The Erlenmeyer Flask






         Where Real Chemistry Happens…

July 28, 2014

Chen Xian Ng on Undergraduate Research

Who is your PI? - Sean Burrows

Do you have a Graduate Student/Post-Doc Mentor? - Kyle Almlie

How did you learn about the position? - I got into the research with Dr.Burrows by volunteering, which I got to know about from my adviser, to help set up his lab when he first became a faculty in OSU. I was interested in the research he was going to conduct (currently conducting) and I asked whether he needed any undergraduate researchers in his lab.

Why did you get into Undergraduate Research? - To gain knowledge and have first hand experience in the analytical and spectroscopy field of chemistry. Moreover, I had a some spare time left and did not wanted to waste it.

What advice might you have for other Undergraduate students thinking of pursuing research or just getting started? - Being an undergraduate researcher is very fun and rewarding. I get to do cool experiments on my own and also shadow the graduate students in conducting much higher level experiments.  What I think they should expect is depending on the field of research, always remember the basics of general chemistry such as finding the moles and concentration of a substance . Also, don’t be too picky about what the research is about but just dive into it and gain the experience and knowledge regarding the research.

July 25, 2014

Success GTAs: What Are They and Why Do We Need Them

Instructors Margie Haak and Paula Weiss will give a seminar titled, “Success GTAs: What Are They and Why Do We Need Them” at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3-7 2014 at Grand Valley University in Michigan.

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In Fall term 2013 we created the Success GTA position as part of a larger university-wide pilot program focused on increasing student success in first-year courses that historically have high percentages of students earning grades of D or F, or withdrawing from the course (DFW rates).  The fall term enrollment in our three different general chemistry courses (science majors, engineering majors, and majors other than physical sciences) range from 750 to 1200 students and each course has between 3 and 7 lecture sections.

The Success GTAs had several roles in the courses.  They all taught at least one recitation or lab section in their assigned course, half the load of a regular GTA .  In addition they were responsible for identifying and contacting students who were doing poorly in some aspect of the course: not registered for Mastering Chemistry or not completing the Mastering Chemistry assignments, exams scores well below the class median, not attending recitations or labs.  They were also part of the CH 199 courses that were offered to provide extra support to students struggling in general chemistry.

We will present results showing the impact of the Success GTA interventions, discuss the training Success GTAs received prior to the start of fall term classes, and lessons learned from the first year of this program.

July 16, 2014

New assay to spot fake malaria drugs could save thousands of lives

By David Stauth, 541-737-0787

Contact: Vincent Remcho, 541-737-8181 or vincent.remcho@oregonstate.edu

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Chemists and students in science and engineering at Oregon State University have created a new type of chemical test, or assay, that’s inexpensive, simple, and can tell whether or not one of the primary drugs being used to treat malaria is genuine – an enormous and deadly problem in the developing world.

The World Health Organization has estimated that about 200,000 lives a year may be lost due to the use of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. When commercialized, the new OSU technology may be able to help address that problem by testing drugs for efficacy at a cost of a few cents.

When broadly implemented, this might save thousands of lives every year around the world, and similar technology could also be developed for other types of medications and diseases, experts say.

Findings on the new technology were just published in Talanta, a professional journal.

“There are laboratory methods to analyze medications such as this, but they often are not available or widely used in the developing world where malaria kills thousands of people every year,” said Vincent Remcho, a professor of chemistry and Patricia Valian Reser Faculty Scholar in the OSU College of Science, a position which helped support this work.

“What we need are inexpensive, accurate assays that can detect adulterated pharmaceuticals in the field, simple enough that anyone can use them,” Remcho said. “Our technology should provide that.”

The system created at OSU looks about as simple, and is almost as cheap, as a sheet of paper. But it’s actually a highly sophisticated “colorimetric” assay that consumers could use to tell whether or not they are getting the medication they paid for – artesunate – which is by far the most important drug used to treat serious cases of malaria. The assay also verifies that an adequate level of the drug is present.

In some places in the developing world, more than 80 percent of outlets are selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals, researchers have found. One survey found that 38-53 percent of outlets in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam had no active drug in the product that was being sold. Artesunate, which can cost $1 to $2 per adult treatment, is considered an expensive drug by the standards of the developing world, making counterfeit drugs profitable since the disease is so prevalent.

Besides allowing thousands of needless deaths, the spread of counterfeit drugs with sub-therapeutic levels of artesunate can promote the development of new strains of multi-drug resistant malaria, with global impacts. Government officials could also use the new system as a rapid screening tool to help combat the larger problem of drug counterfeiting.

