Michael Gooley, Chemistry’s Chief Financial Officer, wins Boston University’s 2016 Perkins Service Award
It is my great pleasure to announce that Mike Gooley, Chemistry’s Chief Financial Administrator, is one of three recipients of the 2016 John S. Perkins Service Award! This award is presented to three members of the BU community in recognition of their distinguished service to the University. This is certainly a well deserved honor for Mike whose dedication, professionalism and expertise in the financial management of our department has contributed to our overall success.
Please join me in congratulating Mike on the receipt of this award and thanking him for his outstanding contributions throughout his entire time at BU!
Boston University’s Chemistry Department is proud to announce that Professor John Straub has been selected as this year’s recipient of the United Methodist Church Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award! This award is given each year to a Boston University faculty member in recognition of their record of ongoing, outstanding research and scholarship, and excellence as a teacher. This is one of the highest honors Boston University bestows to one of its faculty members.
Professor Straub’s research explores protein dynamics and thermodynamics using theoretical and computational methods, with a particular focus on elucidating pathways for conformational change associated with protein energy transfer, signaling, folding, and aggregation. He also works with the Pinhead Institute, a Smithsonian Affiliate based in Telluride, Colorado that strives to promote science-education both locally & globally. The Pinhead Institute educates and inspires children and adults in the greater Telluride region about the wonders of science and technology.
Congratulations to Professor Straub on receiving this much deserved award.
Can a molecule be beautiful?
As director of BU’s Center for Molecular Discovery (CMD), John Porco has helped to create some 7,000 new molecules. To a chemist’s eye, their ornate “architecture” makes them beautiful, says Porco. But to the millions of people with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and infections that don’t respond to existing therapies, these molecules have beauty of a very different kind: they just might be able to treat diseases that today’s drugs can’t cure.
The molecules in the CMD’s boutique library are far more complex than those you’d find in standard, off-the-shelf compounds. That makes them more like the biologically active molecules found in nature, and more likely to deliver precision treatments that aren’t toxic to healthy cells. But it also makes them challenging to synthesize. In fact, drug makers traditionally prefer to use simple molecules because they are easier to create in the lab.
“When you’re running the same reaction dozens or hundreds of times, you want it to work every time, so people generally use very simple reactions, which generally give rise to very simple molecules,” explains Lauren Brown, research assistant professor of chemistry and assistant director of the CMD. “The more complex a molecule is, the more difficult it is to put together.”
Dr. Perlstein, who has been with Boston University’s Chemistry Department since 2010, was recently awarded a 5-Year early investigator award through the NSF CAREER grant program.The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.
Dr. Perlstein’s research focuses on how metals are mobilized and monitored within the cell so that they get to where they need to go and do not end up in places they shouldn’t. With this new five-year grant, Dr. Perlstein plans to unravel the molecular mechanism by which iron-sulfur cluster cofactors are assembled in the cytosol of eukaryotic organisms. Since inhibition of this first step in cluster biosynthesis can lead to defects in DNA replication, DNA repair and protein synthesis, she expects this work will provide new insight into how cluster biogenesis affects these other fundamental biochemical pathways.
With the CAREER award, Perlstein also plans to develop new undergraduate course curriculum as well as building on current STEM outreach program efforts to begin training the next generation of scientists.
To learn more about Dr. Perlstein and her groups research activities visit her Faculty page: http://www.bu.edu/chemistry/faculty/perlstein/.
In an effort to develop the next generation of Chemistry researchers, the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry has sponsored the proposal of Professor Malika Jeffries-EL and co-PI Jeff Moore for the University of Illinois-Urbana Champagne to hold an NSF Chemistry Early Career Investigator Workshop. The objective of these workshops is to provide early career chemist with networking opportunities and relevant information needed to better assess their research ideas, projects, and plans so as to more effectively compete for grant applications to the NSF CAREER program, other NSF programs and other federal agencies.
The 2016 NSF Chemistry Early Career Investigator workshop is a two-day event, to be held March 10th-11th 2016 in Arlington VA at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is close to the NSF headquarters, enabling the participation of many program officers. The location also provides attendees with the opportunity to visit the NSF and follow up with specific program directors before or after the workshop. Additionally, this location is close to the headquarters of other federal agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), National institute of Health (NIH), and various defense agencies enabling participation from members of these organizations.
