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Chemistry Department News 2015–16

Summer Science Research Initiative

SSRI Student PresentationThis year's Summer Science Research Initiative (SSRI) is getting underway. The first event is a series of short student presentations and a picnic on Thursday, May 12 at 11:00 am and more student presentations on Friday, May 13 at 11:00 am (both in room 152 Science Complex). 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. Here is the link to the 2016 schedule of SSRI activities. Posted 5/6/16.

April 15, 2016 News Briefs

  • Alan Fried (Janser), Caitlin Keif (Lindsay), Ahmed Mohammed (Albaugh), Michaela Repaska (Armitage), Celeste Rousseau (Guthrie), and Zach Spearin (Backues) were granted Undergraduate Research Stimulus Awards for Summer 2016.
  • Nina Contis gave an invited plenary presentation “Water:  Global Issues, Local Solutions” to the University of Management & Technology (UMT) International Conference on Pure and Applied Science at UMT in Lahore, Pakistan.  She also opened and participated in the Global Chemistry Code of Ethics Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Brittany Albaugh, Maria Milletti, and Gregg Wilmes received Faculty Research Fellowships for 2016-2017.
  • Brittany Albaugh, Ruth Ann Armitage, Jeff Guthrie, and Gregg Wilmes received Provost’s Research Support Awards.
  • Bridget Kennedy (Backues) and Brandie Yambrosic (Lindsay/Wilmes) received Graduate Summer Research Funding from the James Beach and Clark & Avis Spike funds.
  • Bekhzodkhon Buzrukov (Janser), Alan Fried (Janser), and Jesse Wotring (Janser) who received travel funds from the Dean’s Office for travel to the Central Regional ACS Meeting in May.
  • Gregg Wilmes was interviewed on WJR on April 7 (National Beer Day) about the new Fermentation Science program.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage was mentioned on Science Friday on March 25 regarding analyses she had done on Peruvian pottery.
  • Sohail Rana (Janser), Courtney Gorrell (Holmes) and Alexa Salsbury (Holmes) who completed their Senior Honors theses.

Fifty-Two Chemistry Students Present at the Undergraduate Symposium

Damien SheppardThe 36th EMU Undergraduate Research Symposium was held at the Student Center on Friday, April 1, 2016.  The program included 42 presentations sponsored by the Chemistry Department representing the work of 52 chemistry students.  This is the most Chemistry Department presentations and students involved in the history of the symposium (and the second most by any department in the history of the symposium).  Click here to see pictures and a listing of all of the Chemistry Department presentations.  Posted 5/22/17.

March 18, 2016 News Briefs

  • Larry Kolopajlo was elected to the executive board of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.
  • Tim Friebe was awarded a one-semester sabbatical leave for Fall 2016.

2016 Newsletter Available

The 2016 Chemistry Department Newsletter is now available.  This year's newsletter is now available online.  Click here to link directly to this year's newsletter.  In order to see newsletters from previous years, click on this link.  Posted 3/9/16.

March 4, 2016 News Briefs

  • Ruth Ann Armitage had an article published “Sequencing Analytical Methods for Small Sample Dating and Dye Identification of Textile Fibers: Application to a Fragment from Seip Mound Group, Ohio” in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology (2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/2327427115y.0000000009
  • Brittany Albaugh, Steven Backues, Cory Emal, and Gregg Wilmes received Summer Research/Creative Activity Awards for Summer 2016.
  • Hedeel Evans and Debbie Heyl-Clegg (along with co-author Peggy Liggit) had an article “Team-Base Learning, Faculty Research, and Grant Writing Brings Significant Learning Experiences to an Undergraduate Biochemistry Laboratory” accepted for publication in the Journal of Chemical Education.
  • Cory Emal and Gregg Wilmes made a well-received presentation of the Fermentation Science program to the Board of Regents, who approved the new program.
  • Larry Kolopajlo received a grant from Oakland Schools for Mentoring Services for Aspiring Modeling Facilitators.

Chemistry Department receives continued approval from the American Chemical Society (ACS)

Every five years, the Chemistry Department undergraduate program is reviewed by the ACS Committee on Professional Training.  This is an extensive process requiring the submission of materials addressing all aspects of our program.  We have just received the results of the most recent evaluation indicating continued approval of our program. The review states " The very thoughtful and thorough summary of department activities reflects a vibrant department that is making significant improvements in curriculum and scholarly activity ."  Additionally, they cited

  • "... the recent renovation and expansion of departmental space, which has enhanced both instructional and research activity."
  • "The increased number of student presentations at professional meetings and student co-authorship on faculty publications... ."
  • "... the emphasis placed on the assessment of student learning outcomes, the new approach to evaluating lab work, and the efforts to develop students' writing skills."

- Posted 2/15/16.

A balanced meal of fermented foods New Fermentation Science program approved by the Board of Regents

At today's Board of Regents meeting, final approval was given for a new major in Fermentation Science. Click here to see the University's Press Release. This program has been designed to bring together subjects from multiple disciplines and frame them in the context of the science of fermentation and its practical application. Click here to go to the Fermentation Science webpage. Posted 2/5/16.

Digital Divas - H2 Balloons - April 2015

Chemistry faculty assist with Digital Divas program

Digital Divas is an annual day-long program for middle-school and high-school-aged girls encouraging them to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines.  Click here to read about how Chemistry faculty have been participating in this activity.  Posted 1/20/16.

