Author: Ashley Orcutt

2021 Women in Business Honorees

Assistant research professor Nicole Wagner ’07 (CLAS), ’13 Ph.D. was recently named among the Hartford Business Journal’s 2021 Women in Business Honorees. 25 total honorees were recognized for their inspiring leadership at the forefront of Connecticut’s industries. 

Wagner is the President and CEO of LambdaVision, a start-up company commercializing technology developed in the lab of professor emeritus Robert Birge. LambdaVision works to develop artificial retinas that could help patients regain their sight.

When asked about her key to maintaining business success, Wagner tells the Hartford Business Journal: “I think it is important to work hard, be authentic and to create an environment that is centered around trust and open communication. It is critical to lead by example; if you aren’t excited and passionate about what you do, it will be hard to get others to follow.”

Read more about Dr. Nicole Wagner and all 2021 Women in Business Honorees.

The Research of our Environment: How UConn Researchers are Working to Save the Planet

With insects declining precipitously, plastics building up in our oceans, and indigenous cultures suffering under misguided eco-policies, these UConn researchers are working to save the planet, one ethical decision at a time.

About 30 years ago, the waters of the Long Island Sound were looking bleak.

Pollution from the more than nine million people living in the Sound’s watershed had reached epic heights. Nitrogen runoff led to chronic seasonal blooms of algae, which led to bacteria consuming so much oxygen that periodically, piles of dead fish turned up on beaches. Swimming was frequently banned in many areas, and the public began to notice in ways they hadn’t before.

“It was obvious that hypoxia in the Long Island Sound had been worsening and expanding,” says Penny Vlahos, associate professor of marine sciences*.

Enter the Long Island Sound Study, an unprecedented partnership among Connecticut and New York state government agencies, scientists, and nonprofit groups. Formed in 1985, it began collecting data on the Sound that informed an early-90’s conservation and management plan to restore the Sound to health.

Now, Vlahos and her colleagues have put this hard work to the test, showing that the Sound has vastly improved – but with some big caveats. Continue reading

Seeking APIR, UConn Waterbury

Search #: 495116
Work type: Full-time
Location: Waterbury Campus
Categories: Faculty Non Tenure Track


The Chemistry Department within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Waterbury, invites applications for a non-tenure track faculty position at the Assistant Professor in Residence level. The successful candidate will assist with teaching introductory and organic chemistry lecture and laboratory classes and take the lead in developing and prepping the laboratory for the chemistry courses in collaboration with the other full-time faculty members. This position requires an individual with dynamic personality who can interact with undergraduate and faculty across the branches and main campus at UConn, and who has a track record of excellence in teaching and working with a diverse student population.

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Charlene Fuller Retires After 33 Years at UConn

Charlene Fuller celebrates 30 years at UConnAfter 11 years as the Business Manager at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Charlene Fuller came to the Department of Chemistry during a period of great excitement: construction of the “new” Chemistry Building was nearing completion. Through this time of many changes, projects in the Main Stockroom remained constant. Although Charlene’s original role within the Department outlined other responsibilities, she was attracted to the Main Stockroom manager position when the previous manager announced his retirement.

In short order, Charlene expertly managed the operation of the Main Stockroom. Charlene’s first project involved computerizing the Main Stockroom with management software and bar code technology. Using these new tools, Charlene created a building-wide chemical inventory database system where data was collected in various formats, standardized, and housed safely. Continue reading

Meet Schwenk Chair Dan Fabris

Dan Fabris

Professor Dan Fabris joined the UConn Department of Chemistry in January 2020 as the Harold S. Schwenk, Sr. Distinguished Chair. Below, Professor Fabris reflects upon his first year at UConn and his plans for the future.

Please describe your academic training and career before UConn.

Growing up near Venice (Italy), I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a scientist. My high school was a “liceo scientifico” with wonderful teachers who nurtured my love for the natural sciences. After completing my studies at University of Padova (Italy), I sought a postdoctoral position abroad to gain more experience and further prepare for a career in academia. My plans were to return to Italy after a couple of years and to parlay this experience into a faculty position in a research institution. Almost thirty years later, only the latter was realized, whereas the former faded away. I was first accepted as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. C. Fenselau’s laboratory at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), where I later became part of the research staff. After my mentor moved to a different institution, I was given the opportunity to become a faculty member and to establish my laboratory at UMBC, where I rose through the ranks. I was later recruited by University at Albany (SUNY) to become one of the founding members of the RNA Institute, before moving to UConn in January of last year. Continue reading

Rouge Group Receives $2 Million NIH Grant

Jessica Rouge

The Rouge Group’s research focuses on the improving the delivery of RNA and DNA into cells. Recently, the news has focused on the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which are designed to deliver mRNA into cells to encode the viral proteins that the immune system needs to recognize and fight off infections. In a similar fashion, the Rouge Group has been developing nanocarriers designed to maximize the delivery of short RNA and DNA molecules into cells that can silence genes involved in disease pathways. The greatest challenges surrounding the delivery of these molecules into cells is their chemical instability (i.e. RNA can only last a few minutes in cells and must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures prior to use) and our ability to get the RNA and DNA to the right cell types. Continue reading

Meet Professor Kerry Gilmore

Kerry GilmoreMeet Assistant Professor Kerry Gilmore, an organic chemist who strives to gather and share reproducible data through automated, multi-step flow chemistry systems.

Early Career

Growing up in an oceanside Cape Cod town, a young Kerry Gilmore first went to college to study marine biology. However, upon taking a chemistry course during his sophomore year at Roger Williams University, Gilmore realized that chemistry was his true passion. “The more that I did chemistry, the more I loved it,” Gilmore says. “It was more complex and involved more of these layered problems you needed to figure out, and that was just really attractive to me.” That same year, Gilmore became involved in undergraduate research, studying organic synthesis and biology. Gilmore ultimately switched majors and graduated with a dual degree in chemistry and biology. Continue reading

Professor Bailey Retires After 45 Years of Teaching

William BaileyEver since Dr. Bill Bailey was a young child, he knew he wanted to teach. Now, looking back on a 45-year career of teaching and service, Bill embarks on a new chapter: retirement.

A Journey: From Plumbing to Teaching

Growing up, Bill was destined to become a plumber. Bill’s father and grandfather were plumbers, and his father owned a plumbing shop in their hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey. Although Bill had also earned his plumbing license, his true passion always lied in teaching.

Bill pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. There, in a class of Chemistry majors, new Assistant Professor James Pegolotti explained that it was possible to go to graduate school for free and to be paid a stipend. Bill credits Dr. Pegolotti for instilling the confidence in him to apply to graduate school: “It’s a remarkable thing … Jim Pegolotti is the one that explained that such a thing was possible. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here [at UConn teaching].”

Bill then went on to attain a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame with Professor Ernest Eliel. Bill’s Ph.D. work involved investigations of the generalized anomeric effect and the stereochemical dependence of 13C shifts. After receiving his Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 1973, he accompanied Ernest to the University of North Carolina where he helped with the set-up of the newly built labs. Bill then departed for a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Kenneth Wiberg at Yale University.

In 1975, Bill joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut. Bill reflects, “[Professor Emeritus] Jim Bobbitt … was the one that was head of the search committee and he was the one that convinced me that this would be a wonderful place.” Dr. Jim Bobbitt describes the moment he extended the offer: “I placed a telephone call to Bill Bailey at Yale to offer him a position on our faculty. He accepted, and that was a very good day for the University of Connecticut.”

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Six UConn Researchers to Join the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Six researchers from the University of Connecticut and UConn Health have been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) this year. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

This year 489 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Continue reading