• April 22, 2021
    CMU Grad Uses His Hands-On Experience To Fire Up His Future
    Eric Ostrander and Bob Howell in the labStudies show that early access to undergraduate research opportunities provides students with the necessary foundation to be successful in the best graduate schools, in industry, and in life.

    Eric Ostrander, a recent CMU Chemistry & Biochemistry graduate is putting his undergraduate research experience to work for him and has just received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship to complete his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    Early on, the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at CMU recognized the importance of undergraduate research opportunities for students and established an expectation that every student complete undergraduate research as part of their degree requirements. Currently, we are the only public institution in Michigan that requires undergraduate research as a degree requirement, which means Chemistry & Biochemistry students at CMU receive training and experience not found at many other institutions.

    Ostrander’s research focused on the development of new, effective, nontoxic, environmentally-friendly organophosphorus flame retardants from renewable biosources.

    The development of plastics in the mid-part of the last century brought huge benefits to mankind. However, plastics are largely composed of carbon and hydrogen, i.e., they are very flammable. For this reason, they must be flame-retarded. This is usually accomplished by incorporation of an additive during processing.

    Traditionally, organohalogen compounds (compounds made of either fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine bonded to carbon), have been used as flame retardants. They are often the byproducts of petroleum refining, are readily available and inexpensive, and are effective as flame retardants. However, these compounds possess several characteristics which have brought them into disfavor.

    Human exposure to these compounds can lead to a number of health issues including cancer, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. For this reason, the use of these compounds has received increasing regulatory and societal pressure worldwide and are being replaced by organic chemical compounds known as organophosphorus compounds.

    Organophosphorus from biosources are much less toxic than organohalogen compounds. They are generally nontoxic and often biodegradable. They are abundantly-available, renewable annually, and are available at costs that are independent of fluctuations in petrochemical markets.

    Ostrander, working alongside newly retired chemistry and biochemistry faculty member Bob Howell, was able to develop new, effective organic flame retardants, and the team was able to present their findings at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition in August of 2019.

    Provost Mary C. Schutten said the team's work is an example of CMU's high-level research. "CMU's approach to research focuses on solving real problems facing our communities, near and far," she said. "Our researchers are continually working to promote health, protect the environment, contribute new knowledge and improve lives."

    Congratulations Eric for taking full advantage of the resources available in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at CMU to Fire Up your future.
  • November 12, 2020
    Student Spotlight: Meet Molly Carmien, CMU chemistry senior and full-time lab technician at the Dow Chemical Company
    Molly Carmien “My co-op position helped me transition from a college student to a lab technician; now I am much more confident in my techniques and in my ability to work in a lab like Dow’s.”

    Molly Carmien, a senior chemistry major at CMU, was chosen in May of 2020 to fill a full-time lab technician position in an analytical chemistry group at the Dow Chemical Company.

    Her journey started in 2018 when she was offered a co-op position with the Dow Chemical Company in the same analytical chemistry group.

    “At first, I spent a lot time being trained on basic lab techniques and instruments,” said Carmien. “As my skills improved, I started being an extra set of hands on studies, peer reviewing, and working more individually on studies and instruments.”

    “My time as a co-op taught me better time management and gave me tons of experience working with people from different analytical areas,” she said, “this helped shape me into the lab technician I am today with my own way of thinking and doing things.”

    Carmien, is currently a senior chemistry major at CMU and will graduate in the Fall of 2020​.

    “I strongly encourage any students interested in co-op positions to apply. It was an extremely educational experience and tremendously beneficial to my post-graduation goals.”
  • August 3, 2020
    CMU faculty bring home another ACS award
    Bradley Fahlman holding A C S award CMU chemistry & biochemistry faculty member Bradley Fahlman just brought home the American Chemical Society Midland Section’s Outstanding Achievement and Promotion of the Chemical Sciences award.

    Each year the American Chemical Society Midland Section honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and promotion of the chemical sciences and dedication to the chemical profession.

    Congratulations Brad, this is a well-deserved honor and a testament to the outstanding educational experiences available to our students.
  • August 3, 2020
    Midland Section of the American Chemical Society Awards Two CMU Faculty
    Anja Mueller Holding AwardTwo faculty members from CMU's Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry recently received awards from the Midland Section of the American Chemical Society.

