News 2010


December 2010

Joyce Maynard, the Department’s administrative secretary retired October 31. We appreciate Joyce for her 17 years of dedicated service to the university and all her hard work for us. We wish her well in her retirement and hope she makes time to stop by and visit us.

T. David Harris (’04) recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Long and has begun a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University under the supervision of Dr. Theodore Betley.

Prof. Leslie Frost coauthored a paper “In vitro galactation of human serum albumin: Analysis of the protein’s galactation sites by mass spectrometry“, with Muhammad Chaudhry, Tiffany Bell, and Menashi Cohenford, in Analytical Biochemistry. Tiffany is a senior biochemistry major with a second major in Japanese. This paper explores biochemical aspects of galactosemia, a disease similar to diabetes except that the sugar the body cannot properly metabolize is galactose.


November 2010

Prof. Michael Norton was awarded two ARO STTR subcontracts, one involving the development of Plasmonic Nano Atennna for detection of chemical and biological threat agents and another involving the development of a DIPAIN-based Assay for the T-2 Toxin.

Prof. Michael Norton has been invited to be Lead Co-Chair for organizing the session: IV. Materials, Fabrication and Integration for Sensor Architectures (B1) Chemically Directed/Selective Self-Assembly of Nanoscaffolds for the Nanoelectronic Devices for Defense & Security (NANO-DDS) Conference that will be held Aug. 28 to Sept.1, 2011 on the campus of NYU-POLY in Brooklyn, NY.


October 2010

Prof. Michael Castellani was the site visitor to the University of Maine-Orono as part of the Council on Undergraduate Research’s CCLI initiative to institutionalize undergraduate research on university campuses throughout the country.

The local section of the American Chemical Society and the Gamma Eta chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma co-hosted a picnic on Buskirk Field on October 1. Students and faculty enjoyed playing quoits, ladder toss, and eating some great food.


September 2010

Prof. Michael Castellani attended WVResearchs’ 2010 STaR Conference in Huntington, WV. The symposium’s focus is competitively funded research propelling the Mountain State forward into the leading edge of science and technology, especially in those scientific disciplines specified in the West Virginia Research Trust Fund legislation and identified as potential technology platforms for West Virginia’s innovation-based economy.

Prof. Scott Day married the former Kimberly Lucas on September 4. Congratulations!


August 2010

Prof. Ken O’Connor attended the 21st Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX on August 1-5. He attended talks on implementing green chemistry in the lab in addition to talks presented on the subject of guided inquiry labs. Talks were also given on engaging students in chemistry classrooms; he also attended several poster sessions.

Dawn Nicholas (Chemistry Masters Program student) and Prof. Michael Norton presented a poster titled “Use of Cy3 labeled DNA to determine the transcription rate of single T7 RNAP molecules,” at 240th ACS National Meeting in Boston on August 25. This poster presents recent single molecule studies of RNA polymerase as it processes a single stranded DNA ring reporting structure.


July 2010

The Department of Chemistry instituted its first true summer research program in 2010. Previously, individual researchers had financially supported students, but this year, a program was designed with group activities designed to better engage students. Faculty members and their students participated in research proposal and presentation sessions and educational field trips, such as visiting a minor league baseball game and touring the state forensic crime lab, the latter of which doubled as a career-building exercise.

The aim of the summer research program was to make summer research an activity for which our majors compete to be selected and to foster strong student/faculty relationships. Our goal is to have this program operate each summer with 25-30 students and all research-active faculty. The summer research program is interdisciplinary in that about a quarter of the participants have majors outside of chemistry.


June 2010

The paper “Rotational Barriers in Azobenzene and Azonaphthalene”, authored by Rebecca L. Klug and Rudolf Burcl, has been published in Journal of Physical Chemistry A (J. Phys. Chem. A, 2010, 114 (22), pp 6401–6407).

Prof. Michael Castellani attended the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Business and National meetings at Weber State University in Ogden, UT. At the national meeting he co-presented seminars on “How to Get Started in Research with Undergraduates” and “So you are going to be a new chair. Some Thoughts from Those Who’ve Been There.” He was reelected to a fourth term as a Chemistry Councilor earlier this year.

Learn more about the CUR Annual Business Meeting.


May 2010

Prof. B. Scott Day has been awarded a two-year grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for his proposal entitled “A Structure and Function Analysis of Aptamer Monolayers Created from Self-Assembling DNA Dendron Conjugates”.


April 2010

Prof. Michael Castellani attended Posters on the Hill. The event brings undergraduate students from around the US to Washington, DC to present the results of their research to members of Congress. He assists in coordinating the event.

The Department held its third annual outreach event to local industry on April 23. In it our majors presented the results of their research to scientists from Alcon, BayerMaterials, Flint Group Pigments, Marathon Petroleum, MATRIC, Special Metals, and the WV Chemical Alliance Zone. Scheduled in conjunction with Marshall’s academic festival and Sigma Xi Research Day, our event allowed our students and faculty to get to interact with practicing professional scientists working for local to international companies.

