Fall 2019 

Wednesday, December 11

CHMY and BCH 494 students will present their research starting at 1 pm.  Each presentation will be aproximately 25 minutes.  Students presenting are Luke MacHale (Robert Szilagyi advisor),  Heath Weaver (Garrett Moraski advisor) and Brock Cone (Jovanka Voyich advisor).

Byker Auditorium 

Thursday, December 12 

Faculty Candidate Seminar

Dr. Zhou Lin from the University of California, Berkeley will present "Quantum Chemistry for Complex and Exotic Systems."


Chemical reactions in complex systems with interacting fragments or phases have been a long-standing point of interest in the scientific community. A profound understanding of a complex system facilitates the rational design of its analogs with optimal properties and is potentially able to shape the future of our world. Through the development and application of quantum mechanical models, my doctoral and postdoctoral research serve as critical players in the interrogation and optimization of a variety of complex systems that are considered challenging in the conventional theoretical framework. Specifically, my investigation attack three questions that exhibit scientific significance and technological promise: (1) spectroscopy and dynamics of fluxional molecular clusters, (2) efficiency and mechanisms of photoinduced events in organic semiconductors, and (3) thermodynamics and kinetics of surface reactions in heterogeneous catalysis. My models can predict and interpret desirable observables for the systems of interest.

10:15 am in Byker Auditorium 

Friday, December 13

Ece Topuzlu will discuss her recent findings from her PhD dissertation in a seminar titled "Characterization and Engineering of MHETase, a Plastic Degrading Polyesterase."  Ece completed all PhD degree requirements in September of 2019 but did some additioinal data collection and analysis for the past two months in the lab of Dr. Gregg Beckham at NREL.   Ece's research advisor is Valérie Copié .  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm 

Abstract: Accumulation of synthetic plastics in the biosphere is leading to a global environmental crisis. In response, microbes are evolving strategies to convert man-made polymers into carbon and energy sources, and these systems offer a promising starting point to harness for biotechnological purposes towards plastics upcycling. To that end, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 was recently reported to secrete a two-enzyme system to deconstruct the abundant synthetic polyester, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), to its constituent monomers for further catabolism. The PETase enzyme specifically breaks down the PET polymer, liberating mono-(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (MHET), which is then cleaved to its constituent monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, by MHETase. This talk will focus on the structure and function of MHETase. Crystal structured of MHETase solved at 1.6 Å reveals an α/β hydrolase fold with an additional lid domain. In addition, we have expressed and purified multiple mutants of MHETase and PETase to assess the function of the lid domain, and we have identified homologous enzymes from two other organisms also turnover MHET. Lastly, we have explored further into the synergistic reactions of PETase and MHETase together and constructed chimeras for assessing the optimum PET turnover. Taken together, these results offer new molecular-level insights into the two-enzyme system of I. sakaiensis in the breakdown of recalcitrant PET. 

Monday December 16 

Faculty Candidate Seminar

Dr. Elvira Sayfutyarova (Dept. of Chemistry, Yale University) will present "Tackling challenging electronic structure problems: from transition metal complexes to photoinduced reactions."

Abstract: First-principles calculations have become indispensable in interpreting
experimental spectra, understanding the reactivity of compounds, and
characterizing many molecular properties. But despite many advances in
computational methods, there remain challenges in the computational
modeling of transition metal complexes and chromophores with conjugated
π-bonds, as these systems can possess very complicated electronic
structure. To model their chemistry, we must tackle a number of
theoretical challenges, ranging from strong electron-electron
correlation to spin-orbit coupling. In my talk I will introduce such
approaches which greatly facilitate this modeling, and demonstrate
their performance for different problems. These range from excitation
energies and magnetic properties of transition metal complexes to
photoinduced processes in organic and enzymatic systems.

11 am in the Byker Auditorium

Thursday, December 19

Faculty Candidate Seminar

Dr. Martin A. Mosquera (Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University) will present "Excited State Absorption, Quantum Embedding, and Molecular Dielectrics." 

Abstract: In this talk we describe our recent theories for the calculation of excited-state absorption spectra of molecules. We discuss challenges in the application of conventional methods using density functional theory, and how quantum embedding can give solutions to these problems. Finally, we show ideas based on quantum interference to propose molecular insulators.

11 am in the Byker Auditorium


Friday, January 17 -open

Friday, January 24 -open

Friday, January 31 - open

Friday, February 7

Dr. Stephan Irle from Oak Ridge National Laboratory will present "Recent developments for the quantum chemical investigation of molecular systems with high structural complexity."  Robert Szilagyi host. 


Friday, February 14 - open

Friday, February 21 - open

Friday, February 28

Graduate Recruiting Day

Tuesday, March 3

PhD Defense Märtha Welander

Friday, March 6 - open

Friday, March 13 

Stephen Sprang (Montana) Martin Lawrence host

Friday, March 20 - Spring Break

Friday, March 27 - NCUR at MSU 

Friday, April 3

Betul Kacar (University of Arizona) Roland Hatzenpichler

Friday, April 10 University Holiday

Friday, April 17

Viola Birss (University of Calgary)  Rob Walker

Friday, April 24

Jessica Hoover (Sharon Neufeldt)

Friday, May 1

James Prell (Dept. of Chemistry, Univeristy of Oregon). Brian Bothner Host