Thursday, April 9, 2009

We're Moving ...

Loyal Reader,

We're moving. Not to a new building - although that will some day happen - but rather to the official Department of Chemistry website hosted by IUP. For several months, most of the news posts and calendar events have been posted on both sites. According to Google Analytics, this blog site is now getting fewer than 10 hits a day (average) which is not high enough for me to continue updating.

Rather, all information will now be in one place:

This site will remain open as an archive, however, to past posts and events.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 4/10

This week, the Chemistry Department welcomes Dr. Eugene Mazzola from the University of Maryland. After meeting with faculty and students in the department, Dr. Mazzola will give a lecture on "Structural Elucidation of Saponins from Edible Fruits".

Please join us in Weyandt 240 at 3:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chemistry & Biochemistry Students Present at 4th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference

Students from the chemistry department and biochemistry program presented their undergraduate research in the form of posters and oral presentations today at the 4th Annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference. The event, held in the HUB, showcases the talent and drive of our students as they supplement their class loads with real-world research experience.

The following students participated in oral presentations:
  • Ms. Caitlin Williamson and Mr. Peter Stonehouse with "Calcium Tungstate: A Convenient Recoverable Catalyst for Hydrogen Peroxide Oxidation" (advisor: Dr. Keith Kyler)
  • Ms. Brittany Buterbaugh with "Life Happens: An Unexpected Reaction Between Magnesium and Copper (II) Chloride" (advisor: Dr. Wendy Elcesser)
  • Ms. Maura Barrett and Ms. Jennifer Beveridge with "The Toxicity of Mercury on Daphnia Pulex" (advisor: Dr. Ellen Yerger)
  • Mr. Dragomir Milovanovic with "The Srs2 Protein Expression Using the pET11c Expression Vector in the BL21 (DE3) Bacterial Protein Expression Strain of Escherichia coli" (advisor: Dr. Jana Villemain)
  • Ms. Olivia McGovern with "The Cloning of Inositol Monophosphatase Gene from Paramecium tetraurelia: A Search for the Molecular Basis of Ultradian Rhythms" (advisor: Dr. Robert Hinrichsen)
  • Ms. Jennifer Casanova with "Finding DNA-Aptamers Against Human IMPDH Enzyme via Ligand-binding Isoelectric Focusing Electrophoresis LIFE" (advisor: Dr. Keith Kyler)

The following students participated in poster presentations:
  • Ms. Amy Devlin with "Effect of pH on Uptake Rates of Non-polar Organics by Semi-permeable Membranes" (advisor: Dr. Nathan McElroy)
  • Mr. Andrew Crawford with "The Efficacy of a Proposed Ion-paired Reverse-phased HPLC Method for the Determination of Polythionate Mixtures" (advisor: Dr. Lawrence Kupchella)
  • Ms. Martha Conners with "The Ion-paired Reverse-phase Chromatographic Separation of Polythionates from Sulfur Oxidizing Bacterial Cultures Grown on Nonathion" (advisor: Dr. Lawrence Kupchella)
  • Ms. Laura Fox, Ms. Nadia Szymanski, and Ms. Victoria Constant with "Water Chemistry for Beer Brewing" (advisor: Dr. Nathan McElroy)
  • Ms. Whitney Simmons with "A Computational Redesign of Cellulase" (advisor: Dr. Jaeju Ko)
  • Ms. Galit Regev with "Characterization of Salicylic Acid Treated Mutant for Double Stranded RNA (dsRNA) in the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Rhizoctonia solani: Isolate 303" (advisor: Dr. Bharathan Narayanaswamy)
  • Ms. Ee Leng Terng with "Computational Function Prediction of Hypothetical Proteins" (advisor: Dr. Jaeju Ko)
  • Ms. Ashley Rossib and Ms. Heather Wagner with "Using Technology to Discover the Constituents of a Mental Model of Chemical Equilibrium" (advisor: Dr. Michael Briggs)
  • Ms. Jessica Nichol with "Azobenzene Dye Synthesis for Attachment to Carbon Nanotubes to Control Conductance" (advisor: Dr. Carl LeBlond)
  • Ms. Li Yin Wong with "Characterization of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Srs2 Helicase Features Essential for Regulation of Homologous Regulation" (advisor: Dr. Jana Villemain)
  • Mr. James Zewe with "Development of ELISA for Mouse Growth Hormone Binding Protein (GHBP)" (advisor: Dr. Jonathan Southard)
  • Mr. Brandon Jones with "Is Bacterial Alkaline Phosphatase Capable of Phosphite Oxidation?" (advisor: Dr. Jonathan Southard)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chemistry Major Will Conduct Research in Arizona

Chemistry major Ms. Jennifer Casanova will be participating in a research project this summer through the University of Arizona's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Jennifer will work under the direction of Dr. William Montfort in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Dr. Montfort's research includes work with protein structures and their function and inhibition.