The workshop is expected to have approximately 120 participants and will be open to investigators performing research in NSF-supported disciplines within the United States. While the workshop is primarily intended for junior faculty members, advanced graduate students, postdocs, and other research scientist may also apply.
For more information, including applications, visit the 2016 NSF Chemistry Early Career Investigator Workshop webpage.
BU Chemistry is pleased to announce a 3-year renewal of funding for our NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program. This summer program, hosted by the Chemistry Department, provides students from primarily undergraduate institutions with opportunities to work in advanced research laboratories. Of the 33 students who participated in the program over the past three years, 75% came from underrepresented minority groups, better than 60% were women, and more than 50% came from community colleges. Many of them co-authored peer-reviewed publications, presented their findings at conferences, and/or decided to attend graduate school, including BU. Another measure of the program’s success is its ever-expanding pool of applicants, with over 1,000 applications received for the summer 2015 program alone.
Chemistry would like to give special recognition to the efforts of Professors John Snyder, Principal Investigator (PI), and Linda Doerrer, co-PI, whose hard work and commitment to the program made this renewal possible.
The Chemistry Department is accepting applications now for the Summer 2016 session. For more information, visit the BU Chemistry REU.
Chemistry is pleased to welcome our newest faculty member. On January 4, Malika Jeffries-EL joined the Chemistry Department as an Associate Professor with tenure. Professor Jeffries-EL comes to BU from Iowa State University, and her research focuses on the development of organic semi-conductor materials. She received B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Africana Studies at Wellesley College, and her Ph.D in Chemistry from The George Washington University. After spending one year at Smith College as a Mendenhall Fellow, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow under the direction of Professor Richard D. McCullough at Carnegie Mellon University.
Professor Jeffries-EL’s 30+ publications have garnered over 2,000 citations, and she has given more than 80 lectures in the United States and abroad. She has won numerous awards, including the 3M Untenured Faculty Award (2008), the Emerald Honors for Most Promising Minority Scientist (2008), the Lloyd Ferguson Award from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (2009), a NSF CAREER award (2009), the ISU-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity Award (2011), the ACS Women Chemist Committee Rising Star Award (2012), and the Iota Sigma Pi Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award.
For more information about her interests and research, please visit her faculty webpage at www.bu.edu/chemistry/jeffries-el-3.
Associate Professor Debbie Perlstein is going to sunny Ventura, CA next week to present at the week long Metals in Biology Gordon Research Conference. Her talk, which she will give on Tuesday evening, is titled “Piecing Together Apo-Target Recognition in Cytosolic Iron Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis.” For more information about Dr. Perlstein and her research please visit: Perlstein Faculty Page
The Department of Chemistry regrets to announce the passing of our dear colleague, Mr. Mertin Betts, on October 18, 2015.
When Marty joined Chemistry in 2004, he had already enjoyed a successful professional career, and his interest in the laboratory supervisor position was motivated by his enthusiasm for chemistry and education. The members of the Department who interviewed Marty were immediately impressed by his friendly manner, a quality that made him a favorite with his work-study students, most of whom returned to work for him year after year until they graduated.
Marty’s dedication to the Department and his students was remarkable and thorough: he kept his labs organized and running smoothly, which was no small accomplishment given the hundreds of students who passed through them each semester. Faculty members and teaching fellows relied upon him to ensure that everything worked, and it did. Moreover, Marty took the safety of the students in his labs to heart, and he would remind them in a friendly but firm manner of the need to work safely and with the right equipment. He didn’t hesitate to remind staff and faculty either…and some of us occasionally needed that reminder.
What made Marty such an important part of Chemistry, however, was not just his professional competence and his passion for education, but his openness to his colleagues. He was funny, warm, a family man, and a gentleman. For eleven years, he was an important and beloved part of Chemistry, a man who, whether they realized it or not, contributed to the futures of thousands of students, and enriched the lives of all those fortunate enough to work with him.
We miss him.
To Marty’s family and his friends outside of Chemistry: thank you for sharing Marty with us. We share your grief, but also rejoice that we had the good fortune to know him. He was an educator, a colleague, and a friend, and he certainly made the Department a better place by being a part of it.
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