Friday, April 27, 2007

39th Annual Chemistry Department Awards

Today at 3:30, in 32 Weyandt, the 39th Annual IUP Department of Chemistry Awards Ceremony took place for our students (both graduate and undergraduate), their families and friends, and the faculty and administration. The awards were hosted by Dr. Wendy Elcesser, Dr. John Woolcock, and Dr. Lawrence Kupchella.

The Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Award for Outstanding Achievement was given to Mr. Joseph Zewe, who also was given an academic achievement award and the ACS Student Affiliate Member of the Year.

Mr. Andrew Kerr was awarded the Division of Analytical Chemistry American Chemical Society 2007 Undergraduate Award, the Edward N. Brown Memorial Scholarship, and an academic achievement award.

The Ronald Marks Scholarship was given to Mr. Michael Deible.

Ms. Tracey Baker received the William I. Heard Memorial Scholarship.

Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year was awarded to Mr. Einstein Djabeng.

The Graduate Research Award was presented to Ms. Dongmei Zhang.

Mr. Sean Smith won the Graduate Academic Excellence award.

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant was given to Ms. Kelly Haldeman and Ms. Caitlin Williamson.

The freshman CRC Handbook Award went to Mr. James Shellhammer.

The following, by year, is the list of Academic Achievement Awards also granted:

  • Mr. Justin Blake
  • Ms. Lindsey Cox
  • Ms. Amanda Davis
  • Ms. Catherine Gumm
  • Ms. Kelly Haldeman
  • Ms. Jennifer Morral
  • Ms. Nadia Penrod
  • Mr. Andrew Smith
  • Ms. Jessica Wishard
  • Mr. Joseph Zewe

  • Ms. Brittany Baird
  • Mr. Robert Bauer
  • Ms. Kaycie Butler
  • Mr. Andrew Crawford
  • Ms. Yang Dai
  • Mr. Andrew Kerr
  • Ms. Nicole Morozowich
  • Mr. Chad Myers

  • Ms. Tracey Baker
  • Ms. Brittany Buterbaugh
  • Ms. Martha Conners
  • Mr. Brandon Jones
  • Ms. Beth Leverett
  • Ms. Olivia McGovern
  • Ms. Jessica Nichol
  • Ms. Elizabeth Paladin
  • Ms. Nicole Peterson
  • Ms. Whitney Simmons
  • Ms. Aubree Webb
  • Ms. Caitlin Williamson

  • Ms. Olumayowa Azeez
  • Ms. Maura Barrett
  • Ms. Laura Becker
  • Ms. Tori Corosu
  • Mr. Andrew Friday
  • Ms. Jenna Gazzola
  • Mr. Jason Grimm
  • Mr. John Kanyan
  • Mr. Daniel McDermott
  • Ms. Melissa-Jean Moore
  • Ms. Katelyn Myers
  • Mr. Paul Putala
  • Ms. Brittany Rodgers
  • Mr. James Shellhammer
  • Mr. Justin Williams

    A reception with refreshments followed immediately after.
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Dr. Nadrian Seeman to Speak on 4/27

    Dr. Nadrian Seeman (NYU) will be our guest speaker this Friday, April 27 in 208 Weyandt Hall and present "DNA, Not Merely The Secret of Life".

    Dr. Seeman won the Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology in 1995, the Discover Magazine Emerging Technology Award in 1997, and the Popular Science Magazine Science and Technology Award in 1993.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    Kaycie Butler Wins Department of Homeland Security Scholarship

    Biochemistry major and Honors College student Kaycie Butler (Greensburg, PA) was awarded a scholarship through the Department of Homeland Security. The scholarship includes full tuition and a monthly stipend for her junior and senior years at IUP while maintaining a minimum of a 3.30 GPA. It also provides the opportunity to apply for a further scholarship that would be applied to graduate school for up to three years. In addition, there is a summer internship portion, which Kaycie will complete this summer for 12 weeks at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. While at LLNL, Kaycie will work on the development of a platform for virus detection through a microfluidic system.

    Congratulations Kaycie!

