Drs. Kyle Grice (Chemistry) and Jason Bystriansky (Biology) are running their study abroad program this coming spring and summer. If you want to learn more, come to the infosession on January 11th from 6-7pm in McGowan South 104. Applications to the program are due by February 1st through the Study Abroad Website.
In the third and final post in our series on Connections and Collaborations, we are going to focus in on collaborations within the Chemistry department. Like many fields, chemistry is increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary. This is why it is important to learn about a variety of fields in chemistry and see the connections between them. Often, these collaborations spawn new ideas and approaches that would not have been discovered by one researcher alone.
DePaul Chemistry faculty continue to pursue research projects leveraging collaboration between multiple research groups, such as the examples highlighted below:
- Dr. Ruben Parra and Dr. Lihua Jin are working on a study of the Cu2+ and Zn2+ binding affinities of selected chelate ligands.
- Dr. Grice and Dr. Griffin are currently preparing a manuscript on the solution phase photochemistry of zinc bis-8-hydroxyquinolate, a material with potential applications in sensing, organic electronic technologies, and biological labelling.
- Dr. French is currently pursuing several collaborative projects across many departments. Working with Dr. Sarah Read from Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse, he developed a course in creating and presenting scientific posters. He is working with Dr. Murat Kahveci, also from DePaul Chemistry, on creating learning objects for physical chemistry, with results to presented at the DePaul Teaching and Learning Conference on May 5. He is also working on developing course materials for introductory calculus that are based on physics or chemistry applications, with Dr. David Sher of DePaul’s Mathematical Sciences department. Dr. French is also working with Dr. Sandy Virtue from the Psychology department on a collaborative project.
- Dr. Karver and Dr. French are working together on a project to assess student understanding of pKa and identify sources of alternative conceptions related specifically to the pKa concept, and more broadly to acid/base chemistry.
In our last post, we talked about research collaborations between DePaul Faculty and other researchers around the US and the World. In this post, we wanted to focus in to the city of Chicago and local areas. Part of DePaul’s mision is to engage Chicago and use the resources of this great city in our teaching and research, and the Chemistry Department is no exception!
We have a strong connection to our local community here in the city of Chicago. Below are some highlights of recent and current programs.
- Dr. Kyle Grice does outreach at DePaul Prep, a private Catholic high school in the area. He is also ACS Science coach, working with a local high school chemistry teacher. Through this program, the high school program received funding for supplies and equipment, and Dr. Grice also provides guidance and feedback on lab experiments.
- Dr. Timothy French has launched a “Discover Chicago” course (incoming first year students take Discover or Explore Chicago courses in ther first quarter) entitled “Chicago: Food, Science, and Society”. The course will run as part of the Pathways Honors program in the coming fall quarter. Dr. French also works with the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a CPS high school in the North Park neighborhood. He works with them on judging science fairs and preparing their science Olympiad team.
- Several faculty members collaborate with researchers at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS). These projects also involve DePaul student researchers working on the projects.
- DePaul chemistry students go to the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) every year to present their research. If you are a student, consider going next year!
We wanted to highlight how the faculty in the Department of Chemistry have collaborations in research and teaching that span many different levels. These connections include those within the department as well as connections to other parts of the university, to Chicago, to the US, and even to the world. Let’s start with research collaboration on the national and global level and work our way back down to the local levels.
DePaul chemistry has a broad impact that extends well beyond our Lincoln Park campus! Below are just a few of the highlights of national and international research collaborations that DePaul chemistry faculty have been involved in.
- Dr. Kyle Grice has several active collaborative research projects. Working with Dr. Alfredo Angeles-Boza from UConn, and collaborators from other institutions such as Brookhaven National Laboratory, he recently published a paper in the journal Inorganic Chemistry studying potential CO2 reduction catalysts by IR-SEC (Infrared-Spectroelectrochemistry) and bulk electrolysis (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b02384). He is also working with Prof. John Keith from the University of Pittsburgh on developing catalysts for CO2 reduction (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016236115001477).
- Dr. Grice is also co-developing a research-based study abroad program to Spain with Dr. Jason Bystriansky of the DePaul Biology Department. Details of the program will be discussed in a future Catalyst post.
- Dr. Caitlin Karver recently published the synthesis and optimization of triaminopyrimidine compounds as inhibitors of caspases involved in inflammation (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960894X16310538). Several of these compounds have been shipped to collaborators at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. There they will be tested for the activity in blood samples from patients with inflammatory conditions like Lupus.
- Dr. Wendy Wolbach is a geochemist interested in studying environmental changes associated with meteorite impacts and mass extinctions. She searches for forms of elemental carbon in sedimentary rocks dating to the time of known impacts and extinctions by chemically isolating and quantifying elemental carbon in various forms: soot and charcoal (from fires triggered by an impact) or nanodiamonds formed in target rock from the pressure of impact. Sedimentary rocks can come from within or near a known crater or, if the impact was large enough to wreak global havoc, from anywhere that sediments accumulated at the time. In pursuing this research, Dr. Wolbach collaborates with teams of field geologists spread across the globe, including the United Kingdom, The People’s Republic of China, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Russia, Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Chile!
In honor of Women’s History Month, we recently had the opportunity to ask a few of our female professors about life as a woman in chemistry. Hear what Dr. Lihua Jin, Dr. Wendy Wolbach, and Dr. Caitlin Karver had to say about their experiences as female chemists and what advice they have to offer other young women pursuing a degree or career in chemistry.
Have you faced any challenges as a woman in chemistry? If so, how did you overcome them?
Lihua Jin: My biggest challenge is balancing work and family life. I accept the fact that I have to work more hours and that I don’t have the luxury to devote as much time as I’d have liked to my family. But there is a positive side to being a working woman in the sciences. I am better able to advise my children in school related matters as well as in their career pursuit. I also got to have a career in a field that I absolutely love and wouldn’t exchange for anything else.
Wendy Wolbach: I have experienced many sexist comments as an undergraduate and especially in graduate school, including from my research advisor. I was never bothered by them and generally ignored them. But I did have one professor in graduate school who stated frequently and publicly that he refused to give any female student an A in his class. I needed to take the class to graduate, so I took that as a challenge and I practically killed myself to earn the highest possible grade (exams, research paper). And to his credit, he acknowledged the work and gave me his first A ever to a woman, much to the surprise of his fellow professors. He then went on to publish my research paper (a review article) as his own, but that’s another story!
Related to our recent post highlighting faculty publications in 2016, our faculty members have been busy sharing the wonderful work that has been going on here at DePaul during some recent conference trips.
During the summer of 2016, Dr. Timothy French was awarded a travel grant so that he could travel to The Biennial Conference on Chemical Education and present a talk regarding the development of his Discover Chicago (LSP110) course entitled “Chicago: Food, Science and Society”. He had previously attended a cCWCS workshop regarding food chemistry in summer 2015 and used the information he had learned there to develop this course. Dr. French gave a presentation on how this workshop had transformed his teaching and inspired the creation of his LSP110, which explores special topics such as molecular gastronomy and the way that food shapes our culture and society, with specific focus on foods produced and consumed in Chicago.