Collaborations within the Department

CollaborationIn 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.

Connections to the Chicago Area

ChicagoDePaul (1)

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!

Research Connections Across the Globe

Research Connections

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 ( He is also working with Prof. John Keith from the University of Pittsburgh on developing catalysts for CO2 reduction (


  • 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 ( 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!

Cesar Saucedo wins 1st Place Oral Presentation at LSAMP Conference

We found out recently that Cesar Saucedo, a Junior Chemistry major, won 1st place in Oral presentations at the Louise Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) spring symposium in STEM. Cesar’s talk was titled “Electrochemical Behavior of Group 6 Metal Carbonyls for CO2 Reduction.”  Congratulations Cesar!

Cesar LSAMP photo

LSAMP is an organization that supports minority participation in Science and Technology, and they can fund students performing research in chemistry. They have a yearly spring symposium where students from several Illinois colleges and universities come to present their research in the form of posters and oral presentations. If you are interested in being involved in the LSAMP program at DePaul, contact Victoria Simek at the STEM center.

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!


DePaul Chemistry at Argonne – The Advanced Photon Source!

Winter break is a great time to work on research. If you are interested in joining a lab, its also a good time to start research in a lab.

One of the things that happened this winter break was a trip to Argonne National Laboratory to use the Advanced Photon Source (APS). Dr. Grice, in collaboration with Dr. Griffin and Dr. Jin, has been working on projects that needed some experiments that can only be done at the APS. Anyone can apply to use the resources at Argonne, so Dr. Grice put in an application and was given “Beam Time”.


What is “Beam Time”? It’s research time at an X-ray beam that comes off of the synchrotron, which is a giant circular tube the  size of a large building filled with fast-moving electrons that emit X-rays. The focused X-rays from a synchrotron can be tuned and directed to a wide variety of very powerful experiments.

Dr. Grice and Dr. Griffin took four DePaul students, a mixture of undergraduates and masters students, to the APS to perform an experiment called EXAFS – Extended X-ray absorption fine structure. They worked around the clock for 3 days straight collecting data at the beam line. After the data is processed, it should be able to help describe the three-dimensional solution-phase structures of the compounds they are studying, something that can’t be done without synchrotron radiation!


Getting beam time is a relatively rare occurrence. A researcher has to  have a well-planned out set of experiments and the application process is highly competitive.

However, if you are interested in doing research at a national lab, there are other ways to get involved. There is a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program, and applications for summer 2017 close on January 13th. Argonne participates in this program, as do many other national labs around the US.

In addition, Argonne National Laboratory’s APS is one of the sites for the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, consider applying! The deadline is January 23rd! 

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!