Name: Doug Keszler
Area of Study / Position Title: Distinguished Professor of Chemistry; Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC); Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, College of Science.
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): My father worked as an engineer for IBM, so I was exposed to high-tech from a very early age. That exposure led to an intense interest in the chemistry of materials.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I am responsible for the research, education, outreach, and diversity activities of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, a Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation; we annually support approximately 100 researchers. For the College of Science, I am helping to grow the research enterprise and enhance graduate education.
One thing you truly love about your job? Working with a broad network of colleagues and students in academics and industry.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am a retired shepherd. In past times, I herded sheep with my border collie – Kate. (We also won national titles in Dog Agility)
Name: Luanne Johnson
Area of Study / Position Title: Media and Event Coordinator
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): Initially, I started because I was unemployed and needed a paycheck, but over time, I’ve come to love this department. Telling the world (through social media) all the cool accomplishments of my faculty is really interesting to me.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I am in charge of creating, curating and disseminating media; digital, print and social about the happenings and accomplishments of the Chemistry Department. I also organize most of the departmental events.
One thing you truly love about your job? We’ve recently started making videos when someone receives an award or major achievement. I LOVE this portion of my job and hope to expand on it in the near future.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am allergic to pork.
Name: Sandra Loesgen
Area of Study / Position Title: Assistant Professor in Chemistry
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): My high school teachers in chemistry and biology really loved their jobs and taught science with enthusiasm. In 7th grade, our class won a science fair working on allergy inducing proteins and peptides and since then, I am excited to work in a lab and look at health related chemistry!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? Drug Discovery. We focus on identifying new biologically active substances from rare bacteria and fungi. Most people have taken penicillin to fight a bacterial infection at least once in their life, but only few people know that this is a fungal metabolite and still one of the most used antibacterial drugs we have nowadays. Our research is focused on finding new potential drugs and to test them against pathogenic bacteria, cancer, and viruses and we are particularly interested in their chemical structures and mode of action.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love working with students and explore chemical structures provided by nature. There is noting better than collecting a sample, isolate microbes, and explore their chemistry and medicinal potential.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I can eat Nutella with a spoon.
Name: Margie Haak
Area of study: Chemistry Education (although I am a physical chemist by training)
Position title: Senior Instructor II
Why chemistry?: It’s all Mr. Smith’s fault! (Mr. Smith was my high school chemistry teacher) UCLA didn’t have a Pre-med major, so I had to pick something to major in. My thought process was something like this “Well, chemistry was fun, I guess I’ll be a chemistry major.” And then I got sucked in by the beauty of chemistry, especially physical chemistry, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties: I teach mostly general chemistry and my interests lie in active learning strategies and ways to increasing student success in general chemistry courses.
One thing that I truly love about my job: The students! Both undergraduate and graduate students. I also love that virtually every day is different – it is NEVER boring.
One interesting/strange factoid about myself: In whatever free time I can find I like to quilt.
Name: Bettye LS Maddux
Area of Study / Position Title: Managing Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC)
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): I’ve always been interested in math and science. It was easier for me than English or History. I didn’t realize just how much, until my high school physics class conflicted with band. So, I dropped band to study science. Initially, I focused on marine science, so my B.S. is in zoology and physiology. After graduating, I moved to Texas and worked as a technician in a cancer research lab for a few years. I respected my boss and his work, so when I decided to go to graduate school, I stayed in his lab and got a Ph.D. in chemical carcinogenesis. Thus, began my transition from marine science to biophysics / biochemistry.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I manage a large Center for Chemical Innovation grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The CSMC explores new solution-based methods for producing very high-quality thin films and patterns as building blocks for these next-generation devices. Check us out here: http://csmc.us I work closely with our business center and NSF on the Center’s budget; organize group meetings, conferences, workshops and help coordinate outreach events. I basically try to keep things running smoothly. It’s a very busy Center. I also collaborate with faculty in Chemical and Biological Engineering on a research project in my spare time. We have a grant to study diatoms. Diatoms are marine or freshwater algae that have silicon (glass) shells. The goal of our project is to harness the biosynthetic capacities of algae to make unique and valuable co-products in addition to advanced biofuels in scalable photobioreactor systems. So, I guess you could say that I’ve come back around to marine science.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love being part of cutting-edge research that advances technology without harming the planet.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I also worked as a forensic scientist. I was a firearms and tool-mark examiner.
Name: Pedro Molina
Area of Study / Position Title: Chemistry – Postdoctoral Scholar
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?)
I used to play with chemistry sets when I was a kid! Later in life, I enrolled in a one-year general science course just to keep me busy during the day as I was working evenings in those days. I became immediately hooked on science during that year and then went to the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) to read Biology and Chemistry. I eventually chose Chemistry over Biology as my major because I felt Chemistry had a wider scope, allowing me to learn about atoms, molecules and other relatives, stuff of which all things are made up. In addition, I can keep having fun by making compounds in the lab in the same way I used to when playing with my chemistry sets!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?
My main research focus is to make new molecular metal oxides and study their properties, primarily their ability to destroy nervous gas agents like, for example, sarin.
One thing you truly love about your job?
The one thing I love the most about my job is that I can do science on an everyday basis! My position allows me to formulate hypothesis about how nature behaves, design and perform experiments to test those hypothesis, analyze the results of those experiments and communicate my findings to the wider world. All of this in close cooperation with a bunch of really smart and nice people! What else could I ask for?
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself:
I can juggle with three and four balls, clubs and a little bit of devil stick. Didn’t you see me juggling this year at the Oregon Country Fair?
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.