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May 19, 2020

2020 UG Research Symposium will showcase the work of 18 Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergrads

UG_Symposium_BannerThe 10th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will take place this Thursday, May 21, 2020. The virtual format will include research work conducted by 18 chermistry and biochemsitry majors.

The presentations will be a mix of live-stream, pre-recprded and Zoom events.  Zoom events require an RSVP by Wednesday, May 20 at noon. See the virtual Symposium navigation guide for details.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Presentations

Stacey Andreeva – Chemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Carl Brozek
Session 5: The Bonds that Make Us
Title: Metal-Ligand Bond Dynamics in Metal-Organic Frameworks Confirmed by Variable
Temperature Vibrational Spectroscopy

Dylan Bardgett – Chemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Dave Johnson | Danielle Hamann
Session 6: Interact & React
Title: The Reactions Between Iron and Selenium

Zack Basham – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): David Garcia
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Influence of a prion protein on the TOR pathway in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Lejla Biberic – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Amber Rolland | James Prell
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Determining detergent dependence of Cytolysin A oligomeric state through native mass

Anabel Chang – Biochemistry
Co-Presenter(s): Maya Pande
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Faculty Mentor(s): Andrew Marcus
Title: Characterizing the Conformational Fluctuations of DNA Under Physiological and SaltStabilized Conditions

Emmalyn Leonard – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Cristopher Niell | Philip Parker
Session 5: The Wonders of the Brain
Title: Determining the role of the pulvinar in visual attentional control

Tristan McKibben – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): J. Josh Snodgrass
Session 5.5: McNair Scholars Presentations
Title: The Evolution of Coronaviruses: Cross-Species Transfers and Mechanisms of Infections

Parker Morris – Chemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Amanda Cook | Kiana Kawamura
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Rational Design and Synthesis for Nickel Catalyzed Hydrosilylation

Matthew Nardoci – Biochemistry/Biology
Co-Presenter(s): Jewlyssa Pedregon
Faculty Mentor(s): Santiago Jaramillo
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Characterization of sound-evoked responses of photo-identified auditory striatal neurons

Jake Olsen – Chemistry and Mathematics
Faculty Mentor(s): Marina Guenza | Jake Searcy
Session 1: It’s a Science Thing
Title: The Atomistic Reconstruction of Coarse-Grained Polymeric Systems via Machine Learning

Maya Pande – Biochemistry, Political Science
Co-Presenter(s): Anabel Chang
Faculty Mentor(s): Andrew Marcus
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Characterizing the Conformational Fluctuations of DNA Under Physiological and SaltStabilized Conditions

Madelyn Scott – Chemistry, Physics
Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Wilson | Cathy Wong
Session 2: Cells R Us
Title: Quantifying the spatial morphology of organic films through polarization-dependent

Nathan Stovall – Chemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Shannon Boettcher | Raina Krivina
Session 5: The Bonds that Make Us
Title: Ultrathin Iridium Oxide Catalyst on a Conductive Support for the Oxygen Evolution
Reaction in Acid

Eric Strand – Biology/Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Joshua Barker
Session: Pre-recorded Poster Presentation
Title: Rational Design of s-Indacene-cored Small Molecule Organic Semiconductors as a
Paradigm to Tune Electronic Characteristics

Ian Torrence – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Sean Fontenot
Session 2: Cells R Us
Title: Sensors and Materials for In-field Aqueous Analysis of Nitrate and Other Ions

Dan Tudorica – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Arden Perkins
Session 3: The Substance of Us
Title: The role of the Chemoreceptor Zinc-Binding Domain in bacterial signal transduction

Nicole Wales – Chemistry and Physics
Faculty Mentor(s): Mark Lonergan | Zack Crawford
Session 5: The Bonds that Make Us
Title: Quantification of Point Defects in Perovskite Solar Cells

Daria Wonderlick – Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor(s): Mike Harms
Session 5: The Bonds that Make Us
Title: Ensembles link RNA thermodynamics and molecular evolution

April 28, 2020

Eight UO students receive prestigious NSF graduate fellowship – Six from Chemistry Program

April 8, 2020

4 PhD Students and 3 Undergrads win NSF GRFP in Chemistry

Four PhD students and three undergraduates in the UO department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have been selected by the National Science Foundation for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP):

The [GRFP] program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.

