News and Events

2017

March 16 - Chirality Sensing with a Vitamin! Samantha Pilicer, Pegah Bakhshi and Keith Bentley in the Wolf group used Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5’-phosphate) in a biomimetic indicator displacement assay for simultaneous determination of the absolute configuration, enantiomeric composition and concentration of unprotected amino acids, amino alcohols and amines. The chiroptical assay is based on fast imine metathesis with a PLP aryl imine probe to capture the target compound for circular dichroism and fluorescence sensing analysis. The substrate binding yields characteristic Cotton effects that provide information about the target compound ee and the synchronous release of the indicator results in a nonenantioselective off-on fluorescence response that is independent of the enantiomeric sample composition and readily correlated to the total analyte concentration.  This study is reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS 2017, 139, 1758) 


February 28 - The scientific review panel of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings has selected Zeus de los Santos from the Wolf group to participate in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting taking place from 25 to 30 June 2017 in Lindau, Germany. Only the 400 most qualified young scientists can be given the opportunity to enrich and share the unique atmosphere of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Congratulations!

February 28, 2017 - Marina Solomos from Swift group and Evan Gardner from Warren group have been nominated for the ARCS Scholar Award for 2017-18. Congratulations!

February 22 - SYNFACTS has highlighted recent collaborative work of the Kertesz group done with Prof. J. Casado (Malaga, Spain) and Prof. K. Takimiya (Hiroshima, Japan). The authors, according to SYNFACTS, introduced a novel responsive soft material that involves a molecular structure change during dimerization and polymerization in a reversible manner. The weak covalent-like supramolecular bond formation is affected by and can be manipulated by external stimuli such as temperature, concentration and pressure. The submolecular reasons for the large observed shift in the absorption bands is due to a change between the aromatic and quinonoiod structures. Ph. D. candidate Lili Qiu participated in this collaborative research. SYNFACTS highlights significant progress in synthetic organic chemistry. The work was reported in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

February 21 - Prof. Toshiko Ichiye’s research, focusing on the fight against foodborne illnesses is featured on Georgetown's main news page.

February 20 - Georgetown College students voted to nominate Profs. Diana Glick and Jennifer Swift  to receive the annual College Honors award for making a positive influence on students' academic career. 

February 7 - Ivana Brekalo, a fourth-year graduate student in the Holman group, has been awarded the 2017 Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship. The prestigious Ludo Frevel scholarship is an annual award ($2500) intended to support the education and research of exceptional graduate students in crystallography-related fields. It is administered by the International Center for Diffraction data (ICDD). Congratulations Ivana!

Ivana is the second winner of the Ludo Frevel award from our Department.  Ph.D. graduate Christopher Kane earned the award in 2013.

January 31 - Dr. Balaraman Kaluvu in the Wolf group developed a reaction that produces synthetically versatile 3,3-disubstituted fluorooxindole alkaloids having vicinal chirality centers in high yields and with excellent regio-, enantio- and diastereoselectivities. The catalytic asymmetric fluoroenolate alkylation proceeds under mild conditions and can be upscaled without compromising the results. The synthetic usefulness of the products is highlighted with the incorporation of additional functionalities and the formation of 3-fluorinated oxindoles exhibiting an array of four! adjacent chirality centers.  This study is reported in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

January 30 - Nitric Oxide on New Route. Nitric oxide (NO) plays important roles in the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems. There is a complex interplay, however, with other molecules such as S-nitrosothiols (RSNO) derived from biological thiols (RS-H) as well as nitrite (NO2-).  To outline specific mechanistic pathways available at biological copper sites, corresponding author Dr. Subrata Kundu employed a new copper(II) nitrite model complex first prepared by undergraduate William Kim in research carried out in the Warren lab.  Detailed mechanistic studies, aided by crystallographic characterization of key intermediates with the help of Dr. Jeffery Bertke, reveal new interconnections between these complementary molecular signals in nitric oxide biology. This work appears as a JACS communication, highlighted as a JACS Spotlight.

January 27 - The 2017 President of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Allison A. Campbell, has included the Georgetown Graduate Student Planning Committee and their symposium entitled Water Sustainability: Chemists in Pursuit of Clean Water as a Presidential Event at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco. The symposium will be held on April 4th, 2017 (Tuesday) from 9:00 AM and to 5:00 PM at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. This event will include eight technical speakers whose fields range from academia to water industry. Capping the symposium will be a panel discussion that will include our very own Prof. Timothy Warren to address issues that we face regarding water sustainability. If you are attending the National Meeting, we urge you to support your colleagues and participate in their symposium! More information can be found on their website:  http://georgetowngsspc.weebly.com/

January 14 - Teamwork Leads to Success. In one of the most read JACS articles of the last month, grad student Kuam Salvador of the Warren lab reports a new method to prepare alkyl aryl ethers R-OAr by direct modification of C-H bonds in substrates R-H. Importantly, C-O bonds may be made at highly substituted carbon centers employing acyl-protected arenols, representing an important advance over the venerable Williamson ether synthesis as well as more contemporary approaches.  Mechanistic studies done with undergraduate Charlie Arnett (C ‘15) outline an efficient radical relay mechanism via the intermediacy of copper(II) phenolates [CuII]-OAr. Charlie won the 2015 Miljevic Award is currently an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Prof. Theo Agapie’s research group at Caltech. This collaborative work is dedicated to the late Richard D. Vorisek, a Georgetown Chemistry alum (B.S. ‘64) who co-founded the Arenol Chemical Corporation and served as a long-time benefactor to Georgetown science.
OK

2016

December 2 - Frustrated and Confused? When enough steric bulk exists at both a Lewis acid and a Lewis base, a “frustrated” Lewis pair (FLP) can result that exhibits heightened reactivity for the capture of small molecules such as H2. Inspired to synthesize a substrate-free example of a new family of FLPs identified by former graduate student Allan Cardenas, postdoc Alison McQuilken uncovered a “confused” binding mode that behaves as a “frustrated” Lewis pair in its reaction with substrates via facile rearrangement. Just by looking you can’t tell if a molecule is frustrated – it’s all in the way it behaves.

This work that appears in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. was done in collaboration with Prof. Stefan Grimme and Minh Dao at the University of Bonn (calculations) and our own Dr. Jeff Bertke (crystallography). 

November 10 - Zeus De los Santos in the Wolf group has developed supramolecular chemistry that can be used for the determination of the absolute configuration, ee and yield of a large variety of amines, amino alcohols and amino acids. The self-assembly process is the basis of a robust chiroptical assay and it was successfully employed in the analysis of 1 mg of crude asymmetric reaction mixtures. This approach minimizes cost, labor, time and waste compared to traditional techniques. The study is published in The Journal of the American Chemical Society This accomplishment has found widespread resonance in the scientific community and made its way into Chemical & Engineering News.  It is also featured as a JACS Spotlight.

October 26 - Professors Christian Wolf and Jong-in Hahm are the recipients of the Main Campus Career Research Achievement Award and the Distinguished Achievement in Research Award respectively.  There will be a ceremony organized by the Provost Office to celebrate their distinguished achievements on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 in the Bioethics Research Library, Healy 102.

October 11 - Dr. Keith Bentley and REU student Dyasi Proano in the Wolf group have developed a stereodynamic Brønsted/Lewis acid receptor that is capable of chiral recognition of hydroxy acids. This work was recently published in Nature Communications. The synergistic binding event yields instantaneous chirality amplification and characteristic ultraviolet and CD readouts that allow instantaneous determination of the absolute configuration, enantiomeric excess and concentration of the target compounds - even in complex mixtures. The impact of this work was highlighted with the successful sensing of the yield and enantiomeric excess from crude asymmetric reduction mixtures.

September 20 - The Chemistry Department headlines the front page of the Georgetown College website entitled CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT SHINES IN GRANT AWARDS.  Chemistry Department Professors Sarah Stoll, Steven MetalloTravis Holman and YuYe Tong have all received major research grants from the U.S. government in recent months. 
These grants are in addition to the other 3-year grants that the chemistry faculty members won over the last academic year:
Professor Jennifer Swift, "Engineering Defects in Molecular Hydrates”, with a funding level of $485,000 for three years from NSF in April 2016,
Professor Richard Weiss, "Design of Molecular Gels with Exceptional Structural, Dynamic and Mechanical Properties”, with a funding level of $539,999 from NSF in September 2015,
Professor Christian Wolf, "Development of stereodynamic chemosensors for chiroptical analysis”, with a funding level of $442,368 from NSF in August, 2015,
Professor Toshiko Ichiye, "Computational Studies of Aqueous Solvation of Proteins”, with a funding level of $450,000 from NSF in May 2015.

September 14 - The Catalysis Program of the DOE’s BES (Basic Energy Science) has awarded Professor YuYe Tong  a two-year $340,000 grant for a new explorative project entitled "Exploring Electrocatalysis of Methane on Transition Metal Surfaces.”

September 13 -  Jeneffer England, a fourth-year graduate student from the Maillard lab, and Jennifer Wacker, a second-year graduate student from the Knope lab have been awarded a Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

September 13 - Ms. Clare Canavan, a junior majoring in biochemistry and an undergraduate researcher in the Maillard group, has been selected as a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar for the academic year 2016-2017.

September 7 - The Holman group is developing novel molecules and materials for the complexation of gases.  These compounds may have applications ranging from gas storage and/or separation to emerging MRI imaging technologies.  On the materials front, the Holman group has recently published two papers in the J. Am. Chem. Soc.  The first of these (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138 (13), pp 4377–4392), describing work by first author Chris Kane and others—including collaborator Professor Leonard Barbour at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)—was recently highlighted on the Crystal Growth and Design homepage (August 19th).  The paper reports a zero-dimensionally porous material that is capable of confining nearly any small molecule gas, almost indefinitely, at room temperature, yet can release the gas on command via the simple addition of solvent.  These molecular “gas cylinders” were used to confine light gases such as N2, Ar, CH4, Kr, Xe, ethylene, ethane, CH3F (the first crystal structure of Freon-41!), CO2, H2S, CH3X (X = halogens), CH3OCH3, CH3SH, CH3CH2Cl, and propyne, as illustrated in the image below, based on single crystal X-ray diffraction.


In related work that has just been accepted for publication (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, ASAP; DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b06375), first author Joseph Ramirez and others report on the use of a macrocyclic template to provide the first reproducible synthesis of a potentially important “zeolitic imidazolate framework” (ZIF)—namely, the merlinoite topology of zinc imidazolate (mer-ZnIm2, or “ZIF-10”), which is a synthetic mimic of the naturally occurring mineral.  This elusive material is shown for the first time to be relatively stable and the low temperature/pressure gas sorption isotherm (shown below) reveals that, as expected, it exhibits one of the highest surface areas (1893 m2/g) for any ZIF material.

    
                                                                                         Holman Research Group: http://www.holmanchemistry.net

September 2 - Professor Sarah Stoll received funding from the National Science foundation, Division of Materials Research for her project entitled "Magnetic Semiconductor Solid Solutions”.  The award is $395,000 over a period of three years starting October 1, 2016.

September 2 - Professor Travis Holman was awarded a three year, $455, 000 funding level from the National Science Foundation, for his proposal entitled “Porous Molecular Solids with Zero-Dimensional (0D) Pores”

September 2 - Congratulations to William McMahon of Jorabchi group for receiving a travel award from American Society for Mass Spectrometry to present his research at 2016 Asilomar Conference on Novel Instrumentation. The conference will be held October 14-18 in Pacific Grove, CA.

August 31 - The ability to control the specific adsorption and packing behaviors of biomedically important proteins by effectively guiding their preferred surface adsorption configuration and packing orientation on polymeric surfaces may have utility in many applications such as biomaterials, medical implants, and tissue engineering.  The research endeavors were led by Hahm group and carried out jointly with IBM Research-Almaden & IBM-Albany, and Huang group (Department of Biology, Georgetown Univ.).

Tian Xie, a Ph.D. student in Hahm Group who is the main contributor of the work, reports in the recently published in ACS Nano paper, 2016, 10 (8), pp 7705–7720, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b03071, that the geometry and orientation of the protein can be effectively guided during Fg self-assembly by controlling the physical dimensions and orientations of the underlying BCP templates.  The team’s findings were further applied to generate Fg scaffolds with the protein backbone aligned parallel or perpendicular to the nanodomain major axis.  The research team has successfully created fully Fg-decorated BCP constructs analogous to two-dimensional Fg crystals in which aligned protein molecules are arranged either side-on or end-on, depending on the BCP template.  Finally in the study, the biofunctionality of the BCP surface-bound Fg was assessed and the Fg/BCP construct was successfully used in the Ca-P nanoparticle nucleation/growth and microglia cell activation.

This financial support on the work was provided by the National Science Foundation (Award No. CHE1404658) from the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program under the Division of Chemistry. 

August 24 - Dr. Shiyu Zhang receives a prestigious Young Investigator Award from the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry, presented by division chair Prof. Claudia Turro.  Shiyu received this national accolade for his PhD work with Prof. Tim Warren which Shiyu highlighted in his award lecture “Modeling the Interaction of NO and N2 with Biological Copper Sites”.  Shiyu is currently a postdoc with Prof. Kit Cummins at MIT on a joint project with Prof. Dan Nocera at Harvard.

August 24 - Georgetown chemistry featured at the Fall ACS Meeting in Philadelphia with 14 presentations by students and 7 by faculty.

August 8 - The Wolf group is pioneering asymmetric nucleophilic addition reactions with ynamides. Based on mechanistic studies and careful reaction screening, Andrea Cook in the Wolf group developed the first catalytic enantioselective addition of ynamides to trifluoromethyl ketones (Cook, A. M.; Wolf, C. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 2929). This method provides practical access to synthetically versatile propargylic CF3-substituted tertiary alcohols that are obtained in up to 99% yield and 96 %ee. The synthesis of multifunctional fluorinated compounds is of great value in the pharmaceutical sciences. Andrea’s work was featured by Yamamoto and Shimoda in Synfacts (Synfacts 2016, 485).

