Artwork based on research between Dr. Flavio Maran and Dr. José A. Gascón has been featured in the covers of Chemical Science. The image depicts “a magnetic look into the protecting layer of Au25 clusters.”
Dr. José Gascón
Associate Professor &
Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee
Because graduate application season is upon us, we interviewed Dr. José Gascón, Chair of the UConn Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee, to gain insight into the application and decision process.
What advice do you have for freshman and sophomores who are considering graduate school?
If you had some research experience and you enjoyed trying to solve a scientific question, then you will enjoy graduate school. If that is the case, then I would advise spending some time looking up the research that is being conducted within your choice of schools.
What are the top three traits/experiences you look for in an applicant?
In no particular order: transcripts and GPA, research or internship experience, letters of reference.
How do GRE scores and publications factor into your decision making process?
In my personal opinion, GRE scores are not a deal breaker and they only compliment other more important credential aspects (i.e. GPA, research experience, and letters). Publications are highly regarded if students have them, but their absence is not considered negative.
A publication titled, “White-emitting protein nanoparticles for cell-entry and pH sensing” has been accepted as a VIP paper in Advanced Functional Materials, 2016, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201603874. Bobbi S. Stromer and Challa V. Kumar are the authors of this paper.
Cover art pictured was submitted by Caterina Riccardi (Kumar Group).
Congratulations to Graduate Student Islam Mosa for winning the People’s Choice Award in the International Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. This is the first international award for UConn in the U21 3MT competition. Islam received his award from Dr. Kent Holsinger, Dean of the Graduate School. Also, President Herbst has invited Islam to attend the Board of Trustees meeting to congratulate him for his achievement. Islam is now the winner of the Department’s and UConn’s 3MT competitions, as well as the International U21 3MT People’s Choice Award.
The 2016 competition experienced the highest number of participating students – over 1000 students presented in local heats across the network – and the People’s Choice Award saw its highest total number of online votes in the competition history; Islam received the highest number of votes among all participants.
Islam would like to thank his advisor, Dr. Jim Rusling, for the support and constructive feedback, Dr. Challa Kumar for instructing the technical communication course, and to the entire Chemistry Department for voting and supporting him!
The University of Connecticut (UConn) is entering a transformational period of growth supported by the $1.7B Next Generation Connecticut (http://nextgenct.uconn.edu/) and the $1B Bioscience Connecticut (http://biosciencect.uchc.edu/) investments and a bold new Academic Vision (http://academicvision.uconn.edu). We are pleased to continue these investments by inviting applications are invited for a tenure-track position in the Chemistry Department.
The Chemistry Department at the University of Connecticut (UConn) seeks applications for a full time tenure-track position to begin in August 2017. All areas of organic, bioorganic, or biological chemistry will be considered, with preference given to candidates whose research contributes to the above initiatives and complements that of current faculty. Continue reading
Dr. Challa Kumar and Graduate Student Melissa Limbacher are the recipients of an Accelerate UConn Fall 2016 Grant for their project entitled, “GlowDots.”
Kumar and Limbacher will participate in the Fall cohort of Accelerate UConn, the University’s National Science Foundation I-Corps site. All winning teams receive special training and a $3,000 seed grant to help understand whether and how their technology might create customer value.
By Gabriella Reggiano
The UConn Chemistry Club creates a space for undergraduates to discuss and learn about chemistry in a relaxed setting. The executive board consists of seven students: Christopher Chapman as President, Joshua Paolilo as Vice President, Farrell Brown as Secretary, Kevin Stein as Treasurer, Quinn Lacasse as Experiment Specialist, Julia Swanson as Event Coordinator, and Taylor Simao as Minister of Information. The officers decide upon a theme for each meeting that draws connections between chemistry, current events, an experiment, and a member activity. Recently, the Chem Club discussed the role of oxidation in violent reactions. Their experiment, adding a gummy bear to liquid potassium chlorate, involves the oxidation of sugar, which produces noise as well as a flame.
The Chemistry Club earned an Honorable Mention from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for their work last year. The executive board submits an annual report that includes a description of each meeting held as well as additional details about community service, green chemistry, professional development, and outreach activities. The ACS then evaluates the club on whether they met their goals, in addition to the quality and quantity of all the services they provide to the UConn community. In this year’s report, ACS specifically highlighted the Chemistry Club’s ability to create engaging and informative meetings. “The best way to retain members is to make the meetings both interesting and relevant – and it seems that you did just that. It is impressive that you combined fun and learning at your meetings.” Continue reading
“Hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation” are the keywords Department Head Dr. Christian Brückner used to describe the new Undergraduate Instrument Center. This lab, located in T-310 of the Chemistry Building, currently houses an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), an Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer (EPR), and an X-Ray Powder Diffractometer (PXRD).
With funding from the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost, Dr. Clyde Cady and Dr. Edward Neth spearheaded the creation of the Undergraduate Instrument Center over the summer of 2016. The Center provides students with the opportunity for hands-on experience with advanced equipment both inside and outside the classroom. Importantly, these are also instruments found in industry and research laboratories.
Alumnus Michael Otley is now a postdoctoral fellow on the team of one of the 2016 Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry, Dr. J. Fraser Stoddart, at Northwestern University. During Michael Otley’s graduate studies in the Sotzing Group (Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, 2015), Michael focused on developing the next generation of organic electronics using conductive polymers.
Currently, Michael is still working with organic electronics but now uses macrocycles instead of polymers in the Stoddart Group. He has developed a self-assembly system of redox-active macrocycles to form ‘nanotubes’ for membrane applications, and also works on energy storage by using rigid redox-active macrocycles for organic rechargeable batteries.
Dr. Tomoyasu Mani is the recipient of a 2016 Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists.
The Blavatnik Award honors outstanding postdoctoral scientists from institutions across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Three winners and six finalists are chosen from the fields of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Mani is being recognized for his “advances in the understanding of electron transport occurring in organic photovoltaics used in solar energy capture and conversion!”