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Alumni News letter

Fall 2008


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As the fall 2008 semester comes to a close, it is time to reflect on where the Chemistry Department  at the University of Colorado Denver has been, and where the department is going in the future.  As with the whole University, the past several years have seen many changes for the Chemistry Department.  The Department is in the middle of some significant growth – both in the number of faculty of the department and in the size of the facility that we occupy.  The department has hired 4 new faculty members since 2004, with plans to hire two additional faculty members in 2009 and one in 2010.  I am among these new hires, joining the faculty as the department chair in the summer of 2007.  Prior to coming to UCD, I spent 17 years at Virginia Tech.  I am happy to be part of the exciting times here at UCD and am honored to be the Chair of our Department.  As the Department integrates new faculty, we strive to maintain the essence of the program.  We are the guardians of a strong undergraduate program built over the years by the UCD faculty and students.  Our program places an emphasis on problem-solving and experiential learning.  Open-ended, discovery laboratory experiences are integral to all of our upper-level undergraduate laboratories, and students actively pursue independent research opportunities in our faculty’s research laboratories.  All of these activities contribute to helping students learn to be independent, critically thinking scientists.

As the department builds for the future, we also acknowledge the contributions of our alumni and the role that you played in establishing the department’s purpose and the quality of our instruction.  It if from this perspective that we’ve established this newsletter as a mechanism to make you aware of the current activities of the Chemistry Department at UCD, but also to provide a mechanism for alumni of the program to communicate with us and with each other.  We welcome you insight and comments, and encourage you to visit the department to renew relationships and also to see first-hand the changes that are occurring.  In January of 2010, we will begin stage 1 of the department’s move into our new facilities in the Science building expansion.  The first stage will be to move all of our teaching laboratories and some of the research laboratories into the new, modern space.  The second stage of the move will occur in the fall of 2010 when the remaining research laboratories will be completed, and the department office will move to our new home in the renovated, existing Science building.  Once the move in completed, the department will have nearly 3-times the research space, and will have approximately 2-times our current instructional laboratory space.  These facilities are needed to accommodate the nearly 8% annual enrollment growth in Chemistry courses, and the increase in the number of faculty of the department.

It is an exciting time for the Chemistry Department at the University of Colorado Denver, and we welcome you to be a part of it. 


Mark R. Anderson, Chair

New Faculty

Dr. Karen Knaus   Before joining the Department of Chemistry at the University of Colorado Denver as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Education, Dr. Knaus has enjoyed a diverse training in scientific research.  As an Undergraduate student, Karen got her first tastes of chemistry research, where she conducted research in two different laboratories (i.e., an Inorganic crystal growing lab and a computational chemistry lab).  Her graduate research training at Cleveland State University involved the use of two different structural biology techniques, theoretical/computational chemistry and protein crystallography; where in 2006 she earned her doctorate in the area of Clinical/Bio-Analytical Chemistry.  Her post-doctoral research training at the ACS (American Chemical Society) Exams Institute involved Chemical Education research on assessment materials.
Throughout her career, Karen has also been very active in Chemistry Education outreach activities (e.g., Science Olympiad activities, National Chemistry Week activities, Upward Bound activities, Earth Day activities, and chemistry with Girl Scout activities).  In her last year as a graduate student, Karen partnered with Middle and High School teachers in the Cleveland Municipal School District as the science fair project mentor. It was through this fulfilling outreach experience during her last year of graduate school that Karen realized that she would like to pursue a career where she could merge her scientific research training with her love of science education outreach to promote positive changes in science education.  Furthermore, after completing her doctorate in chemistry, Dr. Knaus chose to accept a post-doctoral fellowship in Chemical Education Research under the direction of Dr. Thomas Holme, the director of the ACS (American Chemical Society) Exams Institute. While a post-doc at the Exams Institute, Karen’s interest in Chemical Education research blossomed.  Her research has specialized in the examination and design of chemistry assessment materials through the lens of various theories of cognition and learning.  This valuable area of science education research can be used to help us learn more about students’ cognitive processes for learning chemistry that can later be used to drive effective innovation in chemistry instruction. In addition, her research has allowed for the creation of new chemistry assessment research tools that may allow for a more robust measurement of growth of knowledge in chemistry as well as other complex domains of learning. 
At the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Karen Knaus wishes to continue to expand her research program in chemistry assessment through the development of new research tools that examine the complexity of chemistry learning content and assessment tasks. She also wishes to create new research tools to examine how experts vs. novices organize their knowledge in various chemistry content areas.  Dr. Knaus is currently looking for enthusiastic student researchers.

