This page archives our news items.
Webster Santos named Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow
(Sept. 29, 2014) Prof. Webster Santos
has been named the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. The Lilly Fellowship appointment is for three years. A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2006, Santos is an internationally recognized expert in drug discovery and drug development. His research, which focuses on the development of new drugs for cancer therapy, has implications for patients with three common cancers: breast, ovarian, and prostate. (read more...
CHEM Welcomes Guoliang (Greg) Liu
(Sept. 15, 2014) The Department of Chemistry warmly welcomes its newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Guoliang (Greg) Liu. Greg earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Zhejiang University (P.R. China), Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Wisconsin (working with Prof. Paul Nealy), and was a postdoc at Northwestern with Prof. Chad Mirkin. Greg’s research interests are in nanoscience, and his goal is to use inorganic nanoparticles in polymer matrices to create novel nanocomposite materials. It is envisioned that these nanocompsites will have unique properties and find application in the area of renewable energy, chemical catalysis, etc. (more on Prof. Liu
Prof. John Matson Receives Powe Junior Faculty Award
(Sept. 9, 2014) Prof. John B. Matson has received a highly-competitive 2014 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award
. This is the third consecutive year that a Chem faculty member from VT has won the award (Tijana Grove in 2012 and Amanda Morris in 2013). The $5,000 Powe Award, which is matched by Virginia Tech, will be used by the Matson lab to pursue new synthetic routes to bottlebrush polymers. These specialized polymers have unique mechanical properties and are currently being studied as new elastomeric materials for applications in vibration-damping materials, as well as synthetic mimics of the shock-absorbing biopolymers present in human cartilage. Through this work, the Matson lab will develop methods to simplify their synthesis through a strategy that combines two powerful polymerization catalysts. (more on Dr. Matson
Prof. D. Crawford Featured in C&E News
(Sept. 2, 2014) Recent NSF-funded work by Prof. Daniel Crawford
and his colleague, Dr. Benjamin Pritchard, in reducing the redundancy of developing software for quantum chemical calculations is featured in the recent issue of C&E News (8/25/14). Crawford, Pritchard, and their collaborators from Georgia Tech (C.D. Sherrill and E. Chow) are leading “Quantum Chemistry’s Modular Movement” via their research on the PANACHE (PArallel Numerical Approximations in CHemistry Engine) library, which is designed to accelerate the writing of new code for quantum chemical calculations. The work is also directly connected to Crawford’s NSF-supported efforts to develop a Software Institute for chemistry, materials science, and biomolecular simulation (www.s2i2.org
). Their work could enable chemists to eventually “pick and choose components when building software.” Read the full story here
Prof. Ed Valeev Receives Quantum Molecular Sciences Award
(August, 2014) Prof. Edward Valeev is the 2014 recipient of the Medal of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences (IAQMS
). The Academy membership consists of some of the most important scientists in the field worldwide and has included such famous quantum theorists such as John Pople, Robert Mulliken, Louis de Broglie, Erich Hückel, Linus Pauling, and Friedrich Hund. The Medal of the Academy is awarded annually to a "young member of the scientific community who has distinguished himself by a pioneering and important contribution.” Valeev's selection as this year’s winner puts him in a truly elite group of scientists that includes Roald Hoffmann, Bill Miller, and more
. Congratulations Prof. Valeev!
Prof. A. Morris to Discuss Hydrogen Vehicles at Nat'l ACS Meeting
(August 6, 2014) In her role as an “ACS Expert in Sustainable Energy,” Prof. Amanda Morris will be one of three national experts taking part in a press conference at the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco to discuss Toyota’s first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle—as well as the small-series production of hydrogen fueling stations, which are essential for this new transportation technology. The press conference will be held Monday, August 11, at 9 AM PST in the Moscone Center, North Building. Interested parties can access a live video of the event at the ACS Ustream channel
. For more information about this press conference, check out the ACS article here
Fabijan Pavosevic Earns Best Poster Honors
(July 28, 2014) Fabijan Pavosevic
, a third-year graduate student with Prof. Edward Valeev
, won the Best Student Poster Award
for presenting his work on the development of an accurate quantum chemistry methodology applicable to large systems at the 45th Southeastern Theoretical Chemistry Association (SETCA) conference, which was held at Emory University in Atlanta earlier this year. His poster was selected as the top entry from among more than 70 student posters!
Rachael Parker Receives Protein Society Award
(July 14, 2014) Rachael Parker, a third-year graduate student in Tijana Grove’s research group
, has been selected to receive The Finn Wold Travel Award
from The Protein Society. Supported by contributions from the Society and its members—and named in honor of one of the Society’s founding members—the Wold Award is given to outstanding students based on scientific merit. In addition to financial support to contribute to the 28th
Annual Symposium of The Protein Society (this year in San Diego), awardees will be recognized during the plenary awards session. Rachel’s work targets the design of a synthetic module that specifically binds the Mycobacteria
cell wall. Her studies have implications in the development of inexpensive point-of-care diagnostic devices for TB.
Jessica Wynn Delivers Award-Worthy Presentation
(June 27, 2014) Jessica Wynn, a fifth year graduate student in the Webster Santos research group
, won second place oral presentation at the international meeting of boron chemists (BORAM XIV) in New Jersey. Jessica’s work deals with developing novel branched peptide boronic acids that recognize the structure of RNA macromolecules vital to the replication of HIV-1. Her studies have implications in the next generation of therapeutics that can combat HIV/AIDS.
First-ever Virginia Science Festival to be Held in Blacksburg
As part of her NSF-sponsored outreach, Prof. Karen Brewer and her research group represented the Dept. of Chemistry at the media announcement of the inaugural Virginia Science Festival,
to be held in Blacksburg and Roanoke from October 4-11, 2014. Jointly sponsored by the City of Roanoke, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Town of Blacksburg, NASA-Langley (and others), the Virginia Science Festival will be a highly visible outdoor event designed to provide opportunities for engagement and exchange between children, teens, families, and local scientists. It will feature more than 100 exhibitors who will provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment. Contact Prof. Brewer
for more info on her outreach activities
Prof. John Morris's Research Highlighted in C&E News
(May 7, 2014) The Morris research group
has developed a new research facility at Aberdeen Proving Grounds for studying the surface chemistry of chemical warfare agents. This high security laboratory is the first of its kind for exploring how the most toxic compounds ever created, such as sarin and VX nerve gases, interact on surfaces of environmental and military importance. Of particular interest are the strengths and mechanisms of hydrogen-bonding interactions that govern the uptake of agents on polar surfaces such as silica, one of the most abundant materials on earth. To date, scientists have largely been restricted to conducting experiments with less toxic analogues (often referred to as simulants) of the actual agents. These simulants contain the central phosphoryl ester of the agents, but they lack the structure and key chemical functionality of the agents, which makes the prediction of agent-surface chemistry tenuous. Morris and colleagues (including former students) have therefore developed a new surface science approach to uncover the mechanisms and energetics that govern agent-surface hydrogen bonding forces on silica. This information will help scientists predict the environmental fate of agents and devise methods for agent decontamination. Read the full article HERE
Spencer Ahrenholtz Receives ACS Award
(April 17, 2014) Spencer Ahrenholtz, a 4th year graduate student in Amanda Morris's group
, has been selected to receive a grant from the American Chemical Society on the basis of scientific merit. The Women Chemists Committee and Eli Lilly co-sponsor the award, which was designed to encourage young female chemists to attend national ACS meetings. In additional to financial support for travel to the Fall ACS meeting in San Francisco, the WCC hosts a poster session and reception for the awardees. They are also recognized at the WCC Luncheon and invited to a private dinner with WCC members.
Prof. A. Morris Discusses Senate Energy Bill in Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial
(April 10, 2014) Prof. Amanda Morris
, an ACS designated "Expert in Sustainable Energy," is featured in a Richmond Times Dispatch
editorial discussing the potential "enormous opportunity for new commercial innovations" that could be realized through passage of the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (Senate Bill 1392). According to Prof. Morris, "We can be both sustainable and profitable through our energy use habits. We just need to harness our ingenuity." Read the full editorial here
Congratulations to CHEM "Favorite Faculty!"
(April 10, 2014) The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that the following eight faculty members were recognized as "Favorite Faculty" for the 2013-14 academic year: Shamindri Arachchige, Jeannine Eddleton, Alan Esker, Mike Berg, John Matson, Gordon Yee, Patricia Amateis and Maggie Bump. The Favorite Faculty Program, coordinated through the Division of Student Affairs, affords students the opportunity to recognize faculty members who have positively impacted their learning experiences at Virginia Tech.
