Name:  Dr. Richard L Nafshun

Area of Study / Position Title: Chemistry Education and Antibacterial Surfaces for Biomedical Devices / Senior Instructor II

Why chemistry?  (What about it initially interested you?): Opportunity to solve problems

Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?  Investigation of materials and surface treatments to reduce bacterial growth

One thing you truly love about your job?  New projects magically appear when current projects are completed

One interesting/strange factoid about yourself.  In high school I hit a home run off Darryl Strawberry.


BMES (Biomedical Engineering Society) chapter is in the works here at OSU. This is one of the biggest national chapters for biomedical engineering. It is open to anyone graduate, undergraduate, and professors/post-docs, etc. who are interested in the field. This is part of the national organization, see website below. 

We will be having a discussion on available leadership positions, be a part of creating a new and exciting club on campus. The criteria for officer positions is to be a part of the national chapter ($30 student dues). 

The BMES society is a great way to make Industry, Academic, and other contacts with leading experts all around the US. We will have the opportunity to travel to conferences, and learn about new advances in the field all across campus. 

First meeting will be held Gleeson 306 on Tuesday December 2nd at 5pm. If you cannot make the meeting, but would still like to be involved please contact me at

Two science faculty were elected 2014 Fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Two faculty are in the College of Science: Professor of Chemistry Vincent T. Remcho and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics P. Andrew Karplus. Professor of Botany and Plant PathologyValerian Dolja in the College of Agricultural Sciences was also named a Fellow.

The accomplishments of the new Fellows will be celebrated at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting on February 14, 2015, in San Jose. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Remcho was recognized for his contributions to the field of analytical chemistry, particularly to furthering understanding and development of surface chemistry and transport processes in microscale separations. Karplus and Dolja, who are both researchers in OSU’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, were honored for their work in the biological sciences.  Read more…

Lapis Lazuli     Superstition says a bride needs four things on her wedding day. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, Mas Subramanian provided all four of those things recently to the Benton Country Historical Museum for their newest exhibit, Something Old, Something Blue. Something old came in the form of a piece of lapis lazuli shipped all the way from Afghanistan; something borrowed was a reproduction of a cover article written about Mas and his discovery for National Geographic Magazine. Something new and something blue both came in the form of samples of his blue pigment.

This extraordinary blue pigment, discovered by happy accident in 2009, has led to, at last count, two paBlue Pigment Samplestents, three publications and thousands of Google hits for the OSU scientist and his research team. Created by heating manganese compounds to 2,000 degrees, this pigment is heat reflective, non-toxic (unlike other blue pigments) and much more durable and versatile than blues previously discovered. “One day, a graduate student working on a completely different project was taking samples out of a furnace while I was walking by and it was blue. I realized immediately that something amazing had happened,” states Subramanian when asked how this serendipity had occurred. “The more we discover about the pigment, the more interesting it gets,” Subramanian says. Maybe that’s why Subramanian and his research group have decided to continue their research; attempting to make other colors using the same basic chemistry.

The Something Old, Something Blue exhibition showcases artifacts from the combined Horner Museum and Benton Country Historical Society artifact collections, with an emphasis on the color blue. When asked where the idea came from for Something Old, Something Blue; Mark Tolonen stated, “Most of our exhibitions come from our own collections, of about 120,000 objects. We go through and look for themes and we decided we had enough blue objects for an exhibit.” Some of the additional highlights are, Blues Traveler (international theme), blue fashion, blue in nature, the Boys in Blue (uniforms and school colors) and art.

Something Old, Something Blue will be on display November 14, 2014-October 24, 2015, at the Benton County Historical Museum. 1101 Main St, Philomath, OR 97370. They are open Tuesday thru Saturday 10:00am-4:30pm.

11/26/14 – UPDATE: This exhibit was featured in the Corvallis Gazette Times


Congratulations to Dr. David Ji for winning the new UVDF (University Venture Development Fund) Award in Chemistry.  His research titled, “Prototype development for high-power pseudocapacitors,” won him funding for the next 12 months.

