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Allegheny Basketball Faculty Appreciation Night

Chemistry professors were honored at the Basketball Faculty Appreciation Night.

Annual Lord Lecture to Discuss “New Sensors Empowered by Molecular Electronics”

Timothy Swager, Ph.D.
Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D.

Timothy M. Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry and director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present the annual Lord Lecture at Allegheny College on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Ford Memorial Chapel. The lecture, titled “New Sensors Empowered by Molecular Electronics,” is free and open to the public.

Swager graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University. From there, he received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, graduating in 1988. Following a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, Swager was a part of the chemistry faculty at the University of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 1996. After this, he returned to MIT and served as the head of chemistry from 2005 to 2010. Swager has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers and has more than 80 issued/pending patents.

Swager’s research interests are in synthesis and design. He also studies organic-based electronic, sensory, energy harvesting, membrane, high-strength, liquid crystalline, and colloid materials. The liquid crystal designs formulated by Swager demonstrate shape complementarity to generate specific interactions between molecules, and include fundamental mechanisms for increasing liquid crystal order through what is referred to as “free volume.”

The research Swager has done in electronic polymers has demonstrated new conceptual approaches to the construction of sensory materials. The Fido ™ Explosives detectors (FLIR Systems Inc), which have the highest sensitivity among explosives detectors, are based on these methods. The Swager group also investigates radicals for dynamic nuclear polarization, applications of nano-carbon materials, polymer actuators, organic photovoltaic materials, the application of nano-carbon and materials, membranes, and luminescent molecular probes for medical diagnostics.

Swager has also founded four companies: DyNuPol, Iptyx, PolyJoule, and C 2 Sense. He has also served on numerous boards- corporate, and government alike. Swager’s honors include election to the National Academy of Science, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary doctorate from Montana State University, The Pauling Medal, and the Lemelson-MIT Award for Invention and Innovation. Additionally, Swager has earned The Christopher Columbus Foundation Homeland Security Award, and The Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award (ACS).

The Lord Lecture has been bringing the nation’s most distinguished chemists and scientists to Allegheny annually since 1991 and is made possible through the support of the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust. The fund is closely linked to the Lord Corporation, a major manufacturer of adhesives, rubber chemicals and other products.

For more information, contact the Allegheny College Department of Chemistry at (814) 332-5363.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Annual Lord Lecture to Discuss “Designing Medicine’s Holy Grail”

Joseph Harding
Joseph Harding, Ph.D.

Joseph Harding, Ph.D., professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience at Washington State University, will present the annual Lord Lecture at Allegheny College at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 9, in Ford Memorial Chapel. His talk, “Designing Medicine’s Holy Grail: Development and Therapeutic Potential of Small Molecule Growth Factor Mimics,” is free and open to the public.

Harding graduated from Allegheny College in 1970. (His wife, Barbara, also a chemistry major, graduated from Allegheny in 1969.) He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1975 and has served on the Washington State faculty for more than 40 years.

Harding’s laboratory currently has been developing small molecule allosteric regulators of major growth factors as pharmaceuticals for the treatment of various clinical indications ranging from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer to defective wound repair. His research activities have been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, Life Science Discovery Fund, Murdock Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Harding also is chief scientific officer, director and co-founder of M3 Biotechnology, Inc. The Seattle-based company is developing novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases based on technology developed at Washington State.

Harding is the co-author of more than 220 peer-reviewed and invited publications and lead inventor on nine U.S. and numerous foreign patents. He has served on several NIH study sections, has been a past research director for the Washington chapter of the American Heart Association, and has been the recipient of an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award and a Fogarty International Fellowship.

The Lord Lecture has been bringing the nation’s most distinguished chemists and scientists to Allegheny annually since 1991 and is made possible through the support of the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust. The fund is closely linked to the Lord Corporation, a major manufacturer of adhesives, rubber chemicals and other products.

For more information, contact the Allegheny College Department of Chemistry at (814) 332-5363.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Brigham Publishes Journal Article in Macromolecules

Natasha Brigham ’17 published an article entitled “Manipulation of Crystallization Sequence in PEO‑b‑PCL Films Using Solvent Interactions” in the journal Macromolecules. The article is based on her research with Associate Professor of Chemistry Ryan Van Horn. Several other Allegheny graduates, Christopher Nardi ’15, Allison Carandang ’15, and Kristi Allen ’16, were co-authors of the paper.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Professor Timothy Chapp to Speak in Weiss Lecture Series

Allegheny College Assistant Professor of Chemistry Timothy Chapp will present “Hydrogen, Hydrogenases and Their Potential Roles in Contributing to Sustainable Energy.” The lecture is a part of the Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series, and will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in Campus Center 301/302.

Chapp will be speaking on how hydrogen gas can contribute to alternative energy solutions, specifically through electrolysis. His presentation will analyze how hydrogen, found primarily in bonds with other elements, can be withdrawn from those bonds into a usable state. He will also analyze how the natural gas industry influences hydrogen collection in his pursuit of more efficient electrolysis.

The Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series features professors from various departments representing the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Student Earns Honors at American Chemical Society National Meeting

Max Steffen

As a first-year student, Max Steffen stepped forward to learn more when Allegheny College chemistry professor Ryan Van Horn mentioned a research project on polymers.

It’s a step that eventually took Steffen, now a rising junior, all the way to San Francisco. That’s where he earned third-place honors for his poster presentation at the American Chemical Society’s Undergraduate Research in Polymer Science Symposium, part of the organization’s national meeting and exposition in April. The title of Steffen’s poster was Isothermal Crystallization Analysis of PEO-b-PCL with Larger WPEO or WPCL.

After initial conversations with Van Horn about the polymer project, Steffen began to conduct research in the professor’s lab in spring 2016. Van Horn then invited Steffen to continue the research on campus that summer.