August 1 - Russell (Lee) Ayscue, a 1st year PhD student in the Knope group, was awarded a highly competitive (the overall success rate in 2015 was ~11%, with only 2% being made to Chemistry) Science, Mathematics and Research Transformation or SMART scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense for his research project entitled "Structure-property relationships in luminescent bismuth-organic materials". In addition to providing tuition and stipend support, the award will place him in a full-time job within the DoD after graduation.

July 27, 2016 - Professor Steven Metallo was awarded a three year $453,764 grant from NIH (National Institute of Health), for his proposal intitled "The binding of small molecules to disordered proteins: specificity, affinity, and portability”.

July 25 - Dinitrogen (N2) is converted to ammonia (NH3) on a massive industrial scale to provide fertilizers for crops that feed half of our planet’s population, but at an enormous cost: 1-2% of the global energy and 3-5% of total natural gas consumption.   Seeking new classes of efficient catalysts for this transformation, research by recent PhD graduate Shiyu Zhang and first year graduate student Evan Gardner reveal the capture of N2 by copper to give an unprecedented, bridged Cu-N2-Cu complex.  Careful work by Shiyu and Evan uncovered a highly reactive Cu-H-Cu species connected to N2 capture.  These findings open up new strategies to convert N2 to NH3 under mild conditions, a goal that Evan is actively pursuing in his PhD work.

 Dr. Jeff Bertke, the department’s new X-ray scientist, provided key expertise in the structural characterization of these unique molecules.  Dr. Subrata Kundu a postdoc in the  Warren group assisted with magnetic characterization.  This work was carried out in collaboration with long-time computational collaborator Prof. Tom Cundari at the University of North Texas along with his PhD student Hengameh Fallah.

 The article appears online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201603970/abstract.

July 20 - Jenny England, 3rd year PhD student in the  Maillard lab, won the Best Poster Award in the Protein Society Meeting held in Baltimore. Her poster title was "Identification of the Molecular Origin of Disease with Single Molecule Optical Tweezers"

June 27 - Nitric oxide (NO) is a crucial signaling molecule that participates in a number of biological processes, but exactly how it binds to some metalloproteins is not well understood.  As reported in Nature Chemistry, work by former graduate students Shiyu Zhang and Marie Melzer led by Professor Timothy H. Warren has revealed a new motif for the interaction of nitric oxide with copper proteins through use of small-molecule mimics.  Along with collaborator Nihan Çelebi-Ölçüm and her student S. Nermin Sen from Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, Georgetown scientists have mapped out a new pathway to reversibly interconvert NO with S-nitrosothiols, a related family of signaling molecules in NO biology. 

This work is highlighted in a Nature Chemistry focus on “Protein metal–nitrosyl motifs” featuring a back-to-back article by the research groups of Yi Lu (U. Illinois) and Edward Solomon (Stanford) that identifies this new NO bonding mode in an engineered copper protein.  Accompanying these two reports are an editorial and a News and Views highlight that provide further context for these new insights into nitric oxide biology.

June 8, 2016 - Alexa Dantzler, a high school intern in Prof. Paul Roepe's lab during Summer 2011 is featured in the June edition of Science Magazine.

April 29 - A recent article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society by graduate student Troy Zhongyu Mou with Professor Miklos Kertesz in this department reported their collaborative work with Professor Takashi Kubo and his graduate student Kazuyuki Uchida from the Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University in Japan. Based on the Editor’s recommendation this article has been chosen to be highlighted in a JACS Spotlight, titled “Radical Bonding Opens Window to Molecular Electronics”, see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jacs.6b03587.

As the Spotlight describes, this work “…present the first in-depth examination of a phenalenyl radical derivative with fluxional—or rapidly changing—electron arrangement and bonding (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.6b01791. Theoretical and experimental investigations reveal competing, nearly energy equivalent electron bonding configurations, which lead to continuous bond dissociation and re-formation.

Much work has focused on understanding the basis for the unusual behavior observed in these materials, but until now researchers have not been able to expose and measure the relative preferences of competing bonding pathways. This work helps to break through a fundamental barrier to the practical use of these materials as components in devices that require unusual electronic, optical, and magnetic properties.” This work is the result of a continuing collaboration between the experimental group of Prof. Kubo and the theoretical group of Prof. Kertesz.

April 26 - Congratulations are due to Professor Jennifer Swift for her project entitled "Engineering Defects in Molecular Hydrates" being selected recently for funding by the NSF's Division of Research with a funding level of $480,000 for three years starting July 1, 2016.

April 13 - Dr. Dejun Chen, who is a post-doc associate in Professor Tong's lab, has been awarded a prestigious 2016 Electrochimica Acta Travel Award to Young Electrochemists by the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE).  The €1000 travel award will assist towards his expenses to travel to the Hague, Netherlands to give a talk at the 67th ISE Annual Meeting in August 2016. 

March 9 - A powerful chiroptical chemosensing assay for fast determination of the yield and enantiomeric excess of an asymmetric dihydroxylation reaction was developed by Keith Bentley and Peng Zhang in the Wolf group.  This assay can be applied to mg amounts of crude reaction mixtures and eliminates time consuming reaction workup which drastically reduces labor, time, overall cost and waste production compared to traditional methods.  The chirality sensing methodology developed in the Wolf group is of great interest to high-throughput screening laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry. 

February 29 - The Department of Chemistry congratulates Dr. Jennifer Swift wholeheartedly on her promotion to full professorship effectiv August 1, 2016.  This well-deserved promotion recognizes the many talents and accomplishments Professor Swift brings to the chemistry department in terms of teaching, research, and service.  In addition to being an excellent teacher, Professor Swift's research focuses on elucidating molecular crystal nucleation and growth mechanism, and developing new methods to achiev control over these processes.

January 12 - Graduate students Susette Ingram, Zeus De los Santos, Ivana Brekalo, Alyssa Adcock, Sima Sakhaei, and Jeneffer England have been selected as the Spring 2017 ACS Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee (GSSPC).  The GSSPC was created in 2005 to involve graduate students in the planning of a symposium at ACS national meetings in which committees must select a topic, fundraise, invite speakers, and plan the logistics of their symposium.  The Georgetown University GSSPC has selected a topic based on how chemists are making an impact on the issue of water sustainability, which will be presented at the Spring 2017 ACS meeting in San Francisco.

2015

October 13 – Graduate students Marina Solomos and Liza Koch (both from the Swift group) earned first and second place poster awards at the 2015 Georgetown Student Research Day conference.

October 3 - Two undergraduates from the Swift group were singled out for poster awards at the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences held at University of Maryland-Baltimore County.  Serena Seshadri (COL ’17) received a second place award for her poster titled “Template-Directed Crystallization of Diphenylurea” and Taylor Watts (REU  ’15) received a first place award for her poster titled “Co-crystallization of N, N’-Diphenylureas Based on Heterodimer Energies.”

October 2 - Kunyu Zheng (Jorabchi group) was selected as a student poster award winner at SciX 2015 for his work entitled “Plasma-Assisted Reaction Chemical Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Identification and Quantification of Halogenated Compounds”. SciX (formerly known as FACSS) is an International annual conference on analytical sciences supported by many scientific societies including Society for Applied Spectroscopy, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and American Electrophoresis Society.  This is particularly noteworthy because Kunyu did this work within his first year at Georgetown. Well done Kunyu!

September 25 - Professor Christian Wolf is named as one of the two recipients of the President's Awards for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at Georgetown University for academic year 2015.  The award will be presented by president John DeGioia during the Fall Faculty Convocation on October 14, 2015.

September 21 - Professor Richard Weiss has been awarded a three year $539,999 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), for his proposal "Design of Molecular Gels with Exceptional Structural, Dynamic and Mechanical Properties".

September 8 - Associate Teaching Professor Ron Davis is named as a receipent of a highly competitive Initative on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ITEL) award from the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship (CNDLS) for his proposal in "Projects that experiment with technologies and pedagogical designs to improve teaching and student learning at the course or curricular level."

September 8 - Associate Teaching Professor Milena Shahu is named as a recipient of an Initative on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ITEL) Award from the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship (CNDLS) for her proposal in "Engaging Design: Games, Simulations, and Online Learning Modules" for Fall 2015.

September 4 - Professor Hahm was awarded with a ACS PRF New Direction Grant for her proposal entitled "Micro/Nanoscopic Investigation of ZnO towards the Development of Next-Generation Separation Platforms" with a 2-year funding level of $110,000.

September 3 – Two Chemistry graduate students in the Swift group have been awarded predoctoral fellowships for AY 2015-2016.  Marina Solomos has been named a Forster Scholar of the Metropolitan Washington Chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (MWC/ARCS) Foundation.  Victoria Hall has been reappointed as a Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellow

September 3 - In an invited article in Annual Review of Physical Chemistry, Professor Hahm describes about the unique and intriguing properties of zinc oxide nanowires and nanorods and their promising applications as new sensors and assay platforms, offering exquisite biomedical sensitivity and selectivity.  The article, titled "Fundamental Properties of One-Dimensional Zinc Oxide Nanomaterials and Implementations in Various Detection Modes of Enhanced Biosensing", can be found via the link, http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-physchem-031215-010949

August 26 - Prof. Kaveh Jorabchi was awarded a $360,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his proposal "High-sensitivity elemental ionization for quantification of organohalogens".  The grant is recommended by the Chemical Measurement Program and will be used over a three year period starting 9/1/15. 

July 8, - William G. McGowan Chair in Chemistry, Professor Toshiko Ichiye received a grant of $450,000 from NSF for her proposal "Computational Studies of Aqueous Solvation of Proteins”.  The grant will cover her research project from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2018.

July 8 - Professor Christian Wolf was awarded a $442,368 grant from NSF for his proposal "Development of Stereodynamic Chemosensors for Chiroptical Analysis”.  Prof. Wolf's grant willl cover his research project from August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2018.

June 12 - Keith Bentley, (Wolf group), has been selected as one of the 45 finalists for this year's Reaxys PhD Prize.  You can see the full list of finalists and read about the selection process here.

May 15 - The Chemistry Department graduated nine undergraduate and six graduate(Ph.D) students.  This year, chemistry major Charles Haden Arnett (C'15, Summa Cum Laude, Warren lab), was the recipient of multiple awards that include: The American Institute of Chemists Award; the Martire Award for Excellence in Physical Chemistry; the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award; the Award for Oustanding Undergraduate Research in Chemistry or Biochemistry; and the Miljevic Aaward.

April 29 - Prof. Christian Wolf’s article, "One-Pot Oxidative Esterification and Amidation of Aldehydes" (Chem. Eur. J. 2008, 14, 6302–6315) is one of the top 20 most cited Reviews in Chemistry—A European Journal of the past 20 years!  According to Dr. Neville Compton, Editor-in-chief of the Journal, these articles have been selected as part of the journal’s 20th anniversary celebration and will be freely available to all readers during the course of the anniversary year.

April 22 - Dr. Peng Zhang (Ph.D'13, Wolf group) has been named the recipient of the 2015 Harold N. Glassman Dissertation Award in the Sciences.  The award consists of a cash payment of $2,500 and a certificate. 
Director of External Fellowships, Maria Snyder congratulated Peng saying "Dissertations such as yours help to identify Georgetown as an institution where serious gradute work takes place".  The certificate will be given at the Graduate Commencement ceremony on May 15, 2015.  Dr. Zhang is currently a Research Associate at Michigan State University.

March 19 - Professors Diana Glick, Timothy Warren, and Christian Wolf attended the College Honors Reception, an event involving students and deans together to honor faculty who students feel have shaped their experience at Georgetown in a meaningful way.  These Chemistry faculty were among the top 100 professors nominated by undergraduates for the College Academic Council Faculty Award.

March 19 - Prof. YuYe Tong was recently awarded a grant of $450,000 from the Army Research Office for his proposal "Parsing the New Chemistry of Methanol and Formic Acid Oxidation Reactions on Pt-based Electrocatalysts by in situ Spectroelectrochemistry and Density Functional Theory". 

March 18 - Chemistry graduate students Teresa Duncan (Weiss group) and Steven Spangenberg (Swift group) have been awarded the 2015-16 ARCS Fellowships bestowed by the ARCS Metro-Washington Chapter.

March 18 - Richard D. Vorisek Professor of Chemistry Dr. Tim Warren was recently elected as the vice-chair of the 2017, and the chair of the 2019 Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Gordon Research Conference. 

March 9 - The Georgetown University College Academic Council (GUCAC) will honor Professor Christian Wolf at the Ninth Annual Georgetown College Honors ceremony on March 19, 2015. Each year, the GUCAC asks students to nominate faculty in the College whom they feel have shaped their experience at Georgetown in a meaningful way. The nominations afford students an opportunity to honor faculty they respect as excellent teachers, advisors and mentors.

The GUCAC is an elected body of students that represents Georgetown College students and advances their academic interests. In addition to the annual Georgetown College Honors, GUCAC coordinates the College Majors Fair, organizes the Majors Mentors Network, and plans lunches between the dean and students.

March 5 - Ms. Carina Minardi, a 4th year chemistry graduate student and a member of the Jorabchi group, was selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Committee through a highly competitive selection process to attend this year's Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.  Dedicated to Chemistry, the Lindau Nobel Meeting is a "highlight of scientific and academic event" that started in 1951.  Carina is the second student from our department over the last two years, selected to attend this globally recognized scientific forum.  This year's meeting will take place in Lindau, Germany from 28 June through 3 July 2015.

February 10 - Four Georgetown chemistry faculty were honored as inventors at the Georgetown University Patent Awards Ceremony.  Innovative research projects carried out in the laboratories of Profs. Steven Metallo, Timothy H. Warren, Richard G. Weiss, and Christian Wolf led to a total of six US patents to these chemistry faculty during the 2013 and 2014 calendar years.  Former graduate and postdoctoral students Ariele Viacava Follis, Mathew George, Taisuke Yamada, Tao Yu, and Koji Wakuda are also inventors on these patents.

January 31 - Shiyu Zhang, a graduate student in the Warren group, gave an invited talk at the 2015 Gordon Research Seminar in Bioinorganic Chemistry in Ventura, CA.  Shiyu’s talk “Reversible Capture of NO at a Copper(II)-Thiolate: Model for Interaction of NO at Type 1 Electron-Transfer Sites” described a new mode of reversible nitric oxide reactivity that may be involved in biochemical signaling by nitric oxide that "turns off" or "turns on" enzymatic function.  This Gordon Research Seminar provides opportunities for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral scientists to share their research in bioinorganic chemistry.  Shiyu also attended the weeklong 2015 Metals in Biology Gordon Conference where he presented a poster, supported by a Georgetown Graduate School Travel Grant.

