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Alumni Newsletter

Fall 2009


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General Chem Lab Organic Chemistry LabResearch Lab for Synthetic Chemistry

During a recent travel I had an ample opportunity to think about all of the wonderful things that are happening at the University of Colorado Denver, especially, in the Chemistry department.  The economy is experiencing some difficulties but faculty, staff and students are continuing to work hard to insure that our University remains a special place.  The research productivity from the department, as measured by professional publications and presentations at meetings, has increased over the last several years.   Enrollment in classes offered by the Chemistry department is up ~13% for the fall 2009 semester compared to fall 2008 enrollment. The department added 4 laboratory sections (3 general and 1 organic), one additional section of general chemistry lecture and opened a section of Organic chemistry to over 160 students; the largest chemistry lecture ever offered here at UCD.  All to meet the enrollment demand,  clearly we are meeting the challenges that the department is facing.

In our current facility, we are at capacity and cannot accommodate any more students in our classes.  Fortunately, we will move into the new Science building in just over 1 month.  The new building will offer modern laboratories for both teaching and research activities.  A laser laboratory in the Instrumental Analysis and Physical Chemistry teaching laboratory will providing an opportunity for additional optical spectroscopy experiments in these courses. In addition to the new building, a 300 MHz NMR spectrometer was recently donated to the department by ZettaCore.  This instrument doubles our NMR capability, and allows the department to dedicate it’s 200 MHz NMR instrument for use primarily by students in the Organic teaching laboratories. 

The research space in the new facility is first rate, and the new building nearly doubles the research space dedicated to the Chemistry department.  As we move into the new building, the department is adapting a shared facility model for the efficient utilization of the research laboratories.  This shared facility model will encourage a collaborative, stimulating, and dynamic environment in which students and faculty can discuss/debate research ideas and results; and in which the boundaries, which are frequently artificially constructed in departments by physically separating the laboratory space of different types of research, between the different research groups and subdisciplines of chemistry will be removed.  A collaborative, interactive department is one that will stimulate innovation – both in the research that is conducted and in the way the discipline of chemistry is taught.

It is that approach to chemistry that defines and drives our department, and it is this approach that makes me so happy to return home from my travels.  We are anxious for you, the alumni that helped to shape the department, to return to your academic home to help us celebrate the past, present and the future of the department as we open our new facility.  Please mark April 23 and 24 on your calendar as the department would like to celebrate the opening of the new Science building with our Alumni.  On Friday, April 23, Professor Bassam Shakhashiri from the University of Wisconsin (a long time friend of the department, and a recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Colorado Denver) will present his famous Chemistry Magic Show.  On Saturday, current students will lead tours of the facility, posters highlighting the research activities of our students will be presented, and brief talks about the past, present and future of the department will be given by our faculty. This alumni celebration weekend will be a great opportunity to reconnect with the University and department, to renew old friendships, and to see the facility that you helped to create. 

We are looking forward to sharing our excitement with you – the alumni of the department that helped form the department.


Mark Anderson

New Faculty

 Dr. Yong Liu Dr. Yong Liu joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Colorado Denver in August 2009, moving from San Diego.

Yong, originally from Shanghai China, became interested in Chemistry in high school and attended Fudan University in China with a major in Applied Chemistry. Later he attended the University of Michigan to pursue a PhD degree. During his graduate study at the University of Michigan, his research focused on aqueous and gaseous free radical reactions of atmospheric importance using both experimental and theoretical approaches. In addition, he also participated in a few environmental catalysis and green chemistry projects. Before joining UC Denver Dr. Liu completed his postdoctoral research in the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Chemistry department at the University of California San Diego. His research interests were extended to the development of novel approaches to study aerosol heterogeneous reaction, understanding of physiochemical properties and chemical transformation of atmospheric particulate matter as well as their environmental impacts on atmospheric balance, public health and climate change.

