- Will Noid promoted to associate professor
- Tae-Hee Lee promoted to associate professor
- Lasse Jensen promoted to associate professor
- Squire Booker promoted to professor
- Mary Beth Williams promoted to professor
- Gong Chen receives the 2013 Amgen Young Investigator's Award
- Kaitlin Haas receives 2013 Rustum and Della Roy Award
- David Boehr receives Priestley Prize
- Nick McCool and Isamar Ortiz receive NSF Graduate Fellowships
- Madeline Sherlock to participate in the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
- Nella Vargas-Barbosa to participate in 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
- Nicole Morozowich receives the Alumni Dissertation Award
- Kimy Yeung receives a travel grant from ACS
- Joseph Dixon, in Memoriam, 1919 to 2013
- Scott Phillips receives Eli Lilly Award
- Welcome New NMR Director, Emmanuel Hatzakis!
- Rod Kreuter receives Wheeler P. Davey Award
- Dana Hosko receives College Award
- Penn State and Dow Chemical partner to promote laboratory safety
- William Noid Receives Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
Will Noid has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."
Noid joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph D in 2005 from Cornell University.
Tae-Hee Lee has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."
Lee joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph D in 2004 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Lasse Jensen has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."
Jensen joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph D in 2004 from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen University in the Netherlands.
Squire Booker has been promoted to the rank of professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."
Booker joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 2007. He earned his Ph D in 1994 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mary Beth Williams has been promoted to the rank of professor. Promotion to this rank at Penn State "takes place only after a rigorous review of a faculty member's scholarship of teaching and learning; research and creative accomplishments; and service to the University, society, and the profession."
Williams joined the Penn State faculty in 2001. She earned her Ph D in 1999 from The University of North Carolina.
Gong Chen has been selected as a recipient of the 2013 Amgen Young Investigator's Award. Amgen writes " Chemistry continues to be the enabling science in the field of drug discovery, and we recognize that the scientific contributions and commitment to academic excellence from young investigators, like you, greatly impact our industry. "
Kaitlin Haas, a graduate student in Dr. Ben Lear's group has been chosen by the Graduate School to receive the 2013 Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award. It honors interdisciplinary materials research at Penn State which yields valuable, unexpected results and recognizes genuine innovation not previously achieved.
Kaitlin is the 5th student from the Chemistry department to receive this award since it's inception in 2006. Previous winners were in 2012 (Jacob S. Beveridge), 2011 (Benjamin Smith), 2007 (Thomas J. Mullen, III), 2006 (Walter Paxton).
She will receive the award at the Taylor Lecture, on April 23, 2013 at the HUB Auditorium.
David Boehr has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Priestley Prize for Outstanding Teaching in Chemistry.
The prize will be formally given at the Chemistry Department commencement reception in May.
The Priestley Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in Chemistry is awarded annually to a faculty member in the Chemistry Department for excellence in undergraduate chemistry instruction.
The Priestley Prize was established in 2002 to recognize the best undergraduate teachers in the Chemistry Department as measured by the increase in learning and enthusiasm for the subject by the students in chemistry courses.
Nick McCool a graduate student in Dr. Tom Mallouk's group and Isamar Ortiz a graduate student in Dr. Ayusman Sen's group have been awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.
Madeline Sherlock <firstname.lastname@example.org>, a junior undergraduate student in the Bevilacqua group, has been selected to participate in the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this summer in Lindau, Germany.
Nella Vargas-Barbosa (email@example.com), a 3rd year graduate student in the Mallouk group, has been selected to participate in the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this summer in Lindau, Germany.
Nicole Morozowich, a graduate student in Dr. Harry Allcock's group has been chosen by the Graduate School to receive the Alumni Association Dissertation Award. This award is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards
available to Penn State graduate students. It recognizes outstanding
achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishments. Her dissertation topic is focused on the design,
synthesis, and evaluation of biomimetic polyphosphazenes for hard tissue
engineering. Nicole is scheduled to defend in late April and will begin
her professional scientific career as a Senior Research Technologist at
3M in May.