Marshall alumna, Marisa Rubio (BS, 2008), was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This is the most prestigious award granted to graduate students studying in the United States. She represents the first such awardee from the Department of Chemistry, and possibly the College of Science. Marisa received an American Chemical Society (ACS) certified degree in Chemistry and was the Department’s “Outstanding Senior Chemist” awardee in 2008. She is currently a doctoral student in the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Graduate Program at Yale University in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew Miranker.

As part of implementing the Department’s strategic plan, two teams of faculty members visited nearby ‘best practice’ institutions to gather ideas about how to move our Department forward. Prof. B. Scott Day, Prof. Leslie Frost, and Prof. Derrick Kolling visited James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA while Prof. Rudolf Burcl, Prof. Ken O’Connor, and Prof. Bin Wang visited the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Each team came back to the Department with suggestions on how we can move the Department forward. We’ll be discussing some of them here as we implement them.

Chemistry Department held its annual Awards Night on April 15. Every year we recognize our top students with awards. Also, recipients of departmental scholarships, top high school students, and their teachers are honored. This year, our guests speaker was Dr. William F. Carroll, Jr., VP of Occidental Chemical Corporation and 2005 ACS President. For more information, please see Scholarships and Awards Recipients page.

Rebecca Ragland (BS, 2010) received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium for her proposal entitled “Development of an Integrated Microfluidic Device for Cargo Transport using an Actin-Myosin System”. Rebecca will begin work on this project under the direction of Prof. B. Scott Day in July.

Samantha Cotsmire, a senior biochemistry major, received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium for her proposal entitled “Modification of a Fluorescent Protein.” Samantha will work on this project under the direction of Prof. Michael Norton.

Gregory Hale, MD (BS, 1986; MD, 1990) was chosen as 2010 recipient of the Marshall University Distinguished Alumni Award.


March 2010

The paper “Application of Poly(amidoamine) Dendrimers for Use in Bionanomotor Systems”, authored by Madhukar B. Kolli, B. Scott Day, Hideyo Takatsuki, Siva K. Nalabotu, Kevin M. Rice, Kazuhiro Kohama, Murali K. Gadde, Sunil K. Kakarla, Anjaiah Katta, and Eric R, Blough, has been published in Langmuir (Langmuir, 2010, 26 (9), pp 6079–6082).

Dr. Masudur Rahman (postoctoral fellow) presented a paper titled “Patterning and transfer of graphene onto substrates for addressing biomolecules “, co-authored by Annette R. Howells and Michael Norton, at 239th ACS National Meeting in San Francisco on March 25.


February 2010

Dr. Halimaton Hamdan (MS 1981), Prof. of Chemistry at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia has won the 2009 Merdeka Award in Health, Science and Technology. She was also the 2008 recipient of the International Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA) Cup for Best Woman Inventor. Both awards were made for the discovery of “maerogel.” This is a process to produce aerogel from rice husks. The Merdeka Award is a Malaysian national award. Learn more about Dr. Halimaton Hamdan’s Merdeka Award winning work.

The paper “Reliability Analysis of THz Characterization of Modified and Unmodified Vector Sequences”, authored by T. R. Globus, M. L. Norton, M. I. Lvovska, D. A. Gregg, T. B. Khromova, and B. L. Gelmont, has been published in Sensors Journal, IEEE (Sensors Journal, IEEE, 2010, 10 (3), pp 410–418).

The paper “Hierarchical Lithography for Generating Molecular Testbeds”, authored by M. M. Rahman and M. L. Norton, has been published in Sensors Journal, IEEE (Sensors Journal, IEEE, 2010, 10 (3), pp 498–502).

On February 20, Marshall University hosted the annual BSA Merit Badge College. Prof. Rudolf Burcl, Prof. Kenneth O’Connor, Prof. Scott Day, and Chemistry students Rebecca Ragland and Cameron Buchman guided some two dozen scouts through theoretical and experimental portions of the Chemistry Merit Badge. For pictures, please follow this link to Herald-Dispatch online gallery.


January 2010

On January 28, three chemistry students: Austi Sergent Roush, Michael Adams, and Sara Lilly, presented the results of their research in Prof. Laura McCunn’s lab at the 7th Annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. The project was entitled “Exploring the Photochemistry of Chlorinated Hydrocarbons.” This event allows students to explain to public officials the results of their research and the benefits from the one-on-one interactions they have with faculty members when working on it. Dr. Michael Castellani co-chairs the steering committee for the event.

The paper “Utilization of Myosin and Actin Bundles for the Transport of Molecular Cargo”, authored by Hideyo Takatsuki, Kevin M. Rice, Shinichi Asano, B. Scott Day, Miziki Hino, Kazuhiro Oiwa, Ryoki Ishikawa, Yuichi Hiratsuka, Taro Q. P. Uyeda, Kazuhiro Koham, and Eric R, Blough, has been published in Small (Small, 2010, 6 (3), pp 452–457).

This year’s annual report of the MU Foundation features an article on the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship endowment to which so many of you have contributed. It discusses the laboratory manual that represents the faculty contribution to this project. The article appears on page 11.