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October 15, 2020

Hazel Fargher selected for Keana Fellowship and DOE Research Award

Photo - Hazel Fargher

Hazel Fargher

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate student Hazel Fargher has been named the department’s 2020-21 John Keana Fellow, and has also recently been selected for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program. Hazel is in her fifth year of the UO Chemistry Doctoral program, working on a joint project between the D.W. Johnson, Haley, and Pluth Labs.

The Keana Fellowship was established in 2017 in honor of Professor Emeritus John Keana, and provides annual fellowship awards to graduate students studying in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon. The award may be used to assist with defraying the academic costs associated with attending the university such as tuition, fees, books, miscellaneous supplies, research and living expenses.

The SCGSR Program is open to graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in areas of physics, chemistry, material sciences, biology (non-medical), mathematics, engineering, computer or computational sciences, or specific areas of environmental sciences that are aligned with the mission of the Office of Science. The award provides supplemental funds for recipients to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist. The research projects are expected to advance the graduate awardees’ overall doctoral research and training while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. Hazel is one of 52 students nation-wide that were selected for the award this fall.

We caught up with Hazel and asked her to tell us a little about herself and her science.

I grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not too far from the beach. I went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in MA for my undergraduate degree in chemistry. I then started my first year of graduate school at UO in 2016.

I first got really excited about research when I learned about the principles of ‘green chemistry’. This is a really vague term but can refer to any chemical research that helps address environmental problems. During my time at WPI, I worked in Prof. Marion Emmert’s lab, studying ways to separate mixtures of rare earth elements so that they can be recycled. Now, I hope that some of the really fundamental work that I’m doing in physical organic chemistry can one day be useful in applications such as chemical sensing and pollutant extraction.

About her research

I am a host-guest chemist, so I design and synthesize organic hosts to bind guest molecules. More specifically, I develop hosts to bind hydrosulfide, which is both a highly toxic, foul-smelling molecule usually found in wastewater, and also a biomolecule that is essential for life.

I’m very excited to share that this award will help fund an internship at Oak Ridge National Lab through the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research program. I will be bringing hosts designed in the DWJ and Haley labs to the Moyer chemical separations group. We hope to use these hosts to study ion pair extraction of radioactive cesium salts from water. This area of research can be used to remove cesium nuclear waste from waterways and tank storage.

Future plans

After getting my PhD, I would love to continue to do hands-on research in a lab. I am keeping an eye out for post-doc positions and opportunities at national labs.

September 30, 2020

Meet our 2020 Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergrad Scholarship Recipients

The Chemistry and Biochemistry department is pleased to introduce the recipients of our 2020 undergraduate scholarships!

This years’ recipients are Amanda Linskens, Maya Pande, Daria Wonderlick and Dylan Galutera. We asked them to tell us a little about themselves and their research experience.

Photo - Amanda Linskens

Amanda Linskens
Faith Van Nice Scholarship Recipient

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. Amanda says that she feels deeply grateful and honored to receive an award that honors such a successful and inspirational researcher.

My name is Amanda Linskens and I grew up in a small town called Seymour just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am currently a junior majoring in Biochemistry, and I became interested in biochemistry and molecular biology when I took a biochemistry class in high school. What inspires me about science is the problem solving involved in research and how much there is yet to learn and discover.

About her research: I have been involved in research since my junior year of high school when I decided to do an independent research project with my biochemistry teacher. At the start of my freshman year at the University of Oregon, I joined the Doe Lab and have been with the lab ever since. Currently I am performing research regarding what type of neuroblasts the MDN and Pair1 neurons arise from and what transcription factor window these neurons are born in. MDN controls backwards crawling and walking in fruit flies and Pair1 neurons control stopping in larvae. This research is important for better understanding the development of neurons and for further research into neurodegenerative diseases.

What’s next? My plans after my completing my undergrad degree include graduate school for molecular biology or biochemistry and pursuing a career in molecular genetics or another type of biomedical research.

Photo - Maya Pande

Maya Pande
Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarship Recipient

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. Maya shares that it is such an honor to be recognized through this award.