Kristina Roth Receives Aker Fellowship
(April 3, 2014) Kristina Roth, a second-year graduate student with Prof. Tijana Grove, has been awarded the prestigious George E. and Hester B. Aker Fellowship from the VT Graduate School for the 2014-15 academic year. The fellowship will enable her to continue her research on the design of nanoparticles with multimodal imaging capabilities, specific cellular targeting, and on-demand drug release. The goal of this collaborative project between the Grove and A. Morris labs is to advance personalized cancer and brain injury therapies.
Chemistry Graduate Student Honors for Joe Calderone and Marwa Abdel Latif
(March 27, 2014) Joseph A. Calderone, III (MS advisor: Webster Santos) earned the “Outstanding Master’s Thesis
”award from the College of Science for 2014. Marwa K. Abdel Latif (PhD advisor: Jim Tanko) has also been honored this year with the Graduate School’s “GTA Excellence Teaching Assistant Award
.” These talented students will be recognized at the Graduate Education Week Awards Banquet on March 27 and will each receive a monetary honorarium. Congratulations to Joe and Marwa!
Chemistry Club Receives Honorable Mention!
(October 30, 2013) The Chemistry Department is pleased to announce that our ACS student chapter (Chemistry Club
) will receive an Honorable Mention award for activities conducted during the 2012 – 13 calendar year. Dr. Maggie Bump, who serves as faculty advisor of the chapter, warrants particular recognition for her time and effort in advancing undergraduate science education and mentoring at Virginia Tech. The student chapter will be honored at the 247th ACS National Meeting
in Dallas in March.
Dorn Discovers Evidence for Metallofullerene Creation
(October 2013) Professor Harry C. Dorn and colleagues have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle, commonly called a buckyball, is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up. These spherical carbon molecules show great promise for use in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics. (More on Dorn...
Santos Reappointed as Blackwood Fellow
(October, 2013) Prof. Webster L. Santos was reappointed as the Blackwood Junior Faculty Fellow of Life Sciences. The position was established to support and advance instruction, research, and collaboration in the life sciences with a complementary focus on the development of entrepreneurial opportunities. Santos is an expert in drug discovery and works primarily in the area of drug development. His current research is focused on the development of agents with novel mode of action against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) and new drugs for fibrosis therapy that can be brought to market to benefit society. (more on Santos…
Davidson Hall Renovation Earns Cover Page Honors
(October 1, 2013) Davidson Hall’s extensive renovation, to be completed in Spring 2014, made the front pages of the September issue of “Modern Steel Construction
.” The article (link here
) details EYP Architecture and Engineering’s first use of electronic data interchange to update an 80-year-old structure.
CHEM Welcomes Jatinder Josan
(Sept. 25, 2013) The Department of Chemistry is pleased to welcome Assistant Professor Jatinder Josan as our newest faculty member. Jatinder earned his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona (working with Prof. Victor Hruby), and did a postdoc at the University of Illinois with Prof. John Katzenellenbogen. Jatinder’s research interests are in the areas of medicinal chemistry, natural products synthesis, and synthetic methods, with an emphasis on developing drugs for the treatment of cancer. (more on Prof. Josan
Santos Receives NIH Funding for Drug Discovery Effort
(September 16, 2013) Prof. Webster L. Santos has received a three-year $1.15 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health to improve sphingosine kinase inhibitors discovered in his labs. In collaboration with Prof. Kevin Lynch at the University of Virginia, the team aims to develop drugs against fibrosis, a pathology that causes nearly 45% of deaths in the United States. (more on Santos…
Santos Article Featured on Org. Biomol. Chem. Cover
(August 28, 2013) Prof. Webster L. Santos’s recent work on discovering a novel binding mode towards HIV-1 RNA using peptide boronic acids was showcased on the cover of the October 7 issue of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Santos’s team identified branched peptide boronic acids from a high throughput screening of 46,656 compounds against HIV-1 Rev Response Element (RRE). Their work demonstrated that medium-sized molecules can impart selectivity against mutant RNAs as well as DNA by binding to the large surface area of RNA. This discovery is important for developing anti-HIV drugs with new mode of action (more on Santos ...)
Moore Named an ACS Fellow
(August 7, 2013) Prof. Robert B. Moore
is one of 96 individuals named to the 2013 Class of ACS Fellows for “
outstanding accomplishments in scientific research, education, and public service." The Fellows Program began in 2009 as a way to recognize and honor American Chemical Society members from around the world for stellar achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and the ACS. (more on Moore
Carlier Named "Scholar of the Week"
(June 11, 2013) Prof. Paul Carlier has been named "Scholar of the Week" by The Office of the Vice President for Research for using synthetic organic chemistry to advance technology for medicine and public health. Carlier, who is associated with VT's Center for Drug Discovery and the Fralin Life Science Institute, has been developing new species-selective inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which will be toxic to malaria-transmitting mosquitoes but safe for use on insecticide-treated nets in malaria-prone regions. (more
Merola Named Wine Awardee
(May 29, 2013) Prof. Joseph Merola
has received the 2013 Wine Award from the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. Only three of the prestigious $2000 awards are given annually at Tech. Dr. Merola was cited for his longstanding reputation for student engagement, scholastic rigor, and classroom innovation. His enduring track record of consistently superior course evaluations from students testify to his teaching and mentoring skills. Prof. Merola is also active with the university’s Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program. (more)
Congratulations to CHEM "Favorite Faculty!"
(May 15, 2013) The following members of the Chemistry Department were honored with "Favorite Faculty" status by on-campus students "for their hard work, contributions to academia, and dedication to student learning and success:" Jeannine Eddleton, Jennifer Rowe, Shamindri Arachchige, Asem Abdulahad, Daniel Crawford, Patricia Amateis, and Maggie Bump. The Department of Housing and Residence Life coordinates the annual process, which culminated with a reception in their honor (and other VT favorites) earlier this spring.
Morris Honored with COS Diversity Award
(April 26, 2013) Prof. Amanda Morris has received the College of Science (COS) Diversity Award
for 2012-2013 for her contributions to diversity within the COS and at other levels in the university. The selection committee applauded her efforts to recruit diverse graduate students and faculty, for being an active and supportive mentor to underrepresented students and faculty in COS and elsewhere in the university, and for tireless efforts on behalf of the LGBT Office/Caucus and the wider LGBT community. (more on Morris
McGrath Receives Charles G. Overberger Award
(April 3, 2013) Prof. James E. McGrath received the Charles G. Overberger
International Prize for Excellence in Polymer Science and Engineering. This is a biennial award that “recognizes and encourages accomplishments of unusual merit in the field of basic or applied polymer science.” Prof. McGrath will present his award address at a symposium organized in his honor at the Fall 2013 ACS Meeting in Indianapolis. (more on McGrath ...
Turner Named to Editorial Boards
(Feb 21, 2013) Professor S. Richard Turner, Director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII
), was recently named to the editorial boards of the American Chemical Society journals Macromolecules
and ACS Macro Letters
. Turner is also Editor for the Americas of Chemistry and Synthesis for Polymer
and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Polymer Science: Part A: Polymer Chemistry
and Polymer Reviews
. (more on Turner ...
Hemp Develops Cancer Drug Delivery Vehicle
(Jan 28, 2013) Sean Hemp, a graduate student in the Long Group
, has been recognized for his contributions to new therapies that target genetic diseases and cancer. Hemp creates polymers to deliver nucleic acids, molecules that carry genetic information within DNA and RNA. Effective uptake of nucleic acids facilitates the delivery of genetic code that may correct malfunctioning DNA or eliminate mutating cells, such as cancer. (More info here.
Long Named Associate Dean in COS
(Jan 25, 2013) Prof. Gary L. Long has been named the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Science. Long will be developing a sustainable process for selecting and awarding scholarships, leading interdisciplinary curricular development, and formulating assessment policies for recruiting and placement programs. He will also guide the development of forthcoming undergraduate degree programs in systems biology, neuroscience, and computational science. (more on Long
Susanne Dana Honored for High School Teaching
(December 7, 2012) Susanne M. Dana (Chem BS, 1991; MS, 1993) received the Southeast Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching from the ACS at the recent SERMACS meeting in Raleigh (NC). Dana, who has been a chemistry teacher at Blacksburg High School since 2000, earned the award for the quality of her instruction, her ability to inspire students both inside and outside the classroom, and her leadership in chemistry instruction. Congratulations, Susanne!
CHEM Welcomes John Matson
(Oct. 4, 2012) The Chemistry Department is delighted to announce that Dr. John B. Matson joined the faculty in Fall 2012 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Matson earned his B.S. degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterward, he earned his Ph.D. from Cal Tech, where he worked with Nobel laureate Prof. Bob Grubbs in the area of catalysis and polymer synthesis. Dr Matson joins the department after completing a postdoc at Northwestern University, working with Prof. Sam Stupp. Prof. Matson’s expertise includes peptide self-assembly, drug release, and ring opening metathesis polymerizations (ROMP). His plans for independent research at Virginia Tech will include topics such as: Stimuli-responsive peptide dentrimers, synthetic extracellular matrices with embedded cryptic sites, and degradable polyesters and polyamides synthesized by living ring opening metathesis polymerizations. (more on Dr. Matson
Crawford Receives NSF CyberInfrastructure Award
(Oct. 2, 2012) Prof. T. Daniel Crawford
was awarded $190,000 from the NSF Office of CyberInfrastructure for a collaborative research project entitled “A Scientific Software Innovation Institute for Computational Chemistry and Materials Modeling (S2I2C2M2).