    Anja Mueller, Professor of Chemistry, received the Promotion of Diversity in Chemistry, Related Sciences, and Engineering Award. This award recognizes a person or group residing in Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Isabella or Gratiot County for outstanding achievement in enhancing the participation of underrepresented groups in the study of chemistry, related sciences, and engineering.

    Choon Lee Holding AwardChoon Young Lee, Professor of Chemistry, received the Outstanding College Chemistry Teaching Award. This award is to recognize educators residing in Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Isabella or Gratiot County for outstanding achievement in college chemistry teaching.

  • June 23, 2020
    Great story in the Midland Daily News highlighting one of our CMU Biochemistry majors
    Impact Analytical triples STEM internship size - photo courtesy of the Midland Daily News

    view of McGraw Hil soap vs. sanatizer online lessonl Despite the global pandemic disturbing regularly scheduled high school and college classes, area organizations are working with students to provide opportunities to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    One local company which is accepting interns is Midland-based Impact Analytical, a contract testing laboratory which works with over 600 companies around the world. The company has offered internships in the past, but only once a year. This year, it tripled its internship program, welcoming biochemistry majors Brianna Ecton, Paige Prime and Alexis Samalik.

  • May 21, 2020
    CMU chemist creates world-wide interactive COVID related lesson 
    view of McGraw Hil soap vs. sanatizer online lessonl In response to the ongoing world-wide pandemic, hand washing and sanitizing is on the top of everyone’s mind…but which is better? That’s exactly what McGraw Hill, one of the largest educational publishers in the world, asked CMU chemist Brad Fahlman.

    “McGraw Hill reached out to me to put together something that is related to our current COVID pandemic – namely, the effect of soaps vs. hand sanitizers in killing the coronavirus,” said Brad Fahlman, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at CMU.

    In partnership with the American Chemical Society, Fahlman created The Chemistry of Hand Sanitizer and Soap Active Learning Activity, an interactive lesson that has been distributed to approximately twenty thousand chemistry instructors (both high school and postsecondary) around the world.

    “Instructors will use it in their classes to engage their students – to show students how chemistry influences their everyday lives,” said Fahlman

    “The activity features two ACS video links; students will watch those videos and then the instructor will walk them through the activity, including the post-activity questions.”

    “Although this came out too late to be used in our Spring semester, it is perfect for CHM 265QR at CMU. Of course, I intend to use this activity in the Fall,” added Fahlman.

    This is not Fahlman’s first interaction with McGraw Hill. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Chemistry in Context (9th and current 10th editions).
  • May 1, 2020
    CMU bolsters TB research
    Laboratory upgrades, high-level collaboration propels efforts higher

    Ben SwartsIn a battle against tuberculosis, Central Michigan University researchers are adding to their arsenal with advanced equipment for Chemistry and Biochemistry Department labs and, through serendipity, working with a highly respected alum known worldwide.

    Because the TB bacterium's protective shell is made of many important proteins, one effort in the lab of faculty member Ben Swarts is to develop new methods to identify those proteins in order to create drugs and vaccines to target them.

  • April 9, 2020
    CMU chemists donate personal protective equipment
    containers of PAPRs “They weren’t doing any good sitting on a shelf,” said Ben Swarts, an associate professor of chemistry & biochemistry at CMU.

    “We hope these items will be helpful in preparation and response to COVID-19 in our area.”

    The items he’s talking about, among other items being donated, are Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) from the CMU Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) tuberculosis research facility and the CMU Office of Laboratory and Field Safety and Biosafety.

    PAPRs are more effective for respiratory protection than disposable N95 masks, plus they can be disinfected and reused.

    “They are high-level personal protection equipment for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers working directly with patients,” said Swarts.

    Other items being donated include lab googles, glasses, and gloves.

    “The laboratories of the CMU Dow and Biosciences buildings are empty as lab classes have changed to videos of experiments,” said Mary Tecklenburg, professor and department of chemistry and biochemistry chairperson.

    “Lab googles, glasses, and gloves are not needed for on-line lab classes so the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the students of the American Chemical Society student organization at CMU teamed up to donate their stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used by health and medical workers in Isabella County.”

    Digging into shelves and closets they collected safety glasses, splash resistant googles, and over 700 boxes of protective gloves.

    In addition to the PAPRs, the BSL-3 research facility donated PAPR hoods and accessories, protective gowns, gloves, shoe covers, and full body Tyvek suits.