January 28 - Richard D. Vorisek Professor Timothy Warren gave an invited talk on “Modeling Nitric Oxide Signaling at Copper and Zinc” at the 2015 Metals in Biology Gordon Conference in Ventura, CA.  Focused on recent work by postdoctoral colleague Dr. Subrata Kundu and graduate student Shiyu Zhang, Prof. Warren described new paradigms for nitric oxide reactivity connected to the interaction of this important biomolecule with a range of copper-containing enzymes involved in health and disease.  One of the longest running Gordon Conferences, this international gathering brings together multidisciplinary approaches that draw from inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology and physics to understand how metal ions function in biological systems.

2014
 

December 15, 2014 - Dr. Paul D. Roepe, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Cell. and Mol. Biol., has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute for a renewable three-year term. The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute is part of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute established in 2007 through a public-private partnership between Virginia Tech and then Carilion Clinic, which leverages Virginia Tech’s world-class strength in basic sciences, bioinformatics, and engineering with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced medical staff and rich history in medical education. Adjunct VTCRI Faculty Members are expected to contribute to the academic and/or research missions of VTCRI including some activity with the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health (TBMH) graduate program, collaboration with VTCRI faculty, and/or participation in other appropriate VTCRI activities.

November 17, 2014Bojana Gligorijevic (Ph.D. 2007 with the Roepe group) has very recently published a first - authored paper that is on the cover of the prestigious journal "PLoS Biology".   Bojana has recently accepted an Assistant Professor position and is starting her first independent laboratory at Temple University in Philadelphia, in the dept. of Bioengineering. 

September 17, 2014 - The Clare Boothe Luce Foundation has awarded a six year, $950,000 Professorship to our newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Karah Knope.  The Foundation congratulated Georgetown for "selecting such an outstanding candidate".

September 17, 2014 - Victoria Kugel, a second-year graduate student, and member of the Swift lab, has been awarded a Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

September 17, 2014 -  Undergraduate Chemistry Major Margaret Hanson (C'16), from the Tong lab, has also been selected as a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar for 2014-2015.

August 22, 2014 - Professor Tim Warren received renewed funding from the NSF CHE Chemistry of Life Sciences Program for his proposal "Modeling Nitric Oxide Signaling Chemistry at Non-Heme Sites”.   The award is for $450,000 over three years.  The grant supports the Warren group’s efforts to outline the bioinorganic chemistry of nitric oxide at models of copper and zinc enzymes. Ongoing work in the Warren lab reveals the molecular chemistry behind the ability of nitric oxide to "turn on" or "turn off" biochemical processes connected with this important signaling molecule in biology that is intimately involved in cardiovascular health, neurotransmission, and immune response.

August 12, 2014 - Georgetown Chemists are currently active participating at the 248th ACS National Meeting held in San Franscisco from August 10 to August 14, 2014.  Here is a glimpse:

  • On August 10, Professor Toshiko Ichiye, the William G. McGowan Chair in Chemistry gave a talk at the Session of Computational Study of Water, entitled "Relating the molecular charge distribution to the properties of liquid water".

  • Vorisek Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Tim Warren delivered the first two of his talks on Monday, August 11, 2014: 1) "Activation of peroxides by copper (I): Mechanistic insights lead to new families of catalytic C-H functionalization methods" at the Session of Hydrogen Peroxide and Dioxygen in Transition Metal Mediated C-H; and 2) "Radical Frustrated LewisPairs" at the Sessions of Frustrated Lewis Acid/Base Catalysis.  He will deliver his final talk "Interconversion of nitric and copper and zinc sites" today, August 13, 2014 at the Session of Metal on interactions with Nitric Oxide and Reactive Nitrogen Species in Chemistry and Biology.

July 2014 - The Department of Chemistry was recently awarded three NSF grants totaling more than $1 million to support several ongoing research projects in Chemistry as well as Physics Departments.  Both undergraduate and graduate students will greatly benefit from all three grants by learning state-of-the art research techniques alongside faculty; and also gain experience using advanced equipment.

  • CHE-1429079, "MRI: Acquisition of an Integrated Raman Microscopy Instument", $196, 444; PI: Swift, co-PIs: Weiss and Tong from the Department of Chemistry; and co-PIs: Barbara and van Keuren from the Department of Physics.

  • CHE-1404658 "Understanding nanoscale characteristics of protein self-assembly on polymeric surfaces with multiscale chemical heterogeneity", $405,000; PI Hahm.  This grant will enable Prof. Hahm's research group to focus on the investigation of the nature of protein-surface interactions at the nanoscale.  The process of protein absorption into solid surfaces impacts essential everyday applications in food processing/packaging, health devices, diagonostic tools, and medical products.

  • CHE-1413429, "On Heavier Chalcogen (Se and Te) Interfacial Chemistry and Charge Transfer in Monolayer-Protected Metal Nanoparticles", $490, 000; PI Tong.  This grant will boost Dr. Tong's long-term research goals in harnessing the novel properties of metal nanoparticles for practical applications such as electronic or optical devices, biomedical sensing and diagnosis, and clean energy gereration.

April 2014 - Ajay Mallia, a Research Assistant Professor working with the Weiss group was awarded the E. Ann Nalley Regional Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society during the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting Awards Dinner in April 2014.  According to the statement in the ACS website, the award recognizes "the volunteer efforts of individuals who have served the American Chemical Society, contributing significantly to the goals and objectives of the Society through their regional activities"  Our congratulations goes to Ajay.

March 2014 - Professor Paul Roepe was awarded a grant from NIH, worth over $4.75 million, for research related to drug-resistant malaria. This large - scale project involves new drug development technology in the Roepe lab as well as new collaborations with the National Center for Advancing Translational Science [NCATS] at the NIH, as well as the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.  Roepe and colleagues are perfecting new approaches for developing antimalarial drug combination therapy that can be rapidly transitioned to the clinic.

January 2014 - Professor Hahm's Invited Feature Article in Langmuir is now online. Professor Hahm's past and on-going research efforts in the area of nanoscale protein self-assembly are showcased in an Invited Feature Article, 'Fundamentals of nanoscale polymer-protein interaction and their application in solid-state nanobioarrays'. This recently published article is found in the Feature Article Section in Langmuir and can be accessed via the DOI link, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/la404481t. Invited by Professor V. Ramamurthy, a Senior Editor of Langmuir, Professor Hahm highlights recent experimental and theoretical advances made on protein-polymer systems in her article, specifically her single-biomolecule-level investigations of protein adsorption behavior combined with surface chemical heterogeneity on the length scale commensurate with the size of a single protein. The article also addresses advantages and challenges of the self-assembly-driven patterning technology used to produce protein nanoarrays and its implications for ultrahigh density, functional, and quantifiable protein detection in a highly miniaturized format.

2013

October 2013 - ChemPhysChem, a European journal of Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics has selected as a Very Important Paper the contribution from the Kertesz group “Study of the Diradicaloid Character in a Prototypical Pancake Bonded Dimer: The Stacked Tetracyanoethylene (TCNE) Anion Dimer and the Neutral K2TCNE2 Complex” by postdoc Zhong-hua Cui and our international collaborators Hans Lischka, Thomas Mueller, Felix Plasser. See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1439-7641/homepage/2267_vip.html ).

September 2013 - Prof. Christian Wolf won a three year, $337,278 NIH R 15 grant for his research "Synthesis of Chiral Organofluorines via Catalytic Asymmetric C-C Bond Formation with Fluoroenolates, Alkynes and Ynamides".

August 2013 - Professor Jong-in Hahm is promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure by President DeGioia in the Department of Chemistry effective August 1, 2013. Our congratulations go out to her.

August 2013 - Professor Toshiko Ichiye won a R12 NIH subcontract as a co-PI for "Computational/Experimental Modeling of Aqueous Environments in Biology" with a funding of $179,667 from 6/1/2013 to 5/31/2015.

August 2013 - Professor K. Travis Holman successfully lead an effort to win a NSF MRI grant entitled "Acquisition of an "All-But-Detector" Single Crystal Diffractometer" with a funding level of $182,832.

August 2013 - Professor YuYe Tong successfully won a competitive renewal of his DOE project entitled "In Situ NMR/IR/Raman and ab initial DFT Investigations of Unconventional Promoters of Catalytic Activity on Pt-Based Electrocatalysts: from Sulfur to Polymers to Iodine" with a funding level of $510,000 from 8/15/2013 to 8/14/2016.

July 2013 - Congratulations go out to the Wolf group, whose work on developing a novel yet simple chemosensor that accelerates significantly the quantitative stereochemical analysis has been featured and highlighted in Chemistry World, the RCS (the Royal Society of Chemistry) Magazine distributed worldwide. RCS is renowned for publishing scientific work that is of the highest quality and is a premier journal for promoting Chemical Science to the public.

June 2013 - Prof. Jennifer A. Swift won a grant from the The National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research (NSF-DMR) for her project entitled "Doping Molecular Hydrates". The award begins on June 1, 2013 and is for 3 years. She also won a GU Graduate School pilot research grant for her project entitled "Crystal Nucleation on Surfaces" for AY 13/14.

June 2013 - Graduate student Nicholas Sapiezynski is awarded a 2013 National Science Foundation Fellowship award. Our congratulations goes out to Nick.

June 2013 - Prof. Christian Wolf has been appointed to the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Scientific Journal, Chirality. Our congratulations goes out to Prof. Wolf!

May 2, 2013 - Stephanee Synnott has been named a recipient of the GSO Teaching Assistant Award for the 2012-2013 school year!

This is the first year of this award which is given by the GSO Teaching and Membership Committee. According to the GSO, the competition for the TA Award was very strong and winners were chosen from among dozens of applicants after review by a committee composed of graduate students and faculty. The award was presented at a reception on May 2 in the Graduate School conference room on the fourth floor of the Car Barn

Stephanee is a multiple recipient of the Chemistry Department’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. We are excited that Stephanee’s outstanding performance and dedication to teaching have now been recognized by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well. The Department congratulates Stephanee on her award and her continuing excellence in teaching!

April 2013 - Congratulations goes out to Marlon N. Manalo (PhD ’03, de Dios) who currently is the Head of the Physical, Inorganic and Industrial Chemistry Division at the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines Los Banos on being awarded tenure. Also a belated congratulations on receiving in July 2011 the Third World Academy of Sciences Prize for Young Scientist in the Philippines.

April 2013 - Lindsay Wise (BS'13) has been named the 2012-13 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Female Scholar-Athlete when the conference's Academic Affairs Committee announced its honors. Read more.

April 2013 - Professor Weiss was interviewed on Brazilian TV, Canal Educativo, during his participation in the Physical Organic Chemistry Meeting at Foz do Iguacu in April.

March 2013 - Congratulations goes out to one of our alumni Kateri DuBay (C’02), on her becoming a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Virginia. While at Georgetown, Kateri did research and co-authored two papers with Professor Roepe. Upon graduation, Kateri attended Cambridge University as a Gates Scholar and received an M.Phil in Chemistry in 2004. She proceeded to the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley where she received a PhD in 2009. While at Berkeley, Kateri received a Berkeley Fellowship in 2003 and was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2004.

March 2013 - Professor M. Samy El-Shall (PhD '86, Martire) has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. Professor El-Shall has made seminal contributions to the fields of ion-induced nucleation, ion mobility, thermochemistry and structures of molecular cluster ions, gas phase cluster polymerization, nanostructured materials and nanocatalysis. He is professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is one of 13 research scientists and engineers selected nationwide as a 2012-2013 Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.

March 2013 - Ms. Katy Sherlach, a 4th year chemistry graduate student and a member of the Roepe group, is selected by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Linda meeting committee through a highly competitive selection process to attend this year's Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to Chemistry, a "highlight of scientific and academic event" that started in 1951. This year's meeting will take place in Lindau, Germany from 30 June through 5 July 2013.

2012

December 2012 - The Chemical Society of Washington (CSW) named Prof. Richard Weiss as the 2012 recipient of the Charles L. Gordon Award. [more]

December 2012 - Graduate student Carina Minardi awarded fellowship from NSF.

December 3, 2012 – Carina Minardi, a second year chemistry graduate student in Professor Kaveh Jorabchi’s group was awarded a three year fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in April 2012. The highly competitive fellowship is awarded to outstanding graduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, aiming to strengthen United States’ leadership in these fields.

Carina received her Bachelors of Science from Chapman University (Orange, CA) in Chemistry and Biology in 2010. She also was an NSF REU participant in the summer of 2010 at James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA). During her undergraduate studies, Carina published four peer-reviewed articles on various projects ranging from biodegradation of crude oil to analysis of phenolic compounds in irradiated almond skins using mass spectrometry. Relying on her strong background in mass spectrometry, chemistry and cellular biology, Carina hopes to advance single-cell analysis instrumentation and methods during her graduate research. Single-cell analysis is an emerging field of study mainly due to the fact that an ensemble of cells is not homogeneous, and those subtle differences between cells yield major effects.

Carina’s award marks the first NSF fellowship in the chemistry department. It is truly an exciting time for the department, and this award will hopefully be one of the many that graduate students will receive in years to come.

August 2012 - Prof. Jong-in Hahm has been selected by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) as a recipient of the 2013 WCC Rising Star award for excellence in the advancement of nano sciences and developing next-generation, enhanced DNA and proteins sensors beneficial to life sciences.

July 2012 - The National Science Foundation has awarded Prof. Christian Wolf a grant for his projected entitled “Designing Axially Chiral Sensors for Enantioselective Recognition of Chiral Compounds.” The award begins on August 1, 2012 and is for 3 years.

June 4, 2012 – Two Ph.D. students in the Department of Chemistry, Lora Angelova and Katy Sherlach, received the prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship from the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation.

