquist

Dr. Steven PerneckyEffective July 1, two former chemistry department heads have assumed new positions within the university.  Dr. Wade Tornquist is the Interim Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research and Dr. Steven Pernecky is the Interim Associate Dean for Budget and Facilities in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Ross Nord has temporarily returned to the Chemistry Department Head position, to replace Dr. Pernecky, until a new department head can be selected.  Click here to read more.  Posted 7/5/15.

Dr. Brittany Albaugh

Dr. Brittany Albaugh will join the department this fall as its newest biochemistry faculty member.

Dr. Albaugh's research targets epigenetic proteins implicated in cancer development through drug discovery and gene regulation. She is excited to develop her cancer epigenetics research program at EMU and will be looking for motivated and enthusiastic students with an interest in learning a diverse array of techniques in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, epigenetics and cancer biology.  Additional information about Dr. Albaugh can be found on her departmental webpage.  Posted 6/8/15.

Dr. William Roush

Dr. William Roush, an internationally-recognized organic, synthetic chemist, will present the Regent Beth Fitzsimmons seminars.

The  Regent Beth Fitzsimmons seminars are annually given as part of the Summer Science Research Initiative (SSRI).  Dr. Roush is associate dean of graduate studies and executive director of medicinal chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute.  Click here to see the University press release with more information about Dr. Roush and the SSRI.  Posted 5/26/15.

Brian Samuels

Seven Chemistry Department Members Celebrate Service Anniversaries

Seven members of the Chemistry Department have notable service anniversaries this year.  They include three valuable members of our staff, two faculty members, one full-time lecturer, and our department head.  Click here to see who they are and read more about them.  Posted 4/22/15.

April 10, 2015 News Briefs

  • Christopher Haskin (Edwards) was selected by the McNair Program as "McNair Scholar of the Year for 2014-2015."
  • Ahmed Oudief (Lindsay), Bridget Kennedy (Backues), Andrew Durden (Milletti), and Amy Markowitz (Janser) were granted Undergraduate Research Stimulus awards for Summer 2015.
  • Philip Elugbemi (Emal) and Rakeenja Fluellen (Emal) successfully completed their Honors Senior theses.
  • Briana Sohl (Holmes) and Jasmine Winzeler (Holmes) received research fellowships at the University of Michigan to engage in summer research.
  • Reshmi Gopagani (Janser) and Neeharika Pilli (Janser) received Dean's Student Travel Awards to present their research at the ACS National Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
  • Nina Contis (PI) and Nirit Glazer (co-PI), were selected into the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program; “Gulliver Innovative Learning: a Platform for Managing Kinesthetic Activities”, a 6-month grant award to engage with industry and translate our research innovation into products that benefit society.
  • Harriet Lindsay (Wi ’16), Ingo Janser (F ’15), Debbie Heyl-Clegg (Wi ’16), Hedeel Evans (F ’15), Cory Emal (F ’15), Steven Backues (F/Wi ’15) and Ruth Ann Armitage (Wi ’16), were awarded Faculty Research Fellowships for next year.
  • Vance Kennedy was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Spectroscopic Investigation of Subphthalocyanines."

Sean Blackburn presenting at the Undergraduate Symposium

Twenty-Eight Chemistry Students Present at the Undergraduate Symposium

The 35th EMU Undergraduate Research Symposium was held at the Student Center on Friday, March 27.  The program included 23 presentations sponsored by the Chemistry Department representing the work of 28 chemistry students.  Click here to see pictures and a listing of all of the Chemistry Department presentations.  Posted 4/7/15.

Dr. Nirit Glazer has two articles published

Dr. Nirit GlazerDr. Nirit Glazer, a part-time lecturer in the EMU Chemistry Department has recently published two research articles.  The first article is entitled "Student perceptions of learning data-creation and data-analysis skills in an introductory college-level chemistry course" and appeared in Chemistry Education Research and Practice.  The second article is entitled "Formative Plus Summative Assessment in Large Undergraduate Courses: Why Both?" and appeared in the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.  Dr. Glazer holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan.  Posted 3/17/15.

March 13, 2015 News Briefs

  • Amy Johnson is the recipient of a Sabbatical Leave Award for Fall 2015.

Dr. Donald Wall How a Pre-Law student became a Nuclear Scientist:  Dr. Donald Wall reflects upon his time at EMU

Dr. Donald Wall is the director of the Nuclear Radiation Center at Washington State University and a 1990 graduate of EMU with a degree in Chemistry.  Click here to read Dr. Wall's story of how taking a general education course totally changed his career path.  Posted 3/4/15.