    “This equipment will be put to good use protecting essential workers across Mid-Michigan,” said Tecklenburg.
  • July 23, 2019
    Altered sugar could fight disease
    Research team’s work blocks growth of potentially deadly bacteria, may help those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, TB and others

    Ben SwartsA Central Michigan University faculty member is helping to lead research that stopped the growth of a potentially deadly intestinal bacteria that feeds on trehalose, a widely used artificial sugar additive in food, cosmetics and drugs. In the process, the team found that the molecule it created may have better potential for treating such neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and possibly tuberculosis.

  • April 24, 2019
    Sixth graders dip into chemistry
    CMU students help Mount Pleasant middle schoolers learn STEM skills at the Chippewa River

    Environmental science major Alison Veresh (left) watches sixth grader Sami Stratton test Chippewa River water at Sacred Hearth A"Yay! We have more time to have fun," said Cecilia Lossio, a sixth grader at Sacred Heart Academy in Mount Pleasant, as she and her classmates ran chemical tests to determine the quality of the water they had collected from the Chippewa River. That's the reaction hoped for by her teacher, Wendy Lemke, and the Central Michigan University student and faculty helpers. Lemke and her students are taking part in a regional water quality experiment devised by chemistry and biochemistry faculty member Dale LeCaptain and Jamie Curtis-Fisk, a Dow Chemical Company scientist. The project, initially funded by Dow Corning (now Dow Chemical), will be presented at this year's central regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, whose members have worked alongside CMU volunteers. The goal is to get middle school teachers and students excited about chemistry.

  • January 16, 2019
    Team-taught class changes lives
    Interdisciplinary faculty challenge students to solve real-world problems

    chemistry professor anja mueller and students in classroomIf Sarah Alm hadn't taken the course Water as Life, Death and Power as a Central Michigan University undergraduate in 2013, she might not be in her final semester of becoming a physician assistant. "The course was my wake-up call," she said. Alm said the topics of public health and health equality in the water course started her down a path that led to medicine. The elective is designed to be a group learning experience taught by a trio of biology, chemistry and anthropology faculty members and offered through all three departments. Students form interdisciplinary teams and are told to solve a problem involving water, such as lack of access to clean water, how to clean dirty water or how to preserve vanishing sources.

  • October 17, 2018
    Global team fights global killer
    Students on prof's international team know the toll TB can take
    Karishma KaleraKarishma Kalera came to Central Michigan University from India ready for a fight. The biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology doctoral student has joined the battle being waged against tuberculosis by an international team of students assembled by chemistry and biochemistry faculty member Ben Swarts in the College of Science and Engineering. Among the team members are fellow BCMB doctoral student Nicholas Banahene from Ghana, and undergraduate biochemistry majors Alicyn Stothard, from Coleman, and Dan Gepford, from Farwell, both in Michigan. Their rich mixture of skills and experience is what gives the team its strength and is the hallmark of CMU research, Swarts said.

  • October 2, 2018
    STargeting diseases' power source
    $1.5 million grant fuels research that aims to cut off energy to damaged mitochondria DNA
    Lin Zhao in labAs a firefighter targets the fuel of a fire, Central Michigan University chemistry and biochemistry faculty member Linlin Zhao is targeting diseases such as Parkinson's and cancer by focusing on the fuel of a human cell, its mitochondria. Mitochondria are in the cells of every complex organism and produce about 90 percent of the chemical energy that cells need to survive. What is special about the "powerhouse of the cell" is that they have their own genetic material, or DNA. But when their DNA gets damaged through internal or environmental causes, the results are linked to cancers, neurological disorders and some hereditary diseases. Zhao and student researchers in his lab in the College of Science and Engineering are using a recently received five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to determine how the damaged mitochondrial DNA breaks down.

  • July 26, 2018
    Sea Cadet makes CMU her home port
    Pennsylvania high schooler finds a career path during laboratory science summer camp
    Gretchen Holtgrefe in chemistry labMost professors are happy to hold a student's focus for a full class period. When Gretchen Holtgrefe heard chemistry and biochemistry professor Ajit Sharma's lecture last summer, he grabbed her attention and still has it. Holtgrefe was a high school senior from Erie, Pennsylvania, visiting Central Michigan University for a weeklong Medical Laboratory Science Summer Camp as a member of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a national youth leadership development organization supported by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. After Sharma's lecture, she thought: "If all the professors here teach as well as he does, I think I'm in for a pretty good experience." Today, she's preparing to start her sophomore year at Central as a biochemistry major, having finished her freshman year doing research under Sharma's tutelage.