The new technology is an application of microfluidics, in this instance paper microfluidics, in which a film is impressed onto paper that can then detect the presence and level of the artesunate drug. A single pill can be crushed, dissolved in water, and when a drop of the solution is placed on the paper, it turns yellow if the drug is present. The intensity of the color indicates the level of the drug, which can be compared to a simple color chart.

OSU undergraduate and graduate students in chemistry and computer science working on this project in the Remcho lab took the system a step further, and created an app for an iPhone that could be used to measure the color, and tell with an even higher degree of accuracy both the presence and level of the drug.

The technology is similar to what can be accomplished with computers and expensive laboratory equipment, but is much simpler and less expensive. As a result, use of this approach may significantly expand in medicine, scientists said.

“This is conceptually similar to what we do with integrated circuit chips in computers, but we’re pushing fluids around instead of electrons, to reveal chemical information that’s useful to us,” Remcho said.  “Chemical communication is how Mother Nature does it, and the long term applications of this approach really are mind-blowing.”

Colorimetric assays have already been developed for measurement of many biomarker targets of interest, Remcho said, and could be expanded for a wide range of other medical conditions, pharmaceutical and diagnostic tests, pathogen detection, environmental analysis and other uses.

With a proof of concept of the new technology complete, the researchers may work with the OSU Advantage to commercialize the technology, ultimately with global application. As an incubator for startup and early stage organizations, OSU Advantage connects business with faculty expertise and student talent to bring technology such as this to market.

Read the publication here.

July 14, 2014

Two (2) New Online Chemistry Courses

Filed under: Announcements,Extended Campus @ 2:40 pm

CH 582, Chemistry and Materials of Batteries and Super Capacitors.  Students will learn about the current as well as developing technologies in this exciting field.

CH 584, Instruments and Online Interactions in the Sciences.   This class is offered jointly with the College of Education and is intended for those planning to be teachers.

Both are 3 credit classes and are offered Fall term; contact kim.thackray@oregonstate.edu for more information or check out the Fall Schedule.

Search Advocate Sessions

Filed under: Announcements @ 2:29 pm

Be prepared to work with search committees on the 2014-15 Provost’s Initiative searches–or any other searches—by completing this workshop covering strategies to enhance validity, fairness, and diversity in the search process.  Instead of requiring the typical two-workshop series (totaling 10 hours), this summer we are streamlining the workshop to a single day ( 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., breakfast and lunch included).  Register at the OSU Professional Development website http://oregonstate.edu/training/index.php for either July 30 or Aug. 6.    September sessions are also available before classes begin, either Sept. 22 or Sept. 25. Questions?  Contact Anne Gillies anne.gillies@oregonstate.edu <mailto:anne.gillies@oregonstate.edu> or 541-737-0865.

July 11, 2014

Design and Implementation of General Chemistry Support Course

Instructors Paula Weiss and Margie Haak will give a seminar titled, “Design and Implementation of General Chemistry Support Course” at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3-7, 2014 at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

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We will discuss the design and implementation of a full-year support course to  increase student success in General Chemistry. The course provides support for developing problem-solving skills, effective study skills for chemistry courses, math review, and additional exposure to the chemistry concepts covered in General Chemistry.  In the classroom students are engaged in problem-solving with other students, with guidance from general chemistry faculty and graduate teaching assistants. This presentation will focus on lessons learned in our first year of offering the course and plans for future implementations.

July 9, 2014

Funding Opportunity: OSU Venture Development Fund

OSU Venture Development Fund Deadline:  5PM, July 28, 2014

Funding:  Two paths: (1) Commercialization Projects up to $150k

(2) Innovation Development Projects up to $25k

OSU Venture Development funding is a competitive process open to OSU faculty eligible for principal investigator (PI) status to facilitate development and commercialization of intellectual property (IP) created by OSU faculty and students. Students who wish to apply for a grant must identify an OSU faculty member who will serve as the PI for the student proposal.

Applications through non-OSU faculty or students who have been accepted into the OSU Venture Accelerator will also be accepted. Release of funding to non-OSU faculty or students will be conditional upon approval from the VPR and an agreement providing appropriate future company remuneration.

Complete Request for Proposals is attached. Program details: http://oregonstate.edu/research/occd/osuventurefund

If you have any questions, please contact Jianbo Hu at jianbo.Hu@oregonstate.edu.

OSUVDF RFP Final 2014

July 8, 2014

Reminder of Proper Lab Attire

Filed under: Announcements @ 1:26 pm
Tags: ,

With summer in full swing, just a friendly reminder about appropriate attire in a laboratory setting.

