Alumni News and Events

BU Chemistry Alumni Gathering at the 250th Annual National ACS Meeting

April 26th, 2016

BU Chemistry Alumni Gathering


In conjunction with the 250th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) BU’s Chemistry department hosted an Alumni Reception at the beautiful Seaport Hotel.

The reception was a tremendous success attracting over 150 alumni, faculty, students and guests. Ann Cudd, the new Dean of the College of Art and Sciences was in attendance. One of the things that impressed greatly Dean Cudd was the interesting and varied career paths alumni have followed after leaving BU. One of the highlights of the event was the attendance of the esteemed Bassaam Shakashiri, member of the 1960 graduating class and past ACS president. His brand of fun science has brought many to the field of Chemistry. By far the best part of the gathering was having so many BU Chemistry graduates re-connecting with other alums, faculty, students and staff. BU’s Chemistry Department has produced some amazing graduates and it’s always great to create opportunities like this for them to stay connected.

Chemistry Chair Lawrence Ziegler surprised the guests by announcing the appointment Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL. Dr. Jeffries-EL will come to BU from Iowa State University where she is an Associate Professor of Chemistry. Her research focuses on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors. She will be an excellent addition to the Departments’ faculty and we are excited for her to join the Chemistry Faculty in January 2016.

Over two dozen of our undergraduate and graduate students presenting either talks or posters at the ACS National Meeting.  If you’d like to check out a list of the students and the projects they presented you can find them here.

BU ACS Chem ALums








Department Chair Larry Zielgler and BU Alum and past ACS President Bassaam Shakashiri

Department Chair Larry Zielgler and BU Alum and past ACS President Bassaam Shakashiri



BU Chemistry's newest professor Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL and the new CAS Dean Ann Cudd

BU Chemistry's newest professor Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL and the new CAS Dean Ann Cudd

Chemistry Alumni Reception Aug 18 at Seaport Hotel

July 31st, 2015

On August 18, the Department of Chemistry is hosting a special cocktail reception for Chemistry Alumni, 5:30PM-7:30PM at the Cityview Ballroom of the Boston Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center.

In conjunction with the ACS National Meeting, the Department of Chemistry is hosting a special reception on August 18, 2015 at Boston’s Seaport Hotel.

Whether you are attending the ACS National Meeting or simply are in the area, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a relaxing evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres while reconnecting with fellow alumni and Chemistry faculty. The Seaport Hotel is within short walking distance of the Boston Convention Center and offers stunning views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor, making it a great environment in which to meet current students and learn about the Department’s latest research

In order to help us plan for the reception, please register by reserving complimentary tickets online. Visit the BU Alumni Association page to RSVP.

BU Chemistry has long been recognized for excellence in research and training at the undergraduate and graduate levels. We would love to hear about your accomplishments, and have you meet some of the 30 undergraduate and graduate students presenting talks or posters at the ACS Meeting. You can find a full list of student presentations  here.

We look forward to seeing you at the reception!

When: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
5:30 PM-7:30 PM
Where: Seaport Boston Hotel, Cityview Ballroom
1 Seaport Ln, Boston, MA 02210
Registration Link

Reunion of Undergraduate Chemistry Researchers

June 3rd, 2015

Three undergraduate students from the early 1970’s met their research advisor, Professor Emeritus Morton Z. Hoffman, and his wife, Sandy, recently for dinner at the Post 390 restaurant in Boston. The students were co-authors with him on a publication, “Generation of Radicals in the Charge-Transfer Photochemistry of Coordination Complexes of Cobalt(III) in Aqueous Solution,” J. Phys. Chem., 78, 686-691 (1974).

Deborah (Campano) German (CAS ‘72) was also a student in Hoffman’s CH101-102 lecture section in 1968-69. She received an M.D. degree from Harvard University and is now Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She was married to fellow chemistry alumnus, Larry German (CAS ‘72), who passed away some time ago.

Evan (Rick) Kantrowitz (CAS ‘71), who took CH111-112 with Professor John Endicott in 1967-68, just retired as Professor Emeritus after a 37-year career in the Department of Chemistry of Boston College. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University with Bill Lipscomb as his research supervisor. His wife, Ellen, accompanied him.

