Chemistry and Biochemistry News
Archive - 2013


Research Electronics Support Facility joins Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Research Electronics Support Facility (RESF) will report to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry effective January 1, 2014. Larry “Autry” May will be the Director of RESF, which will retain its mission of service to the Auburn University campus.


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Ortiz and Auburn Graduate Students Attend Annual Meeting NOBCChE

Dr. Vincent Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and five Auburn University graduate students attended the 40th Annual National Meeting of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) in Indianapolis on October 1-6, 2013. The students, Symon Gathiaka, PaviElle Lockhart, Olive Njuma and Selamawit Ghebreamlak from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Zenda Davis from the Department of Chemical Engineering, participated in technical symposia, professional workshops and recruited prospective graduate and undergraduate students. NOBCChE initiates and supports local, regional, national and global programs that assist people of color in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields and encourages college students to pursue graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Auburn University and NOBCChE currently have a Technology Education Partnership that promotes access to opportunities in research and education.


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NSF Grant for Ellis

Associate Professor Holly Ellis has received a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation for her proposal, “Defining the Mechanistic Strategies of Defulfonation in the Alkanesulfonate Monooxygenase System”.


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Disease Detection in the Palm of Your Hand

Two Auburn University professors have developed a disease-detection technology that could be the beginning of handheld, point-of-care devices – a breakthrough that would let health care professionals, first responders and even individuals quickly do blood tests for a variety of illnesses and conditions. Associate Professor Christopher J. Easley and Professor Curtis Shannon, both in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, led the research team that published its results in the March 27 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


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Easley and Simonian win NSF grant

Associate Professor Christopher Easley and Alumni Professor Alex Simonian of Mechanical Engineering have received funding from the National Science Foundation for their collaborative project entitled “Development of multi-parametric/multimodal spectroscopy apparatus for characterization of functional interfaces.”


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Knowles Professorship for Christopher Easley

Associate Professor Christopher Easley has been selected as the first C. Harry Knowles Professor for Leadership in Research or Outreach to Enhance Science Teaching and Learning in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The five-year term of this appointment begins on August 16, 2013.


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ACS Award for Ryan Hasemeier

Ryan Hasemeier, recipient of the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Dean’s Medalist for Chemistry and Biochemistry for the 2012-2013 academic year, has won the Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society. He worked with Associate Professor Holly Ellis on the iron coordination center of the enzyme cysteine dioxygenase and was nominated for this ACS award by Professor David Stanbury and Associate Professor Christian Goldsmith. In the fall semester, he will begin graduate study in chemical biology at Johns Hopkins University.


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Lilly-Lovelace Award for Stephen Swann

Stephen Swann, Laboratory Manager for General Chemistry, has been selected to receive the 2013 Lilly-Lovelace Distinguished Service Award in recognition of 17 years of exceptional service to Auburn University.


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Distinguished Dissertation Award for Elizabeth Ndontsa

Dr. Elizabeth Ndontsa has received one of the three 2013 Auburn University Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Awards in Biological/Life Sciences. Dr. Ndontsa was a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Goodwin.


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Research by Professors Easley and Shannon highlighted by NSF

Research performed in the laboratories of Dr. Christopher Easley and Dr. Curtis Shannon on Innovative techniques for measuring hormones and other proteins in complex fluids such as blood were featured on a web page published by the National Science Foundation.


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SETCA 2013 at Auburn

More than 80 scientists attended the 2013 meeting of the Southeast Theoretical Chemistry Association at Auburn University on May 9-11, 2013. This meeting was organized by faculty and graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and was sponsored by Gaussian, Incorporated, the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Pictures of the conference will be posted at the conference web site.


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SWSM Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Caley Allen

The Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics has given its Outstanding Graduate Student Award to Caley Allen, who received her Ph.D. at the May commencement. Dr. Allen was a graduate student in the research group of Associate Professor Orlando Acevedo and will soon begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech.


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John Gorden, Honors Professor of the Year

Assistant Professor John Gorden has been named Honors Professor of the Year by AU’s Honors Congress and will accept this award at the Honors Gala on April 19, 2013.