  • October 25, 2017
    Crossing lines for a cause
    Huntington's disease research spans neuroscience, chemistry and more
    Gary Dunbar, Julien Rossignol, Ajit Sharma, Bhairavi Srinage researching Huntington's diseaseBeside a door in Central Michigan University's Health Professions Building is a small whiteboard drawing of Charlie Brown uttering his famous one-word expression. But here, "Rats" isn't about exasperation, it's about hope. For in that laboratory are rodents that could help a team of students and professors find a safe way to decrease the symptoms of Huntington's disease in humans. It's a goal that has sparked an interdisciplinary research effort involving faculty and students in chemistry and biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In these labs, you'll find doctoral students rubbing shoulders with graduate students and undergrads — and sometimes even local high school students.

  • May 4, 2017
    CMU faculty member to launch five-year bacteria research effort
    Ben Swarts receives $660,000 NSF early-career award
    Ben Swarts and Bailey Urbanek in labBen Swarts wants to learn more about what makes certain bacteria so tough, especially bacteria that leave their human hosts twisted in pain. And now Swarts, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Central Michigan University, will receive $660,000 over five years to do fundamental research aimed at gaining a better understanding of these one-celled creatures. Swarts is completing his fourth year at CMU, and he recently received the National Science Foundation's highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development Program award. It's open only to pre-tenured professors.

  • March 16, 2017
    Linlin Zhao to receive Provost's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity
    Linlin ZhaoThe Provost's Award recognizes the excellent scholarship, creativity and promise of faculty members who are in the early stages of his or her academic career. Zhao is a biochemist who focuses his research on the mechanisms by which chemical modifications of DNA cause mutations, which provides important insights to how common chemicals can contribute to cancer.  His significant research has been published in 22 articles, while Zhao himself is cited in 415 additional publications. He has received awards for his research efforts from renowned organizations including the American Chemical Society, the Department of Defense, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the U.S. Army Research Office.

  • December 15, 2016
    Research. Camera. Action!
    Journal transforms CMU research into video that will help researchers worldwide
    Ben Swarts, camera man, and grad student in labCentral Michigan University researchers have found a more efficient, productive and eco-friendly method to create compounds that can be used in multiple research applications. Researchers worldwide soon will be able to better follow CMU's new protocol through a video that will appear in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. The academic journal recently sent a videographer to campus to record a video that will provide a step-by-step demonstration of the CMU research method. It will appear in the online edition of the journal featuring the CMU team's paper, "Rapid One-Step Enzymatic Synthesis and All-Aqueous Purification of Trehalose Analogues."

  • June 28, 2017
    Explaining the science in the sky
    CMU professor breaks down the chemistry of fireworks
    Gabriel CaruntuWith the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, explosions of fireworks in the night sky are the official sights and sounds of summer. It's one of the best times of the year for Gabriel Caruntu, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Central Michigan University and expert in the science behind colorful bursts. "The chemistry of fireworks is complex and I think that makes it interesting for everyone," he said.

  • March 31, 2017
    CMU student earns Fulbright Grant
    Alyssa Shepard will continue cancer research in U.K.
    Central Michigan University senior Alyssa Shepard has been awarded a Fulbright Study/Research Grant for a graduate degree at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. She is the sixth CMU student to accept a Fulbright and third to receive the nationally competitive research/study grant. The Holland native joins one of the premiere cancer research programs in the world, exploring cancer cell molecular biology at the University of Leicester. Shepard will be investigating ways to increase the accuracy and sensitivity of breast cancer detection methods. "Contributing to cancer treatment is ultimately what I want to do," she said. "My mother is a cancer survivor and that's partly due to progression in detection and treatment options."