 January 15, 2016 News Briefs

  • Ruth Ann Armitage received a $3000 grant from Women in Philanthropy for her project “Dating and Chemical Analysis of Textile Fragments from Seip Moud Group.”
  • Harriet Lindsay received a $5000 grant from Women in Philanthropy for her project “Enhancing ACS Project SEED by Partnering with McNair Scholars.”
  • Brittany Albaugh received a Provost’s New Faculty Award for $5000 for her project entitled "Mechanism of cancer drug inhibition to the protein called UHRF".
  • Tim Brewer, Hedeel Evans & Heather Holmes, Debbie Heyl-Clegg, Ingo Janser, Larry Kolopajlo, and Don Snyder received Provost’s Research Support Awards.
  • Hokyung Shin (Janser) received an Undergraduate Research Stimulus Award for winter semester.
  • Alexa Salsbury (Holmes) received a Senior Thesis/Project and Symposium Award
  • Cory Emal was part of a successful proposal “Develop a Preclinical Data Package for a Small Molecule Inhibitor of PAI-1” submitted by his collaborator, Daniel Lawrence, to the University of Michigan’s Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) for Life Sciences Program.
  • Nina Contis was appointed the new Chair of the International Activities Committee of the ACS.
  • Gavin and Kimberley Edwards welcomed their new son Lucas Gabriel Edwards.  He was born 9:25 am on Wednesday.  He was 8 lb 1 oz and 21.5 inches.  Both mom and baby are fine.

Dr. Ermelinda Harper From Biochemist to Environmental Scientist:  Dr. Ermelinda Harper Reflects upon her Academic and Professional Career

Ermelinda Harper graduated from EMU in 1998 with a degree in Biochemistry.  As a student, she demonstrated a wide range of interests and amassed numerous honors.  Since graduating from EMU, she has earned several graduate degrees and has followed a career path that has led her to interesting places. Click here to read about Dr. Harper's academic and professional journey.  Posted 1/05/16.

December 4, 2015 News Briefs

  • Nina Contis and Nirit Glazer had their application selected as the EMU internal awardee for the competition NSF: Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity.
  • Ruth Ann Armitage published an article on Gas Chromatography in the Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology.
  • Jose Vites received a College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Program Development Initiative for his proposal “Study of STEM student retention at EMU.”
  • Andrew Durden (Milletti), Jamie Reder (Lindsay), Sohail Rana (Janser), Damien Sheppard (Backues), Brianna Sohl (Holmes), and Carson Zois (Backues) received winter 2016 Honors Undergraduate Fellowships.

Presidential Scholars 2015-2016

Five 2015-2016 Presidential Scholars are Future Chemists

Presidential Scholarships are arguably the most prestigious scholarships awarded to incoming students at EMU.  Of the twenty awarded last year, five went to future Chemistry or Biochemistry majors.  Read brief profiles of these future scientific stars by clicking on this link.  Posted 12/4/15.

November 13, 2015 News Briefs

  • Ruth Ann Armitage was a featured speaker at this Fall's Midland ACS section meeting.  Here talk was entitled "Colors of the Past:  Archaeological Chemistry of Natural Dyes".
  • Larry Kolopajlo presented a talk on fuel cells at the Metropolitan Detroit Science Teachers Association on November 7.
  • Amy Johnson was appointed to the Distinguished Faculty Awards Committee.

October 30, 2015 News Briefs

  • Ruth Ann Armitage and Calvin Day had two articles published in Science and Technology of Archaeological Research.  One entitled, "Direct Analysis in Real Time-Mass Spectroscopy for Identification of Red Dye Colorants in Paracas Necropolis Textiles" and the other entitled, "Identification of Anthraquinone Dye Colorants in Red Fibers from an Ohio Hopewell Burial Mound by Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry".
  • Hedeel Evans was part of the faculty team that successfully presented the new interdisciplinary Neuroscience program at the Board of Regents Meeting on October 13.

Dr. Bruce WestFormer Professor Bruce West Passes Away

Dr. Bruce West passed away on September 23, 2015.  He was 80 years old.  Dr. West received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.  He joined the EMU Chemistry Department faculty in 1969 and retired in 1991.  Dr. West was greatly respected by his colleagues.  He was a brilliant chemist, an excellent teacher, and a devoted mentor to his research students. 

September 11, 2015 News Briefs

  • Jeff Guthrie received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor.
  • Cory Emal was promoted to full professor.
  • Joshua Hunt (Lindsay), Jamie Reder (Lindsay), Ahmed Oudeif (Lindsay), Brandie Yambrosic (Lindsay) were awarded travel money from the CAS Dean’s Office at attend the ACS National Meeting.
  • Gavin Edwards gave an invited presentation at the ACS meeting in a special section on “Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology”.
  • Cory Emal was named on two patents that were granted covering the PAI-1 inhibitors developed through his collaboration with Dan Lawrence’s lab at the University of Michigan.
  • Deborah Heyl-Clegg and Hedeel Evans had the article “Deciphering the Mechanism of Humanin:  A Neuroprotective Peptide” accepted for publication in Protein & Peptide Letters.
  • Gavin Edwards and Christopher Haskin set up a crowdfunding page via Experiment.com and raised $2180 to fund their research.

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