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Graduate News

Grad Student Brunah Otieno Receives Sensors Travel Award

unnamedGrad Student Brunah Otieno (Rusling Group) is the recent recipient of a Sensors Travel Award. This award recognizes research accomplishments and potential for future success in the field of biosensors.

The Sensors Travel Award will support travel to any academic conference during 2016, where Brunah will be able to interact with other researchers and share her research results.

Graduate Student Discusses “Resistance: How VanA Strains Get Away With It”

Vancomycin, VC. Figure by permission from Nature 1999, 397, 567-568.

During the Spring 2015 semester, Graduate Student Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer had been enrolled in Dr. Mark Peczuh’s Physical Organic Chemistry class. In that class, Matthew examined the physical basis behind the difference in affinities of D-Ala-D-Ala and D-Ala-D-Lac terminating peptides to vancomycin. Thus, “Resistance: How VanA strains get away with it,” was born. Part 1 of Matthew’s blog can be found here, with an introduction by Dr. Peczuh here.

Chain Reaction: NSF Programs Are Initiators of Chemist’s Success

Jennifer Bento

Author Jennifer Bento is a graduate student in the Polymer Program at UConn in the research group of Chemistry Professor Doug Adamson. In her reflection below, Jen describes the implications on her career path that resulted from her participation in the UConn chemistry REU program. She connects this experience to choosing UConn for graduate school, and her subsequent success in garnering a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

I received my undergraduate education at Simmons College in Boston where I earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Physics in 2011. During my undergraduate career, I was a teacher’s assistant, a study group leader and an ambassador through Beyond Benign in a Green Chemistry Fellowship program that performed outreach at local Boston public schools. As a Beyond Benign fellow, I was able to work with undergraduates at my institution and meet fellow scientists at local colleges and/or universities in the Boston area. Together we performed hands-on activities with students in grades K-12. I hope that our efforts motivated the students to continue their education in STEM fields. I also helped students at Simmons learn organic chemistry in my role as a TA/study group leader. These fulfilling experiences with students have inspired me to pursue a career as a college professor. My research advisor at Simmons, Dr. Richard Gurney, encouraged me to apply to a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the NSF to gain further research experience at a PhD-granting institution and to get a sense of what being a graduate student would feel like. I applied and was accepted to the UConn Chemistry REU the summer before my senior year of college. UConn was able to offer exciting research with a successful REU student track record. Continue reading

Face to Face with Nobel Laureates

UConn Today

Homer Genuino, a UConn Ph.D. student in chemistry advised by Prof. Steven Suib, spent a week this summer in Germany, attending the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (Chemistry). The annual Lindau meetings were established in 1951 as an opportunity for an intergenerational dialogue between scientists. Genuino was one of about 600 young researchers from around the world selected to listen to, ask questions of, and engage in discussion with 34 Nobel Laureates, and to network with each other. In this blog, he offers a glimpse inside this prestigious event.

People Nobel Laureate Meetingjoke that the earth tilted from June 30 to July 5, 2013, as the world’s brain power had concentrated again in one place – a small lovely island in Germany called Lindau — where 34 Nobel Laureates and approximately 600 of the brightest young researchers from 78 different countries congregated for the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. As one of the participants this year, I was very fortunate to witness this phenomenon, at least figuratively.

The 2013 meeting was dedicated to the Nobel Prize discipline of Chemistry, the subject closest to my heart. Three main themes emerged: (1) Green Chemistry, (2) Chemical Energy Storage and Conversion, and (3) Biochemical Processes and Structures. I have always believed that learning Chemistry is the key to opening doors for work in multiple areas of scientific research. With no regrets, science has been the right choice for me. Continue reading

The Magic of Science

UConn Today

FoStudents playing with silly puddyr three weeks during May and June, a group of UConn graduate and undergraduate science and education majors have been engaged in something magical. They have been getting middle school students absorbed in chemistry.

Known as the UConn Science Wizards, the college students gave hands-on polymer chemistry demonstrations at inner-city and rural middle schools around Connecticut. They took a playful approach to teaching science, using a polymer the middle schoolers could relate to: Silly Putty.

“I love the program!” said Michelle Goodwin, science teacher at East Hartford Middle School. “It really gets the students excited about science.” Continue reading