An Introduction to our MS Student Profile Series

Hello DePaul Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Friends!

Here at the DePaul Chemistry Department, we have a MS program in addition to our BS and BA degree options. Students can come to DePaul to get a MS degree in coursework or via a thesis (doing research in the lab of a faculty member), and we have students from across the US and world coming to our program. Our undergraduates can also apply for a BS/MS program.

To learn about how to apply to the MS program, see this link. Rather than discuss the statistics of the program, we thought we would highlight several of our MS students to give a personal insight into who our students are, what brought them to the MS program, and their future plans. We gave the students some prompts to think about and they gave us a wealth of information. We will be rolling out their responses over the next few weeks in a series of blog posts.

Stay tuned for more!


Check out more in our MS Student Profile Series:


Undergraduate Research Showcase Nov 6th!

We are getting excited around here, as the annual CSH Undergraduate Research Showcase is just around the corner! It will be Friday, Nov 6th, from 12:30 to 5:00pm in McGowan South. Come see all of the great research that the CSH students (including chemistry!) have done. A new change this year is that there will be student oral presentations in addition to poster presentations! Come check it out! Also, the keynote speaker will be a DePaul alumna, Ramiah Jacks, now a PhD student at Loyola. We are excited to hear what she has to say (can you tell we are excited?)!

One last reminder, don’t forget to tag your Instagram and Twitter posts with #DPUShowcase! You can find more photos using this hashtag  on Facebook and Storify.

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Lessons on Effective Teaching via Dr. Ruben Parra

Ruben Parra DePaul University chemistryDr. Ruben Parra, Professor of Chemistry and Director of Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA), recently presented a seminar on Being an Effective Teacher, which was hosted by DePaul University’s TLA Office on October 1st, 2015 on DePaul’s Loop Campus.

This seminar was specifically geared towards the Chicago Area Assessment Group (CAAG). CAAG consists of a group of approximately 15 institutions, including DePaul, that meet periodically in the city to share assessment best practices.  The mission of the Chicago Area Assessment Group (CAAG) is to advance understanding of assessment and its impact on college and university planning and effectiveness. The audience of the seminar primarily consisted of individuals responsible for faculty development and assessment at various colleges and universities in the large Chicago area, most coming from CAAG though an invitation to the seminar was also made to select faculty and staff members of DePaul University too. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday – The Catalyst’s Evolution

Hello Chemistry Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Friends,

We are enjoying our new format for The Catalyst and wanted to show you how the catalyst has evolved. Nicole Hack, the Chemistry Department Assistant, scanned in a copy of The Catalyst from 1978! Take a look. We are always thinking about how things can be adapted and improved, so let us know what you want to see in our new blog format and we will see what we can do!

-The Chemistry Department


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Nobel Prize in Chemistry: DNA Repair Mechanisms

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced this morning!

It was awarding to the following researchers:

  • Tomas Lindahl, Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK
  • Paul Modrich, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA
  • Aziz Sancar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

They studied the various ways that DNA is repaired. For more information, there are some great summaries both on the Nobel Prize website and in chemistry blogs such as this one.

Again, compound interest has put together a great image summarizing the prize:


-Dr. Grice and Dr. Maresh

The Chemistry of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Well, the chemistry Nobel doesn’t get announced until Wednesday, but it turns out there is a lot of chemistry behind the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was announced earlier today.

Rather than write up something about it, I will refer you to this useful image made by the Chemistry Blogger “Compound Interest” (see their site here) that they posted on twitter (here is the link to their tweet). If you haven’t checked out Compound Interest’s previous works, I highly recommend that you do.

-Dr. Grice

Alumni Profile: Erin Wierzbicki, née Gallagher

Erin (Gallagher) Wierzbicki DePaul Chemistry AlumniAssociate Professor and Department Chair, Dr. Lihua Jin recently had the opportunity to talk with Erin Wierzbicki, née Gallagher, who graduated from DePaul in 2012 with a MS in Chemistry. Erin reflects back on her academic career at Depaul, discusses how it has prepared her for her career, and shares advice to current students on how to be a successful student of chemistry.


  • DePaul University, MS Chemistry 2012
  • Northern Michigan University, BS Biochemistry 2010


  • Senior Associate, Global Regulatory Affairs at Hospira, a Pfizer company


  • Biophysical Scientist II at Therapeutic Proteins International
  • Analytical Chemist II at NOW Health Group

Jin: How did your degree prepare you for your non-traditional career path, and how has your education at DePaul prepared you for what you are currently doing?

Wierzbicki: I earned my BS in Biochemistry in 2010 from Northern Michigan University and my MS in Chemistry in 2012 from DePaul University.

While I was in college and graduate school I always assumed that when you get a degree in chemistry you have two choices; you can go to medical school or work in a lab. I found that as I was looking for a job having a MS was a huge advantage since I did not have any industry experience. After 3 months of searching, I got a job working as an analytical chemist and later as a biophysical scientist, where I worked for about 2 years. I used many of the laboratory skills I had learned and found much of my educational experience being directly applied. However, over those two years I found that being a chemist in the “real world” just wasn’t what I thought it would be and I had never thought I would want to do anything else besides work in a lab. Quite frankly, I didn’t know there were other options.

Enter Regulatory Affairs.

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