Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Chemistry Department News

Dr. Henry Charlier Receives Boise State University 2018 Campus Award

Campus Awards Ceremony Group Photo

The Boise State 2018 Campus Award recipients were honored at a ceremony hosted by the Boise State Student Involvement and Leadership Center on April 19.

Dr. Henry Charlier (pictured far right) received the David S. Taylor Service to Students Award. This award recognizes an outstanding faculty or staff member who is committed to impacting the lives of students; extends student learning beyond the classroom; inspires students to see possibilities; and seeks innovative ways to serve students in the 21st century.

Read more about the Boise State 2018 Campus Award Winners here.

Drs. Matthew King and Owen McDougal Published in BMC Bioinformatics

Publication illustrationDrs. Matthew King and Owen McDougal of the Boise State Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are testing small molecule drugs for new uses by using specialized software to help theoretically “screen” molecules that can be used for a variety of therapeutic applications. Their research paper, “SPIDR: small-molecule peptide-influenced drug repurposing” appears in the vol. 19, 2018 edition of BMC Bioinformatics.

Dr. Eric Brown and Dr. Joseph Dumais Published in Polyhedron

Eric Brown & Joseph Dumias

Eric Brown & Joseph Dumias

Dr. Eric Brown and Dr. Joseph Dumais recently published “Solution and solid-state characterization of Zn(II) complexes containing a new tridentate N2S ligand” in the June 1, 2018 edition of Polyhedron. Dr. Brown’s research team, which consists of Boise State Alumni Valerie Tran, Kate Allen, Christopher Aaron, NSF REU undergraduate student researcher Martin Chavez and Research Professor Dr. Joseph Dumais, seeks to unravel the mysteries of biochemical zinc. In this paper Brown’s team outlines the discovery of a new ligand complex of zinc(II) that coordinates with nitrogen and sulfur.

Dr. Brown and Dr. Dumais’ paper can be read in full here.

Micah Buckmiller Named 2018 Top Ten Scholar

Micah Buckmiller

Micah Buckmiller, a chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry, has been selected as a 2018 Top Ten Scholar! This recognition is given by the Boise State Alumni Association to students who achieve exceptional academic success. To qualify for the Top Ten, a student must have a 3.8+ GPA and are reviewed based on coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.

Read more about Micah and the 2018 Top Ten Scholars here.

Maranda Cantrell and Dr. Owen McDougal Helping Idaho Potato Processors Stay Globally Competitive

Maranda Cantrell

Boise State Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. student Maranda Cantrell is teaming up with Dr. Owen McDougal to help Idaho potato processors stay globally competitive. Cantrell and McDougal are studying acrylamide, a chemical compound that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes such as in the potato industry. Recent research has suggested a correlation between acrylamide and cancer risk, so Cantrell is working to discover the level at which this chemical compound is a problem. She will be devising a method to evaluate acrylamide in various potato products that can be implemented by potato processors. This will help them ensure acrylamide levels are minimal and demonstrate that their products are safe for public consumption.

Read more about Maranda Cantrell and Dr. McDougal’s research here.

Employee of the Month – March 2018

Katri Swanson

Kate Swanson

General Chemistry Lab Coordinator

Kate Swanson demonstrates an exceptional devotion to her work and an intense focus on perfection in all that she does as General Chemistry Lab Coordinator. Her attention to detail, a personal commitment to excellence, and ability to bring every job to completion in a timely manner contributes to the department’s success.

Kate is a gifted technical writer and has applied her considerable skill in both organization and writing to completely revising and organizing both General Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry Lab manuals. This has led to the creation of lab manuals that contain clear instructions and consistent post-lab reports. Kate has also worked diligently to devise detailed grading rubrics, which have simplified and standardized grading across lab sections.

Since she was hired, Kate has pushed for greater attention to lab safety, and has been a strong advocate for changes in personal protective equipment and lab attire. Her efforts to require lab coats be worn by all students in lab have been worthwhile and have improved laboratory safety.

Kate maintains a professional yet approachable demeanor in her classroom, which earns here the respect and admiration of her students. She thoroughly knows the material for each course and teaches it in an accessible manner. She genuinely cares about her students, knows all their names, and is eager to help them succeed.

Kate is a talented and knowledgeable instructor, a gifted technical writer, an energetic leader, a trustworthy colleague, and a visionary whose goal is excellence in all her endeavors. She exhibits the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and her efforts ensure student success through excellence in chemistry.

ACS Chemistry Club Attends 255th ACS National Meeting (2018)

Chem Club at ACS Conference March 2018

The Boise State ACS Chemistry Club attended the 255th ACS National Meeting (2018) in New Orleans. These undergraduates had the opportunity to present their research, examine the research of others, and attend talks, workshops, and career fair events while proudly representing the Boise State Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Pictured left to right: Jo Williams, Chris Bonner, Kynna Bertagnolli, Wyatt Meyers, Madilyn Paul

Thaaer Muhammed Successfully Defends Thesis

Congratulations to Thaaer Muhammed of the M.S. Chemistry Program for successfully defending his thesis titled “Total Synthesis of 6,7-Dimethyl-N-Methyl Aziridinomitosene”.

Thaaer Muhammed

Dr. Chris Saunders Featured in IdahoPTV’s Science Trek

Chris SaundersDr. Chris Saunders appeared as a guest scientist on two of Idaho Public Television’s “Science Trek” recent webcasts. In the webcasts he demonstrated fundamental chemistry topics such as the Law of Definite Proportions, the definition of an element and compounds, and the Law of Conservation of Mass. The demonstrations involved fan favorites such as fire, bubbling effervescence, and color changes.

The Boise State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s mission is to promote student success through excellence in chemistry, and Chris’s participation in Idaho Public Television’s Science Trek is a demonstration of that commitment. According to, Science Trek seeks to ” introduce science topics to elementary-age schoolchildren; provide educational materials for teachers and parents; and inspire students to investigate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career potentials.”

The two webcasts that feature Dr. Saunders can be viewed at the following links:
Science Trek: Habitat Basics
Science Trek: Habitat Loss

Omid Mohammad Mousa Recognized at PNW LSAMP/SHPE Conference 2018

Omid Mohammad Mousa

Congratulations to Omid Mohammad Mousa for winning best poster of his session at the 2018 Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)/Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) undergraduate research conference.

His poster was titled “Enzymatic synthesis of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) using archaeon Methanococcus jannaschii S-Adenosylmethionine synthase (MJ-MAT)”.