According to Dr. Ji, “The project will study the electrode materials for a device, called supercapacitor, that stores electric energy. If the project is successful, it is expected to provide a higher power at a lower cost compared to the current commercial products. The resulting technology can be used as a power source for transportation such as hybrid electric vehicles, energy storage, for example for solar or wind renewable energy, and electronics, such as digital camera and power tools.”

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Ji on his latest accomplishment!

Chemists from Oregon State University developed a method that detects and measures the chemical composition of the four Corexit surfactants in seawater.

This research also helped to identify best practices that addresses the complexities of sample collection, handling, and storage for improved toxicity testing and biodegradation experiments. They published their findings in the 2014 Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography: Trace analysis of surfactants in Corexit oil dispersant formulations and seawater.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, responders applied an unprecedented amount of dispersant at oil coming from the wellhead and on surface slicks. To assist environmental impact assessments, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) obtained the ingredients of four Corexit surfactants commonly known as DOSS, Span 80, Tween 80, and Tween 85. DOSS was the only surfactant that received EPA-determined aquatic life benchmarks for chronic exposure and reporting limits; therefore, it has been the main focus of recent studies to indicate the presence of Corexit. This study’s goals were to develop a sensitive and selective analytical method for quantifying the four surfactant classes in seawater and then use this method to determine the distribution and concentrations of surfactants in the Gulf.  Read more…

Update: We’ve also just been informed that the PhD student who originally worked on this research, Dr. Benjamin Place (Class of 2013) recently got hired at NIST.  Congratulations, Ben!!

I want to bring to your attention an opening at the Assistant Professor level in Analytical/Environmental Chemistry at the University of Washington:

This is at the UW- Bothell campus, where I am now the Chair of Physical Sciences.   We are looking for great a teacher-researcher who can contribute to our rapidly growing Chemistry program.  Please forward this on to anyone who might be interested and qualified for the position.

Hope you are well!

Best regards

Dr. Dan Jaffe, Professor and Chair
Physical Sciences Division
School of Science and Technology
University of Washington-Bothell
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011-8246

Office: UW2-241 or UW2-231A (lab)
Tel: 425-352-5357   (or 425-352-3479-lab phone)

Workshop-style course resulting in applications that are ready for IRB review. Ethical issues in research will be discussed. Students will draft all submission materials outside of class and participate in the critique of each other’s protocols and consent forms. IRB approval will not be granted as part of this class. Graded P/N.

PREREQS: (a) CITI Course – Curriculum 1 Human Subjects Protection (Group 1 Social/Behavioral Research Investigators and Key Personnel OR Group 2 Biomedical Researchers). Register at and affiliate with OSU. (b) Students must have prior sign-off from their mentor/major professor indicating that their research topic has been approved and that the student has successfully completed the basic research methods requirements in their program.

This conference is of interest to graduate students and post-docs in physical chemistry, physics, and related areas of biology.  It takes place January 29 – February 1, 2015 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California.  More information is available at our website  The early registration deadline is just around the corner:  November 24, 2014.

One of the hallmarks of this conference is that 100% of the contributed talks are reserved for graduate students and post-docs—many of our invited speakers gave their first talk at this conference 10, 20, even 40 years ago!  Because of this policy the conference has special value and draw for students and post-docs.

Thank you for your help in sustaining and strengthening the Pacific Conference on Spectroscopy and Dynamics and providing your students and post-docs with a great opportunity to learn about cutting edge advances in spectroscopy and the science it enables.

The Center for Teaching and Learning provides $2,000 to OSU faculty for the redesign of established undergraduate classroom courses as hybrid courses through the Hybrid Course Initiative. These funds are in support of participation in the hybrid faculty learning community and the development of a new hybrid course. Request for Proposals now available; proposals are due Dec. 20, 2014. Contact for more information.