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!

 

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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!

Study Abroad Short Course in Spain, 2017

We hope everyone is as excited about the research lab open house coming up on Thursday as we are! Speaking of research, Dr. Grice from our department and Dr. Bystriansky from Biology are running a research-intensive Study Abroad short-course program designed for science students in the Summer of 2017. The program involves taking classes in SQ2017 that amount to 8 credits, and preparing for a research trip to Spain in the summer. The trip itself is in the summer for 2 weeks, from July 6 to July 23  in Cadiz, Spain. We’ve attached an announcement flier here, and you can learn more by contacting Dr. Grice or Dr. Bystriansky or by going to one of the info sessions they will be holding.  cadiz-flier-draft-1

Research Lab Open House Next Week

We will have a research lab open house next Thursday (Jan 12th) from 11am to 1pm.

We have 14 research-active chemistry faculty here at Lincoln Park, and their research labs are on the 3rd floor of McGowan South, as well as one lab on the 4th floor of McGowan South.

The research lab open house is a great opportunity to come and see what faculty do for research and also find out how to get involved in research in the chemistry department!

See you on Thursday!

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Save the Date: CSH Undergraduate Research Showcase Nov 4th

Hello, everyone:

A quick save the date announcement: The CSH Undergraduate Research Showcase will be November 4th from 12:00-5:30 in McGowan South.  There will be both oral presentations and poster presentations. CSH undergraduates, if you’re interested in presenting, talk to your research advisers. The deadline for oral abstracts is Oct 3rd, and Poster info must be to submitted by Oct 14th. Your adviser will have received an email with the submission process.

Here’s some more info for interested presenters.

This is always a great event, put it on your calendars to come check it out!

 

Student Poster at National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium

We are proud to have our DePaul Chemistry students participating in the 35th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium this summer! The symposium occurs every other year and has been running since 1948. Chemistry major Courtney Kent presented a poster based on her work in Dr. Karver’s Lab. She has been synthesizing new analogs of the Karver Lab’s triaminopyrimidine inhibitors and has screened them for activity against inflammatory caspases, a group of enzymes associated with immune response and autoimmune inflammatory disorders.

Here are Courtney (left) and Dr. Karver (right)  with Courtney’s poster at the symposium:

Courtney Kent and Dr. Karver

Courtney was supported this summer by the Undergraduate Summer Research Program (USRP), a great way for students to do summer research at DePaul and receive support for doing so. If you are a DePaul student interested in research, keep it in mind for next summer!