Marc Weinberg (CAS ‘74, MED ‘77) was also in Hoffman’s CH101-102 class in 1970-71. He is President of Marc Weinberg M.D. Personal Healthcare, Ltd. in Providence, Clinical Professor of Medicine at B.U. Medical School, and a member of the faculty at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. He is a recipient of the CAS Distinguished Alumni Award. His wife, Lori, attended with him.


(l-r) Rick Kantrowitz, Deborah German, Morton Hoffman (with J. Phys. Chem. paper), Marc Weinberg


Laursen Returns to Iran to Lecture on Ancient Textile Dyes

May 7th, 2015


Professor Laursen (center) with students at the Zanjan Branch, Islamic Azad University (Iran), where he lectured in April 2015

Professor Emeritus Richard Laursen's research on the analysis of vegetable dyes has taken him to many parts of the world.  Using high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array and mass spectrometric detection, his work has helped to identify the plant sources of many of the colors used in ancient textile fibers and given insights into the stability of colors over time.  His research expertise first took him to Iran in 2005, where he had the opportunity to examine antique rugs in the private collection of Miri Iranian Knots, a leading producer  of handmade rugs since 1820. 

This April, Professor Laursen returned to Iran to give a lecture on the "Analysis of Dyes in Ancient Textiles" at several universities and museums in Iran, including  Islamic Azad University, Scientific Research Branch (Tehran);  Islamic Azad University, Zanjan Branch (Zanjan); University of Zanjan (Zanjan); Tabriz Islamic Art University (Tabriz); Astan Quds Razavi Museum (Mashhad); and the Hakim Sabzevari University (Sabzevar).  Professor Laursen noted many changes in the decade since he last went to Iran, including the increasing number of women college students.


Chemistry Alum Returns to BU As Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs Director

May 7th, 2015

Sarah Hokanson

Alum (CAS '05), Sarah Hokanson, is now BU's Director of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs

Dr. Sarah Chobot Hokanson, who was a Chemistry major (CAS '05) doing undergraduate research with Professor Sean Elliott, has returned to BU as Director of the newly launched Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs.   Sarah and her new role are profiled in BU Today's in-depth article "Helping Postdocs Take Charge of their Lives" (Sara Rimer).  The article also details Sarah's  plans for assisting BU graduate students and postdoctoral fellows launch successful careers.

A highly trained scientist in her own right (PhD from the University of Pennsylvania,  2010, and NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell, 2010-2012), Sarah started her own non-traditional science career path at the British Consulate-General in Boston as a senior officer for the Science and Innovation Network).  Now back at BU, her real-time views can be followed on her twitter account.

Environmental Health Scientist Speaks at Chemistry Convocation

April 21st, 2015

Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director Consumer Safety and Sustainability, will be Chemistry's 2015 Distinguished Alumni Speaker

The Director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, was the Distinguished Alumni Speaker at this year's Chemistry Convocation (May 16, 2015).  Dr. Rangan received her BA in Chemistry from Boston University in 1990, doing undergraduate research in organic chemistry with Prof. John Snyder.  She received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1995 and did postdoctoral work at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute (Rutgers University).  She was an NIH fellow from 1990-97.

A noted environmental health scientist, Dr. Rangan has a column in Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine and also serves as a top spokesperson for Consumer Reports in the areas of sustainable production and consumption practices. She has a wide area of expertise, including organic standards, food safety issues, environmental pollution, toxics in consumer products, and environmental health concerns and has appeared in numerous national broadcast outlets. Her expertise is called upon to respond to breaking product safety news, speak on behalf of CU investigative test stories, and to discuss production problems and consumer solutions around a wide range of sustainability topics including food safety issues, organic food, risky ingredients in personal care products, misleading labels, electronics recycling, and energy efficiency for household products.

At the Consumers Union, which she joined in 1999, she has been responsible for managing risk analysis, policy assessments, label evaluations and consumer advice for tests, reports, and related advocacy work.  She developed the ratings system, database, and Web site,, for evaluating environmental and food labels. In 2005, she managed the launch of GreenerChoices,org, which covers green aspects over a wide range of products and services.   To "meet" Dr. Rangan, please go to her 2012 TEDxManhattan talk, "From fables to labels."