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PGOP Fellowship for Charmaine Tutson

Charmaine Tutson, a graduate student advised by Dr. Anne Gorden, has been selected for a three-year President’s Graduate Opportunity Program Fellowship, according to an announcement by Dr. Overtoun Jenda, Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.


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Elizabeth Ndontsa, International Graduate Student of the Year

Elizabeth Ndontsa, who recently passed her oral examination for the Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Goodwin, has been named International Graduate Student of the Year in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


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Kathryn Milly West featured on ASCP web site

Kathryn Milly West, Coordinator of the Laboratory and Medical Technology in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was recently featured on the web site of the American Society of Clinical Pathology.


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Bradley Merner to become Assistant Professor in Fall 2013

Dr. Bradley Merner, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal, will become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the fall 2013 semester. Dr. Merner, who obtained his doctorate from Memorial University in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, specializes in synthetic organic chemistry, compounds of medicinal importance and carbon nanostructures.


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Nature article by Assistant Professor Mansoorabadi

Assistant Professor Steven Mansoorabadi is a co-author of an article entitled “Mechanistic studies of an unprecedented enzyme-catalysed 1,2 phosphono-migration reaction” which will be published in the April 4, 2013 issue of the prestigious journal Nature. Dr. Mansoorabadi joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn University in August 2012.


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Dana Lashley awarded inaugural Livant Graduate Fellowship

Dana Lashley, a Ph.D. student in the research group of Professor Stewart Schneller, has been named the initial recipient of the Peter Livant Graduate Fellowship, which was made possible by the generosity of one of Professor Livant’s former students. This fellowship will be awarded annually to an organic chemistry graduate student. Ms. Lashley’s research is on the organic synthesis of antiviral therapeutic candidates.


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2013 Women of Distinction Faculty Leadership Award to Dr. Anne Gorden

Associate Professor Anne Gorden has received the 2013 Women of Distinction Faculty Leadership Award from the Auburn University Women’s Resource Center and will be honored at their Awards Luncheon on April 5 at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.


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Promotion and Tenure for Christopher Easley and Christian Goldsmith

Auburn University President Jay Gogue has approved promotion to Associate Professor and tenure for Assistant Professors Christopher Easley and Christian Goldsmith, effective in the fall semester of 2013.


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Prof. Duin receives NASA funding

Professor Eduardus Duin is a co-investigator for a project funded by NASA on “Iron-sulfur clusters in the evolution of the Enzymatic Synthesis of RNA” in collaboration with scientists at the University of Arkansas and Ehime University in Japan.


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IGP grant for Professors Goodwin and Calderon

Professor Douglas Goodwin and Professor Angela Calderon of Pharmacal Sciences have received funding for their Internal Grant Proposal, “Toward new antitubercular drugs: Uncovering mechanistically appropriate inhibitors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis shikimate kinase from natural products”.


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IGP funding for Professors Easley, Shannon and Simonian

Professors Christopher Easley and Curtis Shannon of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aleksandr Simonian of the College of Engineering have received funding for their Internal Grant Program proposal entitled “Surface Dynamics of a Highly Sensitive and Versatile Protein Quantitation Method, the Electrochemical Proximity Assay”.


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Prison Outreach Award for Prof. Goodwin

Dr. Douglas Goodwin and his collaborators Ms. Kyes Stevens and Dr. Alan Wilson have received a Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grant Award for their proposal entitled “Bridging a Curriculum Gap in Prisoner Education: A Collaboration of Colleges Innovating Solutions”.


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Featured article by Prof. Acevedo

An article on Hepatitus C Virus by Professor Orlando Acevedo and his former graduate student Sambasivarao Somisetti has been highlighted by the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling in a special issue on HCV therapies.


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GFE Award for Ruychev

The Provost’s office has selected Dr. Veselin Ruychev’s General Fee Equipment proposal for funding. To create a more interactive and safer environment for organic chemistry laboratory courses, Dr. Ruychev proposed the installation of a centralized multimedia system. Video monitors in each laboratory will be connected to a computer through which graduate teaching assistants can efficiently interact with many students simultaneously.


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