Spring 2019                                              

Friday, Jan 11 

Prof. Jeremy Johnson from the Dept. of Chemistry and BIochemistry at Brigham Young University, will present "Distinguishing Nonlinear Terahertz Excitation Pathways with 2-Dimensional Spectroscopy." Byker Auditorium 3:10 pm. Prof. Erik Grumstrup host.

Friday, Jan 18

Dr. David Zigler Assistant Professor from the Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.  will present "Electronic State Tuning through Metal-Ligand Covalency: First Row Transition Metals are Worth Exciting!" Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Professor Erik Grumstrup is the host.

Thursday, Jan 24

Dr. Keith Hollis from the Dept. of Chemistry at Mississippi State University will present "Designing, Developing and Applying Molecules to Solve Tomorrow’s Problems: CCC-NHC Pincer Complexes: Early and Late Transition Metal Complexes – Synthesis & Applications."   Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm

Friday, Feb 1-

Dr. Anja Kunze  Asst. Professor, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSU) will present "Nano-Scaled Forces for Neurotherapeutics." Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm

Friday, Feb 8

Prof. Scott Warren from UNC, Chapel Hill will present "2D Heterostructures for Energy Storage and Electronics: Exploring the Limits of Weak and Strong Interlayer Interactions."  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Nicholas Stadie host.

Friday, Feb 15

Dr. Bryan Eichhorn from the University of Maryland, Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will present "Unravelling the Solid-Electrolyte-Interphase (SEI) Chemistry in Li-ion and Li-S Batteries." Byker Auditorium 3:10 pm. Prof. Rob Walker host.

Friday, March 1

Dr. Mitch Smith (Michigan State, Department of Chemistry) will present "Catalytic C–H and N–H Bond Scission in Fine Chemical Synthesis and Energy Conversion."  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Joan Broderick is the host.

Friday, March 8

Dr. Alex Guo (Carnegie Mellon University) will present "Spectroscopic and Kinetic Studies of Catalytically Versatile Non-Heme Iron Enzymes."  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Jen DuBois host.

Friday, March 15 

Dr. Orion Berryman (University of Montana, Missoula)  will present "Anion Triple Helicates: Self-Assembly Directed by Halogen Bonding."  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm.  Professor Mary Cloninger host.

Abstract; Anion directed self-assembly is inherently challenging in part due to the diffuse nature of anions and their variable binding geometries. In particular, the self-assembly of higher order anion helicates in solution is extremely rare. However, halogen bonding offers unique opportunities to address these challenges. 

Tuesday, March 26

Mr. Eric Smoll will defend his PhD in Chemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Reactive-Atom Scattering Dynamics and Liquid-Vacuum Interfacial Structure."  Eric works in the group of Prof. Tim Minton.  2pm ABB 138

Wednesday, March 27

Graduate Student Seminar - Max Koch will present "Development of a Multi-omics Method for the Analysis of Alzheimer's Disease.  Max works in the lab of Professor Ed Dratz.  1:00 pm in the Byker

Thursday, March 28

Ms. Mackenzie Fricke will defend her PhD in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Cancer Process Probed by Multivalency: Investigations with Galectin-3 and Lactose Functionalized Dendrimers." 10 am ABB 138.  Mackenzie works in the lab of Prof. Mary Cloninger.

Friday, March 29

Dr. Elliott Hulley (University of Wyoming) will present "Application of FLP Design Strategies to Organometallic Transformations."

Abstract: Metal-carbon bond formation is one of the most important steps in organometallic catalysis, particularly when formed by C-H activation. Understanding the free-energy landscapes of chemical transformations is critical for catalyst design and improvement. Our laboratory has been investigating the thermodynamics of C-H heterolysis, operative in many catalytic C-H functionalizations, using tunable pairs of electrophilic metal complexes and basic proton acceptors (analogous to main group Frustrated Lewis Pairs, FLPs). Advantageous use of FLP-inspired transition metal frameworks requires balancing nucleophile/substrate interactions against the nucleophile/metal interactions that quench metal reactivity and block binding sites. In this talk, recent developments in understanding how C-H bond acidities change upon metal coordination will be discussed, particularly within the context of catalytic organic transformations.

Prof. Michael Mock host

Thursday, April 4

Mr. Luke Berry will defend his PhD in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Relating Protein Structure to Function: How Protein Dynamics Maximizes Energy Gained by Electron Transfer in an Anaerobic Energy Conservation Mechanism."  11 am in the Byker Auditorium.  Luke works in the lab of Professor Brian Bothner.

