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Chemistry Department News

Dr. Owen McDougal and Matthew Turner Published in Clinical Toxicology

Owen McDougal and Matthew TurnerDr. Owen McDougal and Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. student Matthew Turner were invited to participate in a research project by Dr. Brent Morgan, Director, Emory/Center for Disease Control/Georgia Poison Center Medical Toxicology Fellowship, Professor & Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. The project was to evaluate the blood serum and plasma for two hikers of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia that had poisoned themselves by eating what they thought was mountain leek. Botanist Dr. Wendy Zomlefer of the University of Georgia identified the plant as Veratrum parviflorum. Based on the work done with Veratrum californicum in McDougal’s lab, and a review article his team published on North American Veratrum alkaloids, McDougal and Turner were invited to analyze the plant alkaloids to determine if they were the causative agent that poisoned the hikers. This was the first reported incident of poisoning by Veratrum parviflorum and the first report of the alkaloids present in the plant.

McDougal and Turner’s article in Clinical Toxicology can be accessed here.

Dr. Michael Callahan Awarded NASA Grant to Study Organic Material Found on Asteroids

Mike CallahanDr. Michael Callahan has been awarded a NASA grant to study organic material found on asteroids. The two-year, $446,413 grant will be used to develop analytical techniques to analyze the organic composition of material collected in space during NASA missions. Callahan’s research is being funded by the NASA Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples (LARS) program.

The full story on Dr. Callahan’s NASA grant can be found here.

Dr. Owen McDougal Receives COAS Faculty Excellence Award

Tony Roark and Owen McDougalDr. Owen McDougal was recognized by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Tony Roark during the spring college-wide meeting. The 2017 Faculty Excellence Award was given to Dr. McDougal for his strong record in teaching, research, and service, and his impressive ability to balance them all.

Dean Roark’s full commentary on Dr. McDougal’s nomination can be found here.

Fall 2017 Graduating Class

Congratulations to our Fall 2017 graduating class! Pictured left to right: Andy Hansen, Catie Hunt, Steve Nick, Allal Laaraj, Tudor Firica, and Sadigha Heydari.

Fall 2017 Graduating Class

Jerrett Holdaway Successfully Defends Thesis

Jerrett Holdaway

Congratulations to Jerrett Holdaway of the M.S. Chemistry Program for successfully defending his thesis titled “Potent and Potentially Non-Cardiotoxic Anthracyclines; Their Synthesis, Biological Evaluation, and Comparison of Hydrozone-Mediated Reductions”.

Drs. Michael Callahan and Karen Smith Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

Assistant Professor Michael Callahan and Research Scientist Karen Smith were part of a multi-disciplinary and international research collaboration involving chemistry, archaeology, agriculture, environmental sciences, climatological sciences, and natural history. This research effort led to the discovery that wine-making existed 8,000 years ago, around 6,000 B.C.

Wine Samples

Callahan and Smith applied analytical chemistry methods to pot shards from the South Caucasus region near Tbilisi, Georgia. This area has a rich wine tradition, but the ancient origins of wine-making in this region were only recently verified with assistance from Callahan’s and Smith’s LC-MS research techniques, which can be read about in detail in the recently published manuscript “Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus” in PNAS, vol 114, no. 46, November 14, 2017.

Articles on this discovery can be read at the following links:

Employees Honored for Years of Service

Jon Scaggs and Donna HarrymanCongratulations to Donna Harryman (right), Jon Scaggs (left), and Israel Shebley (not pictured) for their dedicated years of service to Boise State University and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. They were honored at the annual, university-wide Employee Recognition Luncheon on October 30, which was presented by the Association of Classified Employees, Professional Staff Association and the Department of Human Resources. Donna, Administrative Assistant, was recognized for 10 years of service; Jon, Manager, Chem Laboratories, was recognized for 5 years of service; and Israel, Lab Services Coordinator, was recognized for 5 years of service. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry would not function without them; their hard work and dedication is applauded!

Drs. Lisa Warner, Owen McDougal, and Matthew King Receive Collaborative NIH RO1 Grant

Lisa Warner, Owen McDougal, Ken Fujise, Matt King

Dr. Lisa Warner, Dr. Owen McDougal, and Dr. Matthew King have received funds through a collaborative NIH R01 grant with researcher Dr. Ken Fujise at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The four year grant was awarded for $1,000,000 with about $393,000 coming to Boise State University. They are very excited to begin work on their project titled “Using Fortilin Inhibitors to Block Atherosclerosis.”

The aim of this research is to attack the protein fortilin to prevent fat cells from multiplying and getting bigger, which could ultimately lead to a treatment for Coronary Artery Disease.

More information on this team’s interdisciplinary project can be found here. 

Daniel Shin Successfully Defends Thesis

Congratulations to Daniel Shin of the M.S. Chemistry Program for successfully defending his thesis titled “AHL based Modulators for RhII, a Quorum Sensing Signal Synthase in P. aeruginosa”. Daniel is pictured with his advisor, Dr. Rajesh Nagarajan, and his thesis committee members, Dr. Michael Callahan and Dr. Henry Charlier.

Mike Callahan, Henry Charlier, Daniel Shin, Rajesh Nagarajan

Mike Callahan, Henry Charlier, Daniel Shin, Rajesh Nagarajan

Mila Lam Successfully Defends Thesis

Congratulations to Mila Lam of the M.S. Chemistry Program for successfully defending her thesis titled “Investigation of Catalytic Activity of Stable β-Ketoacyl-ACP Substrate Analogs in Quorum Sensing Signal Synthesis”. Mila is pictured with her advisor, Dr. Rajesh Nagarajan, and her thesis committee members, Dr. Owen McDougal and Dr. Eric Brown.

Owen McDougal, Mila Lam, Rajesh Nagarajan, Eric Brown

Owen McDougal, Mila Lam, Rajesh Nagarajan, Eric Brown