Departmental Events Coming Up!

Hello Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Friends!

WQ2019 is now in full swing (week 2 already!) and things are busy as always here at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

-Students, remember that the last day to drop a course without it staying on your transcript is this Friday.

-We are having the Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Lab Open House on Jan 24th from 12-2. Come by and check out the research that goes on here!

-The chem club has some events planned for February that we will announce soon. If you want to join the chem club, or learn about what they are doing, shoot them an email at

-The due date for submissions to DePaul Discoveries, the CSH undergraduate research journal is Feb 1st, and we know that chemistry and biochemistry researchers are working on papers for submission.

-We had a great seminar last week from Prof. Allen from Wayne State, and this week we are having a seminar Thursday (the 17th) from a Professor from Brazil:


Leonardo Fernandes Fraceto

Laboratory of Environmental Nanotechnology, Institute of Science and Technology of Sorocaba, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Av. Três de março, 511, Sorocaba, São Paulo State, Brazil


Food production for a rapidly growing human population is one of the major challenges for the agriculture sector. Therefore, the increasing in the uses of pesticides and fertilizers have become essential to maximize the agricultural productivity. In this context, the rapid growth of nanotechnology has led to the development of a wide range of nanomaterials intended to improve the effectiveness and safety of agricultural solutions in crop protection. Also, various nanocarriers have been developed to agricultural uses and environmental applications. These nanocarriers include nanodispersions, nanoemulsions and inorganic nanoparticles and they aims to: i) increase the solubility of the active compounds; (ii) release them slowly and/or (iii) protect them against premature degradation as well as they can increase the biological activity by the target release in organisms1,2. In this lecture will be presented the main results in the development of nanocarrier systems containing active ingredients with agricultural applications. Also, in our research group we have developed carrier systems based on several natural and synthetic matrices for the encapsulation of synthetic compounds as well as botanical compounds3–5. In addition, the developed nanopesticides were able to decrease the amount of active ingredient used to obtain the same biological activity, thus increasing the efficiency while decreasing toxicity and the environmental impacts. Therefore, nanotechnology can impact the agriculture sector, especially by the minimizing adverse problems of the use of pesticides and as the consequence decreasing the environment impacts and increasing food security6.


  1. Oliveira, J.L de et al.. Biotechnol. Adv. 32, 1550–1561 (2014).
  2. Grillo, R., Rosa, A. H. & Fraceto, L. F. Chemosphere 119, 608–619 (2015).
  3. Oliveira, J. L. de et al.. J. Agric. Food Chem. 66, 1330–1340 (2018).
  4. Campos, E. V. R. et al. Sci. Rep. 8, 7623 (2018).
  5. Grillo, R. et al. J. Hazard. Mater. 278, 163–171 (2014).
  6. Fraceto, L. F. et al. Front. Environ. Sci. 4, (2016).

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

Hello Dept. of Chemistry Students, Alumni, and Friends,

We hope you are having a good winter break. Here at the the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, our faculty have been doing research over break with students and preparing for next quarter. Many of the faculty are still around, but will be leaving soon, so now is a good time to contact faculty if you have questions about classes for next quarter, etc.

In WQ2019 we will have a research lab open house in January, so keep your eyes out for information on that when it gets closer. It’s a great time to learn about the research being done by student and faculty in the department.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2019!

DePaul Chem Club Events!


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!

DePaul Chemistry Club Executive Board”

If you want to get on the mailing list for the chem club, email 

Meet and Greet Next Week!


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!


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.