” This one-year "conceptualization phase" grant will bring together an interdisciplinary team of more than 20 computational chemists, computer scientists, applied mathematicians, and computer engineers to focus on the key areas of portable parallel infrastructure, general-purpose tensor algebra algorithms, and protocols for information exchange, with the goal of solving fundamental problems of software complexity and education. In addition, members of the S2I2C2M2 team will participate in an inaugural summer school on software development for computational chemistry. Prof. Crawford is the lead investigator on the project, with co-investigators Anna Krylov (U. Southern California), Theresa Windus (Iowa State U.), and Robert Harrison (Stonybrook U.). (more
Etzkorn Research Featured in C&E News
(Sept 6, 2012) Professor Felicia Etzkorn recently presented research ongoing in her group at the August 2012 ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia. Her talk on "Stereospecific Cdc2 kinase phosphorylation of proline isosteres elucidates conformational regulation of the cell cycle” was part of a session for the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry. A summary of the session’s topics was recently featured in a C&E News article on "Tweaks Boost Protein Stability
” (Chem. Eng. News, Sept 3, 2012, 68-71), which describes how protein backbones can be modified to create proteins with interesting properties. (more on Etzkorn
Morris Talks about "Breaking the Solar Block"
(July 28, 2012) Dr. Amanda Morris
recently was interviewed by WVTF/NPR’s Robbie Harris regarding her work in solar energy storage. The story focuses on the Morris research group’s development of catalysts for the oxidation of water and reduction of carbon dioxide to form useful fuels and chemical feedstocks. Listen to the interview (here
Turner Funded for Polymer Research
(July 27, 2012) Professor S. Richard Turner recently received a three year Division of Materials Research NSF grant ($390,000) to explore the synthesis and properties of highly functional alternating copolymers with sterically-congested backbones. The synthesis, solution, and solid state properties of these unique copolymeric materials will be studied. Such copolymers have potential applications ranging from films in optical devices to high surface area polymer particles and membranes for gas storage and gas separations. (more on Turner ...
DeSimone to Head Kenan Institute
(July 27, 2012) Prof. Joseph M. DeSimone (PhD 1990), whose research has ranged from developing environmentally friendly industrial processes to designing new medicines and vaccines, has been named the new director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The Kenan Institute was founded in 1985 to promote collaboration among business, government and academia and the use of research and private-sector resources to serve the public interest. (more on DeSimone...
Kingston to Head Center for Drug Discovery
(July 6, 2012). University Distinguished Professor David Kingston will serve as director of the new Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery, whose goal is to accelerate research that could lead to new treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diseases of the central nervous system, and parasitic diseases such as malaria. With more than $29 million in combined research support, the center includes faculty from six colleges as well as the Bioinformatics Institute. (more).
Morris Receives Powe Junior Faculty Award
(June 21, 2012) Amanda Morris
has received a 2012 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. The $5,000 Powe Award, which is matched by Virginia Tech, will help Morris and her team develop an artificial photosynthesis system that would harvest the sun’s energy to transform carbon dioxide into a chemical fuel such as methane, methanol, or isopropanol. She is also investigating the development of solar cells made from inexpensive materials so that energy derived from the sun can be stored more efficiently. (more
Brewer and Arachchige Earn Outreach Awards
(May 30, 2012) Profs. Karen Brewer
and Shamindri Arachchige
were awarded College of Science Outreach Excellence Awards
for 2012. They were recognized for their continuous service in outreach within the public school system by promoting science—particularly among women and minorities. According to Dean Chang, their efforts have “opened doors to many students, alums, and friends.”
Etzkorn Honored with COS Diversity Award
(May 30, 2012) Prof. Felicia Etzkorn has received the College of Science (COS) Diversity Award
for 2011-2012 for her contributions to diversity within the COS and at other levels in the university. The selection committee singled out her efforts in the recruitment of diverse graduate students and faculty, for being an active and supportive mentor to underrepresented students and faculty in COS and elsewhere in the university, and for reaching out and making contributions that extend beyond Chemistry. (more on Etzkorn
Edwards Receives McNair Staff Service Award
(May 15, 2012) The Department is pleased to announce that Ms. Melba Edwards has received the 2012 Harold M. McNair Staff Service Award
for the second time. Named in honor of Prof. Harold McNair, who served as head of the chemistry department from 1990-92, this award recognizes exemplary service by a member of our staff. Ms. Edwards serves in our bookkeeping office and oversees the department’s major accounts. (more...
Marand Receives Clifford Service Award
(May 15, 2012) Prof. Herve’ Marand has received the 2012 Clifford Faculty Service Award
. This award, named in honor of Prof. Alan F. Clifford who served as department chair from 1966-1981, recognizes outstanding service to the department. Prof. Marand has a long career of service, having served on both of the department’s elected committees (Executive and Personnel), numerous faculty search committees, ten years on the Graduate Honor Court, and has most recently participated in the Executive Development Institute—a university program to identify and mentor future leaders. Prof. Marand also serves as the Associate Chair of the Department of Chemistry. (more on Marand
Crawford Receives Viers Teaching Award
(May 15, 2012) Prof. Daniel Crawford has received the 2012 Jimmy Viers Teaching Award, which was established by one of our alumni, E. Gary Cook, to recognize outstanding teaching in the Department of Chemistry. Prof. Crawford is honored for his exemplary efforts in general chemistry (majors section), and has the distinction of being the first two-time recipient of this award. He has previously been awarded the Certificate of Teaching Excellence, and is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Alumni Award for Research Excellence. (more on Crawford)
Morris Receives the Schug Research Award
(May 15, 2012) Prof. John R. Morris is the recipient of the 2012 John C. Schug Research Award
. This award was established by E. Gary Cook (a VT alum) to recognize faculty members who demonstrate exceptional creativity and productivity in their research. His research interests are in the broadly defined area of surface science, with particular emphasis on gas adsorption and scattering from model surfaces, and gas-surface reaction dynamics with applications in the environment and in catalysis. Prof. Morris is the first chemistry faculty member to win all three major departmental awards for teaching (2010), research (2012), and service (2009). (more on Morris
DeSimone Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
(May 3, 2012) Prof. Joseph DeSimone (PhD 1990) was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his excellence in original scientific research in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the U.S. DeSimone, currently Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill, was cited for innovation in a number of fields, but particularly for "revolutionizing the development of healthcare products for a global population.” (more...
Durrill Receives 2012 Sporn Award
(May 7, 2012) Preston Durrill
, Adjunct Prof. of Chemical Engineering and an Instructor in Chemistry, has received the 2012 Sporn Award for Excellence in Engineering Education for the second time (he was also a 2006 Sporn recipient). VT’s Student Engineers’ Council selects one faculty member out of the more than 300 in the college to receive this honor. "Preston is the epitome of what an educator should be. He is a gifted teacher who has a remarkable passion for his students. We are truly fortunate to have him at Virginia Tech," said John Walz, professor and department head of chemical engineering. (more)
Crawford Receives Alumni Research Award
(April 23, 2012) Prof. Daniel Crawford has been awarded the 2012 Alumni Award for Research Excellence. This premier university award recognizes his significant contributions to theoretical and computational chemistry with applications to health science. Crawford has developed a series of quantum mechanical models capable of high-accuracy simulations of the interaction of polarized light with chiral molecules, a class of compounds that includes most modern medicines ranging from chemical sedatives to anti-tumor agents. These new computational tools will shorten the development time of new chiral drugs by years or even decades. (more on Crawford)
Long Receives 2012 Teaching-Learning Award
(April 11, 2012) Prof. Gary L. Long is one of two recipients of the university's 2011-2012 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award
, which recognizes faculty members who have dedicated themselves to advancing higher education teaching and learning. Long remains committed to developing new technology and new ideas that better link the lab experience to learning gains in the chemistry classroom. (more on Long ...
Blakely Named 2012 College of Science Outstanding Senior
(Feb 15, 2012) Martha V. Blakely, a senior with a near-perfect GPA who will graduate in May with a double major in Chem/Biochem, has been named the 2012 College of Science Outstanding Senior. This award goes to a graduating undergraduate who demonstrates outstanding performance in academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and contributions of service to the university and community. Congratulations Martha! (more)
Turner/Zhang Article on Cover of the Journal of Polymer Science
(March 8, 2012) The effect of trans
-1,4-cyclohexylene ring-containing units on the mechanical properties and relaxation behavior of poly(arylene ether sulfone)s (PAES) was investigated by Prof. S. Richard Turner
of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII) and his student Bin Zhang. This work was featured as a cover for the Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry
. Dr. Zhang recently took a position with Celanese.
