Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry-Fall 2017

Unless noted otherwise, All Friday Seminars will begin at 3:10 pm and take place in the Byker Auditorium-Chemistry Biochemistry Building.

Thursday, August 31

Brian Kassar from the Counseling and Psychological Services (MSU) will be here to present QPR Suicide Prevention Training.  This training will discuss basic skills to help recognize someone who might be suicidal, then how to Question (ask if they’re suicidal), Persuade (help them access resources), and Refer (learn local resources and refer them for help).  3:00 pm in the Byker Auditorium.

Friday, September 1

Dr. Leslie Murray (Department of Chemistry, University of Florida) will present “Understanding How to Cooperate to Activate Small Molecules” to start the Fall 2017 seminar series. Professor Jen DuBois will host Dr. Murray.  3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium

Friday, September 8

Dr. Brian Hoffman from the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University will present "The Mechanism of Nitrogen Fixation by Nitrogenase." 3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium.  Professor Joan Broderick will host.


Brian M. Hoffman is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has spent his career unraveling the mechanistic details of complex enzyme systems, exploring the details of long-range interprotein electron transfer, and studying molecular metals and the chemistry of porphyrazine macrocycles. Much of his work in bioinorganic chemistry involves the application of electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy, a combination of NMR and EPR spectroscopies that is able to determine active site composition, as well as electronic and geometric structures, for resting states and key trapped catalytic intermediates. Among his notable achievements are major contributions to the understanding of the mechanism of nitrogenase, the active site structure and intermediates in radical SAM enzymes, and mechanisms of vital heme enzymes such as nitric oxide synthase and cytochrome P450. Prof. Hoffman is a graduate of Lane Tech High School in Chicago, and earned a bachelor of science in chemistry at the University of Chicago. His Ph.D. research was carried out at Caltech under the direction of Harden M. McConnell. He was briefly a postdoc with Alex Rich at MIT prior to starting as a faculty member at Northwestern University, where he has been ever since. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the ACS F.A. Cotton Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research, the RSC Joseph Chatt Award for Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry and Biochemistry, the ACS Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry, and the RSC Bruker Prize for ESR. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Thursday, September 14

Juliana Alexander will defend her thesis beginning with a presentation titled “Palladium Catalyzed π-Allyl Rearrangements of N-Alloc Enamines and Ynamides.”  8:15 am in the Byker Auditorium.  Juliana works in the laboratory of Professor Matt Cook.

Thursday, September 14

Professor Paul Blakemore, from Oregon State University will present a seminar titled  “Stereospecific Assembly of Carbon-Carbon Bonds Using Scalemic Carbenoids.”  Dr. Blakemore is the guest of Professor Matt Cook. 1:30 pm in the Byker Auditorium.

Friday, September 15

Dr. Ron Shen (UC Berkeley) - Graduate Students are the host.

Friday, September 22

Dr. Gerrick Lindberg (Northern Arizona) will present a seminar titled "Controlling the structure of proteins with ionic liquids." Dr. Lindberg is the guest of Professor Sharon Neufeldt.

Abstract: Ionic liquids (ILs) have received significant attention in the past few decades as a novel class of materials with numerous proposed technological applications. ILs are salts that are liquid at the operating temperature; for room temperature operation this typically entails a large organic cation and a smaller anion. At the crux of their interesting behavior is the fact that they are typically polar and organic, so ILs can be designed with attributes of both aqueous and organic solvent environments. Despite all of the promise and research, there remain fundamental questions about the behavior of ILs. One particularly tantalizing area has been the use of ILs in biological systems. Recent publications from my and other groups have shown that ILs can have dramatic effects on protein structure and cell membrane permeability, but those effects are dependent on the specific system in consideration. In my group we use computational molecular dynamics simulations to predict the behavior of these systems. These techniques provide an unparalleled perspective on molecular motion at length and time scales that naturally emerge. My talk will review our recent results and future plans.

Thursday, September 28 

Byker Auditorium at 5:30 pm

Dr. John Kiely will give a seminar in the Byker on how to get a job after you graduate from MSU. Although Dr. Kiely's seminar is specifically geared toward undergraduates, the information also applies directly to graduate students as they seek employment. Graduate students are welcome to attend.

The title of the seminar is "As, Bs, and Cs of graduating and going into industry: how will life and science change when you get there?"

You can preview the slides from the talk here:

There will be free pizza and time for you to talk to Dr. Kiely informally after the seminar.

Dr. Kiely is also willing to meet with students individually to discuss careers in chemistry, resumes, job interviews, etc. He will be available Friday morning, September 29, and you can talk to him after his seminar if you'd like to set up an individual meeting.

