Professor Flavio Maran Wins Baizer Award

Flavio MaranProfessor Flavio Maran, who leads the Molecular Electrochemistry and Nanosystem Group at the University of Padova and is a Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Connecticut, is the new winner of the Manuel M. Baizer Award, awarded by the Electrochemical Society (ECS), which is the largest electrochemical society. The Baizer Award (Manuel Baizer was a great chemist and foremost internationally recognized authority in organic electrosynthesis) was established in 1992 to recognize individuals for their outstanding scientific achievements in the electrochemistry of organics and organometallic compounds, carbon-based polymers and biomass, whether fundamental or applied, and including but not limited to synthesis, mechanistic studies, engineering of processes, electrocatalysis, devices such as sensors, pollution control, and separation/recovery. Prof. Maran will give his Award Lecture in May 2018, at the 233rd ECS Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

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Fishing for New Antibiotics

Kim Krieger, UConn Communications

Two potent antibacterials found in fish do their dirty work in unexpected ways, report UConn chemists and colleagues in a paper accepted by the FEBS Journal. The research could point the way to entirely new classes of antibiotics.

Fish suffer from bacterial infections just like humans do. It’s an especially tough problem for farmed fish, which live in close quarters where sickness can spread quickly. Fish farmers know that adding copper sulfate to the water reduces bacterial disease, but they haven’t understood why. Now, a team led by chemists from UConn has discovered that fish make antibacterial peptides that bind to copper and use it as a weapon to slay bacteria.

Peptides are small molecules, made from the same stuff as proteins but much shorter. Biologists knew that these fish peptides, called piscidin-1 and piscidin-3, were antibacterial. But it took a chemist to figure out the copper connection.

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Meet Dr. Alexander Gorka

Alexander GorkaWhen Dr. Alexander Gorka began college at Monmouth University, he did not originally intend to pursue a degree in Chemistry. Instead, he was enrolled as a criminal justice/forensic science major. As time went on, he came to realize that he most enjoyed the physical sciences courses and that a degree in Chemistry would provide the broadest opportunities. This was solidified through undergraduate research, where he “caught a glimpse of just how fun and rewarding it can be to challenge yourself with your own questions and ideas.” Hence, a chemistry career was born.

Upon graduation, Dr. Gorka moved to Washington, D.C., to earn his Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Paul Roepe at Georgetown University. Dr. Gorka then completed a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Martin Schnermann at the National Cancer Institute. In Fall 2017, Dr. Gorka joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut (UConn) as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

Dr. Gorka is excited to both teach and to launch his research lab at UConn: “What drew me to this career was that there’s never a dull moment. Things are fun, crazy, terrifying, and fulfilling, all at the same time.” Dr. Gorka is most looking forward to mentoring students—helping them to form their own paths and careers—and exploring new ideas in his research lab. His goal is to answer important questions, do impactful science, publish high-quality articles, present at conferences, build networks to collaborate, and “be as good a mentor to [his] students as [he] can be in helping them achieve their goals.” Continue reading

Job Posting: Academic Assistant 3 – Mass Spec

The Department of Chemistry, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, is accepting applications for a full-time manager (Academic Assistant 3) to run the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. This is a hands-on position that involves training graduate students, performing service and custom analyses, and operating, maintaining and repairing instruments, as well as helping the upgrading of mass spectrometry instrumentation.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITES

  1. Operate all mass spectrometers in the Chemistry Mass Spectrometry facility.
  2. Conduct all upgrades and performance maintenance of all mass spectrometers in the facility, perform small repairs, and coordinate outside engineering repair services.
  3. Maintain operation logs, data storage, and reservation systems.
  4. Train students to use mass spectrometry instruments.
  5. Provide service analyses and develop new MS services to meet the needs of faculty and customers.
  6. Provide assistance in the writing of internal and external grant proposals involving mass spectrometry.