From Schlumberger Fellow to Chemistry Professor at the UNA de México

March 4th, 2015


Professor Laura Dominguez

The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship funds women from emerging economies for advanced post­‐graduate study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the finest universities for their discipline overseas with the long term goal of addressing the worldwide gender gap in STEM disciplines.  A highly competitive program, the Foundation selects talented female scientists with the potential to become future leaders, change agents, and policy makers in their home regions.  In 2012, Dr. Laura Dominguez, a native of Mexico, received a Schlumberger Foundation postdoctoral fellowship and selected the Straub group under the leadership of Professor John Straub as the site of her training and research.  In the Straub lab, the objective of Laura’s postdoctoral work was to exploit the growing power of computer simulations to help understand the causes and mechanism of protein aggregation inside cells.  Knowledge of the detailed process of protein aggregation is crucial for understanding the development of illnesses such as amyloidosis and neurodegenerative disease, how and why aggregation occurs, and what could be done to prevent it.

Completing her fellowship in 2014 with five publications with the Straub group, Dr. Dominguez attended the Schlumberger forum in November 2014 where, in Laura’s words, she had “the opportunity to hear a lot about the diverse research and experiences from other women mainly from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.”  While the agenda called for an end of the forum at 5 pm each day, the enthusiastic participants continued their discussions well past midnight, sharing their views on the talks given by distinguished representatives from UNICEF, as well as successful women in the sciences and technology.  Dr. Dominguez facilitated the timely discussion on “Poverty & STEM.”

Laura Dominguez studied chemistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City as an undergraduate and received a Masters degree in Biochemistry from that institution.  Her career goal was always to become a Professor at UNAM, which she proudly considers to be the most prestigious university in Mexico.  Thanks to her education and continued excellent training in the Straub group as a Schlumberger postdoctoral fellow, that is exactly what Dr. – now Professor -­‐ Dominguez has accomplished.

Hoffman Receives Chemistry Education Award

July 28th, 2014

Prof. Emer. Morton Z. Hoffman has received the Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education (DCCE) Award from the Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on the occasion of the 23rd International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (July 13, 2014).

Prof. Emer. Morton Hoffman receiving the IUPAC-CCE Award for Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education from Peter Mahaffy (King's University College, Canada), at left, and Mei-Hung Chiu (National Taiwan Normal University).  (Photo attribution:  Paul Piunno, University of Toronto)

Prof. Emer. Morton Hoffman receiving the IUPAC-CCE Award for Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education from Peter Mahaffy (King's University College, Canada), at left, and Mei-Hung Chiu (National Taiwan Normal University). (Photo attribution: Paul Piunno, University of Toronto)

The DCCE Award recognizes outstanding contributions with both local and international impact by a chemistry educator to improve the teaching and learning of chemistry.  Previous recipients of the award have been Peter Atkins (Oxford University, U.K.), Lida Schoen (Young Ambassadors of Chemistry, Netherlands), Peter Mahaffy (King’s University College, Canada), and Robert Bucat (University of Western Australia).

Morton Hoffman was promoted to emeritus in 2005 after a 44-year, highly productive career in research and teaching in Boston University's Department of Chemistry.  In 1994, he received the University's highest teaching honor:  the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.  His many other honors and awards have included being named a Fellow by the ACS, AAAS, and IUPAC;  receiving the 2007 ACS Volunteer Service Award, the 2002 Catalyst Award for Teaching Excellence from the American Chemistry Council, the 2003 Timm Award for Encouraging Young People to Study Chemistry from the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers, the 2005 Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeastern Section, and the 2006 Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from the Alumni Association of Hunter College of the City University of New York.  He was chair of the Northeastern Section in 2002 and of the ACS Division of Chemical Education in 2005.