At the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Liu plans to pursue his research investigating chemical transformation of air pollutants such as gaseous reactive species and aerosols, interaction of chemically labile species with surfaces in the interfacial processes and their implications in atmospheric chemistry and climate change on local, regional and global scales.

Mark Anderson attends the Fall Electrochemical Meeting in Vienna Austria  

In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Vienna for the fall Electrochemical Society meeting.  I was recently elected to be a member of the Executive Committee for the Physical Analytical Division of the Electrochemical Society, and the Executive committee has its semi-annual business meeting during the Society’s technical meetings.  The business meeting was very informative and I believe that I will learn a lot about the society’s operations, and about how a fairly large professional conference is run during my term.  During the business meeting, I was also elected to serve on the membership committee for the Electrochemical Society.

As always, the highlight of any professional meeting is the technical presentations.  Attending a professional conference provides an opportunity to hear about the latest research and to gauge trends in research.  At this meeting, two areas of research were on prominent display during the technical sessions: research in biofuels and bioanalysis.  Fewer presentations in some of the traditional areas of electrochemical research, e.g. research in corrosion, were given at this conference than in the past. Not surprisingly, research areas (like biofuels) have attracted the public’s attention recently.

Professional meetings are always informative and fun, as they provide an opportunity to  see and hear colleagues from around the world talk about their research, and to catch-up with friends – many I’ve known since graduate school.  The best part of every trip, however, is returning home to Denver – and that was especially the case with this trip.  From the very beginning, I should have realized that this was not going to be an easy trip.  My connecting flight from Houston to Amsterdam was delayed for 3 hours due to mechanical problems.  Naturally I missed my connection in Amsterdam to Vienna, and the airline rerouted me through Frankfort to Vienna.  My flight from Frankfort to Vienna was delayed 1 hour, and I arrived in Vienna 26 hours after leaving Denver, all for a 3-day stay in Vienna.  Naturally, my luggage didn’t make it to Vienna.  Vienna is a beautiful city, even if you have to wear the same clothing for 2 ½ days.  My luggage finally arrived, the day before I was to depart.  My return trip was going smoothly, until after I cleared customs in Houston and was returning to the terminal through security.  Just as I exited the metal detector, the TSA people a couple a lanes away shouted that there was a security breach and I looked up in time to see someone running from the security line into the terminal with TSA people in pursuit.  The terminal was promptly closed, and everyone in the security area was required to stay as they were – in my case that was in stocking feet waiting at the end of the X-ray machine on my carry-on luggage.  I eventually made it back to Denver, and I was never happier to be home.


UC Denver Chemistry Club at STEMapalooza 2009

Chemistry Club

STEMapalooza was held for the second year in 2009 and was attended by ~10,000 people.  The yearly event highlights Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics activities that are occurring along the Front Range. The UC Denver chemistry club performed chemistry demonstrations for K-12 at this year’s STEMapooza.  The picture to the left shows (left to right) ) Madeline Torres, Shahrukh Joseph, Aundrea Piper and Heather Baroody from the UC Denver Chemistry Club showing students how to make slime.

uc denver chemistry club-2009 acs conference

 Picture of old Barracks

The University of Colorado first established an extension division in downtown Denver in 1912.  The School of Medicine was moved from Boulder to the Ninth and Colorado Blvd. location in 1924.  When the first chemistry lectures were given in Denver is not clear; however, the development of a chemistry program with laboratories began immediately after World War II when veterans on the GI Bill swamped the CU Extension Center.

In 1946, the Army Air Force donated surplus barracks to the University of Colorado, and two such barracks were relocated from the Buckley Air Field to Ninth Avenue and Birch Street on the University of Colorado Medical Center campus.  The photo, probably from the mid-1960s, looks east with Ninth Avenue on the left.  The barrack on the right contained two offices, a stock room and three laboratories (general, organic and analytical).  The barrack on the left held a chemical storeroom and two lecture classrooms.  

