DePaul Research Highlighted in ACS Special Issue

The ACS journal Organometallics recently published a Special Virtual Issue focusing on Undergraduate Research in Organometallics. Two DePaul Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty members, Dr. Paul Vadola and Dr. Kyle Grice, had their papers included in this Special Virtual Issue!

According to the website of the special issue,

“This Virtual Issue features 24 organometallic chemistry papers from research groups at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) published in four core journals from 2014-2018: Organometallics, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Letters, and The Journal of Organic Chemistry. The PUI researchers featured here represent a broad spectrum of institutions across the U.S. and Canada, career levels of faculty, and areas of interest. But they all share the common purpose of the pursuit of high-quality research with undergraduates”.

“It’s clear from these highlighted reports that PUI researchers strive to maintain a presence in emerging frontier areas of organometallic research”.

“As the guest editors noted: “The research featured in this Virtual Issue is a testament to the high-level work that can be performed with undergraduates. …Research for undergraduates is often a transformative experience, providing a natural incubator for the next generation of organometallic chemists””.

Congratulations to Dr. Vadola and Dr. Grice and their students for having their work highlighted! Way to go DePaul Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduate researchers! You can learn more about the research being performed by Drs. Grice and Vadola, as well as our other faculty, by visiting faculty bio pages.

Here are the citations to the papers that were highlighted:

Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 by Group 6 M(CO)6 Species without “Non-Innocent” Ligands
Kyle A. Grice* and Cesar Saucedo
Inorg. Chem., 2016, 55 (12), pp 6240–6246
DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b00875

Gold-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of N-Aryl Alkynamides for the Synthesis of 2-Quinolinones
Taylor Vacala, Lauren P. Bejcek, Chloé G. Williams, Alexandra C. Williamson, and Paul A. Vadola*
J. Org. Chem., 2017, 82 (5), pp 2558–2569
DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.6b02984


Publications from Faculty and Students

Research from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has produced several articles in several major journals in recent months. Undergraduate and graduate student coauthors were prominently involved in many of the studies.


In December of 2017, Prof. Kyle Grice and five DePaul student coauthors published a paper in New Journal of Chemistry studying the behavior of drug molecules, in collaboration with colleagues at Rosalind Franklin University and North Carolina State University.The research team used NMR, reactivity testing, absorbance spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, X-Ray crystallography, and computational methods to study the compounds. They determined that a C-S bond was very weak because of the favorable formation of a carbocation upon cleavage. This result may explain some of the biological activities of these molecules as well.

Prof. Paul Vadola and five DePaul students published an article in the Journal of Organic Chemistry in January reporting a catalytic redox-neutral method for the synthesis of spirolactams, proceeding through the dearomative spirocyclization of N-aryl alkynamides. They were able to achieve selective spirocylcization with 35-87% yields and broad substrate scope.

Profs. Caitlin Karver and Carey Southern published a collaborative paper in February 2018 in the journal Analytical Biochemistry , with four DePaul student coauthors. They were able to develop a new assay for monitoring inflammatory caspase activity, relying on energy transfer between a tryptophan coumarin amino acid side chains. This methodology will allow for C-terminal amino acids to be included in peptide substrates. They were able to find activity differences with minor sequence modifications on the C-terminus with one enzyme, and will be able to develop a substrate specificity/selectivity pattern for all of the inflammatory caspases in the future.

Profs. Kyle Grice  and Graham Griffin published a collaborative paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A in March of 2018, along with four DePaul student coauthors. Their study reveals the solution phase structure, electronic structure, and electronic dynamics of a metal-ligand complex that has applications in OLEDs and other organic electronic technologies.

Profs. Wendy Wolbach and Timothy French were co-authors on two papers recently published on a significant bio-mass burning episode 12,800 years ago (a cosmic impact caused a really really big fire!). Both papers were published in the Journal of Geology (second paper) and the articles got some press coverage as well!

Congratulations to all of the authors, we are very proud of their hard work and great achievements!

DePaul Faculty Go to #ACSNOLA

Part of doing science is communicating your results in both written and oral form. Towards this end, DePaul faculty travel to conferences to present the work they’ve done with students here in the department of chemistry and biochemistry.

This spring break, The American Chemical Society has it’s 255th National Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans.

Both Dr. Grice and Dr. Vadola will be presenting, and a poster by one of Dr. Griffin’s Collaborators is also being presented.

Dr. Grice is giving a talk on carbon dioxide reduction research performed with DePaul undergraduates. Here’s the abstract. 

Dr. Vadola is giving a talk on gold-catalyzed C-C coupling reaction research he has been performing with DePaul undergraduates. Here’s the abstract. 

Here’s the abstract to the poster by Dr. Griffin’s collaborators. Dr. Grice’s collaborator at RFUMS is also giving a poster based on the DePaul-RFUMS collaborative work, see here.

If you want to hear about what happens at the ACS meeting, you can follow the hashtag #ACSNOLA on twitter.

Also, if you are a student researcher and want to go to a conference, you should definitely find a way to do so! They are great experiences for learning about science, practicing science communication, networking with peers, and learning about potential career information. Talk to your research advisor well in advance and you might be able to find a way to fund the trip. The ACS Great Lakes Regional Meeting 2019 will be in Lisle, IL, and will be much cheaper than a ACS National meeting, so it should be fairly easy to attend. There are also many other options out there, so keep your eyes out and talk to your research advisor!

Undergrads, Present your Research at CAURS!



Every spring, the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) is held at a location in Chicago and undergraduates from DePaul, IIT, U of Chicago, Northwestern, Loyola, and Roosevelt Universities present posters and talks.

Here’s the website for CAURS.

This year, we are delighted that CAURS will be held at DePaul in our student center. The event is all day April 15th, 2018. Put it on your calendar!

It’s free and everyone is welcome, but registration is required for all attendees. Undergraduates, if you would like to present, talk to your research advisor and then submit your information by March 31. If you would like to go and see the posters and talks but do not want to present, register as an observer. Faculty and graduate students can register to be judges if they would like to get involved beyond just being an observer.

Students get valuable experience presenting their work, networking with peers, and seeing what kinds of research is being done by undergraduates around the Chicagoland area. In addition, several awards are given out for the best posters and talks.

We hope to see you all there!


Seminar Friday – Prof. James Devery from Loyola

This Friday, the seminar from 1-2 pm in McGowan South 103 will be a research presentation from Prof. James Devery from Loyola University. The seminar will be a very interesting report about Dr. Devery’s studies of catalytic synthesis relevant to complex organic molecules. All are welcome to come see it!


New Chemistry Seminar Starts This Friday!

We are very very excited for the start of our new bi-weekly Chemistry Seminar Series, organized by Dr. Charles Rubert Perez! Presentations will be made by professors from DePaul and other universities, as well as by students who are defending their theses. The first seminar will be a crash-course on Cryo-EM, the powerful technique that was central to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

TEM is a powerful technique capable of taking images of biological samples at the micro and nano-level scale. With the development of cryogenic sample preparation and molecular modeling software, this method can now elucidate structural information with low armstrong resolution, similar to x-ray crystallography. This talk will cover a short introduction on cryo-TEM and how it works, highlighting the contribution of Dr. Frank, Dr. Dubochet and Dr. Henderson, the winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Seminar Series_Twitter

Here’s a facebook event for the seminar to share with your friends.

The next seminar will be Jan 26th, where a CHE398 Undergraduate thesis defense will be presented. We’ll post the title and info for that seminar when it gets closer.

Following that, we will have guest seminars from Loyola professors on Feb 9 and 23rd, all in McGowan South 103 at 1 pm. Put the dates on your calendar!


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!