Departmental Policy on Laboratory Attire and PPE
All those working in Dept. of Chemistry laboratories, including undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral associates, instructors, and PI’s, are required to wear clothing covering them from shoulders to ankles. Footwear must be closed at the toe and heel. Short- sleeved shirts & blouses are acceptable, but not shoulder-less garments (e.g., tank tops). Long pants made of a substantial material are recommended and short trousers or short skirts are not permitted. PPE as posted must also be worn; for most labs within the department this includes safety glasses/goggles (goggles only in teaching labs), gloves, and lab coats. Graduate student TA’s working in teaching laboratories are asked to be particularly mindful of this policy and to follow it themselves and to apply it consistently to undergraduate students in their assigned sections.

July 2, 2014

Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences

Filed under: Announcements @ 10:20 am

We are writing to let you know about an exciting grant opportunity — the Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences.

The objective of the Mason Award is to kick-start the research career of promising future senior investigators in the chemical sciences. The Marion Milligan Mason Fund will provide three grants of $50,000 every other year to women researchers engaged in basic research in the chemical sciences. Awards are for women who are starting their academic research careers. In addition to research funding, the program will provide leadership development and mentoring opportunities.

Applicants must have a “full-time” career-track appointment. More than one applicant from the same institution can apply for this award, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

For more information about the request for proposals for the Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences, please click here to view the PDF.

This award is funded by a bequest from the Marion Milligan Mason Fund.

As a chemist and AAAS member since 1965, the late Marion Tuttle Milligan Mason wanted to support the advancement of women in the chemical sciences. Dr. Milligan also wanted to honor her family’s commitment to higher education for women, as demonstrated by her parents and grandfather, who encouraged and sent several daughters to college.

***Proposals are due Monday, September 15, 2014, midnight Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

***Awards will be announced on or before May 1, 2015.

Proposals should be submitted via the online application system athttps://masonaward.aaas.org

Please circulate this email to your colleagues.

If you have questions, please e-mail masonaward@aaas.org

Glenn Evans Recognized for 37 Years of Teaching and Mentorship

img809Physical Chemist, Glenn Evans began his career at OSU in 1977.  Hair was big, bell bottoms were wide and the Bucky Ball hadn’t been discovered yet.  He started out teaching a variety of freshman level and graduate courses, taking up Physical Chemistry courses in the late 90’s.  Around 2000, he started to cover more and more of the sequence and by 2005 was teaching all three terms.  Hard and fast statistics don’t exist on just how many students Glenn has taught in his 37 years at the front of the classroom, but it’s estimated to be somewhere between five and ten thousand.

When asked what Dr. Evans loved most about teaching, he replied, “the “aha” moment when a student sees something and tells me “that wasn’t so hard” almost in a defiant way; private counselling of students (talking them through their anxieties); office hours during which students interact with each other as well as me; in lectures when I say things provocatively to elicit a response and their laughter; exposing the lessons of life embedded in science; among many others. Perhaps the most interesting and most privileged part of lecture is looking out over a sea of faces (with their varying degrees of enthusiasm) and seeing the future and the person I once was.”

Glenn retired in 2010.  Four years later, a student decided that he needed to be recognized.  During the 2014 Commencement Luncheon, Biochemistry and Biophysics student Omar Rachdi took the platform and read the following speech.

“Two back surgeries, two flights of stairs slipped down in one fell swoop to reveal degenerative disc diseases and scoliosis, two lives lost that cripple me from within because of the differences between the Moroccan culture and the American culture, and only two years have passed. My undergraduate years have been very full of hard and life-changing experiences. However, I would not be where I am today without the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Glenn Evans.

Glenn Evans 2011After my second back surgery, I felt demoralized. I did not have the capacity to believe in myself or my abilities until the end of my fall term Physical Chemistry course junior year. Dr. Glenn Evans knew of my physical difficulties and sat me down after the final exam took place. I will always remember him telling me, “You got talent kid. Real talent. You sure you haven’t thought about doing this as a profession?” Regardless of the score I received on that exam, having a person of Dr. Evans stature tell me something like that made a large impact. That moment is the time when I can say that my “spark” turned on inside of me, and for this past year, all that I have tried to do is pass that spark onto others. Whether it be through being a teaching assistant for Biochemistry or Physical Chemistry, the mentoring programs that I have built within the College of Science, or just in everyday conversation, I will always carry with me the kind acts that Dr. Evans has done for me and try to pass them on to others.

Dr. Evans has had a large impact on not just myself, but several other students. If there was a way to incorporate the impact he has had in his career on the lives of his students, his “H-index” would be that of Linus Pauling, and other great scientists that have graced our earth.”

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