Category: Front Page
We were pleased to announce the Department of Chemistry student award winners for the 2017-2018 academic year at the Orientation BBQ. For those who may have missed it, here are the award winners.
Sugata Ray Memorial Award for International Students: Nathchar Naowarojna (Liu Lab)
This award was established by the Ray family in memory of their son, Sugata Ray, a former graduate student in the Chemistry Department, to recognize an international Ph.D. candidate each year who excels in his or her graduate studies. Research, academic performance, teaching, and service contributions to the Department are all considered in selection of the awardee.
Professor Liu writes, “Can has demonstrated her potential to thrive in the academic environment and greatly contribute to the field of natural product biosynthesis and enzymology. Her skills and knowledge in research, and dedication to mentorship make her an exceptionally qualified nominee.” She has authored or contributed to an impressive number of publications, and demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to undergraduate mentoring through her teaching assignments and undergraduate research supervising.
Lichtin Award for Research: David Stelter (Keyes)
This award was established in honor of Norman Lichtin, a distinguished research scientist and former Chair of the Chemistry Department. The award recognizes students that are distinguished by their exceptional contributions to chemical research in their doctoral studies.
Professor Keyes writes, “David is a wonderful student, one of my best ever. Despite having to teach almost full time he has achieved significant research results, and never lost his enthusiasm, while also being a joy to have as a TF.” David is first author on two papers, contributed to two more, and has a large body of results to write up and exciting work in progress.
Feldman Award: Lindsey Walker (Elliott Lab)
The Feldman Fund was established by the Feldman family to memorialize Julius Feldman, who served for many years as Associate Chairman of the Chemistry Department and who took a special interest in the welfare of graduate students. The Feldman Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching or service.
Lindsey is a fifth year student in the Elliott Lab who has not only made significant and impressive research contributions but is a great communicator of science, and stands out as an excellent leader.
Professor Elliott writes, “Lindsey is a sharp, devoted, creative and highly driven student, who is well on her way to being a successful scientific leader. She is a talented researcher who is motivated by a concern for the environment, and a desire to use electrochemistry as a functional tool to improve society. She is a wonderful student, and I am very lucky to have her in my lab.”
Departmental Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research: Lauren Viarengo (Whitty Lab)
Professor Whitty writes, “Lauren has a strong intellect and is exceptionally diligent and conscientious in everything she does. Lauren is also highly sought after as a Teaching Fellow, being very conscientious and having excellent interpersonal and communication skills. But what really sets her apart is her fearlessness in taking on new research challenges, and her exceptional drive. I believe she serves as an example of everything we look for in our very best graduate students, and is an ideal candidate for a graduate student award to recognize her extraordinary capabilities and efforts.”
Congratulations to all of our award winners!
As they finished out the sixth and final week of the 2018 GROW (Greater Boston Research Opportunities for Young Women) program, the 12 summer interns present their capstone to the six weeks of research conducted during a Poster Session held on Friday, August 10th in the Science Metcalf Building Lounge located on the first floor from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
LERNet was created in 1998 to provide programming for K-12 students interested in pursuing the STEM fields and to encourage teacher development. In recent years, Brossman says, she has become more focused on young women, because they face a gender imbalance in STEM fields. The GROW program came into being this year after Deborah Perlstein, a CAS assistant professor of chemistry, came to Brossman looking for ways to broaden the impact of a research project so that it would satisfy a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant requirement. After her project was funded for one student, they decided to go further.
“For young women interested in careers in math and science, it’s really important for them to have an opportunity to get in lab and see what that’s like,” says Perlstein. “It’s also important for them to have the opportunity to see some (female) role models. That was important to me in choosing my career path.
”Brossman and Perlstein put together a program with funding from sources including Vertex, Pfizer, and other companies; LERNet; the chemistry and biology departments; CAS; BU’s ARROWS (Advance, Recruit, Retain & Organize Women in STEM); and existing NSF grants, all adding up to about $30,000. Despite a late posting of the application, in April, some 60 rising juniors and seniors from Greater Boston high schools applied. A dozen students were placed in BU chemistry and biology labs and assigned research projects and graduate student or post-doc mentors.