Blakely Receives ACC Postgraduate Scholarship
(Feb 27, 2012) Martha V. Blakely, a senior Chem/BioChem double-major, has been received a $5,000 Thacker Scholarship from the ACC for PhD graduate studies this fall. The award honors outstanding student-athletes who have performed with distinction in both the classroom and on the playing field, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community. Martha was also selected to the ACC All-Academic Women’s Tennis team for the third consecutive year.
Xu Recognized for Research Excellence
(Feb 14, 2012) Daiqiang Xu, a graduate student co-advised by Dr. Kevin Edgar
and Dr. Richard Turner
, has been recognized by the ACS Cellulose Division for "Excellence in Cellulose or Renewable Materials Research." He will present an oral lecture on the "Regioselective Synthesis of Cellulose Esters" at the upcoming Spring ACS meeting in San Diego, CA.
Hemp Recognized for Graduate Research
(Feb 7, 2012) Sean Hemp, a graduate student in the Long Group, has been recognized by the ACS Polymer Division for "Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research." He will present an oral lecture on "Phosphonium-containing Polyelectrolytes for Nonviral Gene Delivery" at the upcoming Spring ACS meeting in San Diego, CA.
Morris Article on Cover of the Journal of Physical Chemistry
(Jan 09, 2012) Prof. John R. Morris and his former graduate student, Jessica Lu, have investigated reactions of ozone with an organic surface (a vinyl-terminated self-assembled monolayer). Their recent work has been featured on the cover of the Journal of Physical Chemistry C
. This fundamental study, conducted with collaborator Prof. Richard D. Gandour
and members of the Morris research group
, used a series of molecular beam scattering experiments to provide insights into the fate of ozone in the environment.
Crawford Elected as ACS Division Officer
(December 16, 2011) Prof. Daniel Crawford has been elected to a five-year term as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society (PHYS). He succeeds Prof. Anne McCoy of the Ohio State University, who has served the division since 2006. The division has approximately 6,000 members worldwide.
Wilmsmeyer Receives Best Presentation Award
(November 28, 2011) Amanda Wilmsmeyer, a 5th year graduate student in the John Morris Group, was recently honored with a “Best Presentation Award” at the 2011 Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference in Las Vegas, which showcased new and dynamic developments in basic and applied research within the chemical and biological defense landscape. Amanda discussed the adsorption, diffusion, and desorption of chemical warfare agent simulants from amorphous silica.
Madsen Research Featured in Nature Materials
(November 28, 2011) As highlighted in the 19 June 2011 “News and Views” segment of Nature Materials, Prof. Louis A. Madsen’s group has uncovered new aspects of the flow and filtering of water or ions in polymer membranes. This fundamental study, conducted with collaborator Prof. Robert B. Moore, has implications for a number of industrial applications that involve molecular filtering, such as fuel cells, water desalination membranes, and even the production of artificial muscles for robots.
Troya Wins Age Group at MU Marathon
(November 08, 2011) Prof. Diego Troya competed in the 2011 Marshall University Marathon in Huntington, WV, winning his age group (35-39) and placing 12th overall in a field of over 400 finishers, with a time of 3:07:40.
Morris Selected for NAS Kavli Symposium
(Nov 02, 2011) Prof. John R. Morris has been selected to attend the 2011 Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium to be hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in November, 2011. The symposium, which is the Academy's premier activity for distinguished young scientists, provides and overview of wide-ranging disciplines and opportunities for emerging leaders to build a network with colleagues. (more ...)
Brewer Article on Chem. Comm. Cover
(October 21, 2011) Prof. Karen J. Brewer’s recent work with photodynamic anti-cancer drugs was featured on the inside cover of the September 21 issue of Chemical Communications
. Brewer identified a supramolecule that can be activated by light during therapeutic treatments, which once activated binds to DNA and inhibits further cell replication. This discovery is important for developing drugs for diseases such as cancer, which can be treated by impeding cell replication. This finding also has implications for reducing the toxic side effects of certain cancer drugs. (More on Brewer...
VT Chemistry Club Honored by ACS
(October 20, 2011) The Chemistry Club at Virginia Tech
has been selected to receive an Honorable Mention Award by the American Chemical Society for its activities during the 2010-11 academic year. Club events included chemical demonstrations and an open house during National Chemistry Week, a winery tour in the spring, and chemistry programs at area schools. The Chemistry Department proudly recognizes the efforts of Andrea Carlini (club president) and Dr. Maggie Bump
(faculty advisor) for their commitment of time and energy in support of the chapter.
STEM Faculty to Continue STEP
(October 14, 2011) Prof. Gary L. Long, together with four colleagues in allied units (Jill C. Sible and Deborah S. Wilson of COS, Bevlee A. Watford of COE, and Kathryne D. McConnell of OAA), have received a grant totalling $1.56 million to continue the Student Transition Engineering Program (STEP
) at Virginia Tech. STEP aims to increase the number and diversity of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) graduates through retention strategies emphasizing academic success and engagement with the scientific process and community. (more on Long ...
Crawford Publication Recognized
(October 10, 2011) A new publication by Prof. Daniel Crawford and his University of Tromsø (Norway) colleague, Prof. Kenneth Rudd, has just been designated as a “very important paper” by the journal ChemPhysChem (abstract). Crawford and Rudd developed the most advanced computer model to date of the scattering of polarized light from chiral molecules. A long-term goal of this research is to enable chemists to carry out their own simulations to study compounds ranging from small molecules to pharmaceuticals and viruses. (more ...)
Deck Receives ACS Service Award
(October 3, 2011) Prof. Paul A. Deck has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the E. Ann Nalley Award for Volunteer Service to the Southeast Region of the ACS. The award, which will be formally presented at the SERMACS 2011 Award Banquet on October 27 in Richmond, VA, recognizes the volunteer efforts of individuals who have contributed significantly to the goals and objectives of the American Chemical Society through their regional activities.. (more...)
Carlier to Work on Malaria Control
(September 21, 2011) The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health has awarded $450,655 to Prof. Paul R. Carlier, a leader in organic and medicinal chemistry and a member of the Vector-Borne Disease Research Group at VT, to develop an entirely new strategy to kill the mosquito that transmits the malaria parasite. Carlier will collaborate with Prof. Jeffrey Bloomquist at the University of Florida as part of a larger three-year, $1.4 million effort to develop a new class of insecticides that will interfere with the mosquito's nerve signal mechanisms, thus preventing it from flying—and therefore biting, which is how the disease is transmitted. (More...)
Madsen Funded for Drug Delivery Research
(September 20, 2011) Prof. Louis A. Madsen and Prof. Theresa M. Reineke (University of Minnesota) have received a three-year NSF grant ($420,000) to explore the biodistribution of polymeric drug delivery systems that include an image-enhancement "beacon" to indicate the location of the delivered drugs in medical diagnostic tests such as MRI. Dr. Madsen and his co-workers will study targeting into simulated tissues and cells using magnetic resonance measurements, which will facilitate the polymer design and synthesis efforts of the Reineke
group. (more on Madsen ...)
McGrath Receives NSF Instrumentation Award
(September 19, 2011) Prof. James E. McGrath received an NSF Major Research Instrumentation Award (MRI) totaling $255,265 for the "Acquisition of a Dual Size Exclusion Chromatography-Asymmetric Flow Field Flow Fractionation Instrument." Profs. Judy S. Riffle and S. Richard Turner, Prof. Kevin J. Edgar (WSFP), and Prof. Richey M. Davis (CHE) are co-PIs on the award. These faculty members are also affiliated with the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII
). The instrument will allow measurement of absolute molecular weights, intrinsic viscosities, degrees of branching, aggregation characteristics, chemical stability, and biodegradation information for a vast collection of chemical compositions. (more on McGrath ...
Riffle Receives NSF Grant
(September 9, 2011) Prof. Judy S. Riffle has received a grant from NSF ($381,000) to develop block copolymers that can form complexes with small-molecule or nanostructures ranging from metals to metal oxides, hydroxyapatite (bone), tooth enamel, and cationic drugs. The overall goal of the work is to find new materials that can engage in controlled binding with specific biomaterials or facilitate drug delivery. (more on Riffle...)
Crawford to Study Molecular Chirality
(Sept 9, 2011) Prof. Daniel Crawford has been awarded a $422,000 research grant from NSF to develop quantum chemical models of chiral molecules and their interactions with polarized light. The ultimate goal is to help laboratory chemists determine which "hand" (right vs. left) of a chiral compound delivers the best properties in applications ranging from fragrances to pharmaceuticals. (more ...)