The position reports directly to the Department Head. The Facility Manager is expected to work closely with a Committee/Faculty Director of the MS Facility to coordinate on operation, training, maintenance, and upgrading of mass spectrometry instrumentation.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in chemistry with a concentration in mass spectrometry and at least one year of post-graduation experience. Must have strong knowledge and experience with MS instrumentation using all modern ionization methods and HPLC-MS hyphenation techniques. Excellent communication skills with a diverse clientele are required.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

Should have strong knowledge and experience with MS instrumentation using all modern ionization methods and HPLC-MS hyphenation techniques. Experience with QqTOF-MS, QqQ-MS, GC-MS, MALDI-TOF MS and related methods. Experience with hardware performance maintenance, instrument troubleshooting, and repair. Experience with the analyses of small molecules, biomolecules, and polymers.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is an eleven month, annually renewable position, with full benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience with starting salary in the range of $75-90k.

TO APPLY

To apply, please visit UConn Jobs online application system at: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/9767. For full consideration, upload a cover letter, detailed CV, service statement including service philosophy, service experience, lab management plans, commitment to effective service, concepts for new method development, etc. and names and contact information for three professional references. Review of applications will begin immediately and will remain open until the position is filled. Please include the search number 2018059 with all correspondence.

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment background check. (Search # 2018059).

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honor students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and instates serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

2016-2017 Graduate Student Awards

The following awards were presented at the Chemistry Department’s Annual Safety Training on August 24, 2017. 
 
Waring (Scholastic) Award: Highest GPA for the 2016-2017 class.
Tianqi (Kiki) Chen (Rusling)
 
Masterton (Teaching) Awards: To be recommended by the TA committee or by instructors who may nominate their TAs for excellence in teaching. 
Islam Mosa (Rusling)
Mohamed Sharafeldin (Rusling)
Murali Anuganti (Lin)
Megan Puglia (Kumar)
Shelli Miller (Leadbeater)
 
Connecticut Chemistry Research Award: List of publications of the graduate student with full citations, and a nomination letter from the major advisor describing research contributions of the student.
Kyle Lambert (Bailey)
Karteek Kadimisetty (Rusling)
 
Outstanding Service and Research AwardNomination letter from faculty and/or staff describing specific activities or service provided to the department by the student, and a list of publications of the graduate student with full citations, and a nomination letter from the major advisor describing research contributions of the student.
Shannon Poges  (Suib)
 
Excellence in Service Award; Nomination letter from faculty or staff describing outstanding service by a graduate student, over and beyond normal expectation.
Alyssa Hartmann (Rouge)
 
Bobbitt-Chou Graduate Summer Research Fellowship: This is a fellowship to recognize early accomplishment in a student’s graduate studies and the promise of continued success. One student entering their third summer of research will be awarded a $3,500 fellowship. The fellowship will be awarded based on course grades and a letter from the primary research advisor. The letter should specifically address the technical abilities of the student and his/her conceptual ownership and creative contributions to the research project. 
Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer (Gascon)

Synthesizing Pure Graphene, a ‘Miracle Material’

By Jessica McBride, Office of the Vice President for Research

Douglas Adamson, in the lab at the Institute of Materials Science on Aug. 23, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Formed deep within the earth, stronger than steel, and thinner than a human hair. These comparisons aren’t describing a new super hero. They’re describing graphene, a substance that some experts have called “the most amazing and versatile” known to mankind.

UConn chemistry professor Doug Adamson, a member of the Polymer Program in UConn’s Institute of Materials Science, has patented a one-of-a-kind process for exfoliating this wonder material in its pure (unoxidized) form, as well as manufacturing innovative graphene nanocomposites that have potential uses in a variety of applications.

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UConn Chemistry REU Symposium 2017

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, funded via the National Science Foundation, allows undergraduate students the opportunity to spend their summer conducting research at a REU host institution. Students spend approximately 10 weeks working closely on a research project with faculty members and graduate students. Students will also have the opportunity to utilize the research equipment and facilities specific to the host site.

To culminate their experience, the REU participants in chemistry presented their summer-long projects in a symposium on August 2, 2017. Click through the slideshow below to get a taste of what they accomplished!