Dr. Larry Anderson Receives Fulbright Senior Specialist Title

Larry.JPG  Larry G. Anderson, Ph.D has been a Chemistry Professor for over 25 years at the University of Colorado Denver, he was awarded the title of Fulbright Senior Specialist December 2007.
Dr. Anderson spent a month teaching and developing a Ph.D. program in Environmental Sciences at Taraz State University in Taraz, Kazakhstan. 
The Fulbright Senior Specialists Program was designed to go beyond traditional Fulbright activities of lecturing and research.  It provides U.S. faculty flexible, short-term academic projects in which they are given the opportunity to collaborate with counterparts at non-U.S. post-secondary academic institutions. 

Excellence in Research & Creative Work Award 2007

Hai Lin Dr. Hai Lin has been a Chemistry Assistant Professor for three years at the University of Colorado Denver and was the recipient of the Excellence in research and creative work award in 2007.  Dr. Lin’s research is focused in the area of theoretical computational chemistry, specializing in computational chemistry to probe reaction dynamics and problems in chemical biology. Despite the complexity of this research, Lin has mentored five undergraduate research students and three graduate students in the last few years
He is author/co-author of 12 manuscripts published since 2005, with a total of 58 publications since 1997. Two of his most recent publications have been identified as "the most-accessed articles" by the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation and Theoretical Chemistry Accounts -- indicating that these manuscripts have attained a high level of external visibility and are likely to be highly cited in the future.
Lin also is a major contributor to the development of the QMMM computational chemistry software package. This is a core tool which others can use in their computational research.

Rocky Mountain National Park hosted its first ever “Mycoblitz,”

/  A mushroom hunting expedition was underway at the Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday and Sunday August 23-24, 2008.   Dr. Marc Donsky, led the search party on the west side of the park accompanied by four researchers from the University of Colorado Denver, two volunteers and a Park geo-scientist/geology intern.  Roughly 80 other scientists and volunteers were on the eastern side of the park.  More than 250 species of mushrooms were photographed, collected, identified, and dried for preservation and storage at the Sam Mitchell Fungal Herberium housed at Denver Botanical Gardens.
Dr. Donsky is a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado Denver in Biochemistry, and is the president-elect of the Colorado Mycology (study of fungi) Society.
The blitz was expected to create a snapshot of the macrofungi ecology of the forests. Mushrooms are the primary recyclers of wood and other lignified plant material and are crucial components in soil ecology. The following weekend Dr. Donsky collected mushrooms from Gold Hill by Breckenridge, Colorado. The mushrooms collected from near the mines will be analyzed by Graduate student Christy Van Campen for heavy metal accumulation.  This analysis will help to answer questions about the edibility and/or toxicity of mushrooms collected near metal contaminated sites.

Recent Faculty Publications & Presentations:

Doris Kimbrough, “Co-Teaching among STEM, School of Education and K-12 faculty: A STEM Faculty Perspective”.  Presented at the NSF Learning Network Conference, January 29 – 30, 2007, Washington, DC.

Doris Kimbrough, Panel Presentation: Three Perspectives on STEM Facutly Participation from the Rocky Mountain Middle School Math and Science Partnership.  Presented at the NSF Learning Network Conference, January 29 – 30, 2007, Washington, DC.

Doris Kimbrough, Panel Presentation: Involving STEM faculty in teaching teachers. STEM Summit, a joint meeting between NSF and US Dept. Ed. MSP’s.  December 11 – 12, 2007, Washington, DC.

