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October 4, 2019

BIC majors Ian Torrence & Dan Tudorica among current cohort of Knight Campus UG Scholars

October 1, 2019

Meet our 2019 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients!

clockwise: Makenna Pennell, Rachel Lutz, Jake Olsen & Madi ScottThe Chemistry and Biochemistry department is pleased to introduce the recipients of our 2019 undergraduate scholarships!

Makenna Pennel, Rachel Lutz, Jake Olsen and Madi Scott are all in their senior year in the Clark Honors College.


The Faith Van Nice Scholarship is dedicated to the legacy of alumna Faith Van Nice, and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Makenna says she feels incredibly grateful and humbled to have been selected for an award that honors such an inspirational alumna.

photo: Makenna Pennel

Makenna Pennel
Faith Van Nice Scholarship Recipient

Chemistry major Makenna Pennel grew up in Triangle Lake, Oregon, and says it was a high school internship at OSU that sparked her interest in nanotechnology and green chemistry. These interests, combined with a Stamps scholarship, brought her to the UO.

About her research: Makenna has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year, an opportunity which began when she met Jim Hutchison during a Run with a Researcher event. Makenna’s research in the Hutchison lab revolves around metal oxide nanocrystals—materials that have a wide array of applications, ranging from thin films in electronics to UV-protection in sunscreens. Her research specifically examines nanocrystal synthesis and the mechanisms behind their formation. This past summer she completed an internship at Northwestern University’s International Institute of Nanotechnology outside of Chicago, working with quantum dots— a class of semiconductor nanoparticles—in the field of quantum information science.

What’s next? Future plans include grad school for chemistry or materials science, but her career plans are wide-open. Makenna says academia and industry are both possibilities. She has also enjoyed presenting science to the public as a volunteer at the Eugene Science Center so science communication, and interdisciplinary opportunities that blend science with other fields such as literature, are very appealing.


The Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship recognizes academic excellence in our majors, and was established by former UO Chemistry students in honor of two professors whose instruction, influence and inspiration had a significant impact on their career paths. Rachel says that she is grateful to be recognized in memory of these two influential professors, and thankful to the donors for their support of the scholarship.

photo: Rachel Lutz

Rachel Lutz Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarship Recipient

Rachel Lutz, a Biochemistry major, is from Portland, Oregon. She had the opportunity early on to become involved in research at OHSU through the Partnership for Scientific Inquiry (PSI), a mentorship program that pairs high school students with research scientists in the Portland metro area. It was her work under her mentor MD-PhDs, and a family friend’s experience participating in a clinical trial to fight her cancer, that inspired Rachel’s passion for medical-related research. The ability to continue to do research as an undergrad factored highly into her choice to attend the UO.

About her research: At the encouragement of her Organic Chemistry instructor, Rachel applied to the PURS undergraduate research program and joined the Pluth lab in her sophomore year. Her research involves synthesizing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) donors to analyze how their structure relates to their activity. H2S is a gasotransmitter – a gaseous molecule that sends signals to cells – which triggers cellular events. Through her work, Rachel seeks to increase our understanding of these molecular processes, which has implications for improving treatments for diseases like diabetes and Alzheimers.

What’s next? Rachel plans to pursue a career in medicine as a doctor and possibly a researcher.  She’s passionate about women’s health and empowering people to make informed and healthy choices to improve their quality of life.


The P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship provides funding for students to conduct research during the summer in a physical chemistry lab at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a physical chemistry faculty member. This year, the fellowship was awarded to two majors.

Jake Olsen
P-Chem Summer Research
Fellowship Recipient

Jake Olsen is a double major in Chemistry and Math from Portland, Oregon. Jake says he chose the UO for its wide-range of science offerings and the chance to do research as an undergrad.

About his research: Jake says he finds research work inspiring because it offers opportunities to make a positive impact while doing something that you love. His interest in physical and theoretical chemistry led him to the Guenza lab, which he joined in the spring of his sophomore year. The lab uses computer simulations and analytical theory to investigate the dynamic and structural properties of polymer systems. Jake’s research builds upon the lab’s coarse-graining model by using a procedure known as backmapping – a timesaving method for reconstructing atomistic information from coarse-grained data. The resulting polymer models have applications in fields such as material design, speeding up the experimental process by identifying specific properties and predicting the behavior of polymer systems prior to synthesizing them in the lab. He sees his research work as creating a resource that allows chemists to more efficiently and economically design materials.