Gibson Funded for Supramolecular Polymers
(September 9, 2011) Prof. Harry W. Gibson has received a grant from NSF ($420,000) to study macromolecules in which branch points, crosslinks, or repeat units are made from mechanical connections (rotaxanes or catenanes) instead of covalent bonds. Dr. Gibson and his co-workers will explore the unique physical properties of these supramolecular polymers, which have potential applications in biomedical materials, coatings, and composites. (more...)
Alumnus Webster Receives Tess Award
(September 03, 2011) Prof. Dean C. Webster, a VT alumnus (BS 1979, PhD 1984), has received the prestigious Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings for 2011 from the American Chemical Society. The award recognizes significant contributions to coatings science, technology, and engineering. Dr. Webster is a professor at North Dakota State University. (more on Webster ...)
Long Receives Dahlquist Award
(July 11, 2011) Prof. Timothy E. Long has received the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) 2011 Carl Dahlquist Award for his research relating to adhesive tape technology. His research group has developed a solvent-free and environmentally friendly approach of producing pressure sensitive adhesives. This combination of adherence to the principles of green chemistry and novel PSA structures that have attracted much commercial attention in recent years. (more...
Long Accepts Clifford Award
(May 25, 2011) Prof. Gary L. Long has received the 2011 Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award in the Chemistry Department. The award recognizes a faculty member whose contributions exemplify the standards of selfless service demonstrated by Prof. Clifford during his career. Dr. Long's distinguished record of service includes regional outreach through the Mobile Chemistry Laboratory, campus-wide pre-pharmacy student advising, and most recently the Presidency of the Virginia Tech Faculty Senate. (more on Long ...
Sun Wins VAS Presentation Award
(June 01, 2011) Furong Sun has been awarded Best Oral Presentation in the Structural Biology, Biochemistry & Biophysics Section of the 2011 Virginia Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, for her paper on phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate recognition by the Phytophthora sojae
effector Avh5. Furong is a fourth-year graduate student in Prof. Daniel Capelluto's research group.
Berg Accepts Viers Award
(May 26, 2011) Dr. Michael A. Berg has received the 2011 Viers Teaching Award. Alumnus E. Gary Cook established the award in honor of Prof. Jimmy W. Viers to recognize outstanding teaching by a departmental faculty member. Dr. Berg's contributions to the teaching mission of the department include large lecture sections of organic chemistry as well as the upper-division Drug Chemistry course. In characteristic fashion he ascribes much of his success in the classroom to the high aptitude and industry of his students. Additionally Dr. Berg serves as faculty advisor to dozens of undergraduates. (more on Berg ...
Gilbert Receives McNair Award
(May 24, 2011) Roberta Gilbert has received the 2011 Harold M. McNair Staff Service Award. Ms. Gilbert was recognized for her outstanding service to the Chemistry Department as Business Manager, and especially for her contributions to maintaining the Department's increasingly complex budget in view of University financial and auditing policies. (more ...
Long Named Mark Scholar
(May 12, 2011) Prof. Timothy E. Long has received the 2011 Mark Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. This national award, named for legendary polymer scientist Herman Mark, recognizes Dr. Long's achievements in polymer synthesis and characterization for emerging technologies, including engineering thermoplastics, functional surfaces, fibers, and nanostructures. His interdisciplinary research approach interfaces developments in polymer science with biology and engineering. (more ...
Faculty Members Earn SSD Recognition
(May 20, 2011) Dr. Michael A. Berg, Dr. Maggie B. Bump, and Prof. Gary L. Long have received 2011 Excellence in Access and Inclusion Awards from Virginia Tech Services for Students with Disabilities. The award is given to members of the VT community for their contributions in enabling disabled students to enjoy the broad range of educational opportunities and services offered within the University. (more ...
Kingston Appointed to NCCAM Council
(April 5, 2011) Prof. David G. I. Kingston was recently appointed, by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for the period 2010-2014. The Council advises the NCCAM Director on research activities and reviews grant applications to the Center. The council comprises 18 regular members, plus the 5 ex-officio members who are leaders of various Federal agencies. (more on Kingston ...
Riffle Receives Alumni Research Award
(April 04, 2011) Judy S. Riffle, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the VT Macromolecular Science and Engineering program, has been awarded the 2011 Alumni Award for Research Excellence. This premier university award recognizes her significant accomplishments in polymer science and her interdiscplinary contributions to polymers in medicine. Dr. Riffle's research has led to new materials for arterial grafts, and to highly oxygen-permeable contact lenses. More recently she has focused on nanostructures comprising a therapeutic or diagnostic core surrounded by a biocompatible polymeric shell. (more on Riffle...
CHEM Welcomes Tijana Grove
(March 28, 2011) The Chemistry Department is delighted to announce that Dr. Tijana Z. Grove will be joining the faculty in Fall 2011 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Grove earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Belgrade and her Ph.D. at Iowa State. She is presently a posdoc working with Prof. Lynne Regan at Yale. Bioimaging and biosensors, and the design of nano-scale, ordered scafolds for tissue engineering and drug delivery, are among the projects Dr. Grove and her group will pursue at VT.
Long Joins COS as Associate Dean
(March 23, 2011) Prof. Timothy E. Long has been named Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the College of Science. Dr. Long is responsible for catalyzing new educational, research, and outreach programs with a focus on promoting interdisciplinary collaborations across the college and university. He will work with research institutes, departments, faculty, and other colleges to develop interdisciplinary initiatives. The 50% administrative appointment will enable Dr. Long to maintain his highly active research program in the Chemistry Department. (more on Long...
VT Spotlight Shines on Dorn
(March 22, 2011) Professor Harry C. Dorn's research program is featured on Virginia Tech's home page as a "Spotlight on Impact
." The article describes the discovery and development, by Dr. Dorn and his team of collaborators, of methods to prepare tiny "buckyballs" of carbon that contain metal atoms. These nanomaterials show promising medical applications, including imaging and radiotracing. (more on Dorn ...
CHEM Welcomes Amanda Morris
(March 17, 2011) The Department warmly welcomes Dr. Amanda J. Morris, who will be joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2011. Dr. Morris is presently a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University, working with Prof. Andrew Bocarsly, studying the photo-reduction of carbon dioxide. She earned her B.S. from Penn State and her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Morris’s research at Virginia Tech will focus on fundamental and practical aspects of catalytic solar energy conversion.
McGrath to Develop Membranes for Navy
(March 01, 2011) Prof. James E. McGrath is one of ten winners of the Chief of Naval Research Challenge, a competition organized by the Office of Naval Research to identify research programs with the strongest potential to meet the current and future technological needs of the US Navy. Dr. McGrath and his co-workers in the Chemistry Department and the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII
) will use the $100,000 award to investigate chlorine-resistant membranes for reverse and forward osmosis, nanofiltration, and waste water purification. (more on McGrath ...
Amateis Featured in VT Magazine
(February 07, 2011) Prof. Patricia Amateis is featured in the January issue of Virginia Tech Magazine
. The article summarizes her long history of award-winning teaching and describes some of her classroom techniques, favorite demonstrations, and instructional philosophies. Those unaware that Dr. Amateis plays the steel drums will want to read this article! (read it here
Riffle Named POLY Fellow
(February 3, 2011) Prof. Judy S. Riffle has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society Polymer Division. POLY is the second division (after PMSE) to have bestowed this title upon Dr. Riffle. The award recognizes her many contributions to research and education in polymer science, as well as her long record of service to the Division. (more on Riffle...)
Li Wins OIRED Speech Contest
(November 29, 2010) Yi Li, a graduate student in Prof. Richard Turner's polymer research group, has won the graduate category of the Fall 2010 OIRED/Phi Beta Delta International Experiences Speech Contest. In her speech "On a Journey Defining Myself," Julie reflected on the roles of language and networking, and on the value of persistence and openness.
Blakely Featured in Public Service Ad
(November 29, 2010) Martha V. Blakely, a junior chemistry major and member of the VT Varsity Tennis team, talks about her philosophy of giving to her community in public service announcement co-sponsored by ACC and the United Way. (see the video here...)
Harvey Named ESPN Academic All-American
(November 20, 2010) Jennifer Harvey, a senior Chemistry major, has been named an ESPN First Team Academic All-American, in recognition of her achievement both in the classroom and on the soccer field.. (read full article...)(more about Jennifer...)
Valeev to Develop Sustainable Software
(November 17, 2010) Prof. Edward Valeev has received a four-year NSF grant ($400,000) to work with collaborators at Stanford and Iowa State to develop sustainable software infrastructure for electronic structure theory. Their objective is to enhance the accuracy of the existing methods for describing weak intermolecular interactions and light-driven processes by creating sustainable software elements integrated into large community software packages. (more on Valeev...)