“I wanted to create an accessible program for local students who may not be able to afford some of the existing programs or who needed to work during the summer,” Brossman says. “We wanted to give the students a stipend so we could eliminate any financial barriers to participation.”
Here are some photos from this years Poster Session:
We are proud to announce that Professor Malika Jeffries-EL has been named one of the 2018 ACS Fellows. The purpose of the ACS Fellows Program is to recognize and honor members of the American Chemical Society for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the science and the profession and for their equally exemplary service to the Society. The ACS Fellows Program uniquely recognizes a different standard of achievement and service. Specifically, the Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACSF) designation is awarded to a member who, in some capacity, has made exceptional contributions to the science or profession and has provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.
Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL and her research group focuses her research interests on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors. Prior to joining the Department of Chemistry in 2016 she was as Associate Professor at Iowa State University, most recently serving as a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at MIT. She has been honored twice previously by the ACS with an ACS Women Chemist Committee Rising Star award in 2012 and a Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences in 2015.
Dr. Jeffries-EL has consistently been an active member of ACS having served on the editorial advisory boards for Macromolecules and Chemical and Engineering News. She has served in several activities within the American Chemical Society including the advisory board for the Women Chemist of Color Program, executive member of the Division of Organic Chemistry, Program co-chair for the Polymer division, member of the Society Committee on Education and councilor for the Ames local section. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Professor Malika Jeffries-EL will be celebrated as an ACS Fellow during the 256th National ACS Meeting and Exposition’s induction ceremony on Monday, August 20, 2018, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Grand Ballroom, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman is the 2018 recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars
Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman, Professor Emeritus in the Chemistry Department of Boston University, is this years recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars. This prize was initiated by Dr. Robert L. Lichter and his wife Diane Scott Lichter with a grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The annual $1,000 prize recognizes individuals who have done an exemplary job in mentoring students in the ACS Scholars Program. It is named in honor of Ms. Morales-Martinez, the mentoring consultant for the ACS Scholars Program, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Scholars Program and other initiatives to address the need to increase the presence and participation of underrepresented minorities in chemical science.
A native of New York City, Mort Hoffman attended Hunter College and received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Sheffield University in England before joining the chemistry faculty of Boston University in 1961. His research focused on the photophysics and photochemistry of transition-metal coordination compounds, with an emphasis on the fast kinetics of excited-state electron-transfer and ligand-labilization processes. Supported over the years by NIH, NSF, DOE and DOD, his research expanded to the conversion and storage of solar energy and the use of nanosecond pulsed-laser techniques to probe excited-state behavior. He also collaborated with faculty, senior scholars, and scientists from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, England, Israel, and Japan. He has authored over 200 articles and book chapters, of which undergraduates serve as coauthors on 23 and graduate students on 37.
Over the course of Dr. Hoffman’s career, 40 students have worked with him as a mentor and coach, and 20 ACS Scholars developed mentoring relationships with him. Many of these students have transitioned into industry, health care, law, and education careers since then. Dr. Hoffman taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including general, physical and analytical chemistry, chemical kinetics, photochemistry, and radiation chemistry. Remembered by tens of thousands of students for his theatrical lecturing style, dramatic chemical demonstrations, innovative pedagogies, and outrageous jokes and puns, he was honored in 1994 with the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Boston University, the Catalyst Award for Teaching Excellence from the American Chemistry Council in 2002, the John A. Timm Award for Encouraging Young People to Study Chemistry from the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT) in 2003, and the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeastern Section of the ACS (NESACS) in 2005. He received the ACS Volunteer Service Award in 2007 and the Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education Award from IUPAC in 2014. He was named a Fellow of AAAS in 1992, a Fellow of ACS in 2009, and a Fellow of IUPAC in 2014.
Since his retirement in 2005, he has continued work with B.U. International Programs in the development and maintenance of science study-abroad programs in Dresden (Germany), Grenoble (France), and Madrid (Spain).