January 30, 2015 News Briefs

  • Steven Backues was a recipient of $5000 Provost's New Faculty Award to support his research entitled "Identification of Novel, Biologically Interesting Mutations in Autophagy Related Protein 9".
  • Donald Snyder will be giving a seminar entitled "Optical Phase-Shift Dynamics in Surface-Modified Transparent Polymers" at the University of Michigan, Dearborn on February 6.

January 9, 2015 News Briefs

  • Tanya Johnson began her position today as the new Science Complex Manager.
  • Brian Samuels celebrated his 30th anniversary as an EMU employee.
  • Caitlin Baumer (Millletti), Sean Blackburn (Janser), Andrew Durden (Milletti), Philip Elugbemi (Emal), RaKeenja Fluellen (Emal),  Jamie Reder (Lindsay), Mordechai Sadowsky (Milletti), Chelsea Swanson (Janser), and Jasmine Winzeler (Holmes), received winter 2015 Honors Undergraduate Fellowships.
  • Nina Contis was selected for the Fulbright Specialist Program.  This program promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas.  See more, here.
  • Nina Contis was a co-organizer for the Global Innovation Imperative (Gii) Symposium, jointly organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry (SNIC) in December 2014 in Singapore.  At the symposium she presented a paper entitled "Water Treatment and Innovation: Background and Overview."

Professor Cory Emal is a Dr. Cory Emalrecent patent recipient.

Dr. Cory Emal, along with colleagues from the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland, received U.S. Patent 8,759,327 on June 29, 2014 for the design of molecules linked to controlling the buildup of plaque that leads to blood clots and blocked arteries in the circulatory system. Click here to read the full University Press Release. Posted 1/9/15.

December 12, 2014 News Briefs

  • Mariah Brito (Guthrie) and Chelsea Swanson (Janser) were granted Undergraduate Research Stimulus awards for Winter 2015.

December 5, 2014 News Briefs

  • Caitlin Baumer (Milletti), Philip Elugbemi (Emal), and RaKeenja Fluellen (Emal) received Senior Thesis/Project and Symposium Awards.
  • Nina Contis was appointed to a three-year term as the science's representative to the Women's Commission.
  • Nina Contis had an article published:  "Advancing Science, engaging STEM Learners", in The International Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Learning, Volume
    20, Issue 4.
  • Divya, Ganti, Samanthi Gedara, and Nouf Alyami (Evans/Heyl-Clegg) and Pooja Kannegati (Heyl-Clegg) received Dean's Student Travel Awards to present their research at the ACS Regional Meeting in Pittsburgh.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Radiocarbon Dating of Cuban Rock Art:  Plasma‐Chemical Oxidation and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry."
  • Cory Emal was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Chemical Synthesis of Inactivators of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 for in vivo Screening."
  • Hedeel Evans was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "The Reciprocal Interplay of a Kinase-Substrate Pair in Breast Tumor Resistance."
  • Debbie Heyl-Clegg was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Sequence direction, stereochemical, and dual modification in a linear antimicrobial peptide."
  • Heather Holmes was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for the project, "Identification of Feline Leukemia Proviral Insertion Sites in Mammary Tumors."
  • Ingo Janser was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for a project on the synthesis of chalcone derivatives and their evaluation as radical scavengers and anti-oxidants.
  • Don Snyder was awarded funds from the Provost's Research Support Award for a project investigating a novel technique for the analysis of material properties with potential applications in sensor design.

Shane CanadayEMU MS Student, Shane Canaday wins Prize at Environmental Symposium

Shane Canaday, a second-year graduate student working under the direction of Professor Gavin Edwards, was awarded the $500 first prize in the Poster Competition at the Environment Risk and Decision Making Symposium, held on October 10, 2014.  The sponsored by the Environmental Science and Policy program at Michigan State University.  See Shane's poster and read more about it by clicking here.  Posted 11/21/14.

November 7, 2014 News Briefs

  • Jeff Guthrie had an article published in Analytica Chimica Acta. "Simultaneous Detection of Ultraviolet B-Induced DNA Damage Using Capillary Electrophoresis with Laser-Induced Fluorescence", by Jeffrey W Guthrie, Ph.D.; Robert T Limmer, B.S.; Eric A Brooks, B.S.; Chelsea C Wisnewski, B.S.; Nnekia D Loggins-Davis, B.S.; Abderraouf Bouzid, B.S.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage had an article published: Ruuska, A. K.; Armitage, R.A. "Spider Man Cave: The Desecration of the Burnt Bluff Cultural Site and its Implications for Future Heritage Management", Wisconsin Archaeologist. In press, October 2014.
  • Chelsea Swanson, Sean Blackburn & Zakee Azeez (Janser) presented at the Midwestern Symposium on Undergraduate Research in Chemistry at MSU (10/11).

