DePaul Chem Club Events!

ChemClub

A message from the DePaul Student-run Chemistry Club:

“Hello all,

DePaul Chemistry Club is back for the 2018-2019 school year! We hope the beginning of your Autumn Quarter has gone smoothly thus far. On Friday November 2 at 1 pm in McGowan South 405, we will be hosting Chemistry Club’s first ever Halloween Party, where we will have Halloween-themed chemistry demos, games, and free food.

Our goal as a club is to bring awareness of and a greater appreciation for the wonders of chemistry, as well as encourage and support those who wish to broaden their knowledge in chemistry and its applications to the world. All are welcome, no matter your major or grade level! This year, we plan to host resume, curriculum vitae, and cover letter building, trivia night, and movie night, among other meetings. We’re very excited to see what this year has in store and we hope to see you all!

Best,
DePaul Chemistry Club Executive Board”

If you want to get on the mailing list for the chem club, email dpuchemclub@gmail.com 

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Meet and Greet Next Week!

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We are holding a departmental “Meet and Greet” next week, on Thursday Oct 18th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. It will be held in the McGowan North 3rd floor atrium. Faculty and staff will introduce themselves and talk about the various courses they teach and research they are involved in. There will be Nachos!

Put it on your calendar and we look forward to seeing you there.

If you want to RSVP, you can do so at the facebook event page.

Nobel Prize Week!

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This week is an exciting time for the world, and particularly for academics in several fields, as the Nobel Prizes will be announced.

The Nobel prize in chemistry will be announced Wednesday. Of course, speculation on the internet is rampant, with various people arguing for the selection of one topic or another. Some people think it will be Lithium Ion batteries, while others say C-H activation, supercapacitors, click chemistry, or CRISPR. It could also be something unexpected. We won’t know until the award is announced!

The prize is awarded to living chemists for a  discovery or contribution to the field in a single area. Here is a list of the awardees over the years.

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine is announced today. It was awarded jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.”

The prize in physics is announced tomorrow.

Research Event at Wayne State

Many of our graduates go on to PhD programs at various graduate schools. Alan Mlotkoswki is one of those graduates, who is currently attending Wayne State University for a PhD in chemistry, and he is on the planning committee for an event where graduate (and undergraduate) students share their research.

From Alan:

I am on the planning committee for the Annual Chemistry Graduate Research Symposium, here at Wayne State University. I know Detroit is a little bit of a hike from Chicago but I still think this is a great opportunity for the students at DePaul to come and attend this event. There is some travel and hotel support available which should alleviate the financial burden of a trip such as this.
 
Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan is hosting their 20th Annual Chemistry Graduate Research Symposium. This symposium focuses on posters and talks presented by graduate students from Wayne State University and surrounding schools and will be held on Saturday, October 6th, 2018. This year the symposium will host three keynote speakers: Dr. Klaus Friedrich, Dr. Vahid Majidi, and Dr. Deborah Mielewski. Dr. Friedrich is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy with areas of expertise in organic, medicinal and inorganic chemistry. Dr. Vahid Majidi is the Director of the Savannah River National Laboratory. Dr. Mielewski is a Senior Technical Leader in the Materials Research and Advanced Engineering Materials Sustainability Division at Ford Motor Company.
The symposium has previously seen the attendance of around 150 students and provides great opportunities to network and communicate your research skills, as well as a poster competition, and offers fee-free registration. Travel and hotel support may be provided to individuals who inquire.
If you are interested in attending this year’s conference, please submit poster abstracts to cgrs@wayne.edu by September 21st, 2018. Details on poster submission guidelines may be found at our website. We look forward to your submissions!”
If you are interested in Wayne State as a possible place for your graduate education and want to present research you have done at DePaul, this would be a good opportunity. Talk to your research adviser if you are interested!

CHE261 – Instrumental Analysis

This quarter, CHE261 – Instrumental Analysis is running again after being defunct for a significant amount of time. This lab-based course was recently re-incorporated into our curriculum for several reasons, the most important being to give our students more hands-on experience with modern research instrumentation. This class is offered every spring, and it should be taken the same year that CHE204/205 is taken (CHE204/205 – Analytical Chemistry Lecture and Lab are pre-requisites for CHE261).

The course is  being co-instructed this quarter by Drs. Grice, Griffin, and Niedziela. It started out with several workshop days in which Dr. Griffin helped the class learn about electronics and circuits, including hands-on time building and examining circuits with various arrangements of resistors and capacitors. Students then used UV-Vis spectroscopy of metal salts to learn how to understand Limit of Detection (LOD) and Limit of Quantification (LOQ) values.

