Alexi 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.
The 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.
Rima 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
Four 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
Faculty Mentor: James Hutchison
Project Title: The Study of sub 10nm indium oxide nanocrystals as carbon dioxide reduction catalysts
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
Faculty Mentor: Michael Harms
Project Title: Evolution in the Protein Calprotectin
Faculty Mentor: Diana Libuda
Project Title: Determining the Early DNA Break Repair Dynamics Specific to Crossovers
The 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
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 cycloparaphenylene
Faculty Mentor(s): Ramesh Jasti, Brittany White
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.
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.
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.
Meet our 2017 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients – Madi Scott, Ashlee Vise & Cyrus Waters
The UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department has announced the recipients of our 2017 undergraduate scholarships. Madi Scott was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, and Ashlee Vise received the Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship, and Cyrus Waters was selected for the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) Summer Research Award.
The Faith Van Nice Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of alumna Faith Van Nice, and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. This year’s recipient, Madi Scott, is a Chemistry major beginning her sophomore year in the Clark Honors College. She grew up in Medford, Oregon, with a strong interest in math, science and medicine. Madi joined the Cathy Wong lab halfway through her freshman year, and is particularly interested in how physical chemistry research applications can be used to make medical devices more effective and affordable, allowing for greater access to people who need them. She was very surprised to be selected for the Faith van nice scholarship, and feels honored to have the opportunity to share in Faith’s legacy. Madi plans to pursue a PhD or MD after completing her B.S. in Chemistry.
The Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship is meant to recognize and encourage 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. Our 2017 recipient, Ashlee Vise is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and a chemistry major entering her senior year. She has been conducting undergraduate research in the Shannon Boettcher lab since the fall of her sophomore year. Her research involves renewable energy, focusing on the development of catalysts to produce zero-emission hydrogen fuel. Ashlee’s passion for nature inspires her interest in green chemistry and sustainable practices, and she hopes to take that passion and apply it to her career. She got off to a good start this summer, as an intern for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver, Colorado. After completing her baccalaureate degree, Ashlee plans to take a gap year before pursuing an MS or PhD.
The SAACS Summer Research Awards are sponsored by the UO chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society. Now in their third year, the annual awards seek to support chemistry and biochemistry majors’ ability to engage in research during the summer term. This year’s recipient, Cyrus Waters, is from Beaverton, Oregon. When choosing a university, Cyrus says it was a toss-up between UO and OSU, but in the end, the Ducks won out. A Biochemistry major in his senior year, he is making the most out of undergraduate research opportunities in the Ramesh Jasti lab. Cyrus’ research involves organic synthesis, designing molecules with properties that are applicable for use in solar cells. After completing his undergraduate degree, Cyrus is considering entering the UO Masters Industrial Internship Program, on the Polymer Science track.
– by Leah O’Brien
Three UO Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduates will be participating in the 2017 McNair Scholar Symposium. Everyone is invited to attend the symposium and to hear our students present their research.
1:00PM – David M. Lee, Leafcutter Ants Inside the Nest Have Sharper Mandibles than Ants Outside the Nest
2:30PM – Lindan Comrada, Markers of Cardiovascular Health in Chronic Marijuana Smokers
3:00PM – Trenton M. Peters-Clark, Increasing the Efficiency of a Biotin-Streptavidin Pull Down for An Investigation of Pt(II)-Protein Interactions
Read their Abstracts here.
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About the McNair Scholar Symposium
The University of Oregon celebrates the research achievements of its McNair Scholars during the annual McNair Symposium. These achievements are made possible by faculty mentors who guide Scholars through scholarship activities and help prepare them for the challenges and culture of graduate school.
McNair Scholars participate in paid summer research internships in their fields of study. During the internships, students are involved in original research culminating in a presentation of their findings. Held winter term, the McNair Symposium provides a public forum for students to share their work with peers, mentors, faculty and staff, family members, and the general public.
Last June, the UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department selected the recipients of our undergraduate scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year. Ainsley Taylor was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, and Brian Drury received the Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship. (more…)
How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Catching Up with SAACS Summer Research Award Recipients Sam Prakel & Carson Adams
In June 2016, the UO chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) presented Summer Research Awards to biochemistry majors Sam Prakel and Carson Adams. The SAACS awards are designed to support chemistry and biochemistry majors’ ability to conduct summer research in a UO research lab, or elsewhere in an REU summer program. Two research awards have been awarded each year since the program began in 2015, using funds the organization raises through its T-shirt sales. We asked Sam and Carson to share a little about themselves and their science.
Sam Prakel came to the UO in 2013 from Versailles, Ohio, attracted by the balance between the small, liberal arts feel of the Clark Honors College and the qualities of a large, research institution – as well as the desire to run for the Oregon track and cross country teams. Now in his senior year, Sam has made the most of his opportunities in the classroom, on the field, and in the laboratory.
The SAACS Summer Research Award motivated Sam to put continuous work into his research projects year-round. Working in both the Mike Pluth and Darren Johnson labs, his research seeks to find new ways to detect biological hydrogen sulfide, an important physiological mediator and signaling agent whose functions play a role in diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, inflammation, and neurodegeneration.
Sam finds inspiration in the complexity and open-ended nature of science. “The intricacies in the scientific field keep pushing me to learn,” he explains, “and the endless possibility of discovery keeps pushing me to think.” He plans to continue that push through grad school, furthering his studies in chemistry and biochemistry.
Carson Adams grew up in Salem, Oregon, close enough to hear about some of the research coming out of the University of Oregon Chemistry department and to know that he wanted to be a part of it. And he has certainly done just that – joining the Andy Marcus lab at the beginning of his sophomore year. He has continued his research work right up through his current and senior year, studying the ways in which DNA strands interact and how these interactions affect DNA replication.
“We use special molecules called fluorophores which release light when light is shined on them,” Carson explains. “The released light is of a different color than the light projected onto these molecules, so we can use special machines and apparatuses to measure the emitted light. We can then use this information to conclude things about how the DNA molecules are interacting and how their bases are positioned.”
Carson says his inspiration to be a scientist stems from the inventiveness of the process – seeing the creativity and incredible discoveries of the past, and looking forward to similar discoveries in the future. He also enjoys the challenge involved in finding a viable and unique way to solve a problem. His SAACS award has helped him to pursue his research goals, and affirmed the importance of his studies. He plans to earn his PhD in biochemistry and conduct biochemical research at a professional level, perhaps eventually teaching what he learns to the next generation of undergraduate students.
by Leah O’Brien