June 4, 2012 – The Clare Boothe Luce Foundation awarded its Clare Booth Luce Fellowship to two chemistry Ph.D. students for the 2012-2013 academic year. This marks the third time Lora Angelova, who will be a fifth-year graduate student in the Weiss lab, has won the award. This is the first time Katy Sherlach, who will be a fourth-year graduate student in the Roepe lab and who received the ARCS Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year, has won the Luce Fellowship.

May 23, 2012 - Student researchers demonstrate a unique way to capture nitric oxide (NO) and inject this essential small molecule with exciting reactivity. Their discovery was highlighted as News of the Week in the May 21, 2012 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

May 23, 2012 – While the Lewis pairs are frustrated, Allan Cardenas (left) and Brooks Culotta (right), student researchers in Prof. Timothy H. Warren’s laboratory, don’t have any trouble getting along. Their research alongside German collaborators demonstrates a unique way to capture nitric oxide (NO) and inject this essential small molecule with exciting reactivity. Their discovery was highlighted as News of the Week in the May 21, 2012 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

TO GERMANY AND BACK

In August 2010, Prof. Gerhard Erker of the University of Münster in Germany delivered an invited talk at Georgetown University about frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs). FLPs such as molecule 1 are “frustrated,” because they bear pent-up chemical reactivity; the large size of their reactive P and B components make it difficult for these atoms to directly interact. Sparked by the Warren lab’s interest with NO, a signaling molecule in biology that is produced on a massive industrial scale, both the Georgetown and German researchers were eager to examine the interaction of this small molecule with FLPs. In October 2010, Allan traveled to Münster to learn first-hand how to prepare FLPs under development in Prof. Erker’s laboratory. Immediately upon his return to Georgetown a month later, Allan captured NO!

[chemistry] NITRIC OXIDE RELIEVES FRUSTRATION

Allan and Brooks found that the small molecule NO serves as a conduit to complete the strong chemical attraction between the P and B atoms, greatly enhancing the reactivity of the captured NO molecule. For instance, the FLP-NO radical 2 reacts with normally unreactive C-H bonds in hydrocarbons, representing a green way to chemically modify natural petroleum resources under mild conditions. More recent work in collaboration with Prof. Amido Studer has shown that these FLP-NO species can also regulate the formation of polystyrene, one of the most widely used plastics.

FROM GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB TO RESEARCH LAB

Allan, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, met Brooks when Allan was a General Chemistry teaching assistant. Interested in conducting research, Brooks, now a junior in Georgetown College and Chemistry major, asked Allan about research opportunities for undergraduate students. In the summer of 2010, Brooks, then a freshman, began working with Allan in Prof. Warren’s lab. Allan’s excellence in and enthusiasm for teaching contributed to Brooks’s interest. “Allan and I had a good working relationship in my lab class,” Brooks said, “and I wanted to work with him doing research.” Brooks will begin studying at Georgetown University Medical School following his graduation and was accepted early as part of the Early Assurance Program. Allan, whose teaching acumen contributed to Brooks’s interest in research, plans to take a postdoctoral position or teach once he completes his Ph.D.

FLPs ATTRACT NO & ATTENTION

This new family of molecules first brought to life by Allan and Brooks in Prof. Warren’s lab continues to receive attention from the chemical community. Editors of Angewandte Chemie highlighted their initial article as a “Hot Paper” for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high interest. Chemical & Engineering News, the U.S. trade weekly with a wide circulation, published a news feature on the green, metal-free chemical reactivity described in the most recent scientific report by this German-American team. The Georgetown team recently received a research grant from the Petroleum Research Fund to develop these exciting molecules. Moreover, Allan will describe his groundbreaking research in June at the 2012 Graduate Research Symposium of the Inorganic Gordon Conference where he was invited to give a talk.

These new nitroxide radicals have many prospective applications. Allan describes potential uses as “an initiator for polymerization as well as a catalyst for functionalization of C-H bonds.” Prof. Warren is enthused about possible real-world applications: “These highly reactive, metal-free systems illustrate unprecedented, environmentally friendly ways to perform challenging chemical transformations with NO—an abundant, though underutilized, chemical raw material. As an inorganic chemist, I didn’t think it was possible to have this much fun without metals!”

FLPs BIND RESEARCHERS IN TRANS-ATLANTIC COLLABORATION

Four different research groups have joined forces to ensure the rapid, creative development of this new family of NO-based radicals. At Georgetown, new FLPs to reversibly bind NO are under development along with a continued examination of their chemical reactivity. These efforts take place collaboratively with Prof. Erker’s lab in Münster, Germany known worldwide for their expertise with FLP chemistry. Prof. Studer’s team in Münster focuses on new applications of the FLP-NO radicals, and Prof. Stefan Grimme performs high-level calculations to provide deep insight into their structure and reactivity. This successful trans-Atlantic collaboration receives support by the Provost's Faculty Committee for International Initiatives.

Brooks, who is currently studying at the University of Bristol in England, writes, “I plan on returning to the lab the second I get back to Georgetown for summer classes in July.” Briefly frustrated by an academic year abroad, the persistent bond first formed between teacher and freshman student in a General Chemistry laboratory will soon be revitalized.         

March 31, 2012 – Georgetown University’s College Academic Council recognized the contributions of Profs. Diana Glick, Bahram Moasser, and Timothy Warren to undergraduate education.

March 31, 2012 – The Georgetown University College Academic Council (GUCAC) honored three chemistry faculty members—Profs. Diana Glick, Bahram Moasser, and Tim Warren—at the Sixth Annual Georgetown College Honors ceremony on March 30, 2012. Each year, the GUCAC asks students to nominate faculty in the College whom they feel have shaped their experience at Georgetown in a meaningful way. The nominations afford students an opportunity to honor faculty they respect as excellent teachers, advisors and mentors.

The GUCAC is an elected body of students that represents Georgetown College students and advances their academic interests. In addition to the annual Georgetown College Honors, GUCAC coordinates the College Majors Fair, organizes the Majors Mentors Network, and plans lunches between the dean and students.

The Chemistry Department congratulates Diana, Bahram, and Tim for receiving multiple nominations for the GUCAC’s prestigious honor and thanks them for their commitment and contributions to undergraduate education.

2011

December 31, 2011 – The New Zealand Association of Scientists awarded Professor Geoffrey B. Jameson with the Marsden Medal for 2011.

Jameson served on the faculty of Georgetown’s Chemistry Department from 1982-1993 as an assistant and associate professor.

According to the New Zealand Association of Scientists, the Marsden Medal “is awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to the cause or profession of science, in recognition of service rendered to the cause or profession of science in the widest connotation of the phrase.”

Upon conferring the award, the association cited Jameson’s “sustained record of leadership and service to New Zealand science and his outstanding contribution to the chemical sciences.”

At Massey University, Jameson is a Professor of Structural Chemistry and Biology and the Director of the Centre for Structural Biology. In 2010, Massey University awarded Jameson the Massey University Medal for individual research. At Massey, Professor Jameson's area of research includes crystallography, specifically dealing with problematic crystal structures. While at Georgetown, his research focused on inorganic and structural chemistry.

October 18, 2011 – The Research Board of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) awarded a consortium, which includes Georgetown University, a grant to study “The Science and Technology of Dispersants as Relevant to Deep Sea Oil Releases.”

Dr. Vijay T. John of Tulane University serves as the lead investigator for the research consortium, which includes Georgetown among its twenty-two member institutions. Georgetown chemistry professor Richard G. Weiss will research “Phase Selective Uptake and Dispersion of Crude Oil from Water.” A three-year grant for $222,000 will support his work. In May 2010, British Petroleum committed to fund GRI with up to $500 million over ten years.

September 28, 2011 – The Journal of the American Chemical Society underscored the significance of a novel discovery in Professor Richard G. Weiss’s laboratory: the JACS cover featured graphics from the findings.

“A FASCINATING PUZZLE”

Georgetown chemistry professors Weiss and Travis Holman, researchers in the Weiss laboratory, and Paul Butler of the National Institute of Standards and Technology discovered that molecular gel networks expel and integrate CCl4 solvent molecules causing gel-to-gel phase transitions.

V. Ajay Mallia, a postdoctoral fellow in Weiss’s laboratory, noted, “the gelators self-assemble to form fibrillar networks.” He emphasized, “the gelation process is a fine balance of self-assembly of molecules.”

JACS, a premier peer-reviewed journal for the chemical sciences, published the discovery online in July 2011 and in its September 28, 2011 print version. Weiss, Holman, Butler, Mallia, and Dr. Bijay Sarkar authored the article, “Reversible Phase Transitions within Self-Assembled Fibrillar Networks of (R)-18-(n-Alkylamino)octadecan-7-ols in Their Carbon Tetrachloride Gels.”

Researchers initially observed the gel-gel transition phenomenon in 2007. “Our investigation then became a fascinating puzzle that includes transformations within fibrillar networks of organogels,” explained Mallia.


“UNPRECEDENTED” RESULTS

“To the best of our knowledge, this form of gel-to-gel phase transition is unprecedented,” Weiss wrote. The transition, he continued, “opens the possibility to design molecular gels with a new dimension of versatility and potential applications.”

Mallia described the discovery process as challenging, because the volatility of carbon tetrachloride affected the design and performance of experimental studies.


POTENTIAL FUNCTIONS

The August 22 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, a weekly publication of the American Chemical Society, highlighted the development.

The authors revealed possible applications for the unique discovery. Since amines reduce metal salts to metal nanoparticles, the molecular gels could be used to prepare such nanoparticles.

Their breakthrough also has implications for drug delivery. “I believe,” Mallia asserted, “that if gel-gel transitions of this kind can be engineered into other molecular gels, they could be useful for controlling drug release.”

September 16, 2011 – Georgetown University Professor Sarah Stoll’s ongoing work with the synthesis and characterization of magnetic semiconductors yielded a substantial grant and a new, international collaboration.

The National Science Foundation awarded the chemistry professor a three-year grant for $375,000. Her proposal, “Electron doping in magnetic semiconductors,” indicates her goal is “to synthesize and characterize nanostructured electron doped magnetic semiconductors.”

Georgetown University Professor Sarah Stoll’s ongoing work with the synthesis and characterization of magnetic semiconductors yielded a substantial grant and a new, international collaboration. The National Science Foundation awarded the chemistry professor a three-year grant for $375,000. Her proposal, “Electron doping in magnetic semiconductors,” indicates her goal is “to synthesize and characterize nanostructured electron doped magnetic semiconductors.”


INNOVATIVE DISCOVERY

For two years, students in the Stoll laboratory have worked on nanowires, and approximately a year ago, they realized their materials were single crystals. Based on their findings, the researchers developed a new means to produce nanoparticles and nanorods of lanthanide chalcogenide semiconductors, which adapt easily for doping studies.

Stoll credits graduate students Srotoswini Kar, Will Boncher, and Kayla Lincoln with significant contributions to the project. Kar, Stoll notes, “was critical to the observation of single crystals.”

All levels of researchers – from advanced graduate students to high school students –contributed to the project’s developments and advances. Georgetown undergraduate Zach Reese (C’12), summer researcher Dan Olszewski, Fudan University student Lili Qiu, and Jee In Seo, a recent graduate of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, were instrumental in the investigation.


INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION

To fully characterize these novel nanomaterials, Stoll coordinated a new, international collaboration with faculty at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie. Partnering with the Parisian university will allow her students to refine their research.

The partnership will benefit her research and her students’ experience. The collaboration, Stoll says, will allow her students to “work with these scientists and learn to use the amazing equipment they have there.”


IMPROVING DEVICES & PROCESSORS

The nanoparticles and nanorods produced in the Stoll laboratory may have useful applications in microelectronic devices and information processing.

“People are searching for new ways to store and retrieve data, using the combination of light, electronic, and magnetic properties,” Stoll says. “The idea is to increase storage capacity and decrease time to access and read the information.”

September 6, 2011 – Georgetown researchers have found that perchloroethylene (PCE), a potentially carcinogenic dry cleaning solvent, is retained in dry-cleaned clothes made of polyester, cotton or wool.

The levels increase with repeat cleanings, according to the researchers, whose work appeared Aug. 30 online in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

The levels increase with repeat cleanings, according to the researchers, whose work appeared Aug. 30 online in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.


MORE STUDIES, QUICKLY

“The question is, can the levels of PCE we find be absorbed through the skin or inhaled in quantities large enough to harm people,” says Georgetown professor Paul Roepe, who supervised the study. “We don’t have the complete answers to those questions, but I think we know enough to suggest that more studies should be done very quickly.”

The Georgetown study is the first to quantify the amounts of PCE in dry-cleaned clothing, according to Roepe, a professor in Georgetown’s chemistry department as well as the biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology department.


CANCER RISK

Human PCE exposure has been linked to elevated risk of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has labeled PCE a likely carcinogen.

The researchers found that PCE, absorbed through inhalation, mouth or skin contact, is slowly emitted from dry-cleaned fabrics even when wrapped in dry plastic wrap.

In a warm, closed environment such as inside a car or a closet, the chemicals could be expelled at an even greater rate, the study’s authors say.


HEALTH ISSUE

The contaminant on the clothing inevitably comes into contact with the wearer’s skin, and is also released into the air inside homes and automobiles.

“We don’t really think about … dry-cleaning as a health issue,” says Katy Sherlach (G‘14), one of two Ph.D. students who conducted the study. “Everybody dry-cleans clothing and you pick it up, you bring it home, you don’t even think about it.”

Sherlach conducted the study with fellow chemistry department Ph.D. candidate Alexander Gorka and Alexa Dantzler, a rising junior at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va., who came up with the idea.


LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Dantzler was working on a group project for her freshman science class when she had the idea to study the chemicals in dry-cleaned clothes. She found Roepe’s email address on Georgetown’s website and contacted him for help.

“It was really great getting experience in the lab – the training was really wonderful,” says Dantzler, who says chemistry is her favorite subject.

Using a gas chromatography/mass spectrometer, the researchers quantified levels of residual PCE in dry-cleaned samples of wool, polyester, cotton and silk.


IMPORTANT FINDINGS

They found that polyester, cotton and wool (but not silk) are most prone to retaining high levels of PCE.