Nicole is the 7th student from the Chemistry department to receive this award since it's inception in 2002. Previous winners were in 2012 (Tyler L. Grove), 2011 (Carolyn E Lubner), 2010 (Megan L. Matthews), 2008 (Patrick F. Conforti), 2003 (David J. Proctor), 2002 (Michael A. Trakselis).
She will receive the award at the Graduate School Alumni Society's Spring Social, on March 27, 2013 at the Nittany Lion Inn.
Kimy Yeung, a graduate student in Dr. Scott Phillips group has been selected to receive a travel grant from the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry in order to attend the ACS meeting in New York.
Joseph Dixon, professor emeritus of chemistry and former head of the Penn State University Department of Chemistry, died on 7 February 2013 at the age of 93.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 4 November 1919, Joseph Dixon began his career in chemistry in 1937 as an undergraduate student at Penn State, receiving his B.S. and M.S. degrees there before earning his Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 1946. He then became a chemistry instructor at Penn State. From 1951 to 1955 he was a chemist with the California Research Corporation and an associate professor of chemistry at Lafayette College. He then returned to Penn State as a member of the chemistry faculty in 1955, attaining the rank of professor in 1961. His research interests included the study of compounds of organolithium and organomagnesium, the structure of molecules, and the physical properties of organic
He was named assistant head of the department in 1967, then he served as head of the department from 1971 until his retirement on 30 June 1984. He also had served Penn State as Chair of the University Faculty Senate from 1982 to 1983 after having served as chair-elect since 1981. He had been a member of the University Faculty Senate from 1958 to 1964 and from 1979 to 1984. Upon his retirement, he was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus of Chemistry in recognition of his superb and transformative leadership in transitioning the Department of Chemistry into a leading research organization. Under his direction, Penn State developed what was described then as the largest collection of ultra-pure high-molecular-weight hydrocarbon chemicals in the world. An enthusiastic teacher, he continued to teach some chemistry courses following his retirement, commenting that instructing others is "a way to contribute an impact beyond your lifetime as well as passing the rewards of an exciting field on to someone else." Penn State's Eberly College of Science Alumni Society honored him in 1990 with its Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his over 30 years of service to the University.
Dixon continued to contribute to the chemistry community following his retirement from Penn State in 1984. An active member of the American Chemical Society since 1942, he had served as secretary, vice chair, chair, and councilor of the ACS Central Pennsylvania Section, and he continued his service since 1979 as section editor of the ACS Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data and on numerous national-level committees, subcommittees, and program-review study groups. He served during three terms as chair of the key committees on Chemical Abstracts, Budget and Finance, and Publications. From 1987 to 1995, he was a member of the ACS Board of Directors.
After having served as Director-at-Large of the ACS Board since 1987, he was elected as Chairman of the Board in 1990 and then was re-elected in 1991 to serve in this position until 1992. In 1997, Dixon became Chair of the Pension and Investment Committee of the Board which oversees the total liquid assets of the American Chemical Society.
In 1997, Dixon received the Harry & Carol Mosher Award of the ACS Santa Clara Section presented "to recognize and encourage work in chemistry, to advance chemistry as a profession, and to recognize service to the American Chemical Society."
In addition to being a member of the American Chemical Society, he was a fellow of the American Petroleum Institute; a member of the Sigma Xi, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Lambda Upsilon scientific honorary societies; and a member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the American Association of University Professors, and the Pennsylvania Association of College Chemistry Teachers.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Joseph A. Dixon endowment in Chemistry and
should be mailed to the Chemistry Department, 104 Chemistry Building, University Park, PA
[ B K K ]
The obituary published on 8 February 2013 in the Centre Daily Times is online
Barbara Garrison (Head, Penn State Department of Chemistry): firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Kennedy (PIO): email@example.com, 814-863-4682
Scott Phillips has been selected to receive the “2012 Eli Lilly and Company Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry” in the amount of $50,000 for use in his research. This award is being made by the Analytical Chemistry Academic Contacts Committee at Eli Lilly and Company based upon Dr. Phillips’ outstanding research, publication record, and the impact they feel he is making in the field of analytical chemistry.