What’s next? Jake is applying to graduate school and is looking forward to continuing to work in a research environment.


photo: Madi Scott

Madi Scott
P-Chem Summer Research
Fellowship Recipient

Chemistry and Physics major Madi Scott grew up in Medford, Oregon, with a strong interest in math, science and medicine. The Honors College and the opportunity to combine a liberal arts education with research drew her to the UO.

About her research: Madi entered the UO thinking that she wanted to be a cardiologist, but her fall term General Chemistry course introduced her to what she describes as the ‘beauty of the mathematics’ involved in electron transfer, inspiring her to dig deeper by joining the Wong lab the following term. The lab uses laser spectroscopy to look at how light interacts with matter – specifically how molecules come together to form larger structures, and how they conduct electricity. Madi’s work involves building microscopes using lenses, irises, shutters and cameras to take molecular-level images of the semiconductor materials that they create in the lab. Measurements are then taken with a laser and used to analyze the molecular structures in the images.  Madi’s goal is to make her measurement techniques more robust so that they can learn more about the behaviors of the molecular structures. Her research has applications for solar cells, LEDs and other materials.

What’s next? Madi plans to go to graduate school for physical chemistry, and then pursue a research career in academia, industry or a national lab.

By Leah O’Brien

June 4, 2019

Chemistry Major Madi Scott selected for Goldwater Scholarship

May 17, 2019

Biochemistry Majors Ian Torrence & Dan Tudorica selected as 2019-20 Knight Campus UG Scholars

May 9, 2019

Ten CH and BIC Undergrads to Participate in 2019 UG Research Symposium on May 16th

The annual undergraduate research symposium will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2019.The symposium is part of the UO’s Week of Research events, which will run Monday through Friday.

This year’s symposium will host 513 presenters and 290 faculty mentors, including 10 student presenters from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Poster presentations will run from 5:30-7:30 in the EMU Ballroom on Thursday. May 16th.The finalized schedule for oral and creative work presentations will be available on the symposium website.

 

 

October 5, 2018

Meet our 2018 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients!

Photo Collage: CHEM Badge, Alexi Overland, Dylan Bardgett, Rima Pandit
Last June, Alexi Overland, Dylan Bardgett and Rima Pandit were selected as the recipients of the 2018 UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department undergraduate scholarships.

Photo: Alexi OverlandAlexi Overland was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, which is dedicated to the memory of alumna Faith Van Nice and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Alexi is a sophomore majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Science. Growing up in Bend, Oregon, Alexi recalls becoming hooked on science and math at a very young age. Together with a passion for the outdoors, this led to an interest in climate change, sustainability, and protecting environment. While in high school, Alexi came to the UO campus during the summer to participate in enrichment programs, including one that incorporated chemistry. Green chemistry in particular sparked her interest, and influenced her choice of the UO for her undergraduate studies. In her freshman year, Alexi joined the David Tyler lab, researching the mechanisms that influence chemical reaction rates.  Their work seeks to create more efficient reactions in order to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of materials.  Alexi is very grateful to the Van Nice’s for supporting the educational achievements and career aspirations of undergraduate students.  For now, she is keeping her career options open.  After earning her bachelor’s degree, she is considering the polymer track offered through the UO Masters Industrial Internship Program, and perhaps pursuing a PhD after a few years of working in industry.

Photo: Dylan BargettThe Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship was given to Dylan Bardgett.  This award, which recognizes academic excellence in our majors, was established by former UO Chemistry students in honor of two professors whose instruction, influence and inspiration had a significant impact on their career paths. Dylan grew up in Eugene, Oregon, but didn’t particularly plan on attending the University of Oregon.  He looked at several institutions, both public and private, including Oregon State. But it was his UO visit as a prospective student – where he first heard about green chemistry – that changed his trajectory from a Beaver to a Duck.  Now a junior at the UO, Dylan is majoring in Chemistry with minors in Physics and Math.  Dylan is interested in developing more cost effective and energy efficient forms of alternative energy.  As an undergrad researcher in the Dave Johnson lab, his research looks at ways to quantify the composition of thin films by measuring the atomic density of thin film layers in semi-conducting materials, and investigating how density relates to efficiency in applications such as solar panels and optics. He is second author on a paper published in Chemistry of Materials. This was the second year that Dylan applied for Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarship, and says he felt surprised, honored and humbled to be selected for the award. After graduation, he plans to pursue his PhD and do post-doctoral research at university or in the private sector. Dylan has also enjoyed teaching as one of the department’s SuperChem Peer Learning Assistants, and the idea of eventually begin able to combine teaching and research in academia is very appealing.