“At the end of the day, nobody – I mean nobody – has previously done this simple thing – gone out there to several different drycleaners and tested different types of cloth for retained PCE,” says Roepe, also co-director of Georgetown’s Center for Infectious Disease. “I am enormously impressed with how quickly the dedication of Ms. Dantzler and my two Ph.D. students led to these important findings.”


UPDATE: SUBSEQUENT COVERAGE

Since the initial publication of Roepe’s discovery, several media outlets featured the findings. The Washington Post published a front-page article on September 3, 2011. In addition to many blogposts, several newspapers – including Bangor Daily News, The Seattle Times, The Boston Globe, and the Star Tribune – picked up the Post feature.

Throughout the coverage, Roepe gave his graduate students credit. He graciously indicated, “Congratulations are due more to Ms. Katy Sherlach and Mr. Alex Gorka, two very hard working chemistry grad students that did the experiments with Alexa.”

August 22, 2011 – The Department of Chemistry hosted the Tenth Annual Georgetown University Synthesis Symposium on August 17, 2011.

The talks featured ten students from across Georgetown’s campus. In keeping with the symposium’s tradition of inspiring influential research, the participants presented talks about their work involving molecular synthesis.

August 8, 2011 – Georgetown’s Department of Chemistry concluded its sixth annual NSF-REU program with a poster session on August 4, 2011.

Nine undergraduate students, who attend nine different colleges and universities in eight states and the District of Columbia, presented their findings after a rigorous, ten-week research program. The competitive program, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, provides undergraduate students with valuable research experience, a stipend, and housing for the ten-week period. Profs. Sarah Stoll and Jennifer Swift are the principal investigators on the grant.

August 1, 2011 – The Department welcomed Kaveh Jorabchi as he joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Information about Prof. Jorabchi and his research may be found on his departmental webpage.

August 1, 2011 – The Department congratulated Tim Warren and Christian Wolf, who were promoted officially to Full Professor effective August 1.

July 28, 2011 – Prof. YuYe J. Tong was notified that the recently published work by In-Su Park, Bolian Xu, Dianne O. Atienza, Augusta M. Hofstead-Duffy, Thomas C. Allison and Tong—titled “Chemical State of Adsorbed Sulfur on Pt Nanoparticles” [ChemPhysChem, 2011, 12, 7474-752]—was selected as an important scientific contribution within the DOE BES Catalysis Science program and wants to highlight it during an upcoming meeting where the core research activities in the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division will be overviewed.

July 12, 2011 – The Washington Post consulted Paul D. Roepe, Professor of Chemistry and Co-Director of the Georgetown University Center for Infectious Disease, in a piece about the possibility veteran quarterback Joe Theismann contracted hoof-and-mouth disease in a 1971 game. Given Theismann’s description of his symptoms, Roepe concluded, “Theoretically it’s possible….But it’s extremely rare.” [more]

July 6, 2011 – Recent findings in the laboratory of Prof. Paul D. Roepe will help in the global fight against malaria, which afflicts 500 million people annually.

Roepe and researchers in his lab developed an assay that can determine inexpensively and efficiently the effectiveness of anti-malarial, investigative drugs. The results were published in May in the online edition of Molecular & Biochemical Parasitology. Roepe is confident the assay “will provide a critical filter that should speed up this pipeline [of determining effectiveness of an anti-malarial drug]. With it, you will know an essential fact about the drug – how well it kills malaria – and may not need to launch expensive animal studies.” 

June 24, 2011 – Lora Angelova, a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Prof. Richard G. Weiss and a recipient of the Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship, recently presented her research on Borate gels, a new aqueous co-solvent gel system for use in cleaning paintings and painted materials, at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Lora’s talk, which included collaborator Kristin deGhetaldi of the National Gallery of Art and was titled “Potential Cleaning Applications of Poly(Vinyl Alcohol–Co-Acetate)/Borate Gels on Painted Surfaces,” discussed the gels’ properties—transparency, pliability, easy removability with no detectable residue—and their potential in furthering conservation. [more]

June 8, 2011 – The department announced University President John J. DeGioia’s appointment of Timothy Warren and Christian Wolf to Full Professor effective August 1, 2011.

May 31, 2011 – Nine undergraduates, who attend colleges and universities throughout the country, arrived to begin a ten-week research program through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Click here for more information about Georgetown’s NSF-REU program.

May 20, 2011 – Timothy Barbari, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Georgetown University, conferred the 2011 Career Research Achievement Award to Prof. Miklos Kertesz at the GSAS commencement ceremony.

May 17, 2011 – The National Science Foundation, through its Division of Materials Research, awarded Prof. K. Travis Holman a three-year grant totaling $405,000. The abstract for his project, entitled “Metal-Organometallic Frameworks Supporting Catalytically Active Moieties,” may be found on the NSF’s website.

April 26, 2011 – The Georgetown Chapter of Sigma Xi, an international science and engineering honor society, inducted new associate members at its annual induction dinner, including Chemistry major Holly Tao (C’12) and Biochemistry major Karinne Von Groningen (C’11).

April 15, 2011 – The Department recently learned that, in October 2010, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke awarded Dr. Thomas J. Bruno (Ph.D. ’81, Martire) a silver medal for his work. Dr. Bruno was recognized for developing a new method of analyzing complex fluid mixtures that facilitates the introduction of new fuels in the U.S. energy infrastructure. Dr. Bruno leads the Experimental Properties of Fluids Group of the Thermophysical Properties Division at NIST, Boulder.

March 30, 2011 – Monique Koppel, from Moasser's group, and Katy Sherlach, from Roepe's group, are the recipients of the ARCS fellowship for the 2011 - 2012 academic year.

March 15, 2011 – In connection with the International Year of Chemistry the students of our Chemistry Club received a $300 ACS grant for support of their outreach activities and contributions. The purpose of the grant is to "raise awareness of the importance of chemistry in everyday life".

March 10, 2011 – For its March 2011 issue, BioTechniques interviewed Professor Paul D. Roepe about “the ambitions, character, and motivations that led to his success.”

BioTechniques asked about and Professor Roepe discussed his greatest contribution to his field, the impact of his background in physical chemistry on his drug resistance research, and his transition from tumor cell drug resistance research to malaria research. A full text of the interview may be found on the BioTechniques website or on page 145 of Volume 50, Number 3 of BioTechniques.

Paul D. Roepe is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. Professor Roepe also serves as Co-Director for the Georgetown Center for Infectious Disease.

March 8, 2011 For its issue dated March 14, 2011, ChemPhysChem selected a paper written in the laboratory of Professor YuYe Tong, Chair of the Department of Chemistry, to occupy its inside cover.

According to their findings, “a combination of electrochemistry, in situ SERS, and ab initio DFT studies has pinpointed the adsorbed sulfur species on Pt NPs as a negatively charged sulfide (S2-).” The full article may be found on the ChemPhysChem website.

Dr. In-Su Park, a postdoctoral researcher in the Tong lab, is the first author. Co-authors include Prof. Tong; Dr. Bolian Xu, a postdoctoral researcher in the Tong lab who is supported by the China Scholarship Council-Georgetown University Postdoctoral Fellowship Program; Dianne O. Atienza and Augusta M. Hofstead-Duffy, members of the Tong group and Ph.D. candidates; and Dr. Thomas C. Allison, a staff chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

February 23, 2011 – We have learned with sadness and regret that Mrs. Ann Pope, Professor Michael Pope’s wife, passed away.

The manager of the departmental stockrooms from 1974-1994, Ann was a friend and a colleague to so many and mentored many stockroom work-study students. Ann’s commitment, kindness, good humor, and her talents in graphics design contributed to building the Department. Numerous friends and family of the Popes, including people associated with Georgetown, attended a moving memorial service at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on March 4.

Her obituary may be found on the website of the Washington Post. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the U.S. Humane Society, www.humanesociety.org or to the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, www.carcinoid.org.

We will miss Ann greatly.

February 9, 2011 At its February 9th meeting, the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society named Georgetown alumna Apryll M. Stalcup (Ph.D. ’88, Martire), Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, the 2011 Cincinnati Chemist of the Year.

Following dinner at the February meeting, Professor Stalcup talked about “Separation SCIENCE.”

CINTACS selected Prof. Stalcup the 2011 Chemist of the Year “because of her internationally recognized expertise in the area of separation science.” CINTACS describes her as “a leader in devising new ways to exploit multiple aspects of molecular interactions simultaneously to develop new approaches to chemical separations.” According to CINTACS, “she has made significant contributions across the breath of separation science, from microscale to preparative scale.”

Professor Stalcup began working at the University of Cincinnati in 1996 and was promoted to Full Professor five years later. Current research in her laboratory explores new separation methods based on surface-confined ionic liquids, understanding the mechanisms of both chromatographic and electrophoretic separations and nuclear forensics. Research in her laboratory has resulted in over 100 publications including numerous book chapters, encyclopedia articles, invitations to present over sixty lectures, and one patent. She has served on the Editorial Boards of Chirality, Journal of Chromatography B: Biomedical Applications, and Analyst and also on the Advisory Board of Fresenius’ Journal of Analytical Chemistry, now Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. She serves on the Editorial Board of Trends in Analytical Chemistry (TrAC) and on the Cincinnati Water Quality Advisory Board.

Details about her award and about CINTACS may be found in the February 2011 issue of the CINTACS newsletter.

January 31, 2011 – The Office of Technology Commercialization at Georgetown University honored twenty-six members of the Georgetown faculty, including Professors Richard G. Weiss and Christian Wolf, for being awarded U.S. patents from 2007-2010.

2010

October 20, 2010 – It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected and sudden death of alumna Silvia Carlota Termes (Ph.D. ’77, Pope).

Sylvia’s latest work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involved studies on the environmental effects of pesticides. The department lost a faithful alumna.

Silvia was born in Havana, Cuba on November 4, 1943 and in 1960 went into exile with her parents, first to Ponce, Puerto Rico and subsequently to Miami, Florida. She received a B.S. in Chemistry (magna cum laude) from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in 1964, and after some graduate work at the University of Puerto Rico, she came to Georgetown in 1969, where she completed her doctorate in inorganic chemistry. After Georgetown, Silvia worked at the U.S. Bureau of Mines from 1977-1987 in an era when women research chemists were relatively rare in the federal government. When the local laboratories of the Bureau of Mines closed, Silvia moved to the Office of Pesticide Programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she remained until her death. At EPA, Silvia reviewed studies on the environmental transformation and transport of pesticides submitted by companies in support of pesticide registration. She was also heavily involved in making recommendations for improving guidelines for conducting such studies.

Silvia’s friends and coworkers were frequent recipients of her compassion, her thoughtfulness and her sense of humor. Life’s little and not-so-little problems were always blamed on “Murphy,” and she often referred to herself as “the termite” based on her family name. She did not miss the irony of her work at EPA and joked that she would never approve a termiticide. With broad interests in literature and film, especially relating to Cuban and Spanish authors, a skilled calligrapher and cook, Silvia was an especially accomplished needlework artist receiving many awards, including several from the prestigious Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition.

Silvia will be remembered for all of these things, but above all for her courage in coping with and overcoming considerable health problems. As a graduate student she was diagnosed with epilepsy and subsequently faced a barrage of unpleasant medications for this disease. She overcame two life-threatening bouts of cancer, and later developed type I diabetes and heart disease.

A memorial Mass, attended by many of her local Georgetown contemporaries and coworkers from EPA was held in the St. Ignatius Chapel of Holy Trinity Church on Halloween, a coincidence that Silvia would have appreciated.

Many thanks to Prof. Michael T. Pope for this contribution.

September 2010 – Dr. Leah B. Casabianca (Ph.D. ’09, de Dios) has been awarded twenty-four month Fulbright Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. She also received an NSF International Research Fellowship Award in the amount of $122,900 in support of her research activity there.

September 17, 2010 – The Department of Energy (DOE-BES) awarded Prof. YuYe Tong a three-year, $510,000 grant for his proposal “In Situ NMR/IR/Raman and ab initio DFT Investigations of Pt-Based Mono- and Bi-metallic Nanoscale Electrocatalysts: from Sulfur-Poisoning to Polymer Promoters to Surface Activity Indexes.”

September 16, 2010 – Prof. Timothy H. Warren received a three-year, $435,000 grant from the Catalysis program of the National Science Foundation’s Chemistry division for his proposal “Catalytic C-H Amination with Late Metal Nitrenes and Amides.”

September 1, 2010 – Prof. Jong-in Hahm received a new NIH R01 grant focusing on the study of zinc oxide nanorod-based early biomarker screening for acute kidney injury. This work is in collaboration with Dr. W. Brian Reeves (Department of Nephrology at Penn State Hershey Medical School). This is a five-year project and the awarded amount to Georgetown is $ $1,835,250.

September 1, 2010 – Prof. Miklos Kertesz was awarded a new NSF grant for this research on the “Electronic Structure of Organic Materials: Extremely Short Intermolecular Contacts.” The three-year grant will provide $244,971 for his research.

August 2010 – Lora Angelova, a third-year graduate student and member of the Weiss lab, has been awarded a Clare Booth Luce Fellowship for the 2010-2011 academic year.

August 2, 2010 – Mukund S. Chorghade (Ph.D. ’83, Hammer) currently at THINQ Pharma, MA, was elected to the 2010 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society.

August 1, 2010 – YuYe Tong was promoted to Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry.

May 2010 – Dean Timothy Barbari awarded the 2010 Harold N. Glassman Dissertation Award in the Sciences to Yosra Badiei (Ph.D. ’09, Warren) for her thesis, “Copper Carbenes and Nitrenes: Capture of Elusive Intermediates and the Development of Copper Catalyzed C-H Amination Reaction.”

May 6, 2010 – Georgetown broke ground May 5 for a $100 million, state-of-the-art science center.

"As we take Georgetown into its third century, we are laying the foundation for the future with this new building," President John J. DeGioia said at a ceremony attended by more than 100 members of the university community.  "It will be a place where faculty and students will make new scientific discoveries, engage in world-class research and learn."

Slated for completion in 2012, the five-story building will be a research and teaching center for the biology, chemistry and physics departments. Its teaching labs and other spaces have been designed to maximize collaboration and interdisciplinary research. The building will be designed to include"“green" features to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification.