After this, the bulk of the course involves hands-on work with four important instrumental techniques: Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometetry (GC-MS), Cyclic voltammetry, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS).

All of these modules involve creating various solutions for samples and for calibration curves of known standards . Solution-making is an important skill that comes with practice, and is critical to getting accurate measurements.

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The GC-MS experiments allow analysis of volatile components of organic mixtures. The samples are heated to a gas then pushed through a column. The interaction with the column’s packing materials separate out the components, which are then analyzed by mass spectrometry. The mass spectrum of each compound gives identifying information about a molecule based on its molecular mass and fragmentation pattern.

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Cyclic voltammetry (CV) allows for analysis of redox-active compounds in solution. For this module, students learn about CV and use it to analyze the amount of acetaminophen in children’s Tylenol. The acetaminophen can be quantified because it can be oxidized at an electrode in aqueous solution. The PINE potentiostats are relatively small and can be used on the bench-top with a laptop computer.

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Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) is an adaptation of optical spectroscopy that relies on the characteristic absorption properties of elements. It can be used to quantify the amounts of specific elements in a sample, such as Pb, Hg, Ca, and Mg. In this module, students use AAS to analyze Ca, Pb, and/or Mg content in various water samples.

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The 4th technique that students learn is LC-MS. LC is a widely used technique, sometimes called HPLC or UPLC (depending on the specifications of the instrument). We recently obtained a LC-MS and students use it to identify the active components in Excedrin as well as quantify caffeine in coffee and yerba mate. The LC-MS offers several benefits over GC-MS, particularly in that samples do not need to be in the gas phase, so ionic or very polar species can be separated and analyzed in complex mixtures.

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NSF GRFP!

NSF GRFP! What does that stand for? It’s the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). This program provides fellowships for graduate students or colleges seniors planning to go to graduate school in NSF-funded areas. It is a competitive program that involves writing a novel research proposal and getting letters of recommendation from researchers in your field. Recipients receive funding that allow them to focus on their research, such as paying their stipends so that they are not required to TA for their universities for a up to 2 years.

This year, three awardees who are DePaul alumni or current DePaul students received the award! We are delighted to report that two of the three are related to our department.

Cesar Saucedo is a graduating chemistry major senior who received the NSF GRFP grant. Cesar has been working in Dr. Grice’s research lab for over three years. He has accumulated a lot of research experience that include but are not limited to two publications in Inorganic Chemistry, a publication in Electrochimica Acta, a publication in Journal of Physical Chemistry, being a Mitchem and McNair Scholar, participating the Leadership Alliance summer program at the University of Chicago, being a recipient of the ACS Scholarship. You might have seen him on the third floor of McSouth as he is the general chemistry lab prepper, and has been a CA/TA/tutor.

The NSF GRFP will provide Cesar with funding to support his research as he pursues a PhD in chemistry starting next academic year at the University of Wiscosin-Madison. Cesar’s research will depend on the group that he joins and the projects that he works on, which will be decided once he starts at UW-Madison.

In addition, Anthony Arena received the NSF GRFP this year. Some of you who have been at DePaul for a while might know Anthony. He graduated from DePaul in 2007 with BS/MS, worked for DePaul for 6 years as the Chem Lab Manager, Safety Officer and Adjunct. He was a great addition to the department, and was missed when he moved to Cambridge, MA and to work in a Biochemistry Lab at Brandeis University studying ion channels in health and disease. After three years, he then moved back to Chicago to start graduate school at University of Illinois – Chicago  (UIC) in the College of Medicine, Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) Program. I came in under the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. He joined the research group of Dr. Dan Shaye at UIUC.

The NSF GRFP will support his research in Dr. Shaye’s lab. His project involves using genetics to examine the intersection of G-protein signaling and a protein class called CLICs during tubulogenesis (those of you with a biological background might understand this… but its ok if you don’t… ask Anthony for more info!). One model system for his work is C. elegans, a worm species that has been used in biology for a variety of applications. CLIC stands for “chloride intracellular channel”. They are a unique class of proteins because they have both a soluble and membrane-bound form. In the bigger picture, work with these systems can have implication to angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels.

Congratulations to all of the awardees!

If you are considering going to graduate school in an NSF-funded area, you should definitely apply to the program. Even if you don’t get the grant (it is competitive), the process of applying is good practice for grant-writing. Talk to your research and/or academic adviser for more information.

Chemistry Seminar This Week

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We are continuing our chemistry-packed seminar this week with Dr. Shivaputra Patil from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS). Dr. Patil researchers medicinal organic chemistry and collaborates with a variety of researchers, including Dr. Grice in our department. We look forward to hearing his talk!

See you in McGowan South 105 at 1pm!