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Chemistry Major Mentioned in C&E News

    Chemistry major and Honors College student Elizabeth Paladin was mentioned recently in an article about homeschooling in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly trade publication of the American Chemical Society. For those with access, the article can be found here. The excerpt about Beth is as follows:

    Elizabeth Paladin, another homeschool alumnus, used to get together twice a week with 11 other homeschool students who lived nearby to go over chemistry problems and do lab experiments. "It's easy to become distracted when you're spending all your time at home," she says. "The group helped motivate me." Her study group used Apologia Educational Ministries' high school science curriculum, which came with a lab kit. She remembers setting up lab stations all around her home and putting down tarps to protect surfaces. The students were careful about safety, wearing gloves and eye protection and opening windows to let in fresh air. Paladin is now a sophomore majoring in chemistry at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average.

    Friday, April 20, 2007

    2007 Department Newsletter Mailed

    Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Lawrence Kupchella and Dr. Thomas Crumm (retired), the annual chemistry department newsletter was mailed to over 500 department alumni and retired faculty.

    This blog address was included in this years edition, so we hope that in several weeks we'll start to see some alumni participation here!

    If you're an alumnus/alumna of the department to find this site, but don't receive this mailed newsletter - please contact us so that you may be included in future mailings.

    And as always, we'd love to hear what you're up to these days!

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Students Present at 71st Annual ISCC

    Six IUP students presented their research at the 71st Annual Intercollegiate Student Chemist Convention at Salisbury University in Maryland, escorted by Drs. Ron See and Heba Abourahma.

    Ms. Amanda Davis, under the direction of Dr. Carl LeBlond, presented "A Novel Synthesis of Iodohydrins Derived from Styrene and Related Compounds".
    The purpose of our research is to optimize a novel pathway for the synthesis of iodohydrin compounds, derived from styrene and similar chemicals. Iodohydrins are important in a variety of industrial and pharmaceutical applications because they are often an intermediate in the synthesis of biologically active pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. Recently, a new procedure for the synthesis of iodohydrins was developed in our laboratory. Unlike a more common method, which employs N-chlorosuccinimide (NCS), this procedure for the iodohydroxylation of styrene utilizes sodium hypochlorite (bleach) as a more environmentally favorable and cost effective oxidizing agent. A yield of 81% iodohydrin product (isolated, characterized and determined by GC/MS and 1H NMR) has been achieved using styrene as the substrate. In our presentation, we intend to detail this result as well as our plans for future explorations.

    Ms. Elizabeth Paladin, under the direction of Dr. Heba Abourahma, presented "Modifying the Physical Properties of Indomethacin by Co-Crystal Formation".
    Many organic molecules which are used as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) exhibit polymorphism. This property of APIs leads to problems in the production of APIs in the solid state. The goal of this research project is two-fold: the first goal is to study the phenomenon of polymorphism. The second goal is to study co-crystal formation as an alternative to polymorph formation. Specifically, the objective of this study is to form co-crystals of indomethacin (C19H16ClNO4), an anti-inflammatory API. In order to accomplish this, non-covalent interactions will be exploited, which are spontaneous and reversible under thermodynamic equilibrium. Indomethacin has been combined with several co-crystal formers, identified by known favorable interactions between functional groups. If crystal formation or precipitation occurred, the product has been analyzed by observation of melting point and nuclear magnetic resonance. After combining indomethacin with isophthalic acid, benzoic acid, acetamide, phenol, p-aminobenzoic acid in a variety of solvent conditions and at a variety of stoichiometric ratios, the precipitate or crystalline material has been shown to have the same characteristics as the starting material. It has been concluded that indomethacin crystallizes with itself more readily than with any of these compounds under the given conditions. When combined with urea, it has been shown that the product has characteristics which are unique from those of the starting material. In this case, there are favorable interactions between the molecules which cause indomethacin to co-crystallize with urea in a thermodynamically favorable manner. Indomethacin has been crystallized in toluene and ethanol, and melting point analyses suggest that the crystals formed in toluene are new material. This shows that the intermolecular interactions between toluene and indomethacin are more favorable than those between indomethacin molecules.

    Ms. Catherine Gumm, under the direction of Dr. Keith Kyler, presented "The Chemical and Enzymatic Degradation of Biomass into Glucose Utilizing Ultrafiltration".
    Abstract removed on advice of legal counsel (proprietary information).