  • CMU chemist receives grant to aid in cancer research
    Dr. Linlin Zhao, assistant professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Central Michigan University, was recently awarded a grant to help his lab study the role of a novel DNA polymerase in oxidative DNA damage. DNA polymerases are enzymes that create new DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules. These DNA molecules are the genetic materials that contain the biological instructions to make all known living organisms, and are susceptible to a variety of chemicals sourced from our own bodies and the environment. One common type of damage, oxidative DNA damage, occurs as a consequence of normal body processes like metabolism and as a consequence of interactions with certain drugs, radiation, and other cancer causing materials. This damaged DNA, known as DNA damage, has profound biological consequences on human health. For example, DNA damage has the potential to cause mutations when damaged cells make copies of themselves during cell division. The resulted mutation is significant in the development of many human diseases including cancer. Dr. Zhao's project, titled "Novel Role of PrimPol in Oxidative DNA Damage", will explore the biochemical properties of a recently discovered DNA polymerase, PrimPol in oxidation-induced DNA damage. Dr. Zhao's proposed research will lead to a better understanding of the functions of PrimPol in protecting the human genome from oxidative DNA damage.
  • CMU chemistry students bring home more awards
    Maxwell Hogue, a senior chemistry-physics double major, won a best poster award at the 11th Annual Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycobiology Symposium in Cleveland, OH, on October 24, 2015. His poster describes the research he did in the lab of Ben Swarts, assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CMU. The research focused on new methods to synthesize inositol derivatives that will be useful for studying bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. Bailey Urbanek, a senior biomedical sciences major, won first prize poster at the American Chemical Society Midland Section Fall Scientific Meeting at Saginaw Valley State University, October 24, 2015. Bailey works in the lab of Ben Swarts, assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CMU. Her poster describes new compounds that inhibit bacterial biofilm formation. Brent Piligian, a junior biomedical sciences major, won second prize poster at the American Chemical Society Midland Section Fall Scientific Meeting at Saginaw Valley State University, on October 24, 2015. Brent does research in the lab of Ben Swarts, assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CMU. His poster described a new chemistry-based approach for studying interactions occurring between biomolecules in cells. Honey Madupalli, a PhD student in the Science of Advanced Materials program at CMU, won third prize poster at the American Chemical Society Midland Section Fall Scientific Meeting at Saginaw Valley State University, on October 24, 2015. Honey is a member of Mary Tecklenburg’s lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She presented a poster describing an improved material to facilitate surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), which is an important molecular detection technique.
  • CMU has strong showing at this year's Michigan Microscopy and Microanalysis Society Meeting
    Both CMU biology graduate student, April Llacqua, and CMU chemistry & biochemistry graduate student, Swati Naik, brought awards home from this year's Michigan Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting. Llacqua, studying in Cynthia Damer's lab, won Best Biology Student presentation while Naik, studying with Gabriel Caruntu, won Best Materials/Physical Science Student presentation. In addition to the two awards, six CMU students were also there to present their research.
  • Celebrating National Chemistry Week at Central Michigan University
    by Uyen Huynh
    Last week, American Chemical Society - Student Chapter at Central Michigan University celebrated Chemistry in the annual National Chemistry Week. ACS student members organized a week of fun activities to provide students on campus, ACS members, faculty & staff, and members of the community opportunities to get connected and appreciate the wonders of chemistry through hands-on demonstration, games, and freebies. On Monday, the celebrations started with the Periodic Table Game. Students were asked to correctly point out the elements' symbols on the periodic table given their full names. The game gained tremendous attention from many students who wanted to challenge their knowledge and memories on all 118 elements and win delicious Chemistry Cookies. Additionally, a scavenger hunt also started at the beginning of the week. Every day, a new riddle involving Chemistry was distributed, participations were asked to solve the riddle using basic Chemistry knowledge in order to find the location of the new clue on the next day. Second place winner of the scavenger hunt, James Robison (CMU chemistry graduate student) said that the hunt was very fun; it required him to freshen up on basic Chemistry and that he would love to do something like this again next year. From Tuesday to Thursday, ACS student members gave out cotton candy and on Thursday night, CMU students volunteered to teach chemistry demonstrations to students from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College of Mount Pleasant, MI. The activities included invisible ink, iodine clock reaction, density column, acid/ base column, liquid nitrogen demonstration, and the most loved, liquid nitrogen ice cream. The Tribal College's students expressed their excitement for gaining hands-on experience as they plan to in turn do the science demonstrations during family events happening next month during Native American Heritage Month festivities. Friday was designated to celebrate