Chemistry, Biochemistry, and… Nachos!

Interested in learning more about the new Chemistry and Biochemistry majors? Stop by McGowan South 107 on October 6 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm to meet the faculty and hear more about our new degree programs.

Snacks will be provided so be sure to come and say hi!

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It’s Nobel Prize Week

Hi all, it’s Nobel Prize week again!

We will find out who wins the Chemistry prize on Wednesday… the excitement is palpable!

 

Throwin’ it back to the Class of 2017

The graduation of 2017 has come and gone, but we wanted to acknowledge how proud we are of the Class of 2017. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
– Steve Jobs

Summer Accomplishments

 

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Hello Students, Alumni, and Friends!

Before we get too far into AQ2017, we wanted to mention some things that happened in the department this summer that we are really proud of:

Study Abroad

Dr. Grice, in collaboration with Dr. Bystrianksy from biology, ran a study abroad for science majors. Students did research in Cadiz, Spain for 2 weeks as a part of the program. Drs. Grice and Bystriansky will be running it again this coming summer. We’ll have a post about the program soon, but if you want to learn more before then, contact Dr. Grice or Dr. Bystriansky, or come the Study Abroad Fair next Tuesday from 11-1 in the student center at LPC.

Conferences

During the summer, our faculty often travel to conferences to present on their scholarly accomplishments. Dr. French presented a poster at the Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education conference. Dr. Karver presented a poster at The American Peptide Symposium.

Publications

The faculty also work on getting papers submitted during the summer (and during the year), and this summer was exceptionally busy in that regard! Dr. Wolbach submitted three manuscripts and had another accepted. Dr. French was also a co-author on two of the manuscripts. Dr. Perez published two papers from his postdoctoral work. Dr. Kharas submitted three manuscripts. Dr. Karver and Dr. Southern submitted a collaborative manuscript as well. Many of these papers included DePaul students or alumni as co-authors. Congratulations to all!

Promotion

In big news, Dr. Karver was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure! Congratulations Dr. Karver!

The Quarter Begins!

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Hello Students, Alumni, and all of our friends,

We hope you have all had a great summer. Although this blog was quiet over the summer, lots of things happened here, inlcluding research and summer classes. We’ll share some interesting things that our faculty and students did this summer soon. In the meantime, we just wanted to remind you that with the quarter started, remember that the last day to add classes is the 13th, and the last day to drop a class is the 20th.

We also want to mention something that comes up later in the quarter: the CSH Undergraduate Research Showcase. It’s going to be November 3rd. This is 15th(!) year, and we are very excited already! If you are a student currently in a research lab, start talking to your advisor soon about giving a talk or poster. For everyone else, put it on your calendar, we invite you to come see all of the great things that our students have been doing.

Sincerely,

The Department of Chemistry

 

Alumni Highlight – Marina Damiano

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Our alumna Marina Damiano, Ph.D., gave a great talk at the departmental research and awards symposium. For those of you who missed the chance to meet Marina and hear about what she has been doing, we chatted with Marina and asked her about life after DePaul. You can connect with Marina on LinkedIn or Twitter. Our questions and her responses are shown below:

  • What degree did you obtain from DePaul and what did you do immediately afterwards (go into another degree program, go into the workforce, etc)?

I earned a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. German (double major); Minor in Mathematics; and participated in the Honors Program during my time at DePaul.

After DePaul, I earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University. My graduate research focused on developing nanoparticle-based therapeutics as alternatives to chemotherapy.

  • What is your current position and how long have you been in that position?

Two years ago, I started Damiano Group, a scientific communications consulting business.

I started my business because I noticed that scientists are not always the best at communicating the exciting and impactful research we do. This is a problem because good communication is necessary for exchanging ideas, piquing the interest of funding organizations, and engaging with the public to increase awareness and encourage action. It’s not only true for individual scientists, but also for the companies and organizations creating new products, services, and policies.

Focusing on researchers and organizations in science and healthcare, I help my clients better communicate the what, how, and so what for their research, product, or service.

  • What types of tasks and activities do you do in your current position (in other words, what actually happens in that job, our students might not know!)?

Every day is different! I work both in the business and on the business, meaning I am responsible for the actual work for my clients and all aspects of running the business.

My client projects fall into two buckets: writing and communications coaching.