Friday, April 5

Jacob Remington will defend his Ph.D. in Chemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Fluorescence Quenching in 2-Aminopurine-Labeled Model DNA Systems." Jacob works in the lab of Regents Professor, Patrik Callis. 11 am Byker 

Friday, April 5 

Prof. Timothy Warren (Georgetown University) will present "Modeling Nitric Oxide Signaling Chemistry at Copper and Lewis Acid Sites."  3:10 pm Byker Auditorium. Prof. Warren is the guest of Prof. Michael Mock host

Abstract: Nitric oxide (NO) plays numerous, disparate biological roles that include vasodilation in the cardiovascular system and host defense against microbial pathogens. Nonetheless, the discrete molecular mechanisms involved in NO signaling are not well understood: its molecular relatives S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) and nitrite (NO2-) can also serve as reservoirs of NO-like behavior. Thus, an understanding of the discrete mechanistic pathways by which these species form, interconvert, and react with molecular targets of biological relevance is crucial to connect nitric oxide to physiological response. Through the use of synthetic models examined in our lab, we share new insights into the interconversion and biological reactivity of key molecules involved in nitric oxide signaling.

Monday, April 8

Dr. John Kiely will be giving a seminar entitled “An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry…..More Stuff Than You Ever Wanted to Know."  4:10 pm in the Byker.

Dr. Kiely received his undergraduate degree from Montana State and his Ph.D. from North Dakota State University. He then had a long and productive career in industry working as a medicinal chemist.

Tuesday, April 9

Mr. Michael Giroux will defend his M.S in Chemistry beginning with a seminar titled  "Effect of Aryldimethylphosphine Electronics on Rate of Oxidative Addition of Aryl Electrophiles at Ni0".    11 am in the Byker Auditorium.  Mike works in the lab of Prof. Sharon Neufeldt.

Thursday, April 11

Mr. Samuel Bernhard will present "Glycopolymers as Multivalent Probes of Galectin-3" as part of his PhD defense in Chemistry.  Sam works in the lab of Professor Mary Cloninger.  3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium.

Friday, April 12

Dr. Jon Tunge from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas will present “Development of Decarboxylative Coupling Reactions.”  Prof. Matt Cook host

Friday, April 19- University Holiday

Wednesday, April 24 

Ms. Genevieve Coe will defend her M.S in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar title "The Influence of Iron Bioavailability on the Mammalian Gut Microbiome."  Genevieve works in the lab of Prof. Jen DuBois.  1 pm Byker Auditorium. 

Friday, April 26

Ms. Casey Kennedy a fourth year graduate student working in the lab of Professor Erik Grumstrup will present “Carrier Transport and Recombination in Next Generation Photovoltaics.” 1 pm in the Byker Auditorium.

Friday, April 26

Dr. Joan Selverstone Valentine from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA & Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences, Caltech will present"How Manganese Empowered Life with Dioxygen (and vice versa)."


Throughout the history of life on Earth, abiotic components of the environment have shaped the evolution of life, and life, in turn, has shaped the environment. The element manganese embodies a special aspect of this collaboration; its history is closely entwined with those of photosynthesis and dioxygen —two reigning features that characterize the biosphere today. Manganese chemistry was central to the environmental context and evolutionary innovations that enabled the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis and the ensuing rise of dioxygen. It was also manganese chemistry that provided an early, fortuitous antioxidant system that was instrumental in how life came to cope with oxidative stress and ultimately thrive in an aerobic world. Subsequently, the presence of dioxygen transformed the biogeochemical dynamics of the manganese cycle, enabling a rich suite of environmental and biological processes involving high-valent manganese and manganese redox cycling. Bioinorganic chemistry and geobiology combined help us to understand manganese dynamics in the environment and the unique role of manganese in the history of life.

Graduate students host.                                       

Thursday, May 2

Ms. Katie Link will defend her Ph.D in Chemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Organic Enrichment at Aqueous Interfaces Studied with Non-linear Spectroscopy: Cooperative Adsorption of Soluble Saccharides to Lipid Monolayers."  Byker Aditorium at 2:30 pm.  Katie works in the lab of Prof. Rob Walker.

Friday, May 3

Dr. Joe Topczewski (University of Minnesota). Prof. Matt Cook host.

Fall 2018

Friday, August 31

Dr. Matthew Kieber-Emmons from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah will present a seminar titled “Mechanistic Insight into Water Oxidation with Copper.” Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Mike Mock is the host.

Friday, Sept 7

Dr. Sean Roberts  from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas -Austin will be here.  Professors Walker and Grumstrup are the hosts. 

Monday,  Sept 10

Ms. Amanda Byer will defend her Ph.D in Biochemistry beginning with a presentation titled "Radical Chemistry - Mechanism and Function in the Radical SAM Superfamily."  Amanda's advisor is Prof. Joan Broderick. 1 pm in the Byker Auditorium.