EMU receives a $2 million grant to institutionalize the CSIE programDr. Nina Contis and Dr. Jose Vites

In 2005, EMU received a major five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the Creative Scientific Inquiry Experience (CSIE) project. The intent of the project is to implement interventions that support high academic standards, promote faculty collaboration across disciplines, and increase student performance and persistence in demanding fields. The initial project was highly successful and the U.S. Department of Education has recently awarded EMU a new grant to ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative. Professor Nina Contis of the Chemistry Department will be the project director. Professor Contis is pictured here with faculty associate, Professor Vites. Read more about the grant by clicking here or click here to go to the CSIE website. Posted 11/3/14.

Steve FernandesEMU Alumnus, Steve Fernandes, is on 2014 Winning Team for Merck's Innovation Cup

This summer, Steve Fernandes was one of only 30 students selected (out of 700 applicants) to attend the 2014 Merck Sereno Innovation Cup in Darmstadt, Germany. While there, Steve's international five-member-team won the first place award for the business plan they develop entitled "Changing the way cancer is treated by cancer cell burst". Steve is a recent MBA graduate of Johns Hopkins University and a 2007 graduate of EMU, where he received his MS under the direction of Dr. Deborah Heyl-Clegg. He is currently Laboratory Manager in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Click here to read more.  Posted 10/27/14.

Professor Johnson Named to National Science Education Team.Dr. Amy Johnson

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning, has chosen Dr. Amy Flanagan Johnson, an Associate Professor at Eastern Michigan University, to serve on an expert team that will identify and vet high-quality resources to help teachers implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Click here to read more.  Posted 10/14/14.

Dr. Tim Brewer

Nanoparticles, Quantum Mechanics, and Tennis.  A Profile of Dr. Timothy Brewer

Dr. Timothy Brewer has been a faculty member in the Chemistry Department since 1998 and graduate coordinator since 2007. Click here to learn about his research program, his favorite subject, and his life outside of the Science Complex. Posted 10/3/14.

Jason Miller

Recent graduate, Jason Miller, was recently featured in the EMU Honors Newsletter.

Jason has just started working on his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Michigan. Click here to read about what Jason had to say about his time at EMU and what he is doing now. Posted 9/30/14.

Badrinath Dhakel with Professor Armitage

Alumnus Badrinath Dhakal's Research on Sustainability Draws International Interest

Alumnus Badrinath Dhakal's research on sustainability was recently featured on the Oakland University website homepage Last July, Badrinath was selected to present his research, on developing catalysts to convert carbon dioxide into useful fuels, at an international conference on sustainability. Badrinath is currently a Ph.D. student at Oakland University. He earned his MS in Chemistry at EMU in 2011 under the direction of Professor Ruth Ann Armitage. Posted 9/15/14.

September 5, 2014 News Briefs

  • Gregg Wilmes and Maria Goodrich celebrated the birth of the newest member of the department family, daughter Elizabeth Erin, on July 22 (8 lb, 6 oz).
  • Brianna Moe (Evans) received support from the CAS Dean's office for travel to the ACS National Meeting in Dallas.
  • Caitlin Baumer (Milletti), Sarah Burke (Emal), Andrew Durden (Milletti), Chris Friebe (Lindsay), Brittany Jewell (Milletti), Jamie Reder (Lindsay), Darshani Weerakoon (Emal), Alyssa Winkler (Milletti), and Brandie Yambrosic (Lindsay), were awarded travel funds from the CAS Dean's office to support travel to the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco.
  • Joshua Hunt (Lindsay) and Ailing Zhou (Lindsay)were awarded travel funds from the Graduate School to support travel to the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco.
  • Larry Kolopajlo published a book chapter in the ACS series "What you Need to for the First Job, Besides the PhD."; Benvenuto, M. (Editor); ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2014.
  • Larry Kolopajlo was awarded a grant by the American Modeling Teachers Association to attend "Modeling High School Instruction in Chemistry", a workshop held at Oakland University.
  • Cory Emal was granted a patent (US Patent 8,759,327 – "Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 and Methods of Use Thereof to Modulate Lipid Metabolism"; Lawrence D.A., Cale, J., Warnock, M., Su, E.J., Emal, C.D., Strickland, D. – filed 4/16/2008; published 1/8/2009; granted 6/24/2014).
  • Michael Martin (Guthrie) was the first recipient of the James R. Beach Summer Research Fellowship.

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