Writing projects can range from creating a blog post featured in Nature to a peer-reviewed article in The Patient.

Communications coaching projects can range from coaching a senior Ph.D. student in preparation for a job talk — a research presentation given as part of a job interview in academia and industry — to preparing talking points for a healthcare CEO’s interview in a top online or print publication specific to the life science, pharmaceutical, medical device, and healthcare industries (often called trade media).

If I’m not doing work for a client, I’m strategizing on how to keep current clients happy, pitching new clients, hiring contractors, and doing anything necessary to keep my business running smoothly.

  • How has your chemistry degree and DePaul education helped you in your career? What were the most beneficial aspects?

My chemistry training at DePaul built the foundation for pursuing graduate work. More importantly, the liberal arts emphasis of DePaul provided a well-rounded education and gave me insight into the world outside of the laboratory and academia.

  • What do you think are the most useful skills to have for your current career?

Writing and speaking skills, of course. A basic understanding of science is ideal, but specific technical expertise is not necessary. Your job is to interview experts and ask the right questions to get the information you need to tell their stories.

It is crucial to learn how to read verbal and non-verbal cues when interacting with someone, how to be persuasive, and how to understand the viewpoint of your intended audience.

  •  What advice do you have for our graduating students or recent graduates as they look at the next step in their careers?

Graduate school and bench research in industry are not your only options (though they are fine options, indeed). You can create your own path, but the keyword is “you.” If you want a non-traditional job, you must attend the networking events, send the e-mails, introduce yourself to the speaker after the seminar, ask for advice. Most people had help finding their first job (or maybe even all their jobs) and are happy to give back time to talk about their career paths and assist new graduates. But, you have to make the first move.

  • Do you have anything else you would like to share with our students and alumni?

Developing good written, visual, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills is critical to success, even if you choose not to go into a career in science communication.

Practice talking and writing about science and your research to different audiences as often as you can. Know your audience and what’s important to them. Make sure you have a compelling reason for why they should care about what you’re saying or writing and how they can take action.

 

Alumni Highlight: Aaron Kunzer

We had our Research and Award symposium last Friday (review of that coming soon!) to celebrate our students, particularly our soon-to-be alumni! In view of this, we recently chatted with one of our Alumni, Aaron Kunzer, currently a Senior Medicinal Chemist in the area of Oncology Discovery at AbbVie.

Here’s what he said in our Q&A:

 

Aaron Kunzer

What degree did you obtain from DePaul and what did you do immediately afterwards (go into another degree program, go into the workforce, etc)?
MS Chemistry. I obtained this degree while employed and continued my employment upon graduation.

What is your current position and how long have you been in that position?
Senior Scientist I – Chemistry in Oncology Discovery at AbbVie. I have been in this position for 5 ½ years and have been in various medicinal chemistry positions at AbbVie for the past 18 years.

What types of tasks and activities do you do in your current position (in other words, what actually happens in that job, our students might not know!)?
We design and synthesize potential drug molecules, analyze data from various in vitro and in vivo assays and utilize the data to design iterative rounds of compounds with more potency, better physical properties, etc.

How has your chemistry degree and DePaul education helped you in your career? What were the most beneficial aspects?
My MS from DePaul gave me a deeper understanding of organic chemistry and a great knowledge base in biochemistry as I was unable to fit biochemistry into my undergrad program. One of the most beneficial aspects was great access to supportive faculty to have discussions and get questions answered.

What do you think are the most useful skills to have for your current career?
Medicinal chemistry requires a collection of skills and knowledge: organic chemistry, biochemistry, strong synthetic skills. Perseverance is also essential. Most drug researches never get a drug onto market, so one must be passionate about the work itself.

What advice do you have for current or future DePaul students in order to succeed in Chemistry?
If you are not going on to graduate school or medical school, strongly consider the 5-year MS program. Graduating with your MS with only one additional year of study is a bargain (it took me three years while I worked). All things being equal, it will also differentiate you from other job candidates without an MS degree.

What advice do you have for our graduating students or recent graduates as they look at the next step in their careers?
Get experience wherever you can even if it is temporary or contract work. Be patient. Careers are rarely straight lines. Career paths tend to bend and curve and have detours. This is normal and can expose you to career options you may never have thought about otherwise.