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Posts under tag: UO Chemistry and Biochemistry

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January 11, 2019

Spotted Online – Alum Carey Fristoe, BS ’12, Opens Brewery in Fairbanks, AK

December 20, 2018

Spotted Online – Alumna Meng Ouyang, Class of ’99

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry alumna Meng Ouyang was recently interviewed for a news piece about her experience with the Friendship Foundation, which pairs host families with international students attending the University of Oregon.

Meng received degrees in computer science, chemistry, and law from the UO. She earned her M.S. in Chemistry in 1999.

December 5, 2018

Michael Pluth Receives Oregon Medical Research Foundation Award

December 3, 2018

From UG Research to Developing Cancer Treatments – Alum Eric Nummedal puts his UO Experience to Work

Photos of Eric Nummedal in the laboratory

Eric Nummedal, BS ’16, now works as a researcher for Aivita Biomedical.

Biochemistry alum Eric Nummedal credits his years at the University of Oregon for preparing him so well for his current role researching and manufacturing cancer immunotherapies that he recently reached out to the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, hoping that by sharing his experience he might pass on some of his enthusiasm for his work and encourage current undergraduate students as they prepare for a career in the sciences.

Eric grew up in Irvine, California, and when considering where to pursue his undergraduate studies, he was drawn to the UO for what he saw as its commitment to progress.

“I found the resources necessary to create great change,” he explains, “but most importantly, an infectious enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge.”

Once here at the university, Eric did not hesitate to take advantage of those resources and make the most of his undergraduate years, participating in the Science Literacy Program, the Oregon Undergraduate Research Journal, the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, and the College Scholars Program. His academic efforts earned him several awards, among them a McNair Scholarship – a federal program that supports students as they earn their undergraduate degrees and complete research projects in their fields of study.  For his undergraduate research, Eric chose a project with a focus on the visual system.  He worked with the Niell Lab in the Institute of Neuroscience, and presented his findings at the 2014 McNair Scholars Symposium. Eric graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Biology.

“These achievements would not have been possible without the tireless support of professors, peers, and graduate teaching assistants,” says Eric.  “In particular, I credit Dr. Bruce Branchaud, Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Cris Niell, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, and Dr. Gail Unruh, former Director for the UO McNair Scholars Program, for the profound impact they had on both my academic and personal life. I will always be grateful for their generous guidance.”

After graduating, Eric worked at two biotech start-ups before transitioning to his current role as a Research, Development, and Manufacturing Associate at Aivita Biomedical, a regenerative medicine company. The company’s central focus is developing immunotherapies that will enable the immune system to eliminate cancer.

“In general,” Eric explains, “we train immune cells to recognize and attack tumor cells – using many of the same techniques that I learned as an undergrad.”

Photo: Cancerous glial astrocytes (neural cells from glioblastoma)

Cancerous glial astrocytes (neural cells from glioblastoma) being grown in the lab in order to train the immune system to recognize and eliminate them.

In addition to cancer research, they are also working to develop stem cell-derived 3D-transplantable retinas to treat vision loss.

Eric’s favorite aspect of his current work is the opportunity to participate in the creation of life-changing immunotherapies for cancer patients in desperate need of hope.

“I am inspired by the twenty-six percent decline in death rate attributed to cancer since 1991, equivalent to 2.4 million lives saved,” he shares, “and I am proud to be a part of a global collaboration of scientists trying to make the world a healthier place to live.”

Eric is thankful for the encouragement and support he received along the way, from friends and family as well as professional colleagues – and he’s hoping to have the opportunity to pass that forward.

Current students and alumni are welcome to reach out to Eric via LinkedIn if they have questions or would like to know more about his experiences as a UO undergrad or working in the sciences. 

By Leah O’Brien
Photos courtesy of Aivita Biomedical



November 28, 2018

Organic/Inorganic Seminar – Scott Laughlin, November 30th

November 21, 2018

Dissertation Defense – Huiying Ji, November 29

Good luck to Huiying Ji as she defends her thesis for her PhD in Chemistry!

November 16, 2018

ARCS Sponsors Celebrate their Scholars’ Successes

photo: Jean Josephson, Aletha Anderson, Susan Cooper, Joan Foley, Elizabeth Bell, Caron Ogg, Julie Branford

ARCS Sponsors at Susan Cooper’s defense. From left: Jean Josephson, Aletha Anderson, Susan, Joan Foley, Elizabeth Bell, Caron Ogg, Julie Branford

On November 14th, members of the Oregon Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Students (ARCS) Foundation visited the UO campus to show their support and celebrate as ARCS Scholar Susan Cooper defended her thesis.  They also enjoyed a lunch with current ARCS Scholars Amber Rolland and Hannah Bates.

The Oregon Chapter is one of fifteen ARCS Foundation Chapters nationwide.  Its membership is made up of Oregon women philanthropists committed to advancing science in America. The chapter seeks to support and nurture young American women and men in doctoral programs as they prepare to take on current and future scientific and medical challenges.The Oregon Chapter has supported over 248 PhD candidates with financial support of over $4.1 million since the chapter was incorporated in 2004.

photo: Aletha Anderson, Julie Branford, Jean Josephson, Joan Foley, Amber Rolland, Caron Ogg, Elizabeth Bell

ARcS Sponsors with current ARCS Scholar Amber Rolland. From left: Aletha Anderson, Julie Branford, Jean Josephson, Joan Foley, Amber, Caron Ogg, Elizabeth Bell

Current ARCS Scholars in the UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are:

Susan Cooper, Hutchison Lab
Amber Rolland, Prell Lab
Michael Crawford, Wong Lab
Rebecca Keller, Kellman Lab
Hannah Bates, currently rotating in the Haley Lab

November 14, 2018

Organic/Inorganic Seminar – Emily Que, November 16th

November 13, 2018

Dissertation Defense – James McDermott, November 20th

Photo - James McDermottGood luck to James McDermott as he defends his thesis for his PhD in Chemistry!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
3:00 PM in 331 Klamath

The title of his thesis is “Investigations of the Mechanisms and Applications of Pentatricopeptide Repeat Proteins”


November 9, 2018

Dissertation Defense – Andrea Loes, November 16th

Photo: Andrea Loes

Good luck to Andrea Loes as she defends her thesis for her PhD in Chemistry!

Friday, November 16, 2018
11 AM in KLA 331

The title of her thesis is “Historical and functional insights into Toll-like receptor 4 activation by lipopolysaccharide and calgranulins”

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