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.

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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!


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.


Connections to the Chicago Area

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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!