Recently, Department Chair, Rich Carter sat down with Chemistry Undergraduate, Nate Coddington to discuss what brought him to OSU, why Chemistry, and how he feels about being named one of the Fall 2016 Undergraduates of the Quarter.

Nate grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where he attended Willamette High School in the Bethel school district. Nate participated in Willamette’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program.  Nate reported that the difference between AP and IB is breadth vs depth. AP teaches the surface of many topics, while IB intensively teaches a few select topics.  Nate spent his sophomore through senior years in high school participating in their honors and IB chemistry courses.

Nate chose OSU because he did not want to go to an out-of-state school, and because his brother was already here, studying Nuclear Engineering.  He moved to Corvallis to live with his brother while he was transitioning into college life – commenting “it was great having someone who understood his sense of humor while relating to the struggles of college life.”  While Nate admits he started as a BB major to support his goal of ultimately becoming a dentist, upon entering the program it quickly became apparent to him that Chemistry was the better choice for his interests and his career path.  So, he re-declared, with the premed option, and never looked back.

Nate told us that his favorite class was, hands down, Organic Chemistry.  “It was just so full of great professors,” he said.  But the teacher that resonates the most for him was Dr. Vince Remcho.  “Dr. Remcho taught my Honors Gen Chem class,” Nate said.  “He was always so happy when teaching.”

Currently, Nate is doing research in Dr. Sandra Loesgen’s lab.  Her research group focuses on natural products, specifically bio-active compounds like penicillin.  Nate’s research is a spin-off of Dr. Loesgen’s PhD thesis on epigenetic modifications.  He’s hoping his research will result in unlocking new genes to produce previously unseen compounds.  He’s hoping to be able to obtain some usable results very soon so he can start writing his honors thesis on this topic.

Nate still plans to enroll in dental school after graduation.  His mother is a hygienist and he says he loves working with and helping people.  Dentistry, he says, has always just clicked with him.  “It’s so revered in our culture and I’ve always just thought, ‘I want to be this.’”  He would like to do some job shadowing before graduation but says it is been difficult finding a slot due to doctor/patient confidentiality.  He is not giving up yet though.

In his spare time, Nate is the President of the OSU Chapter of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), a community service and professional development based society that is currently working toward being recognized as an Honor Society.

Students like Nate are part of what makes our Department so great.  We could not be more proud of him and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors!

Take a Bow

Originally printed in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Monday, April 6, 2015

Vincent T. Remcho, professor of chemistry at Oregon State University, was named the 2015 Oregon scientist of the year by the Oregon Academy of Science for his contributions to his field.

This award recognizes significant research contributions to the natural, physical or social sciences, notable reputation in science education and meaningful applications of science research.  Read more…

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…

Name: Vince Remcho

Area of Study / Position Title: Analytical Chemistry / Professor and Patricia Valian Reser Faculty Scholar

Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): For me, it all started with a great summer job in high school: we developed analytical methods to determine the onset of dormancy in loblolly pine tree seedlings by quantifying polysaccharides.  Following that, it was great mentorship from my undergraduate research advisor (Tom Sitz, a nucleic acid biochemist) and a true gentleman-scholar of a doctoral mentor (Harold McNair, a “founding father” of modern chromatography and chemical analysis).

Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? We design, model and build tools that solve complex biochemical and environmental chemical puzzles. Most of this involves microfluidics, a field that builds the chemical analogues to integrated circuit chips. For example, we have built “lab-on-a-chip” devices to detect antimalarial drug adulteration, measure disease biomarkers in biological fluids, synthesize genes and detect toxins in the environment.

One thing you truly love about your job? There are many things I love about my work! If I had to select only one, it would be the people I am fortunate enough to work with: inspiring and inventive graduate and undergraduate students, capable and accomplished postdocs, and wonderful collaborators whose abilities complement those of the group.

One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am an instrument rated commercial pilot; I also enjoy trail running – very long, quiet runs through the forest. (That’s two!)

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Winter 2014
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2014

Chadd Armstrong has been selected as one of our Undergrads of the Quarter for Fall 2013.  Chadd is a non-traditional student who returned to school after the 2008 economic downturn. Having moved around the Pacific Northwest growing up, he graduated from Lebanon Union High before following a professional career in other states. Embarking initially at LBCC seeking a diagnostics imaging certificate, his General Chemistry Instructor there (Ron Backus) inspired him – “Chemistry is the physics of the small.”  He went on to take Organic Chemistry from Brigid Backus who further motivated him to pursue a higher level of education.  Since transferring to OSU, Chadd states that he has especially enjoyed KC Walsh in Physics and Claudia Maier in Chemistry.  Professor Maier’s CH 422 course was “very clear, precise” and “methodical.” He has also enjoyed ATS 320 “Man’s Impact on Climate” which he describes as a very interesting and worthwhile class.  He became involved in research, while still at LBCC, during a summer research fellowship at Trillium Fiber Fuels where became acquainted with Professor & Reser Faculty Scholar Vince Remcho (one of the four co-founders of this company). While at OSU, Chadd has been conducting research in Professor Remcho’s lab. Research provides Chadd with that day to day exposure to real-world chemistry problems that helps to tie everything together.  He enjoys working with grad students because the experience has helped grow his confidence in his own abilities. From his prior work experiences, he has brought more computer programming into the Remcho lab.  Graduating this June, he will have been fortunate enough, from scholarships and fellowships, to finish without having taken on any debt.  After graduation, he plans to go on to Grad School to get a PhD in Chemistry on the west coast.  He really enjoys research in applied fields and his long term goal is to work in a national lab or a university where he can conduct research and teach.  In his free time, Chadd likes to travel, visiting family and friends, all of who are very important to him.

Chadd describes OSU as a “fantastic school” and he feels very invested here.  We are so grateful to have talented students like Chadd as Chemistry majors and we want to congratulate him on his successes.  It is future alumni like Chadd that make OSU Chemistry an amazing place!