The science center is supported in part by a $6.9 million award from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The federal stimulus funding was designed to create jobs for "shovel-ready" projects.

The NIST funding will establish the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology at the science center. Several Georgetown faculty members have expertise in soft matter research, which studies the biological properties of materials such as liquid crystals, colloids, polymers, foams and gels.

Physics professor and soft matter specialist Jeffrey Urbach said such research has practical applications for items made of soft matter, such as bulletproof vests. It "is inherently interdisciplinary, involving chemistry and physics, materials science, engineering and other fields," he said.

"Teaching and learning aren’t dependent on facilities, but surely research and learning will be enhanced by this new space," said Georgetown College Dean Chester Gillis before Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, blessed the site with holy water.

Many thanks to Geneva Collins for this item.

April 1, 2010 – Associate Professor Timothy H. Warren recently received new support from the National Science Foundation for his work that aims to unravel fundamental details of biological nitric oxide processing at copper ions.

His proposal “HNO, NO, and RSNO Formation and Reactivity at Non-Heme Sites” was awarded a three-year, $432,500 grant by the Chemistry of Life Processes program.

Nitric oxide (NO) is a small molecule intricately coupled to a myriad of physiological responses such as the opening of blood vessels to enhance blood flow as well as anti-clotting activity. Despite the established importance of NO and RSNOs in biochemical signaling pathways as well as growing interest in HNO as a cardiac drug, enzymatic pathways for the generation and interconversion of these molecules connected to the biology of nitric oxide are not clearly delineated. A synthetic modeling approach will allow for the detailed examination of transformations among these various NO-derivatives promoted by copper ions in nitrogen-rich coordination environments related to those found in biology. The straightforward synthesis of copper complexes explored in this work will allow students with very limited synthetic experience, or none at all, such as first year undergraduate (or even high school) students, to contribute to the project.

March 17, 2010 – Sarah Stoll, associate professor of chemistry, received a $197,547 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the acquisition of an X-ray powder diffractometer.

The equipment, which will be shared by chemistry and physics researchers, helps scholars and students characterize solid-state materials, especially nanostructured materials. (from Newsmakers)

January 8, 2010 – NIST awarded Georgetown University $6.9 million for the construction of the new Science Research Building.

(from NIST)

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded more than $123 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to support the construction of new scientific research facilities at 11 universities and one non-profit research organization. Georgetown University received $6.9 million for the construction of the new Science Research Building that will house The Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology.

The new Science Research Building will provide the necessary environmental controls for the sensitive measurement technologies needed for soft matter research. The new Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology will enable expansion of on-going soft matter research by scientists at Georgetown, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other regional institutions, and promote the development of precision instrumentation for soft matter synthesis and measurement and the training of future generations of researchers in soft matter science.

The project is expected to be completed by summer 2012.

January 4, 2010 – In its January 4, 2010 issue, Chemical & Engineering News recognized Catherine E. Costello, a Georgetown Chemistry Ph.D. alumna, as a 2010 American Chemical Society Award Winner for receiving the Frank H. Field & Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry.

According to C&E News, Costello, a professor of chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine, “has advanced the application of mass spectrometry to biomolecules, especially carbohydrates and glycoproteins [for nearly 40 years].”

At the Fall ACS national meeting, Costello will present the award address at the Division of Analyitical Chemistry.

In 1970, Costello received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgetown University under the mentorship of Prof. Charles F. Hammer. Her thesis is titled “Electrophilic brominations of poly-substituted olefins; reactions and NMR studies.”

2009

December 21, 2009 – In its December 21, 2009 issue, Chemical & Engineering News recognized recent discoveries in the laboratory of Steve Metallo, associate professor of chemistry, and collaborators as one of twelve “superlative achievements” in chemistry research for 2009.

In its News of the Week section of its June 1, 2009 issue, Chemical & Engineering News featured work ongoing in the Metallo lab on small molecule binding to intrinsically disordered proteins.

According to the editor’s in Chemical Year in Review 2009, “CE&N produces 51 issues each year containing several hundred articles about important research advances in Chemistry.”

The recognition in C&E News reads:

DISORDERLY PROTEINS TURN PREDICTABLE

Floppy, unstructured proteins, despite their lack of defined nooks and crannies, still contain regions that are prone to binding small molecules, researchers learned this year. The findings provide a potential general approach to predicting binding sites on disordered proteins and finding small-molecule drugs to target them. Intrinsically disordered proteins play fundamental roles in biology, such as in gene transcription and cell division, but researchers don’t have a straightforward way of pinpointing molecules that alter their activity.

Steven J. Metallo of Georgetown University, Edward V. Prochownik of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and coworkers outlined a way to do just that (C&EN, June 1, page 5; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 7390). The team studied a segment of a disordered transcription factor protein called c-Myc, which is implicated in multiple cancers. Prochownik’s group previously found seven structurally diverse c-Myc inhibitors. In the new study, the team found three hydrophobic peptide stretches on c-Myc that recognize those inhibitors. Their results explain the specificity of the inhibitors and suggest ways of finding more. Since the study came out, Metallo and coworkers have found that they can link two of the inhibitors together and gain three orders of magnitude in affinity for c-Myc, which remains disordered even in the tight complex.

December 18, 2009 – Prof. Toshiko Ichiye recently received funding in the amount of $1,497,729 from the NIH. Her four-year grant will support her research project, “Computer Simulations of Electron Transfer Proteins.”

December 16, 2009 – YuYe Tong, associate professor of chemistry, received a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “International Collaboration in Chemistry: Nanoscale Single Crystal Ensemble Electrocatalysis for Fuel Cell Applications."

Prof. Tong will collaborate with a counterpart in China to develop a new paradigm of research for studying nanoscale electrocatalysts. (from Blue & Gray)

October 28, 2009 – Christian Wolf, associate professor of chemistry, received a $375,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for “Designing Atropisomeric Sensors for Enantioselective Recognition of Chiral Compounds.”

Chemistry graduate and undergraduate students will assist Prof. Wolf with the research. (from Blue & Gray)

October 9, 2009 – In an October 2009 edition of Georgetown University’s Blue & Gray, Victoria Fosdal detailed the visit by and lecture of Richard Schrock, the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry and 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

Schrock was the guest of graduate students in the Department of Chemistry who selected him to serve as the Graduate Student Invited Lecturer for 2009.

In the same week the 2009 Nobel Prize winners were being announced, students, faculty and staff filled the Reiss Science Building auditorium October 8th to hear a lecture by 2005 Nobel Laureate Richard Schrock, whose work has advanced “green ch [Schrock with Ray A] emistry.”

Schrock, the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Yves Chauvin and Robert Grubbs, for his work in olefin metathesis, the breaking and new pairings of carbon double bonds. Chemists liken the process to a dance in which couples change partners. 

Chemists daily use metathesis, mainly to develop pharmaceuticals and advanced plastic materials. As the first person to develop a more efficient catalyst for metathesis process in 1990, Schrock created an environmentally friendly production method that reduces hazardous waste, according to the Nobel Prize committee. 

“You have to be lucky sometimes,” Schrock said of his accomplishments. “I've been lucky in my life.”

Schrock came to Georgetown as this year's chemistry Graduate Student Invited Lecturer. His lecture, “Thousands of Catalysts for Olefin Metathesis: Efficiency, Longevity and Asymmetry at the Metal,” focused on Schrock's continued work with metathesis. 

During the hour-long lecture, Schrock presented modifications to the basic chemical structure of the metathesis catalyst. The modifications accelerate reaction rates and increase control over the orientation of organic molecules as they are brought together, Schrock said.

“These brand new developments open important new avenues for the extremely valuable alkene metathesis reaction. They are certain to have major impact in the preparation of organic molecules with wide-ranging applications from shortening the synthesis of some pharmaceuticals to enabling new types of organic materials with designer properties,” said Georgetown chemistry professor Tim Warren, who received his doctoral training in Schrock's lab. 

In addition to hearing about new advances in the field, the chemistry seminar allows students to interact with experts in and out of the classroom, said Travis Hall, administrative assistant in the Department of Chemistry. 

“When the lecturer is on campus, graduate students spend a substantial portion of the day with the invited speaker, sharing their research with him or her,” he added. 

Ray Gephart (G'11), president of the Graduate Student Organization of Chemists, said Georgetown students from undergraduates to doctoral candidates learned a lot from Schrock's visit.

“Professor Schrock did a good job of teaching all of us about his chemistry in terms that most of the audience could understand, but not too basic that the more experienced chemists wouldn't get anything out of it,” Gephart said. “… His research has proven to be very useful to both the chemistry community as well as the world as a whole.”

August 1, 2009 – Professor Steven Metallo was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry.

May 26, 2009 – Dick Weiss was awarded a doctor honoris causa degree from the University of Bordeaux I.

Dick Weiss was awarded a doctor /honoris causa/ degree from the University of Bordeaux I by its President, Alain Boudou, on May 26, 2009 for his research in the areas of photochemistry and soft matter. The University of Bordeaux is the premiere science university in southwest France. Dick presented his acceptance speech in French (or in a language that _he_ considers French). He had spent 3 months of his first sabbatical there in 1981 with his wife and 3 children. It was a very special occasion for several reasons beyond the degree. Dick was able to meet old friends, especially his hosts during the sabbatical, Profs. Henri Bouas-Laurent and Jean-Pierre Desvergne, and his long time colleague, Dr. Pierre Terech of the CNRS-Atomic Energy Center in Grenoble. After the ceremony, he and his wife, Jeanne, were treated to a special visit to Chateau Misson Haut-Brion and Chateau Haut-Brion…that included tasting their wonderful wines. A mini-symposium, “Auto-Assemblages Moleculaires et Organogels”, was organized as part of the conferral of the award. Dick presented the first lecture, “ Serendipity in Soft Matter Science. Simple Chemistry Yields Complex Materials.” He spent quite a bit of time discussing research with professors in two institutes at the University as well before leaving Bordeaux.

April 6, 2009 – In its April 2009 edition, Georgetown University’s Blue & Gray featured a profile of Prof. Paul Roepe that describes his background, details the research being conducted in his lab, discusses his service to the university, and relates his influence in the classroom.

The Battle Against Drug Resistance
Paul Roepe’s Interdisciplinary Approach to Science Bridges Fields to Educate Young Minds

As a child, Paul Roepe’s interest in science blossomed from visits to his grandfather's small glass factory in Lyndhurst, N.J. He became fascinated with the complicated hand-blown glassware he saw and the stories he heard from his grandfather and glassblowers about how the combinations of the tubes and beakers were used by chemists at research and pharmaceutical companies. Those stories sparked his interest in the sciences and eventually led him into a world of research combining biology and chemistry.

Today, the professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology takes an interdisciplinary approach to his own malarial drug-resistance work. He says it's an approach he learned early on and one he tries to instill in his students.

"When people ask me why am I so passionate about undergraduate exposure in my lab, (I tell them it's) because I feel I owe people," says Roepe, who also serves as chair of the chemistry department and co-director of the Center for Infectious Disease at Georgetown. "I had that experience at a very young age, and that's the kind of thing that really, I think, gets people off to a good start."

Roepe has had a number of disparate experiences that have led to his current research, one of which came during his undergraduate study at Boston University. Looking to make extra money in college, the chemistry major took a job as a bottle washer in a research lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. He found his interest in research growing as he worked in the lab, and he quickly progressed to more complicated tasks on the job. He conducted biopsies on rat kidneys and helped make monoclonal antibodies, which are identical antibodies produced by one type of immune cell.

After completing his undergraduate degree, he continued his academic path at Boston University by garnering a master's and doctorate in chemistry. His post-doctoral studies at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology focused on bacterial membrane transport proteins that assist in the movement of substances across a biological membrane.

Just before Roepe began his postdoctoral work in 1986, researchers identified the multidrug resistant (MDR) gene that makes tumors drug resistant. It was one of a few hundred genes in the human genome that had been identified at the time -- there are now thousands.

“There were only maybe five or six labs in the country doing the sorts of things I was doing as a postdoc, and literally, all (of us) became experts in drug resistance because (we) played with the molecules that were the closest relatives to this newly isolated MDR protein,” explains Roepe.

Before his postdoctoral work, Roepe didn't know much about drug resistance, but he knew how to play with the molecules.

“I knew how to manipulate the membrane protein, to mutate it, to purify it, to put it back into an artificial membrane so that I could study it biochemically,” he says.

After completing his postdoctoral work, he went on to become an assistant member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in molecular pharmacology and therapeutics while also serving as assistant professor of pharmacology at Cornell University.

Roepe moved his lab to Georgetown in 1997 and his research then shifted dramatically from mostly tumor drug resistance to mostly microbial. The switch occurred as funding for malaria-related drug resistance has increased over the last decade.

Malaria at the Lab

Roepe's lab at Georgetown is filled with postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students, and his malaria research projects fit into four areas: genetics, imaging, drug development and fitness. Over the past 15 years, he has received more than $10 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

The professor's expertise in biochemistry helped identify the chloroquine resistance transporter gene in Plasmodium falciparum, which is the species of malaria that most often kills.

He also helped develop the first inexpensive “high throughput” assay for screening antimalarial drug potency. The chemical testing is able to rapidly measure whether a new formula for antimalarial drugs will work. His discovery is now used by most malaria labs around the world and has been adopted by the U.S. military as their standard assay.

Roepe knows malaria isn't an epidemic in the United States and that he could be involved in other types of research, but he believes he's able to impact the most lives through his current research. Nearly 300 million to 500 million people are infected with malaria each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Nearly two million people, mostly children, die each year from this disease,” he says. “And there aren't enough people standing up for the research funding needed to fight it.”

The Collaborative Colleague

In addition to his work in the lab, Roepe commits a great deal of his time building bridges between departments and campuses. The chemistry department chair has collaborated with the physics and biology departments on Main Campus. By nature of his role as faculty in the School of Medicine's biochemistry and molecular biology
and the tumor biology program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, he is able to pull forces together between the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and Main Campus.

“He is a creative and original thinker who has interesting ideas on almost every subject,” says physics professor Jeff Urbach. “He's also a genuinely interdisciplinary scientist. He understands how to bring physics, chemistry and biology together to tackle the most challenging problems.”