Our 2020 recipients:


Alison Chang
Marc Foster
Khoa Le
James May


Madi Scott
Makenna Pennel
Casey Bisted – 2019 grad, now in PhD program at UW

Our Honorable Mentions:


Julia Fehr
Grace Kuhl
Gabrielle Warren



Dylan Bardgett

This is our department’s highest number of GRFP fellowship recipients and honorable mentions to date. Special thanks to faculty members Shannon Boetcher, Mike Pluth, Amanda Cook, Julia Widom, and Chris Hendon for the great job they’ve done teaching the CH 401/601 Fellowship Application Skills workshop.

March 30, 2020

2020 Departmental Undergrad Scholarships – Apply by April 22, 2020

Photo: "Puddles," UO Duck MascotWe are happy to announce the availability of our departmental undergraduate scholarships. There are two separate applications for the awards.

The application deadline for all scholarships is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Scholarship awards will be announced near the end of May.

If you have questions regarding the application processes, please contact Leah O’Brien by phone (541) 346-4839 or by email at


Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarships

The Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships recognize outstanding academic and research achievements by undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors. Funds will be made available for the 2020-2021 UO academic year. More information about these scholarships can be found on our website. Eligibility: Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 (or similar grade assessment). Application process: One application is used for both the Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships. Click here for the application instructions. Please email your application materials to Leah O’Brien,

P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship

The P-Chem Undergraduate Research 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. Eligibility: Open to undergraduate students at the University of Oregon and from other undergraduate institutions that meet the following  eligibility criteria: minimum 3.0 GPA; U.S. citizen; must be returning to the UO or home institution the term after the fellowship; may not be paid to conduct research through other internal UO research support programs during the same fellowship period. Application process: Students apply online for the P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship. Fellowship details and application instructions are available online at

Bailis Undergraduate Fellowship

New this year: The Bailis Undergraduate Research Fellowship provides funding for 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. Faculty are asked to submit nominations for the award. No application is necessary on the part of the student.


December 3, 2019

Emma Mullen Receives ESPRIT Scholarship

Biochemistry major Emma Mullen is one of four undergraduate science majors awarded a 2019 University of Oregon ESPRIT Scholarship (Experiencing Science Practices through Research to Inspire Teaching).  The UO ESPRIT Scholarships Program is funded by the National Science Foundation through the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Recipients each receive $35,000 in support that includes a two-year scholarship for their senior undergraduate year and the UOTeach Program, a highly focused one-year master’s level teacher licensure program designed to produce highly qualified teachers with advanced instructional and classroom expertise. The ESPRIT Scholarships Program is a collaborative effort between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education involving STEM CORE, the Center for STEM Careers through Outreach, Research, and Education, and the Department of Education Studies.

Photo: Emma LLNL Poster Session

Emma presenting her research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Now in her senior year, Emma says she has always been interested in teaching. In high school, she found herself in the role of informal tutor for a group of classmates, and enjoyed being a part of the “ah-ha!” moment when one of her peers grasped a tricky concept that had eluded them. As a SuperChem Peer Learning Assistant at the UO, Emma continues to build her skills as an educator.

Emma took her first step on the ESPRIT pathway by participating in an ESPRIT-sponsored summer research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California this past summer. During her eight weeks in the Biosciences & Biotechnology Division, she worked on optimizing the crystallization of nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs).This furthered the development of NLPs as a platform for vaccine delivery and for x-ray crystallographic characterization of membrane proteins.

Once she had completed her summer research experience, Emma became eligible to apply for the ESPRIT Scholarship to the UOTeach Program and was selected for the award. Her acceptance was celebrated during a signing ceremony for the ESPRIT recipients at the College of Education on Thursday, November 21st. Prof. Michael Pluth, in whose lab Emma is currently doing undergraduate research, presented her award.

2019 ESPRIT Signing Ceremony at the UO College of Education

Emma plans to pursue the Secondary Education track in her master’s studies, in preparation to teach high school chemistry. She appreciates the opportunity teaching provides to share a subject that she is passionate about.  Learning how things work at a fundamental, nittty-gritty level has always fascinated her and, she explains, “Chemistry does that.  It changes the way you look at things when you begin to think about the world around you on a molecular level. I’m excited to share that.”

After graduating from UOTeach, ESPRIT Scholars go on to teach in a high-need school district for four years. This could take Emma anywhere in Oregon, but she hopes to eventually end up somewhere near her hometown of Portland.


– by Leah O’Brien


October 4, 2019

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

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.

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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

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