student accomplishments at the Annual Chemistry and Biochemistry Awards & Scholarships Reception. Hosted by the student members at a local restaurant all the student ACS award winners from the 2014-15 year were acknowledged with certificates as well as a wonderful CMU throw blanket. Following the recognition of the scholarship winners a special tribute was given for Professor David Ash the former department chairperson who after leading the department for 10 years has moved on to Vice President of research and Dean of Graduate Studies at CMU. Last but not least was the student adventure to join with the Midland local section for the Annual Fall Scientific Meeting. It was hosted by Saginaw Valley State University and featured workshops, seminars, and poster session. The morning started with talks by researchers from Michigan State, University of Michigan, and BASF. The 70+ poster - poster session with prizes and networking was an excellent opportunity for several CMU students to showcase their research projects.
  • International CMU student earns two research poster awards at SciX conference
    CMU international CMU M.S. in Chemistry Student, Swati Naik, recently earned two awards for her research poster "Non-hydrolytic Processing of Transition Metal-Doped ToiO2 Nanostructures for Photocatalytic Applications". Swati and her co-author, CMU Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty member Gabriel Caruntu, brought home outstanding student research poster awards both from the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) and from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) at the national SciX conference in Providence Rhode Island. Swati is finishing her MS in Chemistry and will be pursuing her Ph.D. in the Science of Advanced Materials Program at CMU.
  • CMU receives $492,285 National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program Grant
    A team of researchers from the Central Michigan University Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry departments has been awarded a $492,285 grant from the Major Research Instrumentation Program at the National Science Foundation. Jennifer Schisa, professor of biology lead the project, with contributions from Gabriel Caruntu, associate professor of chemistry & biochemistry, Brad Fahlman, professor of chemistry & biochemistry, Eric Linton, associate professor of biology, and Joanne Dannenhoffer, professor of biology. The grant funds will be used to purchase a Hitachi Model HT7700 120kV high-contrast/high-resolution digital transmission electron microscope (TEM). The new TEM will be housed in the Microscopy Facility of the new Biosciences building on the campus of Central Michigan University, and will replace the outdated Philips CM-10 that has been in use since 2001. The new HT7700 TEM will be configured with a newly developed, high-resolution objective lens (EXALENS), a STEM system with EDS (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), and for Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED) to analyze crystals. These capabilities will allow faculty and student researchers working with nanomaterials and polymers to collect their data on campus rather than having to travel to an outside institution. "The HT7700 TEM will greatly improve the research capabilities of faculty and student researchers in the biology and chemistry & biochemistry departments, and in the Central Michigan University College of Medicine," said Caruntu. "It is a unique instrument in its ability to provide both high-resolution and high-contrast imaging. Therefore, a single TEM cam image biological and materials science specimens equally well," said Schisa. "The new TEM has state-of-the-art imaging technology that will allow biology researchers to substantially increase the quality and quantity of images of low-contrast biological samples." "Materials science researchers working on nanotechnology-related projects need electron microscopy to visualize the morphological characteristics of the materials they prepare," said Caruntu. "As the surface/volume ratio increases dramatically upon scaling down the material, this knowledge is essential in understanding the role of surface on the macroscopic properties of materials." The new instrument will not only allow for a level of research that previously did not exist at CMU, but it will enable the training of the next generation of scientists in modern methods used in analysis of biological and materials science samples. The new TEM will be used by student researchers and in courses that serve undergraduate students, Biology Master's students, and Ph.D. students in the Science of Advanced Materials program. All students will receive hands-on training so that they can independently operate the instrument and collect and analyze data. Use of the TEM by undergraduate and graduate students will also add value to their research experiences at CMU, and make them more competitive in landing STEM-related jobs in a very technology-savvy job market.
  • Kelsey Charnawskas ('15) takes home Outstanding Chemist Award
    The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently announced that Kelsey Charnawskas ('15) took home this year's award for Outstanding Chemist. Kelsey, who is currently completing her student teaching prior to graduating in May, plans to teach chemistry in high school and inspire students to become future scientists.
  • Temitope Nathan named 2015 Outstanding Organic Chemistry Undergraduate
    The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department at CMU is proud to announce that Temitope Nathan has been named the 2015 Outstanding Organic Chemistry Undergraduate. Temitope, who comes to CMU from Lagos, Nigeria, is a biochemistry major/mathematics minor, and plans on becoming a medical scientist. When asked what his most notable Organic moment or success was, he said, "finally purifying 22mg of a Tre-DNP compound after working on its synthesis for about a month." Temitope was chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Organic Chemistry Undergraduate based on his performance in the classroom, in the research lab, and for his potential in organic chemistry. Please help us congratulate Temitope on his outstanding work.