Cancer Research on Discovery News
(November 16, 2010) Prof. Karen J. Brewer's anti-cancer phototherapy is highlighted in an article on the Discovery News website. Click here
to read the article. (More on Brewer...
Madsen to Study Ion-Conducting Materials
(November 8, 2010) Prof. Louis A. Madsen has received a three-year NSF grant ($324,000) to investigate dynamic ion-transport behavior in supramolecular materials with long-term applications in organic batteries and fuel cells. This work is part of an IUPAC-affiliated collaboration with Profs. Martin Moller (synthesis -- Aachen, Germany) and Dimitri Ivanov (structural characterization -- Mulhouse, France). (more on Madsen...)
Techulon Licenses Reineke Technology
(November 8, 2010) Techulon Inc., a life sciences company based in the VT Corporate Research Center, has signed an exclusive license with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. to market a new, traceable DNA delivery platform created to deliver genetic medicine to cells while carrying a beacon so scientists can follow its progress. The licensed theranostic material, so-called because it integrates therapies with diagnostics, was created by Prof. Theresa M. Reineke, and Dr. Joshua Bryson, principal scientist at Techulon. (read more...)(more on Reineke...)
Santos Targets HIV
(November 8, 2010) Professor Webster L. Santos and collaborator David Rekosh (University of Virginia) have received a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount $1.58 million to develop cell permeable, medium-sized molecules that target RNA structures essential for the HIV-1 life cycle. The research could lead to HIV/AIDS therapies. (more on Santos...)
Davis Named Fralin Visiting Scholar
(October 19, 2010) Mark E. Davis, the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at Caltech was hosted by the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII) and the Fralin Life Science Institute as a Visiting Scholar in November 2010. During his visit, Davis presented three lectures addressing translational medicine, from conception to invention of new macromolecular systems -- from cellular and in vitro studies that first prove the concept to clinical trials that bring the new therapy to patients. (Read more about Davis' visit...) (Read more about Mark Davis...)
Reineke Featured in "Valley Business Front"
(October 9, 2010) Prof. Theresa M. Reienke's research activities are highlighted in Valley Business Front, a local business magazine. A video of VBF's interview with Professor Reineke can be found here and the article can be found on pages 56-57 of the October issue of the magazine.
Brewer and Winkel Feted for Innovation
(October 5, 2010) Professor Karen J. Brewer (Chemistry), Professor Brenda Winkel (Biological Sciences) and Roger Dumoulin-White (Theralase Corporation) were named "Breakthrough Innovators" by Popular Mechanics for their work on light-activated compounds for the treatment of cancer. The magazine noted that "Two Virginia Tech scientists may have invented the future of cancer treatment - a way to eradicate tumors without the harmful side effects of chemotherapy, radiation or a surgeon's scalpel." (Read more...) (Popular Mechanics article...)
Moore Named ICTAS Associate Director
(October 6, 2010) Professor Robert B. Moore has been named Interim Associate Director of the Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Science (ICTAS). Dr. Moore will serve as chief technical officer and advisor to the Institute's director and will share with him responsibilities for technical administration, setting strategic directions and allocating resources on behalf of the institute. (Read more...
) (More on Moore...
Carlier Keynotes ACC Life Sciences Forum
(September 30, 2010) Prof. Paul Carlier will deliver a plenary lecture at the first ACC Interdisciplinary Forum for Discovery in Life Sciences, on Monday October 4 at 1:15 PM in Alumni Assembly Hall at The Inn at VT. His talk is entitled "Chemistry and Biology: Inseparable Partners for Meeting Challenges in Medicine and Public Health." (more ...)
Dorn Appointed Lilly Fellow
(September 01, 2010) Professor Harry C. Dorn has been appointed the Dr. A. C. Lilly, Jr. Faculty Fellow of Nanoscience. This endowed fellowship was established to provide support for an outstanding faculty member in the College of Science whose research is primarily in the nanoscience area. Dr. Dorn is known worldwide as a leader in carbonaceous nanomaterials including endohedral metallofullerenes and related species. (read more...)
(more on Dorn ...
Tanko Named Chair
(September 10, 2010) Professor James M. Tanko has been named the new Chair of the Chemistry Department. He succeeds Joe Merola who held the position for the past six years and has returned to full-time teaching and research. Tanko came to the university as an assistant professor in 1986 and was promoted to full professor in 1998. He has served on numerous educational and administrative committees in the department and received the department’s Faculty Teaching Award as well as the Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award in 2004. He served as chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Radicals and Radical Ions in Chemistry and Biology in 2007. (read more...)
Santos Named Blackwood Fellow
(October 01, 2010) Professor Webster L. Santos has been appointed the Blackwood Junior Faculty Fellow of Life Sciences. This fellowship was established to support and advance instruction, research and collaboration in the life sciences, with a complementary focus on the development of entrepreneurial opportunities. Dr. Santos's research focuses on the design of cell permeable RNA ligands as anti-HIV therapeutics and the development of sphingosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of hyperproliferative diseases such as cancer.(read more...)
(more on Santos ...
Dorn Appointed Lilly Fellow
(September 01, 2010) Professor Harry C. Dorn has been appointed the Dr. A. C. Lilly, Jr. Faculty Fellow of Nanoscience. This endowed fellowship was established to provide support for an outstanding faculty member in the College of Science whose research is primarily in the nanoscience area. Dr. Dorn is known worldwide as a leader in carbonaceous nanomaterials including endohedral metallofullerenes and related species. (read more...)
(more on Dorn ...
Santos to Study Patchy Particles
(August 18, 2010) Professors Webster L. Santos, Hans Robinson (Physics), and Richey M. Davis (Chemical Engineering) have received a three-year NSF grant ($500,000) to develop methods of assembling complex nanostructures. The project aims to demonstrate a new class of "patchy particles" having surfaces patterned with discrete interaction sites that attract or repel complementary sites on other particles. The long-term objective is to guide the self-assembly of complex structures with high precision and in high yield. (more on Santos ...)
Bump Accepts Viers Award
(May 28, 2010) Dr. Maggie B. Bump has received the 2010 Viers Teaching Award. Alumnus E. Gary Cook established the award in honor of Prof. Jimmy W. Viers to recognize outstanding teaching by a departmental faculty member. Dr. Bump has developed recitations, guided learning activities, and interactive online homework to facilitate student engagement in 500-seat lecture sections of organic chemistry. She also advises the ACS Student Affiliates (SAACS), and students in her lecture courses earn credit for involvement in SAACS's K-12 outreach. (more...
Blakely Honored as Scholar-Athlete
(May 26, 2010) Martha V. Blakely, a rising CHEM junior and a member of the women's tennis team, has received the 2010 Skelton Award for Academic Excellence in Athletics, given annually to the top female scholar-athlete at VT. The award is considered the top honor of the VT athletics department and recognizes her achievements in the classroom and on the courts. Ms. Blakely was also recently named to the Academic All-American First Team (University Division, Southeastern District) by ESPN Magazine. (more ...)
Valeev Receives Schug Award
(May 20, 2010) Prof. Edward F. Valeev has received the 2010 Schug Research Award. Alumnus E. Gary Cook established the award in honor of Prof. John Schug to recognize a departmental faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional creativity and productivity in research. Dr. Valeev's research focuses on the development of computational methods for accurate prediction of molecular reactivity and spectra. (more ...)
Professors Elected POLY Fellows
(May 19, 2010) Profs. James E. McGrath, Robert B. Moore, S. Richard Turner, and Thomas C. Ward (Chemistry) and Prof. Garth L. Wilkes (Chemical Engineering) have been elected Fellows of the ACS Polymer Division. The honor recognizes their contributions to the diverse research frontiers of synthetic and physical polymer chemistry, and to education within the university setting and through countless short courses spanning over thirty years. All five professors are also affiliated with the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII
Yee Receives Clifford Award
(May 03, 2010) Prof. Gordon T. Yee has received the 2010 Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award. Dr. Yee was cited for outstanding contributions to Chemistry Department committees, for his leadership in developing morale-building activities ranging from intramural sports to cooking contests, for his efforts in developing the undergraduate curriculum, and for his commitment to student mentoring at all levels. (more...
Hawthorne Receives McNair Award
(May 03, 2010) Anna Hawthorne has received the 2010 Harold M. McNair Staff Service Award. Ms. Hawthorne was recognized for her service to the Chemistry Department as Undergraduate Coordinator, and especially for helping students navigate the complex labyrinth of University policy while organizing many complex tasks such as student research symposia and the departmental commencement ceremony "behind the scenes." (more ...
Valeev Receives Dreyfus Award
(April 30, 2010) Prof. Edward F. Valeev is one of just 14 professors nationwide to receive the 2010 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. This award recognizes Dr. Valeev's significant accomplishments in the development of computational methods. The accompanying $75,000 grant will support research in accurate computational prediction of molecular reactivity and spectra. A portion of the funds is designated to facilitate the engagement of undergraduate students in computational research. (more ...