It is our pleasure to announce, Dr. Emmanuel Hatzakis has joined the Chemistry Department as our NMR Facility Director. He joins us from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he served as the director of their NMR facility since 2010.
Emmanuel's contact information is as follows:
Office: 008 Chemistry Building
Rod Kreuter the Director of the Chemistry Research Instrument Facility, is the 2012 Recipient of the Wheeler P. Davey Staff Award for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Support. Rod will receive his award at the Holiday Celebration on Wednesday, December 5, on the Willaman Bridge.
At a recent ceremony, Chemistry staff member Dana Hosko was recognized for her contributions to the College of Science. She received the 2012 award for Research Staff Support. The award was presented at a reception held in the Nittany Lion Inn on November 7.
This summer, Penn State began a new partnership with the Dow Chemical Co. to improve laboratory safety at the University. A diverse team of faculty, safety officers and graduate students from the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (MATSE), as well as the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Office, are working with Dow to develop best practices that can be instituted across all laboratory research departments at Penn State. The goal is to improve the University’s safety culture to avoid the type of accident that killed a student in California four years ago.
In late 2008, Sheri Sangji was 23 years old and a research assistant at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). On Dec. 29, she was alone in a chemistry lab, using a syringe to transfer t-butyl lithium, a dangerous compound that ignites spontaneously when exposed to the air. Somehow, the plunger popped out of the syringe, spraying the chemical onto her hands, synthetic sweater and an open flask of flammable solvent under the hood where she was working. A flash fire scorched 40 percent of her body. She died 18 days later.
A subsequent investigation of the entire lab revealed that “personal protective equipment was not fully utilized” and that Sheri had not been wearing “body protection.” Beyond the extensive clothing recommended, Sheri wasn’t even wearing the flame-resistant lab coat that could have saved her life. Her sister Naveen, now a surgical resident at Harvard, later said of her death, “Real people and families are profoundly affected. Safety has to be an absolute priority and the first priority for any laboratory.”
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the national group that typically investigates industry accidents, conducted a review of this incident and academic laboratory safety in general. This past January, it issued a scathing report on universities that included a sobering video. Andrew Zydney remembers the 2008 UCLA death, as well as the accidental poisoning of a Dartmouth professor in 1997 and a 2010 explosion at Texas Tech that left a graduate student without three of his fingers. Zydney is the department head of chemical engineering at Penn State, and he sent the CSB video to his faculty colleagues. “Those events opened everyone’s eyes,” Zydney says. “Nothing like that has happened here, and our safety record is excellent. But, until now, we haven’t been doing as much as we could or should be doing to maintain that record. It is imperative that we be proactive.”
Dow has a sterling international reputation for its safety programs and its philanthropy, and Penn State has had a strong relationship with Dow for decades. The former department head of chemical engineering, Larry Duda, came to the University from Dow, and the corporation made a $2 million gift in his honor shortly before he passed away in 2007. In 2011, Dow decided to significantly increase its support of higher education research in the three traditional departments of chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science and engineering. Dow committed to provide $250 million in research funding over the next ten years to 11 selected universities, including Penn State. Dow subsequently decided to partner with three of these 11 institutions (Penn State, the University of Minnesota, and University of California, Santa Barbara) to try to significantly enhance laboratory safety and to develop a culture that emphasizes the importance of safety overall.
Previously, in 2008, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering revamped its perspective on safety and eventually formed the MATSE Safety Awareness Organization (MSAO) to raise awareness. It also has active involvement and safety guidance from its external advisory board and Dow Corning. However, Department Head Gary Messing is happy about the increasing attention and assistance from Dow this year. “MatSE has heavily invested in safety already,” Messing says, “but the Dow initiative has helped us find ways to further implement safety practices in all of our graduate and undergraduate labs.”
