2016 Departmental News
TTU Biochemistry Society wins the International ASBMB Student Chapters T-shirt Contest
The TTU Biochemistry Society [a student chapter of the ASBMB (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)] has won the International ASBMB Student Chapters T-shirt Contest. Our designed T-shirts will be sold at the 2017 ASBMB meeting in Chicago early next year.
ChemDraw site license purchased
Our department in cooperation with the TTU VPR, IT and TTUHSC administrations has arranged for the purchase of a site license for ChemDraw Pro – the molecular drawing and analysis software package (http://www.cambridgesoft.com/). See the Software Downloads section of http://eRaider.ttu.edu/ (or http://eRaider.ttuhsc.edu/) for details. A valid TTU or TTUHSC email address is required to download the software and obtain a personal license to use it on any TTU or TTUHSC faculty, staff, or student's computer.
2016 Departmental Research Poster Presentation and Competition
The 1st Departmental Research Poster Presentation and Competition held on Aug. 26, 2016 was an all-around success, giving students, postdocs and faculty ample time to meet and discuss the latest results from many of our research groups. The winners of the competition were: 1st Place Undergraduate Research Poster, Amanda C. Miller (Casadonte Group), The Reductive Sonochemical Synthesis of Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles; + More
1st Place Graduate Research Poster, Suresh Mummadi (Krempner Group), Inverse FLP Approaches for Metal-Free Catalytic Hydrogenation of Imines and Carbonyl Compounds; 2nd Place Graduate Research Poster, Olga Estrada (D'Auria Group), Type III Polyketide Synthases Participate in Secondary Ring Formation of Tropane Alkaloids in Erythrocylum coca; 3rd Place Graduate Research Poster, Wenjie Li (Pappas Group), Microfluidic Separation of Lymphoblasts in Diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Prof. Bill Poirier awarded fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Prof. Bill Poirier has been awarded a Distinguished Guest Scientist Fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The program is intended to bring "internationally acclaimed foreign researchers as Visiting Fellows to conduct top-level research in Hungary". Only a very limited number of fellowships are offered by the Hungarian government each year, in all areas of science and the humanities. + More
Prof. Poirier will visit Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, the top-ranked Hungarian university, from January to June 2017. Working with Attila Csaszar and other researchers in the Complex Chemical Systems Research Group, the goal is to advance the field of rovibrational spectroscopy in various ways, including the development of powerful and comprehensive new computer codes.
Austin Privett awarded 2016 Song Prize for best departmental Ph.D. dissertation
Austin Privett was awarded the 2016 Song Prize for his Ph.D. dissertation entitled:
Electron Nuclear Dynamics: Resolution of Electronic States, Extension to Direct Ionization,
and the Irradiation of Biomolecules in Proton Cancer Therapy. His studies were conducted
under the direction of Prof. Jorge Morales.
Prof. Bill Poirier elected to the TTU Teaching Academy
Prof. Bill Poirier has been elected to membership in the TTU Teaching Academy, to be inducted during a formal ceremony in September. Since its inception in 1997, the Teaching Academy has recognized faculty for their demonstrated dedication to excellence in teaching, and to the scholarship of teaching and learning.+ More
Inductees must be nominated by a member of the Teaching Academy and then seconded by another, in addition to being reviewed and selected by the Teaching Academy membership committee.
Dr. Gamez awarded grant from National Science Foundation
Prof. Gerardo Gamez has been awarded a grant from the Chemical Measurement and Imaging program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Chemistry. The 3 year grant of $381,127 will allow the development of an ultra-high throughput surface elemental mapping technique based on glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy.
Belinda Pacheco awarded NSF Graduate Fellowship
Chemistry major Belinda Pacheco has been awarded an NSF (National Science Foundation) Graduate Fellowship to pursue a PhD in Materials Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As part of her undergraduate studies, Belinda performed research in the lab of Prof. Hope-Weeks. She also worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory, over the last four years, with a research emphasis in nuclear forensics. Belinda graduated from TTU in May 2016 and she was singularly honored with the Departmental Outstanding Senior Award.
New Director named for Center for Biotechnology & Genomics
Professor Yehia Mechref has been named the new director of the Texas Tech University Center for Biotechnology & Genomics (CBG). The center capitalizes on the biotechnology and genomic research at the university and it serves the needs of related interdisciplinary and disciplinary research partnerships.