Dr. Hoffman has been very active at the local, regional, and national levels of ACS. He served as Chair of NESACS in 2002, Chair of CHED in 2005, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Region, Inc. He represents NESACS on ACS Council, was a member of SOCED and the Senior Chemists Committee, and is currently on the International Activities Committee. Internationally, he was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as the U.S. National Representative to the Committee on Chemistry Education of IUPAC. He has served as Treasurer of the Malta Conferences Foundation since its incorporation in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
For information on contributing to this award or to become a mentor in the ACS Scholars Program, call 202-872-6250 or 1-800-227-5558, ext. 6250, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Rosina Georgiadis and Master Lecturer Binyomin Abrams co-chaired a full day symposium entitled “Teaching Transferable Skills in the Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum: Real Research, Real Training” on August 1, 2018 at the 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE2018), hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
The morning session showcased the work of two former BU Chemistry Postdoctoral Faculty Fellows (PFFs) now known as Postdoctoral Associates/Lecturers (PAL’s) John Miecznikowski (Fairfield University) and Matthew Worden (UT Austin). Also speaking in the morning was our Biochemistry Lecturer Dr. Didem Vardar-Ulu, who was recently awarded a Blended Learning Challenge Fellowship. Dr. Vardar-Ulu spoke on ”Ensuring a successful transition from being a chemistry student to a professional chemist: Redesigning an introductory biochemistry laboratory curriculum for chemistry majors with a guided focus on transferable skills.” Professor Rosina Georgiadis, who was most recently awarded a BU Faculty Fellowship in 2016, and current PFF Kristina Streu ended the morning session with back-to-back talks on new cloud-enabled training for teaching analytical instrumental laboratory skills. Their talks were entitled: “Virtual machines: A new way to teach transferable skills in the advanced undergraduate laboratory” and “Teaching instrumentation with virtual machines: Case study and demonstration.”
The afternoon session showcased the Chemistry department’s CH111/CH112 writing program in a talk by Dr. Abrams entitled “Stop writing/teaching lab reports: integrating authentic research-based writing into quantitative analysis courses”. Dr. Abrams also presented a paper in the symposium titled “How Do We Know That?” and Dr. Vardar-Ulu gave a talk “Can blended instruction provide a customized biochemistry teaching laboratory experience?” in a symposium focused on biochemistry laboratory instruction.
Stephanie Beach, of the Doerrer Group, recently won a prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship! The Chateaubriand Fellowship is a grant offered by the Embassy of France in the United States. It supports outstanding Ph.D. students from American universities who wish to conduct research in France for a period ranging from 4 to 9 months. Chateaubriand fellows are selected through a merit-based competition, through a collaborative process involving expert evaluators in both countries.
The program is divided into two subprograms: Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) which supports those who seek to study Humanities and Social Sciences. Stephanie was awarded the Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Biology-Health (STEM), which is for doctoral students who aim to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between French and American research teams. This fellowship is offered by the Office for Science & Technology (OST) of the Embassy of France in partnership with American universities and French research organizations such as Inserm and Inria. It is a partner of the National Science Foundation’s GROW program.
Stephanie is currently working at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, a CNRS lab, in Bordeaux, France from February through May of 2018 to partner with the group of Prof. Rodolphe Clérac. She is developing new variations of the Doerrer group thiocarboxylate lantern complexes for development as single molecule magnets.
Research at Boston University’s Photonics Center reporting on a drug-free photonic approach to eliminating methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) earned Pu-Ting Dong (BU Chemistry Student, Dr. Ji-Xen Cheng Group) the SPIE Photonics West 2018 Translational Research Award.
Translational Research Symposium Chairs Bruce J. Tromberg of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Center at the University of California, Irvine (USA) and Gabriela Apiou, from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (USA) presented the award to Dong Sunday, February 4th during a forum that focused on translational research applications of blue light.
Dong’s research found a synergy between photobleaching of staphyloxanthin (STX) with blue light and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in killing the highly infectious and dangerous MRSA.
“This potentially opens a new way to address a tremendous problem that the healthcare system is facing using a biophotonic technology,” Apiou said.