    Mr. Chad Myers, under the direction of Dr. Ron See, presented "Analysis of the AX2E Molecules Using the NBI Model: The Physical Basis for the Lone Pair Effect".
    The effect of stereochemical, non-bonding electrons, also called the lone pair effect, on the geometry of molecules is a universally recognized phenomenon. Common conceptual models of molecular geometry, such as hybridization and VSEPR, give a qualitative estimation of the result of the lone pair effect, but neither includes a realistic physical basis for the observed molecular distortions caused by stereochemical lone pairs. An analysis of the AX2E (carbenes and their Si and Ge analogues) was performed, using computations at the MP2/6-31G** level. It was found that the stabilization energy provided by the stereochemical electrons is a linear function of the X-A-X angle, indicating that the radial space available to the stereochemical electrons about the central atom is the primary physical force resulting in the lone pair effect. This result is consistent with the Non-Bonded Interaction model, and constitutes evidence that this model provides a more physically realistic picture of molecular geometry.

    Mr. Joseph Zewe, under the direction of Dr. Carl LeBlond, presented his work on the computational study of cross-coupling of organic halides.
    Palladium catalyzed cross-coupling reactions have proven to be powerful synthetic methods for the preparation of pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemicals due to their selectivity, relatively mild reaction conditions and their ability to tolerate a variety of functional groups. The Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling of organic halides with organoboron reagents constitutes a direct and efficient approach for the formation of carbon-carbon bonds. An extensive computational study providing key insights into the mechanism and synthetic trends of the transmetalation step of the Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction was performed. The role of base, phosphine ligand inhibition and effect of the spectator organic and phosphine ligands, were studied using hybrid density functional methods. Herein we report our computational results concerning transmetalation (B to Pd) to saturated and unsaturated Pd intermediates. We show that transmetalation to 3-coordinate Pd intermediates is more facile than to 4-coordinate. We also demonstrate that solvent ligated Pd intermediates are more efficient in promoting transmetalation than model phosphine ligands. Our results correlate well with experimental observations concerning the base, ligand stoichiometry, substrate electronic effects and reactivity of various substrates.

    Mr. Michael Deible, under the direction of Dr. Ron See, presented "The Physical Basis of the Lone Pair Effect in the AX3E and AX4E Molecule Types".
    The lone pair effect is based on the observation that a nonbonding electron pair on the central atom will distort the geometry of a molecule. Using the Non-Bonded Interaction (NBI) model as a framework, the lone pair effect has been explained as the maximization of radial volume for the electron pair about the central atom. However, the work leading to this explanation used only the simplest (AX2E) molecule type displaying the lone pair effect in its analysis, and it is not clear that this conception can be extended to more complex molecules. Therefore, a computational study, at the B3LYP/6-31G** level, was undertaken to determine if this conception of the lone pair effect can be extended to the AX3E (A = N, P, As; X = H, F, Cl) and AX4E (A = S, Se; X = H, F, Cl) molecule types. The results show that the explanation of the lone pair effect found in the AX2E molecules is generally applicable to these more complex species, and the stabilization energy of the lone electron pairs is a function of the number of X atoms.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    April Publications

    Ying Wei, Jaeju Ko, Leonel Murga, and Mary Jo Ondrechen "Selective Prediction of Interaction Sites in Protein Structures Using THEMATICS" in BMC Bioinformatics (2007) 8:119.

    Abstract can be found here.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Undergraduate Scholars Conference Tomorrow

    A reminder for everyone to stop by the HUB sometime tomorrow to check out the presentations and posters put together by our chemistry and biochemistry students (along with all of the other great stuff by other departments).

    A full program can be found here.

    Chemistry Department participation includes:

    Session A04 in the Monongahela Room #2 - Dendrimer Biomimetic of Carbonic Anhydrase Catalyst by Mr. Adam Crain (advisor: Dr. Heba Abourahma)

    Session B04 in the Conemaugh Room - Learner's Model of Chemical Equilibrium by Ms. Sara Krull (advisor: Dr. Mike Briggs)

    Poster 01-16: Analysis of the AX2E Molecules Using the NBI Model; The Physical Basis for the Lone Pair Effect by Mr. Chad Myers (advisor: Dr. Ron See)

    Poster 01-17: The Application of the NBI Model to a Variety of Molecule Types Containing a Stereochemical Lone Pair by Mr. Michael Deible (advisor: Dr. Ron See)