Dr. Kiely received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Montana State University. He then earned a Ph.D. at North Dakota State University. He recently retired after a highly successful career in the chemical industry, where he worked for companies including Parke-Davis, Applied Genetics, LION Bioscience, and Gryphon Therapeutics.

Friday, September 29

Dr. Catherine Murphy (Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will present "Gold Nanocrystals: Physics. Chemistry, Biology, Ecology." Dr. Murphy is the Peter C. and Gretchen Miller Markunas Professor of Chemistry, the Center for Advanced Study Professor, and the Deputy Editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.  Professor Tim Minton is the host. 

Friday, October 6 

Graduate Student Andy Hill will present his research in a seminar titled "Characterization of Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskites via Ultrafast Microscopy." Andy is part of the Materials Science Ph.D program working in the laboratory of Professor Erik Grumstrup. 

Thursday, October 12

Kopriva Science Graduate Student Seminar- Ms. Amanda Byer (Broderick Lab). 3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium. "Radical SAM Enzyme Mechanism Investigations." A reception will follow. 

Friday, October 13

Dr. Ed Rosenberg  from the University of Montana will present a seminar titled "Silica Polyamine Composites (SPC): new materials for metal recovery, remediation and catalysis."  Professor Robert Szilagyi will host.

A novel class of solid state adsorbents has been developed at UM.  The materials have been vetted in the lab over twenty years of research and have been manufactured and used on the industrial scale.  The first generation materials were based on amorphous silica micro particles (150-300 microns) and more recent versions used silica nano particles and core-shell magnetite-silica nano particles.  Applications of each type will be presented with a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of each type of SPC along with comparisons with other commercially available ion exchange materials.

Friday, October 20 

Dr. George Stanley from Louisiana State University will present "Bimetallic Cooperativity in Catalysis: Twice the Fun!" Professor Sharon Neufeldt is the host. 

Abstract:  Homobimetallic rhodium complexes using the binucleating tetraphosphine ligand racemic-(Et2PCH2CH2)(Ph)PCH2P(Ph)(CH2CH2PEt2), et,ph-P4, are highly active and selective hydroformylation catalysts for a variety of 1-alkenes.  We have investigated the nature of the bimetallic cooperativity in this novel catalyst via extensive in situ FT-IR, NMR, kinetic, isotopic labeling experiments, and DFT computational studies, all of which indicate that the key bimetallic catalyst in acetone is a unique dicationic Rh(+2) oxidation state complex, [rac-Rh2(m-H)2(CO)2(et,ph-P4)]2+.  Unfortunately, the NMR studies clearly indicate that this catalyst system is very susceptible to deactivating fragmentation reactions. 

When a 30% water/acetone solvent system is used for hydroformylation deprotonation of the dicationic dihydride species occurs generating a less active, but far more fragmentation resistant bimetallic catalyst proposed to be [Rh2(m-H)(CO)2(et,ph-P4)]+, which out-preforms the dicationic catalyst.  Based on the fragmentation problem a new, far more strongly coordinating P4 ligand that uses 1,2-phenylene based chelating groups has been designed, synthesized, and characterized.  Studies on bimetallic complexes based on this new P4 ligand will be discussed.

Friday, October 27 - open

Friday, November 3

Dr. Steve Patterson (The University of Minnesota) will present a research seminar titled "Sulfanegen: Discovery and Development of a Novel Cyanide Antidote."  Dr. Patterson is the guest of research scientist, Garrett Moraski. 


Steven E Patterson, Center for Drug Design, The University of Minnesota

Cyanide is a well-known archetypal poison that has been used for centuries. It inhibits cytrochrome c oxidase, inhibiting aerobic cellular respiration i.e. the utilization of oxygen to form ATP. The consequences of acute cyanide exposure are severe: exposure results in loss of consciousness, cardiac and respiratory failure, hypoxic brain injury, and for high dose exposure (>10 mg/kg NaCN) death can occur in minutes. In a mass-casualty scenario, such as an industrial accident or terrorist attack, currently available cyanide antidotes would leave many victims untreated in the short time available for successful administration of a medical countermeasure. This restricted therapeutic window reflects the rate-limiting step of intravenous administration, which is relatively slow and requires well-trained medical personnel. Therefore, there is a need for a rapidly acting antidote that is suitable for rapid administration to large numbers of people. To meet this need, our laboratory is developing sulfanegen, a potential antidote for cyanide poisoning with a novel mechanism based on the enzyme 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MST). The use of sulfanegen in experimental models of cyanide exposure results in detoxification via conversion of cyanide to thiocyanate. Additionally, sulfanegen can be rapidly administered by intramuscular injection and has demonstrated efficacy in commonly used laboratory models of humans. The discussion will summarize the journey from concept to clinical leads for this promising cyanide antidote. 