Congratulations, Jennifer.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chemistry Major Awarded ACS International REU

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to congratulate Ms. Laura Fox, a sophomore chemistry major, on her acceptance of an American Chemical Society (ACS) International Research Experiences for Undergraduates.

For 10 weeks this summer, Laura will conduct research in the analytical chemistry department at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. She will then present the results of her research at the undergraduate poster session during the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. from August 16-17.

Support for her travel and research comes from the ACS and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Congratulations, Laura!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Undergraduate Biochemistry Seminar - 4/3

Two undergraduate speakers will present in this week's biochemistry seminar.

Ms. Galit Regev will present "The Study of Double-stranded RNA in Rhizoctonia Solani".

Ms. Aubree Webb will present "The Unique Pharmacology of Scorpion Toxin Lqh3".

Please join us at 2:30pm in Weyandt 127.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Graduate Seminars on 4/1, 4/3

On Wednesday, April 1, we will hold the first of two graduate student research seminars. Mr. Daniel Adu-Ampratwum will present the talk "Clusters, Superatoms, and Building Blocks of New Materials" in Weyandt 240 at 3:30pm.

On Friday, April 3, Ms. Bernice Opoku-Agyeman will present the talk "Mechanisms and Kinetics of the Wacker Process: A Quantum Mechanical Approach" in Weyandt 240 at 3:30pm.

For both seminars, light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CHEM 281: Food Chemistry Offered for Fall '09

A special topics course on the chemistry of food is being offered for Fall 2009 in the Chemistry Department.

CHEM 281: Food Chemistry
Food Chemistry is a 3-credit, non-lab chemistry course focusing on basic and organic chemistry as it applies to food. This class is appropriate for chemistry, biochemistry or biology majors wanting an elective chemistry course; for food & nutrition majors who plan to take FDNT 362; and other students with an interest in food chemistry who meet the prerequisite requirements. The course will include lectures on topics including but not limited to: carbohydrates, protein, fats, grains, fruits & vegetables, meat & dairy, fermentation, chemical processes in food preparation, molecular gastronomy, coffee & tea, flavor & aroma, food additives, and more. This course is not eligible as a liberal studies non-lab science course. PREREQUISITES: Successful completion of CHEM 102, CHEM 112, or CHEM 114, or completed credits that were accepted for transfer by IUP to count as one of the aforementioned courses.
For more information on the course, contact Dr. Nate McElroy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Biochemistry Seminar - 3/27

On Friday, March 27, two biochemistry seniors will present their seminar topics.

Ms. Olivia McGovern will present "Targeted siRNA Nanoparticle Drug Administration in Primates: A New Hope In Cancer Treatment".

Ms. Caitlin Williamson will present "Biocatalytic Reduction of Alpha-chloro-beta-keto Esters".

Please join us at 2:30 in Weyandt 127.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 3/27

Please join us on Friday, March 27 for a research seminar by Mr. Theppawut Ayudhya (University of South Carolina) at 2:30pm in Weyandt 149.

The talk is titled "Synthesis of Highly Functional Poly(thiophene)s and Progress Towards Generating Solid State Chemosensors."

Chemistry Seminar - 3/25

On Wednesday, March 25 Mr. Justin Fair from the University of Connecticut will present the research seminar "Synthetically Useful Reactions of Organolithium Compounds and Predicted Chromatograms for Flash Column Chromatography".

Please join us at 2:30pm in Weyandt 127 for the seminar. Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mini-ACS Meeting at Duquesne

Duquesne University will be hosting an ACS Meeting in Miniature again this year. IUP students are invited to come and present their work. The meeting is planned for April 18, 2009 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in College Hall and Mellon Hall on the Duquesne campus.

More information and online registration can be found here:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 3/20

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to host Mr. Alexander Poniatowski of the University of Pittsburgh on Friday, March 20.

Mr. Poniatowski will present the research seminar "Synthesis of Natural Products: Utilizing Radical Cations Toward Apicularen, and a Proposed Route to Myrioneurinol".

Please join us at a special time, 1:15pm in Weyandt 149 (note room change also).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chemistry Student Awarded ACS Fellowship

Chemistry major Ms. Jennifer Beveridge has been awarded an ACS undergraduate fellowship in nuclear and radiochemistry, funded by the Department of Energy. The fellowship includes textbooks, housing, transportation, tuition, and lab supplies, and will count as six credits from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Jen will take up the fellowship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York this June and July.

Congratulations Jennifer!

Biochemistry Seminar - 3/13

This week's biochemistry seminar (Fri. Mar. 13) features Mr. Zack Wiley a senior biochemistry major at IUP, who will present the talk "Mimivirus and the Virophage: Redefining Life". The biochemistry seminar will be held in Weyandt 127 at 2:30pm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 3/13

On Friday, March 13, the chemistry department will host Dr. Claire Tessier from the University of Akron. After meeting with faculty and students, Dr. Tessier will present the talk "Chlorophosphazenes, the Precursors to Polyphosphazenes. Are Superacids Undetected Participants in Their Chemistry?".