In 2005, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Roepe a five-year $1.1 million grant for his project, “The Physiology of Drug-Resistant Malaria.” He and Urbach are collaborating on new ways of imaging live malarial parasites within red blood cells. Their research has led to pioneering improvements to confocal microscopy. By using the high-tech microscope, Roepe's lab is able to rapidly image cells in four dimensions or three dimensions over time. The technology is now used in laboratories across the globe.

His energy and expertise is often noted by others. Biology professor Steven Singer says Roepe's passion for science is endless.

“In almost any meeting you have with Paul he works himself into a lather because he will never sit on his hands and keep it to himself.” Singer and Roepe co-direct Georgetown's Center for Infectious Disease with Richard Calderone, professor and chair of the department of microbiology and immunology at GUMC.

A Dedicated and Demanding Teacher

Urbach says Roepe's own intensity is infectious, and it spills over into the classroom.

“He cares deeply about science, but also about the people who are learning and doing science. When I sat in on his advanced biochemistry class, I watched him regularly challenge students individually to engage with the material,” he says. “At first I think they were terrified, but they learned to stay on their toes and keep up, and quickly understood that Paul was actually on their side.”

Former biochemistry student, Kateri DuBay (C'02) agrees. She recalls writing a paper that summarized the latest knowledge in an area of biochemistry of her choice. “A very challenging assignment for undergrads,” she says. “But it was really an accomplishment to struggle through the difficult language of the research papers and finally come up with a good synthesis of the research.”

DuBay received her master's in philosophy from Cambridge University in 2003 and is now doing her doctoral research in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. “In the lab, Dr. Roepe was tireless, animated, and always driven and excited to figure out something new about malaria or cancer,” she says. “I always came out of a science discussion with him feeling as if my head were spinning with all the new possibilities I needed to consider.”

Benjamin Vaccaro (C'06), now studying at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, says Roepe's undergraduate biochemistry class helped equip him for medical school.

“Although demanding at times, I can honestly say that working with Dr. Roepe and my graduate student mentors prepared me more for medical school than any other class or extracurricular (activity) at Georgetown,” he says.

Roepe credits his graduate students for often taking undergraduates like DuBay and Vaccaro under their wings, giving them additional exposure to undergraduate research. He also continues to tell his students about the importance of approaching the sciences in a holistic manner.

“You can't approach science as a chemist or a biologist or a physicist,” he says. “You have to approach science as a scientist, and you have to think about problems. Don't think about approaches or techniques; think about problems.”

March 2, 2009 – In its March 2009 edition, Chemistry World featured Prof. YuYe Tong in a piece about cutting-edge developments in the study of nanocrystals for catalysis.

Prof. Tong evaluated two discoveries in synthetic techniques used for metallic nanocrystal catalysis research. The text of the article may be found on the publication’s website.

February 14, 2009 – Congratulations to Dr. Mukund Chorghade (Ph.D. ’82, Hammer), who was recently elected a Fellow of the Section on Chemistry of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was recognized at the Fellows Forum of the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Dr. Chorghade, the Director of Chemical Process Research and Development at CytoMed, Inc. and the President of CP Consulting, Inc., was one of 486 members elected as Fellows. According to the AAAS, “[e]lection as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.”

February 5, 2009 – Prof. Paul Roepe appeared on National Public Radio’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” to discuss Charles Darwin’s impact on current, cutting-edge research.

In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the first publication of On the Origin of Species, Prof. Roepe joined a panel discussion titled “Darwin’s birthday: The evolution of Evolution.”

Audio of the segment may be found in two formats:

2008

December 15, 2008 – Hydrocarbons activate! Research in catalytic C-H functionalization by chemistry graduate student Yosra Badiei and NSF-REU summer student Robert Palomino from Prof. Warren’s laboratory is recognized by the editors of Angewandte Chemie International Edition in a “Hot Paper.

December 12, 2008 – A bisoxazolidine catalyst invention created in the laboratory of Prof. Christian Wolf will become commercially available at Strem.

November 24, 2008 – A published article by Prof. Christian Wolf and two of his graduate students, Hanhui Xu and Kekeli Ekoue-Kovi, was reprinted in SYNFACTS for its important insights.

August 1, 2008 – Professors Travis Holman and Sarah Stoll were promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry.

June 30, 2008 – Prof. Christian Wolf and his Ph.D. student Shuanglong Liu recently developed a new class of very useful asymmetric catalysts having a unique bisoxazolidine structure. One of their recently published articles, “Nitroaldol reaction catalyzed by a bisoxazolidine ligand” (Organic Letters 2008, 10, 1831) was selected by the Editorial Board of SYNFACTS for its important insights and has been reprinted there. The aim of SYNFACTS is to inform, on a monthly basis and in a concise manner, of the most significant recent developments and future trends in synthetic chemistry.

June 21, 2008 – Professors of Chemistry YuYe Tong, Tim Warren, Dick Weiss, Christian Wolf, and David Yang traveled with faculty from Georgetown’s Department of Physics to Shanghai for a science symposium organized between Georgetown and Fudan Universities.

June 4, 2008 – Two members of the Swift group, graduate students Ilana Goldberg and Clare Yannette, won awards at the 2008 American Crystallographic Association Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee.

May 19, 2008 – The May 2008 issue of Chemistry World, a monthly publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, featured Professor YuYe Tong in a discussion of the uses of NMR spectroscopy.

May 16, 2008 – Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences awarded the 2008 Glassman Award in the Sciences to Jingsong Huang (Ph.D. ’06, Kertesz).

April 22, 2008 – The Georgetown Chapter of Sigma Xi, an international science and engineering honor society, inducted nine new associate members of the Department’s Class of 2008.

April 21, 2008 – Ground is scheduled to break on Georgetown’s new Science Center following the Spring 2008 semester with a targeted completion date before the 2010-2011 academic year. The new Science Center—with its environmentally-friendly design promoting energy, water, and space efficiencies—will house the Department of Chemistry.

March 17, 2008 – Georgetown College profiles Professor Christian Wolf and his research of chiral compounds in its ninth installment of Research News: Science.
February 20, 2008 – Georgetown College’s eighth installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor Bahram Moasser and his research on catalysis and biomarkers

January 16, 2008 – Georgetown College’s seventh installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor Sarah Stoll and her research on magnetic clusters and nanoparticles.

January 3, 2008 – Professor Christian Wolf authored a textbook on stereochemistry entitled, Dynamic Stereochemistry of Chiral Compounds: Principles and Applications Edition.

2007

December 13, 2007 – Professors Jennifer Swift and Richard Weiss were awarded federal research grants totaling $961,244.

December 1, 2007 – Georgetown College’s sixth installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor Jennifer A. Swift and her research regarding crystal growth.

November 6, 2007 – Two Chemistry Department alumni, Chi Van Dang (Ph.D. ’78, Yang) and Stephen C. Kowalczykowski (Ph.D. ’76, Steinhardt) recently were elected to the National Academy of Science.

October 3, 2007 - Georgetown College’s fifth installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor K. Travis Holman and his research involving container molecules

August 3, 2007 – The Summer 2007 NSF-REU program at Georgetown concluded with each of the nine participants presenting their research findings in a poster session.

July 17, 2007 – Three Chemistry Department faculty—Professors Miklos Kertesz, YuYe Tong, and Timothy Warren—were awarded federal research grants totaling $1,170,000 for the next three years.

May 29, 2007 – (From Blue & Gray) With conceptual designs for the new science facility complete, the university's board of directors in May approved funding for the next phase of design development. Building construction could begin as soon as spring 2008 with a projected opening in 2010.

May 10, 2007 – KKarina Vivar (C’07) is named one of twenty Georgetown University undergraduate students to be honored with the Lena Landegger Community Service Award.

April 26, 2007 – Georgetown College’s third installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor YuYe Tong and his research involving metal nanoparticles.

February 28, 2007 – Georgetown College’s second installment of Research News: Science profiles Professor Toshiko Ichiye and her computational chemistry research.

February 8, 2007 – The Chemical Society of Washington awarded Caitlyn Faller (C’07) and Paul J. Lukac (C’07) with the College Chemistry Achievement Award.

February 5, 2007 – (From Blue & Gray) With design plans for a new science building underway and the creation of an online magazine, Georgetown College is raising the visibility of science education and research on the Hilltop.

January 1, 2007 – The international inorganic chemistry journal Inorganica Chimica Acta recognized Professor Tim Warren in its special 40 th anniversary edition “Inorganic Chemistry – The Next Generation.”

2006

November 26, 2006 – Georgetown College presents its inaugural installment of Research News: Science with a series of articles about Professor Paul Roepe, students in his lab, and his malaria research.

November 16, 2006 – Dr. Norman V. Duffy, a Georgetown Chemistry alumnus and Professor of Chemistry at Wheeling Jesuit University, was named the U.S. Professor of the Year for West Virginia.

August 16, 2006 – Georgetown University hosted the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard Inorganic Symposium (MASIS), bringing together the region’s research groups working on aspects of synthetic inorganic chemistry

August 1, 2006 – An article by Dr. Mathew George and Prof. Richard G. Weiss (“Molecular Organogels. Soft Matter Comprised of Low-Molecular-Mass Organic Gelators and Organic Liquids” Acc. Chem. Res. 2006, 39(8) 489-497) has been chosen as cover art for Accounts of Chemical Research.

August 1, 2006 – Bahram Moasser joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor.

August 1, 2006 – Professors Paul Roepe, YuYe Tong, and Christian Wolf were promoted. Roepe was promoted to full professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Tong and Wolf were promoted to the rank of association professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry.

May 19, 2006 – Professor Emeritus Michael T. Pope receives the 2006 Career Research Achievement Award.

April 28, 2006 – Jingsong Huang was awarded the 2005 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.

April 1, 2006 – Prof. Toshiko Ichiye has been awarded two grants: a four-year, $1,056,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health and a four-year, $639,712 grant from the National Science Foundation.

March 1, 2006 – Rhia M. Martin (C’07) was awarded the UNCF-Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Award.

February 9, 2006 – The Chemical Society of Washington awarded Megan Carroll (C’06) and Morgan L. Deacon (C’06) with the College Chemistry Achievement Award.

2005

November 16, 2005 – Georgetown University awarded Jennifer Swift the College Dean Award for Excellence in Teaching.

For immediate release
November 16, 2005
Contact: Emilie Moghadam
202-687-4328
em284@georgetown.edu

Georgetown Recognizes Outstanding Faculty

Washington, D.C. – Georgetown University awarded professors Norman J. Finkel, Nicoletta Pireddu and Jennifer Swift the College Dean Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the 2005-2006 College Faculty Convocation on November 14, 2005.  The annual award recognizes as many as three professors teaching courses in the undergraduate college for their continuous contributions to undergraduate education.   

"Norm Finkel, Nicoletta Pireddu and Jen Swift represent a Georgetown education at its finest,” said Jane McAuliffe, dean of Georgetown College.  “Each day they challenge their students to use their intellectual gifts more deeply and broadly, to approach problems thoughtfully and creatively, and to connect the classroom to the world in which we live.  I am delighted to recognize these colleagues on behalf of their peers in the College faculty." 

Each academic department and program in the undergraduate college may nominate one faculty member for the College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.  Winners, who are selected by their peers and endorsed by the dean of Georgetown College, receive an honorarium, a citation and an engraved gold-plated medal.  All professors teaching undergraduate courses are eligible to receive the award, as it is not exclusive to members of Georgetown College faculty.  

The 2005-2006 Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients:  

Norman J. Finkel, professor of psychology  

Finkel specializes in clinical psychology, public policy and the law.  He has a particular interest in what he calls “commonsense justice and fairness,” a look at ordinary citizens’ views on justice, fairness and the law.  Finkel’s bibliography includes Insanity on Trial (Plenum, 1988), Commonsense Justice: Jurors' Notions of the Law (Harvard University Press, 1995) and Not Fair!: The Typology of Commonsense Unfairness (American Psychology Association, 2001).  

“For 35 years, with dedication, skill, and, in the words of one colleague, ‘breathtaking flair,’ he has challenged himself and thousands of Georgetown students to deepen their thinking,” read Deborah Phillips, Chair of the Psychology Department, from Finkel’s award citation.  “Norman J. Finkel has said that he sets himself impossible goals in the classroom, to ‘hit a home run every time’ by inspiring each student ‘to reach beyond those limitations they construct for themselves.’ …  An internationally-celebrated scholar, an awe-inspiring teacher and mentor, and a delightful colleague and friend, Norman J. Finkel exemplifies the ideals of Georgetown education.”  

Nicoletta Pireddu, associate professor of Italian and director of the Comparative Literature Program  

Pireddu came to Georgetown in 1998 as an expert in European literary relations, with a particular focus on late 19th and 20th century Italian, French and British literature, as well as literary theory.  The seminars she has created at Georgetown in Italian and Comparative Literature have allowed her students to explore such topics as myth, primitivism and the question of cultural exchanges; the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde in literature and the arts; authorship; and realism and the fantastic among others.  

“Three principles inspire [Pireddu’s] teaching: dialogue, encouragement, and the importance of approaching the learning process with curiosity and passion,” read Sara Hager, Italian Department Chair, from Pireddu’s citation.  “Nicoletta Pireddu has made these principles come to life in all her teaching of Italian. Repeatedly students remark how her dedication to their learning, her leadership of challenging classroom discussions, and her unbounded enthusiasm for her subject have deepened in them their love for Italian language, literature, and culture.  As one student said: ‘Her extraordinary generosity as a teacher manifested itself not only through her unusual availability to students outside of class and her page-long evaluations of their papers but above all through the intellectual gifts and constant energy she brought to each and every class. … [she] elicited the most dynamic class discussions and inventive student presentations I can recall from my four years at Georgetown.”  

Jennifer Swift, associate professor of chemistry  

Swift studies the processes by which molecular crystals grow, with applications to both human health and materials science. The interdisciplinary nature of her work allows the students in her lab to gain experience in several areas of chemistry among them x-ray crystallography, atomic force microscopy, organic synthesis and computational modeling.  She currently teaches Organic Chemistry Lecture I, Organic Chemistry Lab I & II and Solid State Organic Chemistry.  