Commemorating Prof. Emeritus Hartman (1931-2014)

March 27th, 2014

When Prof. Standish C. Hartman ('Stan') retired in 2005, the Department of Chemistry held a grand celebration honoring his promotion to Professor Emeritus.  A man of quiet dignity, with a dry sense of humor, Stan seemed taken aback by the turnout and tributes.  Stan's modesty prevented him from seeing what everyone else knew:  that during his 37-years at BU as an educator, scientist, and Chair, he was instrumental in the impressive development of the Department of Chemistry, enabling many of the programmatic structures currently in place at the interface of chemistry and biology.  It is with great sadness that we note Stan Hartman's passing on March 24, 2014.

Stan Hartman joined the BU faculty in 1968 as an Associate Professor of Chemistry.   He had received his PhD in Biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957. His academic career started as an instructor of Biological Chemistry (1957-1959) at MIT.  From 1959 to 1963 he was an Associate in Biological Chemistry at the Harvard Medical School (HMS).  He became an Assistant Professor in Biological Chemistry at HMS in 1964 until he came to BU in 1968.  Prof. Hartman's research interests were in enzymology (mechanisms of enzyme action) and recombinant DNA (retroviral vectors, gene isolation and characterization, mechanisms of mutagenesis, and methods for identifying kin relationships).  As an educator he taught general biochemistry, enzymology (graduate level), physical chemistry of biomolecules (graduate level), and recombinant DNA (senior-graduate level).  He was Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1993 to 1997, then served as Associate Chair from 1997 until his retirement in 2005.

The brief bio above itemizes the facts of Stan's academic career.  We are fortunate in having a record of his "voice."  Upon his retirement, we published a “special issue” of a Chemistry newsletter dedicated to his career and contributions.  The issue is primarily an interview with Prof. Hartman in which he shared insights from his nearly five decades of experience.  His long career had given him a perspective that few can match. In the interview, Stan generously shared his candid views and insights on academic life in a department that has grown and evolved in response to the students and science it serves.  Please take a moment to read the interview and appreciate what a wonderful member of the BU community we have lost.  To access the newsletter, click here.

Donations  Stan Hartman's family have asked that any contributions in his honor respect his wishes to benefit the Department of Chemistry.   Donations commemorating Prof. Hartman can be made as follows:

By check Make out to: Trustees of Boston University
Memo line: "Department of Chemistry in Honor of Stan Hartman"
Mail to: Boston University
Department of Chemistry
c/o of Prof. Lawrence Ziegler, Chair
590 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
To give on-line Go to: Secure Online Form
In gift designation box: "Department of Chemistry in Honor of Stan Hartman"

PFF Alumnus Promoted to Associate Professor

April 10th, 2013

Professor John R. Miecznikowski

Prof. John R. Miecznikowski

Former BU Chemistry Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow (2004-2007), John Miecznikowski, has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor at Fairfield University.  Prof. Miecznikowski started his independent career at Fairfield University in September 2007 in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department.  A dedicated and enthusiastic chemistry educator, he was selected as the Undergraduate Teacher of the Year at Fairfield University by Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society) in 2011.

Prof. Miecznikowski received his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Yale University in 2004, where his research with Prof. Robert Crabtree focused on developing several new aspects of transition-metal N-heterocyclic carbene chemistry.

Following his Ph.D., he joined the BU Chemistry Department as a Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow (PFF).   The PFF Program provides a two-to-three-year, full time appointment in the Department of Chemistry for recent Ph.D. graduates who plan to pursue academic careers at 4-year liberal arts colleges as Prof. Miecznikowski did.  It gives Fellows first-hand experience in teaching chemistry, while enabling them to conduct research.  As a PFF, Prof. Miecznikowski was involved in team teaching General Chemistry I (CH101), and Inorganic Chemistry (CH232).   He did postdoctoral research under the direction of Prof. John Caradonna. His research focused on synthesizing and characterizing Fe(II) and Fe(III) model complexes for the 2-His 1-Carboxylate Motif of mononuclear nonheme iron oxygenases.

Prof. Miecznikowski joins the distinguished list of PFF alumni who have also achieved tenure: Amy Bradley, Associate Professor and Chair, Wilkes College;  Robert Harris, MA College of Liberal Arts; Allison Moore, Belmont University; and Laurie Tyler, Union College.