Friday, Sept 21 

Dr. Gerhard Koenig, Research Associate, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine, Rutgers University will present “Quantitative predictions of chemical equilibria based on computer simulations”. Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Roland Hatzenpichler host.

Friday, Sept 28 - 

Dr. Francisco Asturias, from the School of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado will present "Cryo-EM Studies of Transcriptional Regulation by Mediator." Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Martin Lawrence host.

Friday, Oct 5- open

Friday, Oct 12

Dr. Tom Autrey, Staff Scientist at PNNL will present "Using calorimetry to understand heterogeneous and homogeneous reactions." Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm.  Prof. Nicholas Stadie is the host.

Abstract: Calorimetry is generally recognized as an experimental technique to obtain thermodynamic data for chemical reactions, however, time dependent measurements of the heat flow can provide additional insight into kinetics of chemical transformation.  Our research has ranged from measuring the kinetics and thermodynamics of reactions of reactive intermediates on a microsecond time scale to reactions that occur over days.  I look forward to sharing how we use time-resolved reaction calorimetry to gain insight into both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalytic transformations on compounds and materials that show promise for energy storage applications.

Friday, Oct 19

Dr. Samuel Gellman from the Dept. of Chemistry at the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison will present be "Functional Foldamers." Prof. Mary Cloninger is the host. Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. This seminar is sponsored by the Grieco Distinguished Lectureship Series. 

Monday, Oct 22

Ph.D. Defense from Greg Prussia.  The title of his seminar is "Delineating the determinants of carboxylation in 2-ketopropyl coenzyme M oxidoreductase/carboxylase: A unique CO2-fixing flavoenzyme." 9 am Byker.  Greg is advised by Prof. John Peters.

Friday, Oct 26

Dr. John Kozarich.  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Joan Broderick is the host. 

Interview with Jon Kozarich

Friday, Nov 2

Kevin Hammonds, Assistant Professor in Civil Engeineering at MSU will present "From Avalanches to Ice Sheets: The Material Properties of Snow & Ice."  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm.


When studied from a materials science perspective, large-scale and naturally-occurring phenomena, such as how an ice sheet viscously deforms or how an avalanche releases, can be understood through laboratory-scale investigations of the thermal and mechanical history of the snow and/or ice and its microstructure.  To derive these microstructural properties, many advanced materials characterization techniques can be employed, including the use of cross-polarized optical microscopy, micro-CT, scanning electron microscopy (including EBSD & EDS), and Raman spectroscopy.  With the application of these techniques combined with relatively small-scale laboratory experiments, many of the peculiar properties of ice and snow can begin to be unraveled.  Presented in this seminar, is an overview of the materials characterization techniques that are currently being applied to snow and ice at MSU, as well as the results from several previous and ongoing laboratory experiments that will further illustrate its many fascinating complexities.  These experiments will include results related to the crystallographic structure of ice, the effects of soluble impurities in ice, and the thermophysical properties of ice/snow interfaces…all of which are critical components for better understanding ice sheets and avalanches in our natural world.

Monday, Nov 5 

Ms. Melodie Machovina will defend her Ph.D in Biochemistry beginning with a presentation titled "Enzymatic strategies for harnessing and controlling the oxidative power of O2." Melodie's research advisor is Prof. Jen DuBois,  ABB 138 at 3 pm.

Friday, Nov 9

Dr. Robert Smith from University of Montana, Dept. of Computing.  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Brian Bothner host. 

Friday, Nov 16

Prof. Cecily Ryan (MSU M&IE) will present a seminar titled “Tailoring the mechanical and electrical properties of biopolymer blends via the incorporation of carbon nanofillers.”


Biobased fillers, such as bio-derived cellulose, lignin byproducts, and biochar, can be used to modify the thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties of polymer composites. We are interested in using char from lignin and agricultural byproducts to enhance the thermal and electrical conductivities in biopolymer composites. Biochar processed from these feedstocks can potentially serve as a bioderived graphitic carbon alternative for certain composite applications. In this work, we investigate a blended biopolymer system, polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) with polylactide (PLA), to control the partitioning of electrically conductive nanofiller, carbon black (CB) and biochar. CB, a commonly used petroleum-derived functional nanofiller, serves as a comparison for our work on the incorporation of biochar into composites.  Kraft lignin is the feedstock for the biochar. Particulate affinity for the polymer phases affects nanofiller dispersion. I will present surface energy calculations and experimental results for phase-separation and nanofiller phase affinity in this system and how that modifies the percolation behavior in a phase-separated system. I will also show our initial results for electrical conductivity and mechanical behavior of the mixed-phase nanofilled composites.

Monday, Nov 19 

Ms. Danica Walsh (Livinghouse lab) will present her 4th year graduate student research seminar in the Byker Auditorium at 11 am.  The title of her presentation is "Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of Prodrugs to Control Biofilms."