Gillmore Wins CAREER Award
(April 20, 2010) Prof. Jason G. Gillmore (BS 1996, MS 1998) has received a CAREER Award from NSF. The accompanying $549,000 grant will support several educational initiatives as well as research program directed toward understanding and controlling the molecular electronic properties of a family of organic photochromes, dyes that undergo light-induced rearrangements, with ultimate applications in microfabrication and volume holographic data storage. Dr. Gillmore is Associate Professor of Chemistry at Hope College in Holland, MI. (more ...)
Riffle Elected PMSE Fellow
(April 19, 2010) Prof. Judy S. Riffle has been elected a Fellow of the ACS Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE) division. The honor recognizes her contributions to polymer chemistry, which have led to new materials for heart transplants, arterial grafts, and contact lenses. Dr. Riffle is also founding director of Virginia Tech's Macromolecular Science and Engineering (MACR) interdisciplinary graduate program. (more ...)
Perfetti Receives Johnston Award
(April 12, 2010) Michael Perfetti, a recent chemistry graduate (MS, 2009) has received the G. Burke Johnston Award for his outstanding contributions to instruction in organic chemistry courses, especially the sophomore SynTech (majors) lab course. This annual, university-level award recognizes members of the faculty, staff, and administration for excellence in teaching and leadership in the academic community. (more ...
Amateis Named Wine Awardee
(March 20, 2010) Prof. Patricia Amateis has received the 2010 Wine Award from the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. Only three of the prestigious $2000 awards are given annually at Tech. Dr. Amateis was cited for her development of the General Chemistry curriculum (including a laboratory program that serves nearly 2500 students per year and employs over 40 teaching assistants), recitation-lecture instruction, and the Chemistry Learning Center; and of course, for her long track record of consistently superior course evaluations from students that testify to her skill in the classroom. (more ...
Daly Receives Howe Award
(April 02, 2010) Kelly M. Daly, a senior Chemistry major, has been selected to receive the James Lewis Howe Award, presented annually to outstanding chemistry graduates of institutions located within the boundaries of the American Chemical Society's Virginia Blue Ridge Local Section. A 2008 Wightman Scholar, Ms. Daly was also a finalist for both the College of Science Outstanding Senior Award and Virginia Tech's Woman of the Year Award. She will attend graduate school in nutrition science at the University of Utah. (more ...)
Long Receives Alumni Research Award
(Mar 24, 2010) Prof. Timothy Long has received the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence for 2010. The ARE award specifically cited fundamental advances in the design of macromolecules and their impact on emerging biomedical and membrane technologies. Dr. Long noted that his success in research has rested on the willingness of over 150 student and postdoctoral co-workers from around the world to invest their collective intellect and energy on interdisciplinary, collaborative research programs. (more ...)
Valeev Article Makes Impact
(March 17, 2010) An article published by Prof. Edward Valeev and his co-workers in the Journal of Chemical Physics (2009, 131, 044118) has been named an "Editor's Choice" article for 2009, for its impact in the area of theoretical methods. The paper describes an extension of coupled-cluster theory that will improve the accuracy of computations on challenging chemical reactions. (more ...)
Morris Funded to Study Surface Reactions
(Feb 24, 2010) Prof. John R. Morris has received a grant from NSF for molecular beam studies of surface chemical reactions. The $430,000, three-year award will help Dr. Morris and his co-workers further molecular level understanding of how common atmospheric pollutants react on surfaces of environmentally important organic materials, including surfactant-coated water droplets or aerosols, soot particles, and polymers. (more on Morris ...
Yee Awarded Certificate of Teaching Excellence
(Feb 03, 2010) Prof. Gordon T. Yee is one of only two faculty members in the College of Science to receive a 2010 Certificate of Teaching Excellence. This university award is bestowed annually to faculty members who demonstrate outstanding teaching skills and dedication to learning. Dr. Yee is recognized specifically for his commitment to interactive learning, which he has demonstrated in the classroom with lively, demonstration-enriched lectures, and as the co-author of Thinkwell Chemistry, a popular multimedia textbook. (more on Yee ...
Department Rises in National Rankings
(November 21, 2009) The Chemistry Department has reached a national ranking of 33rd
according to National Science Foundation data published recently in Chemical and Engineering News
. The ranking is based solely on total
chemical research expenditures in the year 2007. However, an informal analysis suggests that the Virginia Tech Chemistry Departrment's expenditures per faculty member
approximately equal those of some departments presently ranked within the Top Ten.
Crawford Awarded Dirac Medal
(November 23, 2009) Professor T. Daniel Crawford has been selected to receive the 2010 Dirac Medal for the outstanding computational chemist in the world under the age of 40. The award is given annually by the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC
). Dr. Crawford was cited "for a range of outstanding advances in theoretical chemistry, including reduced-scaling coupled-cluster methods for computing optical rotation and CD spectra of large chiral molecules." (more on Crawford....
CHEM Named Exemplary Department
(December 06, 2009) The Chemistry Department has been named a University Exemplary Department for 2009. The award especially cited the advancement of undergraduate education through research. The Chair of Chemistry, Prof. Joseph Merola, congratulates the many faculty and staff members who have contributed to an environment in the Department that fosters undergraduate research and that has helped so many students reach for professional careers in the chemical sciences and in allied fields. (more ...
Wightman Races Giant Acorn!
(November 19, 2009) Professor Emeritus James P. Wightman has competed in the Giant Acorn Sprint 2009, a grueling 750 meter swim, 20 K bike ride, and 5 K run. As the oldest competitor at 74, Dr. Wightman clocked a worthy 2:06:36. Retired from his career in surface chemistry and adhesion science, Dr. Wightman remains active in many ways that continue to surprise and gratify his colleagues and students. (more ...)
Bischoff Receives DAAD Fellowship
(November 16, 2009) Dr. Florian Bischoff, a postdoctoral associate in the Chemistry Department, has received a research fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Dr. Bischoff received his PhD at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. At Virginia Tech he is working with Prof. Edward Valeev on a new approach to electronic structure theory that replaces conventional orbital basis sets with localized mathematical functions.
McNair Featured as Icon of Chromatography
(November 12, 2009) Prof. Emeritus Harold M. McNair has been featured in the "Icons of Chromatography" series in LC-GC Europe, a leading trade journal for separation technology. The article recognizes Dr. McNair as one of the world's "foremost authorities on the theory and application of virtually all mainstream separation techniques." The text of an accompanying interview with Dr. McNair may be found here.
Mach Named ICTAS Scholar
(September 25, 2009) Taylor Mach, a first-year chemistry graduate student, was one of six VT students selected to receive an ICTAS Doctoral Scholarship. The award includes a stipend and graduate tuition for four years, as well as support for conference travel. Mach earned his undergraduate degree at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and he intends to study molecular electronic structure theory with Prof. Daniel Crawford. (more...)
Reineke Wins NIH New Innovator Award
(October 6, 2009) Prof. Theresa M. Reineke is one of 54 scholars nationwide to receive the 2009 NIH Director's New Innovator Award, which recognizes "investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research." Dr. Reineke and her research group
will use the $2.3 million in funding to explore mechanisms of intracellular nucleic acid delivery using novel carbohydrate-containing polymers. (more ...
Nano Drug Delivery Initiative Receives Grant
(September 25, 2009) Professors Alan R. Esker and Richard D. Gandour have received $431,000 as part of a $1,512,000 grant from NSF for Cyber-Engineering Functional Nanoparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery. They are working with three cyber engineers--Professors Roland Faller (UC Davis), Amadeu Sum (Colorado School of Mines), and Markus Deserno (Carnegie Mellon)--who will simulate the design of the nanoparticles. Through a virtual feedback system, Esker's and Gandour's experiments will validate the simulations, which, in turn, will suggest new nanoparticle designs.
Chemists Receive Grant for SAXS
(October 10, 2009) Profs. Robert B. Moore and Herve Marand have received a $510,000 grant from NSF (plus $220,000 in matching support from VT) to purchase an instrument for small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). These techniques enable nanoscale morphological characterization of solid materials and liquid dispersions. Dr. Moore, Dr. Marand, and several science and engineering colleagues are exploring new materials for energy and bio-medical applications. The new equipment will complement existing capabilities of the VT Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory (NCFS).
Congratulations to our Chili Cookoff Winners!
Our first-annual chili cookoff was held on Friday, September 04, with 21 entries in three categories (traditional, vegetarian, and exotic). Sam Higgins and Ken Knott shared top honors for their entry, a coffee-infused buffalo-meat chili, very tasty! Joe Merola won the exotic category with his pork chili verde, and Lou Madsen took the prize in the vegetarian category. And of course, hats off (again) to Gordon Yee for organizing the whole affair. Thanks also to all who made those dozens upon dozens of corn muffins.