 

Dr. Rebecca Quardokus Shares Her Passion For Microscopy

By Amanda Campanaro, IMS

There’s a special moment for most students when they discover what they really want to do with their major. For Rebecca Quardokus, Assistant Professor in Chemistry and associate faculty in IMS, that moment came as a junior at Grand Valley State University, Michigan, when her father sent her an article on Professor James Tour’s research at Rice University, Texas.

Dr. Quardokus, who had recently become a chemistry major, found the research fascinating. “His group had synthesized nano-sized cars with C60 fullerenes (buckyballs) for wheels, and they used scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to image individual cars moving around on a gold surface,” Dr. Quardokus explains. “I was very excited to learn that STM, in addition to imaging, could manipulate individual atoms and molecules on the surface.” It was then she decided to attend graduate school to work with and master that “amazing technique.”

Now, Dr. Quardokus focuses her research on the engineering and reliability of molecular networks and two-dimensional materials for next-generation electronic devices. Her passion for learning STM has led her to begin a project working on developing new two-dimensional materials using surface-confined polymerization reactions.

“I use scanning tunneling microscopy, with its ability to measure individual atoms and molecules, to study the reactants and products,” she says.  “I will also study the charge and thermal transport properties of these materials.” Her group is hoping to tune specific properties for use in next-generation electronics.

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Chemistry Abroad – Adventures in Shanghai & Beijing

Sydney Scheirey and Joseph Gorecki, both rising Chemistry seniors, have been doing research abroad at Fudan University in Shanghai since May. In their down time, they have been able to see some of China’s famous landmarks – and shared some of their experiences with us!

 

 

Job Posting: Assistant Professor in Residence

The Chemistry Department within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut, invites applications for a non-tenure track faculty position at the Assistant Professor-in-Residence level.

The University of Connecticut (UConn) is in the midst of 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 Plan: Path to Excellence (http://issuu.com/uconnprovost/docs/academic-plan-single-hi-optimized_1).

The successful candidate will assist with teaching general chemistry lecture and laboratory classes, advising undergraduate students and developing success and retention strategies for chemistry courses. This position requires an individual with a dynamic personality who can interact with undergraduate and graduate students in addition to faculty, and has the ability to work with Chemistry faculty across the regional campuses and at main campus in Storrs. The incumbent will share a deep commitment to effective instruction and to broaden participation among members of under-represented groups; demonstrate through their activities the richness of diversity in the learning experience; integrate multicultural experiences into instructional methods and research tools; and contribute to the development of pedagogical techniques designed to meet the needs of diverse learning styles and intellectual interests.

Minimum Qualifications: A Ph.D. in Chemistry and at least three years’ experience teaching and administration of large (greater than 150 students) general chemistry lecture and laboratory courses.

Preferred qualifications: Experience directly supervising teaching assistants, and course design and curriculum development with innovative methods designed to improve student success and retention.

This position is a full-time, nine (9)-month appointment, with a start date of August 23, 2017. This position reports to the Chemistry Department Head, Christian Brueckner. The position may be annually renewable based on performance, budget and needs of the department and college.  Salary is competitive based upon qualifications.  The successful candidate’s primary academic appointment will be at the Storrs Campus.

To apply, please visit the University’s Husky Hire online application system at: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/9240.

Applications must include:

  • cover letter;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae;
  • a teaching statement (including teaching philosophy, teaching experience, commitment to effective learning, concepts for new course development, etc.) with relevant teaching evaluations;
  • a commitment to diversity statement (commitment to diversity statement (including broadening participation, integrating multicultural experiences in instruction and research and pedagogical techniques to meet the needs of diverse learning styles, etc.);
  • and the names and contact information of three (3) professional references.

Evaluation of applicants will begin immediately. For more information regarding the Department of Chemistry, please visit the department website at www.chemistry.uconn.edu

Employment of the successful candidate will be contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check. (Search # 2017547)

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

_______________________________________________________________

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.