Photo: Rima PanditRima Pandit, a sophomore Human Physiology major from Portland, Oregon, was selected as the recipient of the department’s inaugural P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship.  The fellowship provides funding for students to conduct research during the summer in a physical chemistry lab at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a physical chemistry faculty member. Rima’s summer research in the Cathy Wong lab involved characterizing the photo-physical properties of semiconducting organic molecules using laser techniques, in order to design and develop energy-efficient LEDs and photovoltaics. Rima finds that the study of chemical processes and instrumental technologies dovetail nicely with her pharmaceutical and pre-medicine objectives, because scientific discoveries are so often integral to medical advances that aid people in their recovery and well-being. She culminated her summer research experience by presenting their findings to fellow research physicists and chemists at the Optical, Molecular & Quantum Science (OMQ) Fall 2018 Symposium, where she was recognized with the ‘Best Poster Award’.  Rima is grateful for the recognition afforded her by the fellowship, and the opportunity to acquire new skills and work with a talented group of team members. After graduating, she plans to go to medical school with the goal of providing healthcare for underprivileged women, seniors, and veterans using a holistic well-being approach. Rima hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders, and serve in the US Army.

– By Leah O’Brien

July 18, 2018

Four CH and BIC Majors Receive Summer Research Fellowships

Photo: student working in labFour Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are among the 2018 recipients of the UO’s Vice President for Research and Innovation summer research fellowships. The awards are designed to support the university’s undergraduate scholars as they pursue their research interests during the summer. Read more in AroundtheO


Casey Bisted

Major: Chemistry
Faculty Mentor: James Hutchison
Project Title: The Study of sub 10nm indium oxide nanocrystals as carbon dioxide reduction catalysts


Anson Dang

Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor: Andy Marcus
Project Title: Investigating the single-stranded (ss)DNA binding protein (gp32) dimer formation on a 15-nucleotide ssDNA lattice using microsecond resolution single-molecule florescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET)r


Patrick Connor

Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor: Michael Harms
Project Title: Evolution in the Protein Calprotectin


Nikki Szczepanski

Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor: Diana Libuda
Project Title: Determining the Early DNA Break Repair Dynamics Specific to Crossovers

May 15, 2018

18 Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergrad Researchers will participate in Research Symposium May 17th

photo: UG Research Poster sessionThe UO’s eighth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium is Thursday, May 17, 2018.  The event will host 382 undergraduates engaged in original research, creative work, and community-based projects from over 71 majors, 13 minors, and eight colleges. The full schedule and research abstracts are available here

Eighteen undergraduates will be presenting their chemistry and biochemistry research at the following sessions:

Concurrent Oral Session 2 – 11:45-1:15 p.m.

SPRUCE ROOM – SESSION 2S: CHEMISTRY, MATH, AND COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCE

Makenna Pennel − CHEMISTRY
Nanoparticles!
Faculty Mentor(s): Jim Hutchison, Kenyon Plummer

Concurrent Oral Session 3 – 1:30-3:00 p.m.

MAPLE ROOM – SESSION 3M: DNA & GENES

Rachel David − BIOCHEMISTRY
Investigating the Role of Genomic Positioning in Directing Meiotic Double-Strand DNA Break Repair
Faculty Mentor(s): Diana Libuda, Erik Toraason

 

Poster Session – 5:30-7:30 p.m.

EMU BALLROOM & GUMWOOD ROOM

HUSSEIN AL-ZUBIERI − BIOCHEMISTRY
Determining Scrib binding partners relevant to its spindle orienting function
Faculty Mentor(s): Ken Prehoda, Nicole Paterson

DYLAN BARDGETT − CHEMISTRY
Quantitative Analysis of Thin Films via X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
Faculty Mentor(s): David Johnson

BRIAN CHASTAIN − GENERAL SCIENCE
The Effect of Different Substituents on the Optoelectronic Properties of Diindenoanthracene
Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Haley, Justin Dressler

ANSON DANG − BIOCHEMISTRY
Mapping Interactions Of Single-Stranded (Ss) DNA With the Ss-DNA Binding Protein (Gp32) of the T4 DNA Replication Complex at Specific Nucleotide Residue Positions
Faculty Mentor(s): Pete von Hippel

WILLIAM EDGELL − BIOCHEMISTRY
Synthesis of Alkyne Substituted Cycloparaphenylenes for Conjugated Polymers Research Area: Organic Synthetic Chemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Ramesh Jasti

ADRIAN GORDON − CHEMISTRY
Title: Energetic Loss From the Use of Hole Scavengers to Measure Photoelectrochemical Cell Efficiency Limits
Faculty Mentor(s): Shannon Boettcher