Chili cookoff winners. Left to right: Sam Higgins, Lou Madsen, event organizer Gordon Yee, Ken Knott, and Joe Merola.
Long Named Associate Director at Fralin
(July 1, 2009) Prof. Timothy Long has been named Associate Director for Interdisciplinary Research and Education at Virginia Tech's Fralin Life Science Institute. Partnering with the Graduate School, VTC, VBI, VMRCVM, and OVPR, Dr. Long aims to stimulate educational and research collaborations in life science across campus and to foster an externally visible community that will attract applicants to allied degree programs. His initial term of service is three years. (more ...)
Turner Funded for Polymer Research
(June 30, 2009) Prof. Richard Turner has received a $370,000 grant from NSF to investigate rigid polyelectrolytes and double-hydrophilic rod-coil block copolymers. The project evolved from Prof. Turner's earlier work demonstrating precise alternation and functional group control in stilbene-maleic anhydride copolymers. Long-range applications are envisioned in areas such as bioactive coatings. (more on Turner ...)
Valeev Wins NSF CAREER Award
(May 21, 2009) Prof. Edward Valeev has been awarded the National Science Foundation's 2009 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to develop predictive computational chemistry methods using electronic wavefunctions with explicit inclusion of correlations between electrons. The $600,000 grant will support his group's efforts through 2014. (more on Valeev ...)
Riffle Receives Schug Award
(May 15, 2009) Prof. Judy S. Riffle has received the 2009 Schug Research Award. Alumnus E. Gary Cook established the award in honor of Prof. John Schug to recognize a departmental faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional creativity and productivity in research. Professor Riffle's research focuses on homo- and block copolymer synthesis, principally for drug delivery vehicles and advanced diagnostics.
Morris Accepts Viers Award
(May 15, 2009) Prof. John R. Morris has received the 2009 Viers Teaching Award. Alumnus E. Gary Cook established the award in honor of Prof. Jimmy W. Viers to recognize outstanding teaching by a departmental faculty member. In recent years, Prof. Morris has transformed our undergraduate Analytical Chemistry Laboratory course from traditional, procedure-based experiments to an inquiry-based experience that places more emphasis on developing student's research, problem-solving, and reasoning skills.
Lu Named Fulbright Scholar
(May 08, 2009) Jessica Lu, a graduate student who studies with Prof. John Morris, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a full academic year at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. The scholarship provides a stipend and living expenses, enabling Ms. Lu to concentrate all of her efforts in Israel on her research, which focuses on the scattering dynamics and reactions of gas molecules at solid and liquid surfaces.
Morris Receives Clifford Award
(May 01, 2009) Prof. John R. Morris has received the 2009 Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award. This award is presented to a departmental faculty member whose contributions to service at the department, university, and community levels are judged by his or her peers to exemplify the standards of selfless service set by Prof. Clifford during his career in the department. Prof. Morris's contributions as Graduate Admissions Director were especially cited.
Wertalik Receives McNair Award
(May 01, 2009) The Harold McNair Staff Service Award recognizes outstanding service at the department, university, and community levels by a member of the classified staff. Prof. McNair established this award to recognize the spirit of cooperation, dedication, and outstanding service of support staff. Tom Wertalik has exemplified a high standard of staff service through his efforts in the Glass Shop.
Hobson Receives ACC Academic Honor
(March 16, 2009) Sandra Hobson is one of seven students chosen to represent VT at the 2009 ACC Meeting of the Minds conference in Raleigh NC. The selection was based on the quality of her research (in quantum chemistry) with Prof. Edward Valeev, which has already resulted in an article in Molecular Physics (2009, in press). Ms. Hobson will earn her BS in Chemical Engineering this spring and pursue a career in medicine. (more...)
Carlier Funded for Malaria Research
(April 12, 2009) Prof. Paul Carlier and his co-investigators Jeffrey Bloomquist (Entomology), Jianyong Li (Biochemistry), and Max Totrov (Molsoft LLC) have received a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount $3.6 million to develop resistance-breaking insecticides specific to the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. (more...)
Morris and Tatum Receive Howe Awards
(April 20, 2009) Wesley Morris and David Tatum, both senior CHEM majors, have received the James Lewis Howe Award, presented annually to outstanding chemistry graduates of institutions located within the boundaries of the American Chemical Society's Virginia Blue Ridge Local Section. Mr. Morris, the Chemistry Department's nominee, will attend graduate school at Cornell University, while Mr. Tatum, the Biochemistry Department's nominee, will attend the University of California. (more ...)
Kingston Honored with Journal Issue
(March 30, 2009) Prof. David Kingston is honored with a special issue of the Journal of Natural Products, in recognition of his contributions to the chemistry of the anticancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol), and to the conservation of biodiversity through the isolation of possible drug compounds in rain forest botanicals. (more...)
Schug Named LCGC Emerging Leader
(March 19, 2009) Prof. Kevin A. Schug (PhD, 2002) has received the 2009 LCGC Emerging Leader of the Year for Chromatography Award, for his contributions to the field of LC-MS, especially the development of electrospray ionization (ESI) applications. Kevin is presently an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. (more on Schug ...)
McNair Receives LCGC Award
(March 19, 2009) Prof. Emeritus Harold M. McNair has received the prestigious LCGC Award for Lifetime Achievement in Chromatography, for contributions over more than four decades. His classic text, "Basic Gas Chromotography" has been found on the shelves of practicing chemists since the first edition was published in 1969. Prof. McNair received his award at Pittcon in March 2009. (more ...)
Valeev Wins ACS Award
(March 16, 2009) Prof. Edward Valeev has been selected as one of four winners of the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry Outstanding Junior Faculty Award sponsored by Hewlett-Packard. He will receive his $1000 award and present an address at the ACS Spring National Meeting in Salt Lake City. (more on Valeev ...)
Chirik Wins Cope Scholar Award
(March 13, 2009) Prof. Paul J. Chirik (B.S., 1995) has received the 2009 ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award for his invention of organoiron compounds that catalyze diverse chemical reactions including hydrogenation, and for his discovery of zirconium complexes that disassemble atmospheric nitrogen -- both potentially energy-saving contributions. Paul is currently Debye Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University. (more on Chirik ...)
DeSimone Wins Alumni Achievement Award
(March 13, 2009) Prof. Joseph M. DeSimone (PhD 1990) has been selected to receive the 2009 Virginia Tech Distinguished Graduate Alumni Achievement Award. He will receive the award at the Graduate Commencement ceremony at 3 pm on Friday, May 15. Joe is Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at University of North Carolina and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, at North Carolina State University. (more on DeSimone ...)
Valeev Wins Sloan Fellowship
(February 17, 2009) Prof. Edward Valeev has been awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. One of only 23 chemists to receive this award in 2009, Valeev is recognized partly for his prior contributions to electronic structure theory and partly for the exceptional promise of his ongoing and future research activities. The award includes an unrestricted $50,000 research grant. (more ...)
Carlier Licences Antidepressant
(February 09, 2009) Prof. Paul Carlier and VTIP have reached a license agreement allowing AstraZeneca to develop a new antidepressant invented in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. If successful in clinical trials, the drug would become the first example of a "triple reuptake inhibitor" or TRI, which addresses all three major neurotransmitters associated with mood control. (more at: vt news, Roanoke Times, chem|people)
Moore Elected to Lead POLY
(February 1, 2009) Prof. Robert B. Moore was elected 2010 Vice-Chair (and 2010 Chair) of the American Chemical Society Polymer Division. He had previously served POLY as Treasurer and as Awards Co-Chair. (more on Moore ...
Madsen Wins CAREER Award
(December 19, 2008) Prof. Lou Madsen has received the 2008 NSF Career Award for his work on understanding anisotropy in ionomers using NMR spectroscopy. The $475,000 grant will support his efforts through 2013. (more on Madsen ...)
Kingston Renews Biodiversity Project
(December 13, 2008) Prof. David Kingston and his collaborators are discovering leads for new anti-cancer drugs in rain forest botanicals. The multi-million-dollar award comes from a consortium of federal agencies including NIH, USDA, NSF, and NCI. (more ...)
Brodkin Wins Diversity Award
(December 3, 2008) Claudia P. Brodkin, manager of the undergraduate chemistry labs at Virginia Tech, was recently awarded the College of Science Diversity Award for 2008. The annual award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has made significant contributions in diversity on campus. (more ...)
Turner Wins ACS Award
(September 15, 2008) Prof. Richard Turner has received the 2008 American Chemical Society Industrial Polymer Scientist Award. This award, which recognizes Turner's achievements during his tenure at Eastman Chemical Company, was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia in August 2008. (more ...)