Friday, Nov 30 

Dr. Ohyun Kwon from UCLA.  Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm. Prof. Sharon Neufeldt host.

Title: Phosphine Organocatalysis


Soft nucleophilic phosphinocatalysis has been known since the 1960s as a result of the pioneering work of Horner, Price, Rauhut−Currier, and Morita. In the 1990s, Trost and Lu made important discoveries, reporting isomerization, umpolung addition, and [3+2] cycloaddition. Nonetheless, it was not until the 2000s that the area of phosphinocatalysis began to flourish. My group, through careful analysis of the mechanism of the phosphinocatalysis reactions, has demonstrated over two dozen new reactions facilitated by phosphine catalysts. The results are a one-step conversion of simple acyclic starting materials into various carbo- and heterocycles. The practical values of these one-step phosphine-catalyzed annulation processes are significant since (1) they are atom economic and environmentally friendly, and (2) the heterocycles are an immense class of organic compounds with numerous practical applications. One recent, particularly significant advancement is the creation of chiral phosphines that are derived from a natural amino acid, L-hydroxyproline. Their synthetic utility in the phosphine catalyzed annulations, application in total syntheses of (+)-ibophyllidine and (–)-actinophyllic acid, and commercialization will also be discussed. The phosphinocatalysis reactions that my group has developed have produced structurally varied heterocycles of immense value for numerous practical applications. To illustrate the utility of these heterocycles, my group has been engaged in chemical genetic studies, resulting in the identification of the following bio-modulators: (1) inhibitors of the enzymes GGTase‐I and Rab GGTase; (2) an anti-arrhythmic agent (named “efsevin”) to rescue zebrafish tremblor mutant; (3) an inhibitor (named “aplexone”) of cholesterol biosynthesis that is more potent than Pfizer’s Lipitor; (4) compounds inhibiting cell migration and cell invasion; (5) interferon γ‐like compounds that augment innate immune responses of macrophages; (6) inhibitors of cytotoxic T cell lytic granule exocytosis; and (7) inhibitors of serine hydrolases that are specific for platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolases 1b2 and 1b3 (PAFAH1b2/3). Chemical biological studies related with these molecules will be presented during the talk. In addition, recent development in phosphine oxide catalysis research will also be introduced. 

Wedneday, Dec 5

Ms. Elizabeth Corbin will defend her Ph.D. in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Complexation of Lipids with Cyclodextrin Carriers for Fully Defined Supplementation of Cell Culture." 2 pm in the Byker Auditorium.  Elizabeth works in the laboratory of Professor Ed Dratz.

Friday, Dec 7

Capstone senior seminars for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will be presented from 1-3 pm in the first floor conference room in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. Presenters are Tricia Brandenburg, Daniel Goettlich, Matt Hall, Alex Morren and Alexia Olson. 

Titles of Presentations

Alexia Olson “Agrobacterium tumefaciens/arsenic” Advisor: Valerie Copié

Daniel Goettlich “In situ, high temperature characterization of proton conducting ceramics using Raman spectroscopy”  Advisor: Rob Walker

Tricia Brandenburg “Polyurethane Chemistry and working in industry” Advisor: Alan Cain, Chemline

Matt Hall "Computationally Generated Ionic Liquids."  Advisor: Tim Minton

Friday, Dec 7

Dr. Sergey Pronin from the Department of Chemistry at UC Irvine will present "New methods and Strategies in the Synthesis of Natural Products."  3:10 pm in the Byker. Prof. Tom Livinghouse host.

Tuesday, Dec 11

Mr. Chase Austvold will defend his MS in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar titled "Partitioning of Reactive Oxygen Species via the Re-Oxidation of Electron Transfer Flavoprotein."  Chase is advised by Prof. Ed Dratz. 

Thursday, Dec 13

Fourth year Graduate Student Seminar

Ms. Ece Topuzlu, Department Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University

Title: Biophysical and Surface Characterization of Plastic Degrading Polyesterases

Abstract: Recalcitrance to natural degradation of synthetic plastics such as poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is problematic in the world’s ecosystems. Several cutinases isolated from fungal species have been shown to enzymatically degrade PET to a limited extent. The discovery of Ideonella sakaiensis, and its ability to grow on PET as a major carbon source has led to the identification of two of the key enzymes responsible for hydrolysis of PET. These enzymes, named PETase and MHETase, act in a concerted manner to convert PET into its monomers and building blocks, respectively. This seminar will highlight the enzymatic capabilities of PETase on industrially relevant substrates, its localization in cells in vivo, and its synergistic activity with MHETase for PET degradation.

12 noon in the Byker.  Ece is in the lab of Professor Valérie Copié