  • Amanda Clark ('15) takes home Outstanding Biochemist Award
    The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently announced that Amanda Clark (’15) took home this year’s award for Outstanding Biochemist. After graduation Amanda, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. and conduct research on cancer treatments, will be the first CMU Chemistry graduate to continue their education at Harvard.
  • Chemistry professor receives this year's Student Choice Award
    It is our great pleasure to announce that Chemistry Professor, Dr. Matt O'Dell, has been chosen as this year's recipient of CMU's Student Choice Award. Each year, the Excellence in Teaching Committee student members ask the student body to nominate professors they feel are worthy of the Student Choice Award. Students are asked to nominate a professor they feel is knowledgeable in their subject, a positive role model, excellent at engaging students, accessible, respectful and inspiring. Dr. O'Dell will be presented with a plaque of appreciation in front of his class.
  • Chemistry lab awarded $420,085 grant
    Reproduced from a CM Life article
    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant professor, Benjamin Swarts was awarded a $420, 085 grant from the National Institute of Health to aid his lab in researching an efficient way to help fight tuberculosis. The project, titled "Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Trehalose Analogs as Tools for Investigating Mycrobacteria," involves the development of a new method for synthesizing derivatives of a special sugar called trehalose. The compounds created will help researchers understand how bacterium makes trehalose and uses it during the infection process. With the collaboration of Peter Woodruff, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Main, and the work of recent Central Michigan University graduate Douglas Wing and senior Bailey Urbanek, their research published in August helped support the approval of the grant. "In the U.S. we don't think much about tuberculosis," Swarts said. "It's pretty well controlled here, but it's a problem in developing parts of the world and there is also the issue of it becoming more resistant to drugs and the threat it poses by spreading through world-wide-travel." According to the World Health Organization's latest report on tuberculosis, TB remains one of the world's deadliest communicable diseases. In 2013, an estimated 9 million people developed TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. Swarts said because trehalose is absent from humans but is essential for the bacterium, it is a very attractive target for tuberculosis drug and diagnostic development. The lab's research could lead to new insights for better diagnosing and threating people infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. "We're looking for a better way to target the bacterium," he said. "They have the trehalose, we don't. If we can target just that we will better detect it." The grant is also being used to help equip the biosafety level 3 lab in the future Biosciences Building. Swarts said the lab will enable him and his students to do research on the bacteria itself rather than model organisms, which will provide data that will be more relevant to clinical translation.
  • Amanda Clark nominated to compete for Goldwater Scholarship
    Amanda Clark, a junior from Three Oaks, Mich. majoring in biochemistry, has been nominated to compete for a Goldwater Scholarship. Clark is a 2013 McNair Scholar and vice president of the CMU student chapter of the American Chemical Society. She has been working with associate professor of chemistry Choon Lee, on research involving the synthesis of antioxidant dendrimers - repetitively branching molecules - since January 2012. The goal of her most recent project was to synthesize a second-generation dendrimer. Clark evaluated the pro-oxidant effects of the dendrimer, but was not able to full test its antioxidant capacity. She is currently redesigning her compound to make it more soluble in biocompatible solvents in hopes that it can someday be used to help treat cancer and other diseases. "I enjoy research because of its challenges. It is thought provoking and very difficult, but I enjoy the amount of knowledge that I am gaining from this experience," Clark said. Clark's interest in cancer medications stems from a very personal connection to the disease - when she was 15, she lost her father to lung cancer. Two years later, Clark was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. After experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy medications herself, she was inspired to help develop medications with fewer adverse effects. Clark has been in remission since undergoing chemotherapy, but she will never forget her battle with cancer. "I keep the memories with me as motivation for what I want to help discover someday," she said. Clark plans to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and pursue a research career in academia. She hopes to pass along her enthusiasm for science to future students, and conduct research that aids in the development of new cancer treatment medications. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Barry Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and U.S. Senator. Scholarships are awarded each year to 300 college sophomores and juniors committed to pursuing research careers in mathematics, engineering or the natural sciences.
  • Wenjun Du's research on glucose poly(orthoesters) featured as cover story of Angewandte Chemie