“So I stayed over the summer, and the project that I worked on was part of what I presented in San Francisco,” said Steffen, a biochemistry major and psychology minor from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

In simple terms, a polymer is a chemical compound where many repeating molecules bond together to form large chains. Steffen’s project investigated a unique polymer with applications in better understanding drug delivery in the body and improving devices such as contact lenses and knee and hip replacements.

This specific polymer is biodegradable, biocompatible and amphiphilic (composed of “water-loving” and “water-hating” parts). The research looked at the impact of temperature, specifically cooling the polymer to sub-room temperatures.

Steffen is quick to point out that the research was a group effort. Three other students who work in Van Horn’s lab also attended the conference in San Francisco.

“We all have separate projects, but we all talk about them,” Steffen said. “And when things aren’t working, we’re there for each other. We can work through it all together — especially Dr. Van Horn. He’s made my Allegheny experience just great.”

Van Horn encouraged his students to submit proposals for the conference, where he also led a talk. “We got some really great results and that’s why we went to the conference,” Steffen said.

Steffen showed off his poster alongside hundreds of other student presenters. The conference opened a door for Steffen to connect with polymer experts who stopped by to ask questions about his work, spawning ideas for future research including his Senior Comprehensive Project.

“It’s all going to fit in and flow together,” Steffen said of what he learned in San Francisco.

In the long term, Steffen plans to attend medical school and complete a residency in orthopedic surgery and a fellowship in orthopedic traumatology. For now, he’s spending the summer interning in the healthcare field. Steffen will return to Allegheny — and Van Horn’s lab — in the fall.

“I would have never thought coming here that I would go to a poster session in California,” Steffen said. “It was a really cool opportunity and experience.”

And he’s already looking forward to another adventure: next spring’s American Chemical Society meeting in Boston.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Students Attend American Chemical Society National Conference

With support from a National Science Foundation research grant originally awarded to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ryan Van Horn in 2016, three students — Natasha Brigham ’17, Max Steffen ’19, and Cole Tower ’19 — attended the American Chemical Society (ACS) national conference in San Francisco, California. Brigham, Steffen and Tower presented posters on their research in Van Horn’s lab involving the physical structure of biocompatible block copolymer plastic films. Van Horn also attended and gave a presentation on the use of polymer labs across the Allegheny chemistry curriculum during the “Incorporating Polymer Science into the Classroom” symposium. Hannah Fischer ’18 traveled to the ACS conference as well through funds from a Dreyfus Foundation – Boissevain Fellowship to present her summer research in Van Horn’s lab on the release of methylene blue from similar polymer films as a possible treatment for anaphylaxis.

Zach Iezzi ’18 and Altan Frantz ’18 also attended the ACS conference through generous support from the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust. Iezzi presented a poster entitled “Structural stability analysis of a S. cerevisiae DEAD-box protein.” This work was done in collaboration with Associate Professor of Chemistry Ivy Garcia and focuses on the role of specific proteins in the translation of RNA. Frantz presented a poster entitled “Synthesis of monometallic nickel (II) halide complexes with secondary phosphines as building blocks for hydrogenase mimics” showcasing his research with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Tim Chapp. This work is on the synthesis of molecules containing phosphorous that mimic enzymes in soil bacteria, which produce hydrogen gas.

Steffen also was recognized for his poster presentation with a third place award in the “ACS Undergraduate Research in Polymer Science” symposium. His poster entitled “Isothermal crystallization analysis of poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(ε-caprolactone) with larger wPEO or wPCL” was ranked 3rd out of the 31 posters in the symposium.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

University of Kansas Chemistry Professor to Present Lord Lecture

Kristin Bowman-James, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kansas, will present the annual Lord Lecture at Allegheny College at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 13, in Ford Memorial Chapel. Her talk, “Serendipity and Surprise in Coordination Chemistry,” is free and open to the public.

After receiving her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Temple University and completing postdoctoral research at Ohio State University, Bowman-James has spent her academic career at the University of Kansas, becoming the first woman to chair the Department of Chemistry. She was promoted to University Distinguished Professor in 2007. In addition, in 2005, she was appointed director of Kansas EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), a National Science Foundation-funded program advances excellence in science and engineering research and education.
Bowman-James’ research is in the field of supramolecular host-guest chemistry and transition metal coordination chemistry. She is especially recognized for her contributions to the field of anion coordination, for which she received a National Science Foundation Creativity Award in 2006. Bowman-James recently was appointed associate editor of “Coordination Chemistry Reviews,” one of the leading review journals, and she co-edited “Supramolecular Chemistry of Anions and Anion Coordination Chemistry.”

In honor of her achievements, Bowman-James has received the Iota Sigma Pi Award for Professional Excellence, the Kansas Dolph Simons Sr. Award for Research Achievement, the Midwest Regional Award for Diversity, the Midwest Award for Research in Chemistry sponsored by the St. Louis Section of the ACS, and the KU Leading Light Award. She was inducted into the Temple University Gallery of Success in 2004 and was elected a fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2010.

The Lord Lecture has been bringing the nation’s most distinguished chemists and scientists to Allegheny annually since 1991 and is made possible through the support of the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust. The fund is closely linked to the Lord Corporation, a major manufacturer of adhesives, rubber chemicals and other products.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Senior Kristi Allen Presents Poster at American Physical Society Meeting

Kristi Allen ’16 presented her summer research in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ryan Van Horn at the 2016 American Physical Society meeting in Baltimore in March. Her poster was titled “Crystallization Trends of PEO-b-PCL with Solvent and Temperature Effects.” Professor Van Horn also gave a presentation at the APS conference, titled “Coincident Crystallization of PEO-b-PCL Copolymers with Similar Block Molecular Weights.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research