My name is Maya Pande and I am in incoming Senior at UO! I’m from Portland, Oregon and I started school here in the fall of 2017. I am double majoring in biochemistry and political science. I like science because it represents innovation and progress. It centers around principles that you can observe in daily life, and I love the prospect of using my knowledge to one day better the lives of others.

About her research: I am a member of Andy Marcus’s Lab! The Marcus lab studies the physical properties surrounding the movement of macromolecules in biological environments. One project I’ve worked on within the lab looks to characterize the conformations DNA takes under different sets of biological conditions. I cannot imagine my time at UO without the chemistry department. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by the most supportive students and faculty I could have asked for.

What’s next? I am planning on taking a gap year after graduation, during which I’ll be applying to medical school. I am currently interested in becoming an oncologist, and I would love to one day work at St. Jude. I am also interested in one day working in science policy.

The Anita and Friedhelm Baitis Scholarship is new this year and provided funding for two undergraduate students to conduct research during the summer in a chemistry or biochemistry laboratory at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a Chemistry and Biochemistry department faculty member. Award recipients are chosen from among students that are nominated by department faculty. Daria says she’s grateful for the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department’s commitment to valuing and supporting undergraduate research. Dylan shares that he is very grateful to receive this award because it has allowed him to pursue research during the summer and focus on his education – a unique opportunity to relax and invest more time in his future plans, rather than having to work.

Photo - Daria Wonderlick

Daria Wonderlick
Baitis Scholarship Recipient

My name is Daria Wonderlick.  I am a Biochemistry major from Portland, Oregon, entering my senior year at UO. I have been fascinated by the molecular underpinnings of life for as long as I can remember. In high school, I had the opportunity to study the genetic disease PKU at the Oregon Heath & Science University during the summers. From this early exposure to biomedical research, I became enthralled with the creativity and diligence behind scientific discoveries. I chose to attend UO for the well-respected honors college and opportunities for undergraduate research.

About her research: On the first day of my freshman year at UO, I walked into Mike Harms’s Honors Biology class and immediately fell in love with the course material and his teaching style. I officially joined the Harms Lab after a tour during a science open house. The Harms Lab studies relationships between biochemistry and evolution. My research project aims to characterize how mutations in RNA molecules interact at a biophysical level. Mutational interactions complicate our ability to predict the evolution of existing RNA and proteins and hinder efforts to design new biomolecules for medicine and technology. I am looking at a simple RNA system to learn how its ensemble of structures generates these mutational interactions.

What’s next? I plan to pursue in PhD in biophysics. I hope to contribute to the biomedical field by designing therapeutic proteins as a research professor.


Photo - Dylan Galutera

Dylan Galutera
Baitis Scholarship Recipient

My name is Dylan Galutera and I am currently a junior studying biochemistry with a focus in pre-med at UO and the Clark Honors College. I was born and raised in California and I moved around from there, to the Philippines, and finally settled down in Beaverton, OR. Ever since I can remember, the natural sciences have enamored me because of how far humans have come in terms of characterizing the physical world with its very intricate systems. Although the sciences have always interested me, I believe that it was piqued during my fourth-grade year. I remember witnessing a family member going through a medical emergency for the first time; my grandmother suffered from a stroke one night. Since then, it’s been my goal to pursue a career in medicine and further my own interests in biochemistry. With my focus on biochemistry and the human body, I hope to contribute to how we understand and interact with the complex human body.

About his research: I am in the Widom lab and I have been doing research with them since fall of my sophomore year. Before then, I did a term of research with the Dave Johnson lab as an option for completing the Research Immersion Course during the spring term of my freshman year. In the Widom lab, we use various spectroscopic methods to study the folding mechanisms of RNA molecules. Understanding the structures of these bio molecules contributes to the study of crucial RNA functions such as gene regulation. I am very honored to receive this research award. The scholarships and opportunities available to UO undergraduates have provided me with more opportunities than I could ask for.