Thursday, November 9

Ms. Amanda Fuchs will present a gradaute student Kopriva seminar titled "Metabolic Reprogramming of Human Macrophages upon Exposure to Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms" at 3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium.  Ms. Fuchs works in the laboratory of Professor Valérie Copié.  

Friday, November 10-Holiday

Ph.D. Defense Mr.  Ky Mickelsen will defend his Ph.D in chemistry beginning with a seminar at 2:00 pm in the Byker.  Ky works in the laboratory of Professor Tom Livinghouse.

Friday, November 17 

Mr. Jacob Remington will be presenting his research in a 4th year graduate student presentation today in the Byker at 3:10 pm. The title of his talk is "Conformational Dynamics of ssDNA Dinucleotides: Insights from Time Resolved Fluorescence and Molecular Dynamics Simulations." Jacob works in the labs of Professors Pat Callis and Bern Kohler.

Tuesday, November 21

Ms. Mackenzie Fricke will be presenting her research in a 4th year graduate student presentation titled "Using lactose functionalized dendrimers to study the impactof galectin-3 on cancer cell migration."  Mackenzie works in the lab of Prof. Mary Cloninger.  4 pm in the Byker Auditorium

Friday, November 24-Thanksgiving Holiday

Thursday, November 30 - PhD Defense

Ph.D Defense in Biochemistry. Ms. Sarah Partovi will defend her Ph.D in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "The Coenzyme M Biosynthetic Pathway in Xanthobacter autotrophicus Py2: The smallest known organic cofactor."  2 pm in the Byker Auditorium. 

Friday, Dec 1

Dr. Scott Shaw (University of Iowa) will present "Measuring Molecules Near Surfaces: Better than a Needle in a Haystack"  in the Byker Auditorium today at 3:10 pm. Professor Rob Walker will host.  


Chemical interfaces contain unique molecular architectures that contribute to important processes including surfactancy, self-assembly, and heterogeneous catalysis. However, specific relationships between intermolecular interactions and observed interfacial behaviors remain poorly defined. This is particularly true of soft, high vapor pressure, dynamic interfaces which are challenging or impossible to investigate with ultra-high vacuum techniques. Research in the Shaw group focuses on making analytical measurements at chemical interfaces that are relevant to energy and environmental fields. We are interested in understanding the distal extent of chemical interfaces and the dynamics of molecular reorganizations within these microscopic volumes. This talk will introduce our approach to studying interfacial measurements, describe spectroscopic data showing unique, long-range ordering behaviors of ‘interfacial’ molecular and ionic liquids, and present results from thermal and electrochemical approaches to control and tune the observed interfacial behaviors.

Friday, Dec 8th 

Dr. Huw Davies (Emory University) will be giving the Grieco Distinguished Lecture.  Professor Matt Cook is the host.

Spring 2018

Friday, January 12 

Luke Berry will be presenting his research in a 4th year graduate student seminar (title to follow). 

Friday, January 19 

CBB facilities open house with Professors Bothner, Copie, Lawrence and Walker

Friday, January 26 

Dr. Levi Stanley (Iowa State). Professor Matt Cook host.

Friday, February 2 -open

Friday February 9 

Dr. Jaclyn Henderson from Biogen. Professor Matt Cook host.

Friday, February 16

Dr. Melanie Sanford (Michigan) will be giving the Grieco Distinguished Lecture . Professor Sharon Neufeldt host.

Friday, February 23

Graduate Recruiting Speaker, Dr. Sunshine Silver, Assistant Professor, North Park University, Chicago.

Friday, March 2 

The Materials Science Program and The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will host  Professor Anne McCoy (Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison).  Dr. McCoy is the guest of Professor Rob Walker.

Friday, March 9 

Dr. Pratyush Tiwary (University of Maryland). Prof. NIck Stadie host. 

Friday, March 23

Dr. Jeff Blackburn (NREL) Erik Grumstrup will host. 

Friday April 6

Professor Pat Callis (Linfield Hall) 

Friday, April 13

Dr. Regan Thompson (Northwestern) Professor Matt Cook host

Friday, April 20-

Shelley Lusetti NM State- Bothner

Friday, April 27 

Michael Jung UCLA- Livinghouse

Friday, May 25

Dr. Bruce Gibb -Tulane University