    Poster 02-02: Calorimetry Through Guided Inquiry by Mr. Robert Turnbull and Mr. Thomas Lieb (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-03: Concepts of Chromatography Through Guided Inquiry by Ms. Olumayowa Azeez, Mr. Herbert Gregg, and Mr. Andrew Newton (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-04: Concepts of Identifying Arson Through Guided Inquiry by Ms. Melissa Moore, Mr. Matthew Browe, and Mr. Ian Koplin (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-05: Concepts of Spectrophotometry Through Guided Inquiry by Ms. Jenna Gazzola, Mr. Justin Williams, Mr. Andrew Adams, and Mr. James Shellhammer (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-06: Learn Your White Powders Through Guided Inquiry by Mr. Robert Putala, Mr. Jason Grimm, and Mr. John Kanyan (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-07: The Case of the Exploding Mailbox by Ms. Brittany Rodgers, Ms. Maura Barrett, Mr. Daniel McDermott, and Ms. Katelyn Myers (advisor: Dr. Anne Kondo)

    Poster 02-15: A Novel Synthesis of Iodohydrins Derived from Styrene and Related Compounds by Mr. Joe Zewe and Ms. Amanda Davis (Advisor: Dr. Carl LeBlond)

    Poster 02-19: Synthesis and Characterization of Quaternary Adamantine-Like Chalcogenides by Ms. Beth Leverett (advisor: Dr. Charles Lake)

    Poster 02-28: Co-Crystallization as a Strategy to Improving Solubility of Theophylline by Ms. Nicole Morozowich (advisor: Dr. Heba Abourahma)

    Poster 02-29: Modifying the Physical Properties of Indomethacin by Co-Crystal Formation by Ms. Elizabeth Paladin (advisor: Dr. Heba Abourahma)

    Poster 02-30: Computational Characterization of pH-Dependent Properties in Protein Active Sites by Ms. Jessica Wishard (advisor: Dr. Jaeju Ko)

    Poster 02-32: Role of Srs2 Helicase Protein by Ms. Hong Yin Ker (advisor: Dr. Jana Villemain)

    Poster 02-33: Protein-Protein Interactions Govern Homologous Recombination and Genome Stability by Ms. Lindsey Cox (advisor: Dr. Jana Villemain)

    Poster 03-04: Biochemical Analysis of Pondberry Seed Viability by Mr. Robert Bauer (advisor: Dr. Sharon Sowa)

    Poster 03-05: Identification of Oils from Viable and Nonviable Cherrybark Oak Acorns by Mr. Jeffery Layton (advisors: Dr. Sharon Sowa, Dr. Carl LeBlond)

    Tuesday, April 3, 2007

    Women in Science Presentations

    By all accounts, yesterday's Women in Science Symposium was a success. In all, there were 28 presenters from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with 11 representatives from the chemistry and biochemistry programs:

    Lindsey Cox (Dr. Villemain) "Protein-Protein Interactions Govern Homologous Recombination and Genome Stability"

    Catherine Gumm (Dr. Kyler) "The Chemical and Enzymatic Degradation of Biomass into Glucose Using Ultrafiltration" Third Place, Best Undergraduate Poster

    Hong Yin Ker (Dr. Villemain) "Rose of SRS2 Helicase Protein"

    Sara Krull (Dr. Briggs) "Mental Models in Chemical Equilibrium"

    Beth Leverett (Dr. Lake) "Synthesis and Characterization of Quaternary Adamantine-Like Chalcogenides" First Place, Best Undergraduate Poster

    Nicole Morozowich (Dr. Abourahma) "Co-Crystallization as a Strategy to Improving Solubility of Theophylline"

    Jennifer Morral (Dr. N. Bharathan) "Comparison of Rapid Lysis and Geno Pure Plasmid Midi Kit Methods in the Analysis of Rhizoctonia solani Plasmids, NE5 and E5, as Cloned into Escherichia coli cells"

    Elizabeth Paladin (Dr. Abourahma) "Modifying the Physical Properties of Indomethacin by Co-Crystal Formation"

    Second place for Best Undergraduate Poster went to Danielle Dunton & Yang Dai (biology).

    Sunday, April 1, 2007

    Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology

    On Monday, April 2 in Weyandt Hall, join us in for the NSM's Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology event. Door prizes awarded, and free refreshments!

    Poster session is from 5:00-6:30pm on the first floor near the planetarium area.

    At 6:45pm in Room 32, Dr. Catherine Raeff will present "Resisting stereotypes: New paths in the study of culture and development".

    For more information, visit this site.