“As an innovative teacher who fosters discovery-based learning Jennifer Swift uses her field of chemistry as a conduit for the broad learning and intellectual growth that are the hallmark of a liberal education,” read Richard Bates, Chemistry Department Chair, from Swift’s award citation.  “She has re-imagined the challenging Organic Chemistry course by offering students a wide array of learning opportunities, such as laboratory exercises presented in conceptually linked, problem-based modules, detailed course web pages and clear lectures. More than simply teaching the fundamentals, Professor Swift hopes that students will appreciate chemistry’s broader relevance in the natural and physical sciences.”

August 28-September 1, 2005 – Washington D.C. served as host to the 230 th National Meeting of the American Chemistry Society. At the ACS conference, Georgetown’s Department of Chemistry was represented well with several faculty, nearly 30 graduate students, and three undergraduate researchers presenting talks or posters.

August 1, 2005 – Effective August 1, 2005, Jennifer Swift and Timothy Warren are officially promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure.

July 21, 2005 – Jennifer L. Small (C’06) selected as Clare Boothe Luce Scholar.

A Biochemistry major and undergraduate researcher in the lab of Prof. Steven J. Metallo, Jennifer L. Small (C’06) was selected as a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar for the 2005-2006 academic year.

According to the Luce Foundation, in bequeathing the establishment of this program, Clare Boothe Luce “sought ‘to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach’ in the sciences (including mathematics) and engineering.”

Jennifer joins other chemistry students who have benefited from the Clare Boothe Luce Program including Christina Capacci, Leah Casabianca, and Marie Melzer.

June 1, 2005 – Jennifer Swift is launching a war on crystals that cause gallstones or kidney stones, hoping to slow down their growth and understand what makes them tick.

April 20, 2005 – Jennifer L. Small (C ’06), a biochemistry major, was named a Goldwater Scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

For immediate release
April 20, 2005
Contact: Emilie Moghadam
202-687-4328
em284@georgetown.edu

Georgetown Students Named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars

Washington, D.C. – Georgetown University students Natalie M. Pica (COL ‘06) and Jennifer L. Small (COL ‘06) were recently awarded scholarships from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation for the 2005-2006 academic year.  The one-year scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.  

“We are so pleased to have the academic efforts of our students recognized and rewarded by this prestigious foundation,” said Jane McAuliffe, Dean of Georgetown College.  “Natalie and Jennifer are certainly deserving of such an honor and I wish them continued success in their respective fields.”  

Natalie M. Pica is a biology major with a minor in women’s studies.  In addition to her academic work, Pica is a member of the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS), a professional, nonprofit, volunteer ambulance service run entirely by undergraduate students.  Pica is also a member of the university’s biology club and the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (GUROP), which offers students the opportunity to experience scholarly research by working with faculty members on their latest research projects.  She has engaged in additional research opportunities at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  Pica hopes to continue her research, which focuses primarily on the molecular profiles of various cancers, throughout her final year at Georgetown and beyond as she plans to pursue an M.D. and/or Ph.D.  She is a graduate of Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York City.  

As an undergraduate at Georgetown, Jennifer L. Small balances her time between biochemistry coursework and the varsity women’s heavyweight crew team.  She also dedicates much of her time to pursuing various research opportunities, most recently during the academic year at Georgetown and over the summer at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.  Her area of concentration ranges from working to improve genetic testing techniques to developing a more sensitive test for the diagnosis of Invasive Aspergillosis, an often fatal respiratory fungal infection that poses a serious threat to individuals with weakened immune systems.  Small hopes to continue her research experience with the Goldwater scholarship and plans to pursue a joint M.D. and Ph.D. with a Ph.D. in biochemistry.  She is a graduate of The Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York.

Pica and Small are among the 320 scholarship recipients selected for the 2005-2006 academic year.  Both were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,091 undergraduate sophomores and juniors pursuing degrees in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.  Like their peers, both were nominated for consideration by faculty members from their university.  

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986.  The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.  The Goldwater Scholarship is the premiere undergraduate award of its type in these fields.  In its seventeen-year history, the Foundation has awarded 4,562 scholarships worth approximately forty-five million dollars.  Georgetown University students and alumni make up 27 of the total scholarship recipients.

April 19, 2005 – The Graduate Student Organization of Chemists hosted Prof. Sam Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science, Chemistry, and Medicine and Director of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University, as the inaugural Graduate Student Invited Lecturer. Prof. Stupp’s talk, “Form and Function of Supramolecular Nanostructures,” was enjoyed enthusiastically by all in attendance.

April 7, 2005 – Chemistry Professors Angel de Dios, Paul D. Roepe, and Christian Wolf receive NIH-NIAID research grant for their interdisciplinary efforts in developing improved drugs to treat drug resistant malaria.

For immediate release
April 7, 2005
Contact: Emilie Moghadam
202-687-4328
em284@georgetown.edu

Chemistry Professors Receive Grant to Extend Malaria Research

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded Georgetown University chemistry professors Christian Wolf, Paul Roepe and Angel de Dios a research grant totaling $1,940,000 for their interdisciplinary efforts in developing improved drugs to treat drug resistant malaria.

“I would like to congratulate Professors Wolf, Roepe and de Dios on this remarkable accomplishment,” said Jane McAuliffe, Dean of Georgetown College.  “It reflects both the university’s strengths in sciences and, perhaps most significantly, the impact that our program can and will have with regard to global health issues.”

Over the past three years, Wolf, Roepe and de Dios have successfully combined their expertise in biochemistry, synthetic chemistry and physical chemistry, respectively, to assemble the award-winning proposal, “Designing HTA Therapy for Drug Resistant Malaria.”  The professors began this joint venture – the first of its kind at Georgetown – after a collaborative research project among their research labs.  

The proposal demonstrates the need for malaria treatments that will replace or build on the success of chloroquine, which has been the mainstay drug treatment for the disease over the past 50 years.  Recent rapid growth in chloroquine-resistant malaria has been the driving force for this research.  

“What few people realize is that malaria kills about two million children each year – which is more pediatric deaths than those caused by AIDS,” Roepe said.  “Unfortunately, these numbers don’t get much attention, because the disease really doesn’t affect the Western world.”  

American drug companies hesitate to put significant funding into malaria research because the demand for resistant drugs is almost nonexistent in the Western hemisphere where these companies are based.  As a result, the responsibility for developing new treatments lies in the hands of academics like Wolf, Roepe and de Dios as well as military personnel to develop the tools to combat this deadly disease.  

The Research Project Grant (R01), which is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by the NIH, traditionally provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH.   This particular grant will be disbursed over five years.  The first two years will focus on solving the structures of pre-existing drug target complexes in order to better understand how these drugs work, as well as expanding the team’s synthetic chemistry efforts.  The remaining years will be spent further developing news drugs or drug combinations and screening them for effectiveness.  

“I’d like to see these interdisciplinary efforts in the sciences at Georgetown grow,” Roepe said.  “Without them, this type of scientific development is impossible.”

March 15, 2005 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected Sarah L. Stoll as a 2005 recipient of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award.

For immediate release
March 15, 2005
Contact: Emilie Moghadam
202-687-4328
em284@georgetown.edu

Chemistry Professor Named CAREER Award Recipient

Washington, D.C. -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected Georgetown University assistant professor of chemistry Sarah L. Stoll as a 2005 recipient of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award.  Stoll is one of five current junior faculty members from the University’s Chemistry Department to have received this award.   

"We are very proud of Professor Stoll's achievement and the national prestige that it brings to the department of chemistry," said Jane McAuliffe, dean of Georgetown College. "This honor is yet another indication of the high caliber of the faculty of which this program may justly boast."  

The CAREER program is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards for new faculty members.  Through these grants, it recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of teachers-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.  

"In the chemistry community, the CAREER award is a mark of promise and a sign of support by peers in the field,” Stoll said.  

Stoll’s selection was made on the basis of her creative plans for career-development that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the University’s mission. For consideration by NSF, Stoll submitted a 15-page proposal detailing her plans for career-development titled, “Lanthanide Chalcogenide Based Nanoparticles.”

Stoll’s research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of magnetic semiconductors. Through NSF funding, she hopes to develop her research, mentor graduate students and provide research opportunities for undergraduates.  In addition, Stoll plans to offer high school students in the Washington, D.C. area laboratory experiences through the American Chemical Society's Project SEED, a project designed to encourage economically disadvantaged high school students to pursue careers in the chemical sciences.  The $525,000 grant will make possible these and various other research projects Stoll has proposed over the next five years. 

"The [CAREER] award really makes a huge difference in what you can do research-wise," Stoll said.  "It provides you with the money necessary to actually do the research, support students, obtain necessary materials, attend conferences and travel."

January 26, 2005 – Angel C. de Dios was honored during the College Faculty Convocation with the annual Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

For immediate release
January 26, 2005
Contact: Laura Cavender
202-687-4328
lsc6@georgetown.edu

Georgetown Faculty Receive Dean's Teaching Awards
Faculty awards given at the Georgetown College Faculty Convocation

Washington, DC -- Georgetown University has awarded three professors with the College Dean's Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Jane McAuliffe, Dean of Georgetown College, recognized Carol Ann Benedict, Associate Professor of History, Leona Fisher, Associate Professor of English, and Angel C. de Dios, Associate Professor of Chemistry, as part of the College Faculty Convocation on January 24.

"These awards are an opportunity for us to honor our very best colleagues for doing what they do so well," said McAuliffe. "We honor these professors for their commitment to the mission of the University, and most of all, for their commitment to the students they teach."

This year's winners are:
Carol Ann Benedict, Associate Professor of History
In addition to teaching in the History department, Professor Benedict is a core faculty member in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. She is an expert in China and its history and teaches courses on East Asia, society and culture in China, and global perspectives on international history. She is the author of several articles on the history of China and studies tobacco consumption and other health issues in China from a historical perspective. Her research studies the shift from the study of infectious diseases that characterized morbidity in China prior to the twentieth century to analysis of cultural habits that impact morbidity and mortality in contemporary China. Her current project  is a look at the social and cultural history of tobacco consumption in China from its introduction in the mid-sixteenth century to the present—seeks most fundamentally to analyze the deep and enduring reasons behind China’s current smoking epidemic.

From her award citation: "For a decade, her teaching has been innovative in conception and outstanding in execution. ... [She] has taught to acclaim at all levels of the curriculum: from General Education courses, to Asian History surveys, to advanced colloquia for undergraduates, to seminars for doctoral students. In each case her goal is to provide students with a deep appreciation for cultural difference while recognizing fundamental human values that transcend cultural boundaries, to challenge their underlying categories of analysis, and to encourage them to think in a comparative, cross-cultural, and transnational way."

Angel C. de Dios, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Professor de Dios teaches General Chemistry I & II, Physical Chemistry I & II, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. His research interests are Physical and Biophysical Chemistry.

From his award citation: With the gift to engage students of all abilities and interests, challenging them with very high standards, Angel C. de Dios has influenced hundreds of students through his exemplary teaching at all levels of the curriculum. In particular, in his General Chemistry course he dispels fears of chemistry through a pedagogy that can even include guitar playing and singing but, most importantly, transforms the subject matter, incites interest, and encourages students’ own commitment of energy and creativity to their study of the sciences."

Leona Fisher, Associate Professor of English
Professor Fisher is an expert in children's literature; women writers of the 19th century; Victorian nonfiction, fiction and poetry; feminist theory; narratology; women’s studies; Latin American fiction (19th & 20th c.); children's literature and culture; narrative theory; Victorian theatre. She is the recipient of numerous grants, honors and awards, including CASE Professor of the Year, Georgetown's Bunn Award for Faculty Excellence, and four Georgetown summer research grants.

From her award citation: "Reason and passion are the guiding forces of her 31 years of teaching at Georgetown University. ... Teaching for Professor Fisher is communal and collaborative, and has the goal of liberating the student for intellectual and critical independence from the teacher.  ... Her expansive view of teaching has included instruction, curriculum development, mentoring of students and fellow faculty, and the scholarship of teaching and learning."

The College Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded annually to as many as three professors who teach courses in the undergraduate college. Each academic department and program in Georgetown's undergraduate college may nominate one member of its faculty for this award, which is designed to honor excellence in the teaching of undergraduates. Winners, who are selected by their peers and endorsed by the dean of Georgetown College, receive an honorarium, a citation and an engraved gold-plated medal. All those teaching undergraduate courses are eligible, whether or not they are members of the ordinary faculty.

January 12, 2005 – Jennifer Swift has received the 2005 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award. The annual award recognizes scientists who have made outstanding achievements and shown great potential at early stages of their careers.

For immediate release
January 12, 2005
Contact: Liz McDonald
202-687-4328
eem6@georgetown.edu

Georgetown Chemistry Professor Honored with Early Career Achievement Award

The American Crystallographic Association (ACA) recently selected Georgetown University assistant professor of chemistry Jennifer A. Swift as the recipient of the 2005 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award. The annual award recognizes scientists who have made outstanding achievements and shown great potential in crystallographic research at early stages of their careers.

"Prof. Swift's many accomplishments in her field are impressive," said Jane McAuliffe, dean of Georgetown College. "The research she does here at Georgetown is innovative and important, and her achievement is well-deserved."

A member of Georgetown's faculty since 1999, Swift's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which molecular crystals nucleate and grow. Her projects are interdisciplinary, allowing her student research groups to acquire experience in several different areas of chemistry, including x-ray crystallography, atomic force microscopy, organic synthesis and computational modeling.

Swift is the Clare Boothe Luce assistant professor of chemistry at Georgetown. She teaches courses in organic chemistry and solid-state organic chemistry. Prior to joining the faculty, Swift was a chemistry graduate student at Yale University and a postdoctoral associate in the department of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota. She receives additional support for her work from the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Established in 2002, the award honors the memory of Margaret C. Etter, who was a major contributor to the field of organic solid-state chemistry. Nominees for the award must be no more than 10 years beyond the awarding of their PhD degree and must have begun their first independent position within the past six years.

Swift will receive the award and deliver a lecture on "The Growth and Dissolution of Cholesterol Crystals" at the annual ACA meeting in Orlando, Fla. in May 2005.