Chemistry lectures were held at both the Downtown and Medical Center campuses.  In 1947, the Extension Center moved into the Fraternal Building at 1405 Glenarm Place, and in 1956, the University of Colorado purchased the Denver Tramway Company Building at 14th and Arapahoe Street.  Through the mid-1960s, chemistry students attended lecture sessions in the 8-story tower portion of the Tramway Building (now the Teatro Hotel) or at the Medical Center barrack.  Chemistry students commuted by car or bus to the Medical Center barrack for twice-a-week laboratories.

The ‘temporary’ barracks, common to post-WWII students, were utilized for twenty years.   In the mid-1960s, the barrack laboratories were being used up to 60 hours per week to accommodate the growing demand for chemistry courses.  In January, 1967, all equipment, chemicals and instruments were transferred to the Tramway Building laboratories (now occupied by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts).

Reference:  In part from a history written by Mike Milash, former Chemistry Department Laboratory Coordinator, in 1975.  

Trivia Question:  How does ‘UCLA’ apply to the Denver Extension Center?

UC Denver, chemistry faculty

Adamczyk, L. A.; Anderson, M. R., Impedance differences found with n-alkanethiol monolayers prepared by contact printing and solution adsorption. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2009, 336 (2), 761-765.

Anderson, L. G., Ethanol fuel use in Brazil: air quality impacts. Energy & Environmental Science 2009, 2 (10), 1015-1037.

Ayres, B. R.; Reed, S. M.; Garrick, W.; Murthy, S.; Sanghvi, N.; Kulkarni, A., Chem Map: A Geographic Information System Web Page for Chemical Education. Journal of Chemical Education 2009, 86 (2), 255-255.

Damrauer, R.; Pusede, S. E., Activation of P-4 by Singlet Silylene (SiH2): A Computational Study. Organometallics 2009, 28 (5), 1289-1294.

Knaus, K. J.; Murphy, K. L.; Holme, T. A., Designing Chemistry Practice Exams for Enhanced Benefits An Instrument for Comparing Performance and Mental Effort Measures. Journal of Chemical Education 2009, 86 (7), 827-832.

Sanders, W.; Anderson, M. R., Electrostatic deposition of polycations and polyanions onto cysteine monolayers. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2009, 331 (2), 318-321.

Zhang, Y.; Lin, H., Quantum Tunneling in Testosterone 6 beta-Hydroxylation by Cytochrome P450: Reaction Dynamics Calculations Employing Multiconfiguration Molecular-Mechanical Potential Energy Surfaces. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2009, 113 (43), 11501-11508.

Liu, Y., A. V. Ivanov, and M. J. Molina, Temperature dependence of OH diffusion in air and He,  Geophys. Res. Lett., 2009, 36, L03816.

Liu, Y.; Laskin, A.; Hygroscopic Properties of CH3SO3Na, CH3SO3NH4, (CH3SO3)2Mg and (CH3SO3)2Ca Particles Studied by micro-FTIR Spectroscopy. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2009, 113 (8), pp 1531–1538

Abid, A. D.; Tolmachoff, E. D.; Phares, D. J.; Wang, H.; Liu, Y.; Laskin, A.; Size Distribution and Morphology of Nascent Soot in Premixed Ethylene Flames with and without Benzene Doping. Proc. Combust. Inst., 2009, 32, 681


Current UCD Chemistry Faculty                     

Larry Anderson                     Doris Kimbrough      

Mark Anderson                      Karen Knaus

Margaret Bruehl                    John Lanning  
Priscilla Crocker-Burrow
       Lisa Lanning             
Robert Damrauer                  Hai Lin                        
Marc Donsky                         Yong Lui                         
Douglas Dyckes                     Scott Reed      
                                             Xiaotai Wang




December 2009

A word from The Chair , Mark Anderson
New Faculty

Mark Anderson attends the Fall Electrochemical Meeting in Vienna

UC Denver Chemistry Club at STEMapalooza 2009

UC Denver Department of Chemistry–The Beginning

Laura Cuellar