Xiaotai Wang, ACS meeting talk: Convergent Syntheses of Metalloporphyrin-Core Dendrimers, 3/25 in Chicago, IL

Lin, H.; Zhang, Y.; Truhlar, D. G. , Self-consistent polarization of the boundary in the redistributed charge and dipole scheme for combined QM/MM calculations, 234th ACS National Meeting, 2007, Boston, MA, August 19 - 23, 2007.

Kim, J.; Morisetti, P.; Lin, H., Docking testosterone in the active site of cytochrome P450 3A4: Simulations suggest protein conformational changes are critical to substrate binding, ACS Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting, Denver, CO, August 29 – September 1, 2007

Zhang, Y.; Lin, H., Hydrogen abstraction of testosterone by cytochrome P450 3A4: A computational investigation, ACS Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting, Denver, CO, August 29 – September 1, 2007

Zhang, Y; Lin, H. 2008.  Flexible-boundary quantum-mechanical/molecular-mechanical calculations:  Partial charge transfer between the quantum-mechanical and molecular-mechanical subsystems.  JOUNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION 4 (3): 414-425

Zhang, Y; Lin, H; Truhlar, DG. 2007.  Self consistent polarization of the boundary in the redistributed charge and dipole scheme for combined quantum-mechanical and molecular-mechanical calculations.  JOUNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION 3 (4): 1378-1398

Leslie A. Adamczyk and Mark R. Anderson, “Differences in Electrochemical Properties of Contact Printed and Solution Adsorbed Alkanehtiol Self-Assembled Monolayers on Gold”, 2007 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Greenville, SC  October 26, 2007.

Wesley C. Sanders and Mark R. Anderson, “Effects of Potential on Ionic Self-Assembly of Carboxylic Acid Terminated Monolayers”, 2007 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Greenville, SC  October 26, 2007.

Mark R. Anderson and Wesley Sanders, “Experimental Manipulation of Interfacial Properties”, 2007 Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Denver, CO,  August 2007.

Mark R. Anderson and Wesley Sanders, “Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy to Evalutate the Effects of pH Variations and Ionic Self-Assembly on Undecanoic Acid Monolayers Immobilized on Gold”, The 2007 Pittsburgh Conference, Chicago, IL, Feb. 26, 2007.

Hooper, SE; Anderson, Mark R, 2008.  Simultaneous determination of glucose and L-glutamate using a capillary enzyme reactor with electrochemical detection.  ELECTROANALYSIS 20 (9): 1032-1034

Hooper, SE; Anderson, Mark R. 2007.  Modification of a capillary for electrophoresis by electrostatic self-assembly of an enzyme for selective determination of the enzyme substrate.  ELECTOANALYSIS 19 (6): 652-658.

Cai, T; Xu, L; Shu, C; Champion, HA; Reid, JE; Anklin, C; Anderson, Mark R; Gibson, HW; Dorn, HC. 2008.  Selective formation of a symmetric Sc3N@C-78 bisadduct:  Adduct docking controlled by an internal trimetallic nitride cluster.  JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 130 (7): 2136-+.

Hooper, SE; Roach, D; Anderson, Mark R. 2008.  Application of a square-wave potential program for time-dependent amperometric detection in capillary electrophoresis.  ELECTROANAYLSIS 20 (1): 102-106

Damrauer, Robert; Noble, AL. 2008.  Ions related to silynes and disilynes: Computational studies.  ORGANOMETALLICS 27 (8): 1707-1715

Damrauer, Robert; Pusede, SE; Custer, TC. 2007.  Computational studies of electron affinities, acidities, and bond dissociation energies of boron-containing species:  The CH3(CH2)(n-1)BH2, and CH3(CH2)(n-1)BHF series.  ORGANOMETALLICS 26 (7): 1599-1606.

Kreutzian, TB; Seraj, KSA; Anderson, Larry G; Zapien, DC. 2007.  Electrochemically induced iron release of absorbed horse spleen ferritin:  Quantitation of iron using long optical path length thin-layer spectroelectrochemistry.  ELECTROANYLSIS 19 (23): 2479-2482

IN THIS ISSUE: December 2008

A word from The Chair
New Faculty
Fulbright Senior Specialist Recipient
Excellence in Research & Creative Work Award 2007
Mycoblitz, hosted by the Rocky Mountain National Park

Laura Cuellar