Please join us at 3:30 in Weyandt 240 for the presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baker to Present at National Science Teachers Association Conference

Chemistry Education major Ms. Tracey Baker will be presenting her CHEM 499 research paper on "Overhauling the General Chemistry Thermochemistry Labs" at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in New Orleans March 18-21, 2009.

Her trip is partially funded by the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund for Conference Presentations from the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stoltz Receives Elias J. Corey Award

Dr. Brian Stoltz (B.S. '93), the Ethel Wilson Bowles & Robert Bowles Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, has been awarded the Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator.

The Stoltz Group at Caltech is a major source of new strategies for synthesizing complex organic molecules with interesting and useful biological activities. The studies in Brian's group have focused on three conceptual areas:
  1. advancing palladium-catalyzd oxidation reactions which don't involve heteroatom transfer
  2. developing asymmetric alkylation and protonation technologies to synthesize quaternary & tertiary stereocenters
  3. inventing tandem reaction processes
Dr. Stoltz started his career in the Department of Chemistry at IUP under the direction of Dr. John Wood. He received his PhD in organic chemistry at Yale in 1997 and became a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard from 1998-2000 in the group of E.J. Corey (1990 Nobel Laureate, Chemistry). He then moved to Caltech, where he won numerous awards including the ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Dr. Stoltz was also presented with a 2006 IUP Alumni Ambassador Award in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Scholarship for Junior & Senior Women

Information on the Priscilla Carney Jones Scholarship is now available from the ACS.

Student Outreach at Blairsville Elementary

On Wednesday, February 18th, members of both the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity, visited Blairsville Elementary for its second annual science fair.

The IUP ACS and AXΣ demonstration table complemented the projects of the Blairsville students, showing students and parents alike the properties of liquid nitrogen and oobleck (a curious mixture of corn starch and water).

Members of the local community were wowed by a demonstration of a banana hammer, in which a liquid nitrogen-frozen banana was used to pound a nail into a board. Children particularly enjoyed the non-Newtonian properties of the oobleck, which acts as a viscous liquid or a solid depending upon the force applied on it. This event was a great success in community outreach, and the groups look forward to participating next year!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 2/20

On Friday, February 20, the Chemistry Department welcomes Dr. Matthew Luderer of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

After visiting with faculty and students, Dr. Luderer will present the seminar "Asymmetric Cyclizations Controlled by a Stereogenic Lithium and Oxidations Using Oxoammonium Salts in Aqueous Media".

Please join us in Weyandt 240 at 3:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chemistry Seminar - 2/6

On Friday, Feb. 6, the department will host Dr. Lillian Chong from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Chong will meet with faculty and students throughout the day and finish with a seminar titled "Atomistic Simulations of Natively Unfolded Proteins".

For more information on Dr. Chong's research, click here.

Please join us in Weyandt 240 at 3:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spring 2009 Local Job - Water Recycling Project

I am looking for an energetic and committed intern to help invent water recycling products. The first product we will be working on is a recycling shower. The intern will be expected to undertake a variety of duties related to the research associated with product development. Over the next several months, I will be developing and testing the effectiveness of various water processing options (e.g., filters, additives, qualities of input water and so forth) with the objective of inventing a product that will produce very high quality shower water (potable/drinkable). In other words, many of the duties will be determined as we evolve; but I mostly want someone with solid analytical skills to help design experiments, collect data, analyze data and help make decisions about solving the problems we will encounter during the innovation process. More information on the background of the project and current circumstances can be found by visiting my company’s website (

The intern can start any time, and work just about any schedule (most of the work can be done from IUP). I am very flexible with the right candidate. The first prototype will be ready for testing the week of 1/19; and I will be moving forward with the rest of the team (about ten professionals), at that time. I’d prefer to have someone onboard from the start, but I see no problem with an intern catching-up later.

I am able to offer a small stipend of $250 and cover travel expenses (the laboratory is in Armstrong County). The stipend will be paid at the end of the internship; and a professional report will be expected at that time.

Send a letter of application, with a resume, to Dr. Tom Falcone, 2560 Warren, Indiana, Pa. 15701. (Or email to:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Younger Chemists Committee

The YCC has arrived in the ‘burgh! Chartered by the American Chemical Society, the Younger Chemists Committee is intended to encourage young (below 35 years of age) and early career chemists to pursue successful professions and involvement in the scientific field!

The Pittsburgh YCC is actively seeking members and ideas for events! If you are a chemist under 35, please join us! Send an email to the secretary of the group, Eric Lanni at to become a member! All young chemists, from high school, to college, to graduate students or recent graduates, educators or industrial chemists are welcome.

Your suggestions and comments are gratefully appreciated. Feel free to share them with Eric or with the YCC group Chair, John Williams (