In its first phase, the safety partnership with Dow focused specifically on research labs, and most of this lab work is conducted by graduate students (e.g., nearly 100 in chemical engineering and more than 250 graduate students and postdoctoral research assistants in chemistry). However, Chemistry Department Head Barbara Garrison points out that as the safety practices are integrated into undergraduate labs, the collaboration with Dow will ultimately affect thousands of students. “Chemistry alone teaches 5,500 undergraduates each year in lab courses,” she explains, “and Penn State has one of the largest undergraduate chemical engineering programs in the country.”
An initial pilot program began this summer, with bi-weekly meetings between representatives of Dow and an interdepartmental safety team at Penn State. The team also developed a survey instrument to perform a baseline assessment of safety culture and awareness at the University, and a small group of researchers and EHS representatives from Dow visited the three departments to tour the laboratories and talk with graduate students, staff and faculty.
In late July, a group of 23 students, faculty and staff from Penn State spent two days at Dow’s R&D headquarters in Midland, Mich., to learn about the company's laboratory safety practices and culture. Dow shared a range of best practices on chemical labeling, reactive hazards and personal protective equipment. The Penn State-Dow safety team is now working to implement many of these ideas to enhance the existing safety programs at Penn State.
The Department of Chemical Engineering and EHS are piloting a new color-coded chemical labeling system that makes it much easier to identify chemical hazards. The Chemistry Department is implementing the use of “standard operating cards” to better define safe procedures for running experiments and is also conducting a learning experience with near misses. Garrison is most excited about their new web site with easy access to safety resources. “As it says right on the site, ‘Our goal is to provide you with easily accessible tools to make safety a component of everything you do in the laboratory (and life!).’”
Ultimately, Penn State wants to have its graduates recognized for having a state-of-the-art safety experience, which will put them at a competitive advantage when they pursue industrial positions after graduation. At companies like Dow, safety is a business imperative with enormous legal and financial ramifications. If anyone spots unsafe conditions, they are expected to report it immediately. Students well versed in this level of safety protocol are invaluable as future employees. Their labs are pristine. Sinks are not filled with glassware. Chemicals are not left on tables. Safety violations may result in terminations.
This type of commitment does not happen overnight. It is too easy for safety to be simply a checklist instead of a way of behaving, thinking and doing. The pilot program is just the beginning of a University-wide effort between faculty, students and operations to create a new, vigilant atmosphere. “Changing the culture of safety means embracing the collective aspect of it,” says Zydney. “As each new student or faculty member makes safety a part of their everyday behaviors, we all benefit. We are all safer.”
Written by: Alex Novak
William Noid, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University, has been honored with a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award. The award supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences and includes a monetary prize.
Noid's research group develops and applies statistical mechanical methods to investigate various phenomena in biochemistry, molecular biology, and materials science. His group is developing novel computational and theoretical methodologies for investigating protein-protein interactions and, in particular, the unique physical properties and biological functions of disordered proteins. Recent experimental evidence indicates that these proteins play central roles in vital cellular processes and also may be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases. However, these processes evolve on timescales beyond the scope of conventional computational models.
Most recently, Noid's lab has proposed a theory for determining accurate coarse-grained models directly from experimental data. Coarse-grained models are mechanical models of molecular systems in which the fundamental interacting particles represent groups of atoms. These models can investigate slow processes, such as protein-protein interactions, occurring on timescales that are inaccessible to more conventional models. Ultimately, these coarse-grained models will provide insight into the role of disordered proteins in both cellular processes and pathology.
Several prior awards have recognized Noid's research and scholarship, including a 2011 Sloan Research Fellowship in recognition of his cutting-edge, independent research accomplishments, a 2011 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation, and a 2010 American Chemical Society Hewlett-Packard Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry, given by the American Chemical Society's Division of Computers in Chemistry. In addition, Noid was honored in 2006 with a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. In 2005, he received a Tunis Wentink Prize as an outstanding chemistry graduate of Cornell University.
Noid earned a doctoral degree in chemistry at Cornell University in 2005, and a bachelor's degree in chemistry with minors in mathematics and physics at the University of Tennessee in 2000.
Story by Katrina Voss