As Dong noted, it can take 30 years after the emergence of antibiotic resistance for a new antibiotic to be developed.
Treating MRSA is “a significant problem in infectious disease,” Tromberg, an SPIE Fellow, said, and Dong’s solution “could benefit a large number of patients worldwide.”
In a talk preceding Dong’s presentation, SPIE Fellow Michael Hamblin of the Wellman Center, explained how blue light has been found to influence circadian rhythms and magnetic fields and has become a common treatment for treating acne, low-back pain, neurological disorders, and other diseases and disorders.
Hamblin noted that a new conference at Photonics West, Photonic Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection and Inflammatory Diseases, and its 60 papers, indicated the importance of light technologies in treating a number of diseases.
Congratulations to Professor David Coker for receiving a National Science Foundation Grant (NSF) totally $435,000. This project will fund Dr. Coker and his team’s research into two areas. The first project will focus on extending, first principles, excited state quantum chemical methods and conformational sampling techniques to compute the distributions of parameters in models of the biological light harvesting systems that have received much attention in recent ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy studies. Such models are usually employed to interpret the results of these averaged experiments. These best-fit, average models have many parameters that can be difficult to estimate and they are not generally unique, often leading to ambiguous interpretation. The theoretical methods being developed by the Coker group, however, enable detailed analysis of fluctuations underlying the average and the sampling of an ensemble of unique models that include, for example, highly performing structural outliers whose characteristics will give important understanding for optimal design, rather than mean behavior. In the second project, dissipative quantum dynamical methods are employed to compute spectroscopic properties and study relaxation processes including energy transport and charge separation using the ensembles of computed models. Preliminary work on these projects was featured in a recent publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Coker is a Professor of Theoretical and Physical Chemistry and is the Director for BU’s Center for Computational Science (BU CCS). The Coker Group focus their research the development of new theoretical and computational methods to explore how electronic and vibrational excitation of reactant molecules in different environments can influence the outcome of chemical reactions of these molecules. Because electronic and vibrational relaxation of excited reactants is fundamentally quantum mechanical in nature, the methods they use must accurately describe the transfer of energy between the classical environment and the quantal reactive system.
 “First-Principles Models for Biological Light-Harvesting: Phycobiliprotein Complexes from Cryptophyte Algae”, M.K. Lee, K. Bravaya, and D.F. Coker, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (23), pp 7803–7814
We are happy to welcome a new colleague to our ranks in Professor Chen Yang. Professor Yang will be moving from the Purdue University Chemistry Department where she also has a joint appointment in Physics. Her work focuses on the development of new nanomaterials with chemically controllable functionality exploiting low dimensionality as well as structural and compositional complexity.
Chen received her PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University working in the laboratory of Professor Charles Lieber before starting her first academic appointment at Purdue in 2007. She will have a 50:50 joint appointment at BU with the Department of Chemistry and Electrical & Computer Engineering Department. She will also be a member of the Materials Science & Engineering Divisioin.
Professor Yang’s materials centered research has applications in plasmonic optical devices, solar energy utilization, nanomedicine and biological imaging, and nanoelectronics. She has won a Seeds of Success Award from Purdue University (awarded to faculty raising over 1 million dollars) and a Career Award (2009-2014) from the National Science Foundation. Her prior work has been supported by grants from NSF, DARPA, ARO and the Keck Foundation.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Yang to BU’s Chemistry and Electrical & Chemical Engineering Departments starting on July 1st!
Held every three years since 1972, the ACTC is widely attended by chemists from both the United States and abroad. The meeting grew from the biennial Gordon Research Conference on Theoretical Chemistry, held from 1962-1970. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the Chair of ACTC 2017. David Coker, Boston University, is the Deputy Chair and Local Organizer, and Todd Martinez, Stanford University, is the Vice Chair.
The lectures will be held at the Boston University Law School Auditorium, lunches will be at the George Sherman Union Back Court, and poster sessions will be held at Metcalf Hall in the George Sherman Union. For breakfasts and dinners, attendees will have many options of nearby restaurants. A boat trip and banquet will be held on Wednesday.
For more information and registration details click here.