Welch Summer Scholar wins Science and Engineering Fair of Houston, invited to present at international competition
Kanchana Raja, of St. John's School in Houston, TX, won the 1st place Grand Award at the 57th Annual Science and Engineering Fair of Houston for her project entitled: "A Novel Protocol for Protein Purification and a Conformational Study of T. maritima Rad50 Zn-hook via Heteronuclear Quantum Coherence Spectrometry." + More
This project was undertaken in the lab of Dr. Michael Latham in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University as part of the 2015 Welch Summer Scholars Program. Kanchana will next compete at the Texas State Science Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held in Phoenix, AZ with 1500 projects and 75 countries participating. Kanchana has also been nominated by the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston to present her project at the 8th International Sustainable World Project Competition (I-SWEEEP Fair 2016) that will be held in Houston.
Olga Peregrino awarded full travel grant to ASPB annual meeting
Olga Peregrino, a Chemical Biology Master's Student in the lab of Dr. D'Auria, has been awarded an all-expenses-paid travel grant to attend the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) meeting in Austin, Texas this summer. Plant Biology 2016 is an international meeting that will host more than 1,300 scientists from 40 countries. It is viewed by many in the plant biochemistry/biology field as the premier science event of the year.
Graduate student visitation weekend, April 1-2, 2016
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry hosted invited student visitors from Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Kansas, South Korea, Bangladesh, India and Texas. The focus of the visitation weekend was to showcase our graduate teaching and research programs to potential and incoming graduate students.
Dr. Poirier and Dr. Findlater awarded renewal grants from the Welch Foundation
Prof. Bill Poirier was awarded $240,000 to support his continued research on a project entitled: "New Methodologies for Accurate Quantum Calculations of the Dynamics of Atomic Nuclei," that will run from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2019; Prof. Michael Findlater was awarded $195,000 to support his continued research on a project entitled: "Base Metal-Catalyzed Transformations," that will run from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2019.
Prof. Findlater awarded prestigious NSF CAREER grant
Professor Michael Findlater has been awarded a CAREER grant from the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $500,000. In this funded 5 year project (2016-2021), Prof. Findlater and his research group will be developing sustainable catalysts based upon Earth-abundant transition metals as replacements for the precious metal elements currently in use.
Dr. Birney and Dr. Pappas selected to receive the 2016 President's Excellence in Teaching Award
Congratulations to Prof. David Birney and Prof. Dimitri Pappas who were both selected to be recipients of the President's Excellence in Teaching Award for 2016. They will be officially recognized on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at the Faculty Honors Convocation, at 3:30 pm, in the Ballroom of the Student Union Building.
Dr. Mechref is honored with the Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award (STEM disciplines)
Dr. Yehia Mechref has been named the 2016 recipient of the Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award (STEM disciplines). The Texas Tech Parents Association has presented this award each year, since 1976, to recognize faculty who have a distinguished research record. The award will be formally presented at the Texas Tech Parents Association's annual Faculty & Student Awards Reception on Saturday, April 9, 2016. Dr. Mechref will also be recognized at the spring Faculty Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 21.
Undergraduate B.A. and B.S. Biochemistry degree programs receive full seven year term of accreditation by ASBMB
On February 9, 2016, Dr. Andrew Macintyre, Ph.D., Education and Professional Development Manager of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) notified our department that the undergraduate B.A. and B.S. Biochemistry degree programs have been awarded a full seven year term of accreditation by ASBMB, + More
the main professional organization for these disciplines in the U.S. In announcing the full term accreditation, the organization noted several important aspects of the TTU programs, in particular: exceptional faculty that are outstanding in both teaching and research, quality and breadth of experiential learning that is woven throughout the program, strong commitment to diversity on campus, access to university-wide support structures for faculty development, and an integrated safety program.
In Memoriam: Dr. David B. Knaff
Horn Professor David Barry Knaff died January 27, 2016 at the age of 74. He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1962 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he received an M.S. degree in Chemistry (1963) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry (1966) from Yale University (supported by an NSF predoctoral fellowship). He then conducted postdoctoral research in plant biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (supported by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship).
Dr. Knaff joined the faculty of Texas Tech University in 1976 as an Associate Professor in the, then, Department of Chemistry. Dr. Knaff rose through the academic ranks and in 1987 he was promoted to Paul Whitfield Horn Professor (highest faculty rank at TTU) in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.