    Assistant professor of chemistry and Science of Advanced Materials research scientist Wenjun Du recently had his research featured as the cover story on the journal, Angewandte Chemie. "Synthesis of Highly pH-Responsive Glucose Poly(orthoester)" - hypothesizes that pH-responsive polymers have great potential in biomedical applications, including targeted drug delivery. Since tumors and inflammatory tissues tend to have low pH values and existing pH-responsive materials, such as polyketal copolymers, had known limitations and were falling short in terms of treating conditions optimally, Du and his research colleagues synthesized a glucose poly(orthoester) as a highly pH-responsive polymer to address these issues. Their research demonstrates the first, successful creation of a new class of sugar-based polymers, in which the sugar units are connected through orthoester link ages. This new discovery has broad applications and may be useful in the synthesis of highly pH-responsive materials that could selectively and rapidly deliver drugs to diseased tissues with low pH values. Du and his team plan to continue their study of glucose poly (orthoesters), with additional research studies already underway in his laboratory. Angewandte Chemie is one of the premier chemistry journals in the world. It is the only journal in the field that delivers a mix of review articles, highlights and communications weekly, and also regularly publishes Nobel lectures in chemistry and related fields.
  • Janice Hall Tomasik receives $565,000 grant from National Science Foundation for STEM education research
    Central Michigan University assistant professor of chemistry Janice Hall Tomasik recently received a $565,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) Phase II program to support work exploring the impacts of research-based environmental experiments on students and faculty at CMU, Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College. Along with CMU associate professors of chemistry Dale LeCaptain and Anja Mueller, Tomasik and research colleagues - David Karpovich and Tami Sivy from SVSU, and Jay Vanhouten and Bernadette Harkness from Delta College - will develop new laboratory activities for undergraduate STEM courses. The new labs will involve authentic hands-on research experiences for students, as they investigate the environmental health of the watershed in the central Michigan area and on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. Students in courses including Biology, Biochemistry, General and Analytical Chemistry, and Ecology will perform investigations both onsite at local sources and in laboratories on each campus, using state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. Students will share their findings between the three institutions and with the public at an annual student research summit made possible by a portion of the grant. Tomasik and researchers will investigate the impacts of the research-based experiences on students and faculty in multiple disciplines and at each type of institution - a research-intensive university, a predominantly undergraduate institution, and a community college. Their research will shed light on best practices for incorporating research-based environmental activities into courses at each type of institution, and their work will serve as a model for other programs. They will share their findings and host a workshop at national conferences at the end of the research study.
  • Senior chemistry major, Geoffrey Bourdon, receives scholarship
    Congratulations to CMU senior and chemistry major Geoffrey Bourdon, who is the recipient of the Dr. Barbara Leiting-O'Connell Family Endowed Scholarship. A native of Muskegon, Mich., Geoff plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry after graduating in May 2014 and ultimately wants to have a career as a chemistry professor. The award will help him cover some of his tuition expenses during his last year at CMU. Established in 2007 by Dr. John O'Connell, '83, in memory of Dr. Barbara Leiting-O'Connell, this scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time junior or senior with a signed chemistry major and a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher. Preference is given to students desiring to attend graduate school and who demonstrate financial need.
  • From Chippewa to Tiger: CMU graduate receives prestigious Tigers Teach Noyce Scholarship and heads to Clemson University
    2010 CMU graduate and chemistry major/mathematics minor Ashley Morgan has received a prestigious Tigers Teach Noyce Scholarship to attend a very competitive MAT Secondary Education (Math Science) program at Clemson University in Clemson, S. Car. The MAT program is a technologically rich program in which students master the fundamentals of teaching and become skilled at motivating and helping students learn either science or mathematics at deep levels. The program addresses content directly related to the secondary classroom, educational foundations and specific teaching methods that reflect current research in the field. As a Tigers Teach scholar, Ashley will participate in immersion activities, become a learning assistant and an active member of Clemson University's student chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. She is also committed to teaching in a high-needs school district for two years after graduation. Clemson University's Robert Noyce Tigers Teach Scholarship seeks to encourage talented science, engineering and mathematics majors and professionals to become secondary mathematics and science teachers. Funded by a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, it is a collaboration between Clemson's colleges of Health, Education and Human Development; Engineering and Science; and Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. School districts in Greenville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties are partners in the project. Students in Tigers Teach will learn from veteran scientists and teachers, participate in professional conferences and work with local schools and agencies.