What’s next? After I graduate, I hope to attend OHSU where I plan to pursue my medical degree. It has always been my long-term goal to become a doctor and specialize in a field of surgery of some sort. Currently, I have my plans set on specializing in cardiothoracic surgery, but I’m open to other options as I discover the right one for me during medical school.


Upcoming OIM Seminars – Meet the Faculty

The Chemsitry and Biochemistry Department’s Organic/Inorganic/Materials group kicks off their fall seminar series with faculty introductions on October 2nd, 9th and 16th at 2:30pm. Attendees will hear about current directions in research labs and have a chance to ask questions.

ZOOM link available from jmacha[at]


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September 18, 2020

Checkers Marshall Awarded Haugland Graduate Research Fellowship

Chemistry graduate student Checkers Marshall has been selected as the next recipient of the Rosaria Haugland Graduate Research Fellowship.

The Haugland Fellowship is a prestigious award. It is the first graduate research fellowship ever awarded by the UO Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Rosaria Haugland. Dr. Haugland is the co-founder of Molecular Probes, which was a Eugene company founded in 1975 that is now part of Thermo Fisher’s Invitrogen brand. Checkers was selected from a highly accomplished pool of applicants for excellence in research on metal organic framework nanoparticles, coursework, and ongoing activities that embody the intent of the Haugland award.

Photo - Checkers Marshall

Checkers Marshall

We asked Checkers to tell us a little about themselves and their science.

I grew up in Denver, a city with a vibrant artistic community. In my high school years, I performed slam poetry at open mics and fell in love with the art of fire spinning. My interests in chemistry and art share a common theme: symmetry. I am designing a series of interactive workshops, Point Groups for Props, to teach performance artists how to apply group theory to their props: hula hoops, juggling clubs, and more can be easily categorized by their symmetry operations. My main props are Russian fire fans, which have a point group of C2V.

I received my BS in Chemistry from Fort Lewis College, a small liberal arts institution in the San Juan mountains in Colorado. I excelled in my first semester of chemistry under Dr. Aimee Morris, who asked me to TA general chemistry lab the following term. This simple act catalyzed my academic career; I am forever grateful to Dr. Morris and the other incredible professors I had at FLC who encouraged my progress and pushed me to become a better scientist. I enjoyed a relatively diverse community at FLC. Many of my professors were women, and because the college gives free tuition to Indigenous students, many of the folks I talked science with were of Indigenous descent. Today I aim to use my position to elevate the voices of the underrepresented and to create a welcoming environment in the traditionally exclusive world of academic science.

Current Research

I joined Dr. Carl Brozek’s research lab as his first student during the summer of 2018. My research focuses on nanoparticles of highly porous materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Understanding how MOF nanoparticles grow allows us to design rational syntheses that target specific particle sizes and functionalities. One of the most promising applications of MOF particles is in gas separation membranes, which must be very thin to be applicable in industrial settings. Controlling particle size is therefore an important step in this direction. I am particularly interested in MOFs that are capable of charge transport; conductive, porous, well-ordered materials are attractive for energy-dense charge storage devices. I am currently developing a model system to study ionic and electronic charge transport in assemblies of porous MOF particles. I believe this fundamental work will pave the way towards the integration of MOFs in electronic devices.

What’s next?

I am keeping my options open, but I aim to join a small company or start-up in sustainable technology that would benefit from my skill set. Regardless of what I choose to do in my scientific career, I hope to return to the Rocky Mountains, get a cat, and continue my journey in the performing arts.

August 25, 2020

Research collaboration in the news – Brad Nolen Lab and SUNY, Stony Brook

August 5, 2020

Biochemist Brad Nolen awarded $2.88 million to study the cytoskeleton

July 20, 2020

UO Scientists Dissociate Water Apart Efficiently With New Catalysts – Boettcher Lab in the News

June 9, 2020

OIM 3rd Year Graduate Student Talks – June 11th & 12th, 3PM

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June 2, 2020

OIM 3rd Year Graduate Student Talks – Friday, June 5th

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May 26, 2020

OIM – 3rd Year Graduate Student Talks, Friday, May 29th

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