SHAYAN LOUIE − BIOCHEMISTRY
Synthesis and Characterization of Ru(II) Cycloparaphenylene Complexes
Faculty Mentor(s): Ramesh Jasti, Jeff Van Raden

ALEXANDER LYGO − PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY
Properties and Synthesis of Three Component Heterostructure: (BiSe)1+δ(Bi2Se3)1+ δ (BiSe)1+ δ (TiSe2)
Faculty Mentor(s): David Johnson

SHAWN MELENDY − BIOCHEMISTRY
Assay of Insulin-Stimulated Signaling by Flow Cytometry: Key Points of Regulation Research Area: Natural/Physical Science
Faculty Mentor(s): Carrie McCurdy, Byron Hetrick

TRISTAN MISTKAWI − BIOCHEMISTRY
Synthesis of 7,14-Diarylfluoreno[3,2-b]fluorenes
Faculty Mentor(s): Josh Barker, Michael Haley

BENJAMIN MULLER − CHEMISTRY
Modeling the Behavior of Pyruvic Acid at the Air-Water Interface Research
Faculty Mentor(s): Brittany Gordon, Dr. Geraldine Richmond

MADELYN SCOTT − CHEMISTRY
Optimization of Deposition Techniques for Thin Film Production and Analysis
Faculty Mentor(s): Cathy Wong, Kelly Wilson

KEVIN SPIES − BIOCHEMISTRY
Developmental Synchronization Of The Purple Pitcher Plant Mosquito, Wyeomyia Smithii, as a Result Of Increasing Temperatures
Faculty Mentor(s): William Bradshaw, Christina Holzapfel

MARIBELLE STANLEY − PRE-CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
Drug Development with New Catalytic Molecules
Faculty Mentor(s): David Tyler

ASHLEE VISE − CHEMISTRY
Characterization of GaSbP as a photocathode For Water-Splitting
Faculty Mentor(s): James Young

CYRUS WATERS − BIOCHEMISTRY
Synthesis of 6,13-pentacene-incorporated [10]cycloparaphenylene
Faculty Mentor(s): Ramesh Jasti, Brittany White

January 11, 2018

Biochemistry Majors Tristan Mistkawi and Alex Egdell Recieve Research Minigrants

Photo: Alex Edgell & Trstan Mistkawi

(L-R) Alex Edgell & Tristan Mistkawi

Biochemistry majors Tristan Mistkawi and Alex Egdell are among nine UO undergraduate researchers awarded minigrants through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), a unit within the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  The $1000 awards are given to students to assist with research expenses including purchasing supplies and materials and paying for travel that is necessary to conduct research.

Tristan is conducting research in the Haley lab on electronic properties of indenofluorenes and their derivatives, and Alex is in the Jasti lab doing reasearch focused on the synthesis of alkyne substituted cycloparaphenylenes for conjugated polymers. Both scholars will present their research at the UO Undergraduate Research Symposium on May 17, 2018.

Read more in AroundtheO, or visit the minigrant website for a full list of scholars with descriptions of their research projects.

 

 

November 3, 2017

1st Annual Sustainable Invention Immersion Week

The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact may not have broken ground yet, but its impact got a jump start by sponsoring five, $500 Knight Campus Student Innovation Fellowships for underrepresented students in STEM disciplines who participated in the Sustainable Invention workshop that kicked off the 2017-18 academic year.

One chemistry graduate student and two undergrads were among the five fellowship recipients: Genevieve Dorrell (undergrad, biochemistry), Carl Hartzell (post bac, physics), Ruth Maust (graduate student, chemistry), Makenna Pennel (undergrad, chemistry, honors college) and Pallavi Webb (undergrad, CIS). The fellowship funds could be used to offset academic expenses such as tuition, books, school supplies and travel to scientific meetings.

The week-long workshop, titled Sustainable Invention Immersion Week, took place September 10-15th at 942 Olive Street, the UO’s innovation hub in downtown Eugene. Participating students had the opportunity to learn from experts in design, business, chemistry and communication as they worked in interdisciplinary teams to create their own green product over the course of the event. The teams then pitched their product ideas to win funding to move their idea forward. Awards were given for the top four product ideas.

Photo Julie Haack

Julie Haack

The workshop was organized by professor Julie Haack, the assistant department head of the UO’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Kate Harmon, the undergraduate program manager and management instructor at the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.  Their goal is for Sustainable Invention Immersion Week to become an annual event, with a changing theme that will be tied to what’s happening at the Knight Campus.

Read more in AroundtheO or visit the event website:  http://www.sustainableinvention.com

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