Chemistry Department News
Boise State Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. student Matthew Turner has been published in the Journal of Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry for his work in Dr. Owen McDougal’s chemistry research lab. The research explores extraction methods and biological activity for a chemical substance called cyclopamine, found in corn lily (Veratrum californicum). Cyclopamines are thought to be cancer causing agents during fetal development.
Biochemist Rajesh Nagarajan has received a three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund his research on the chemical language of bacteria. He is working to understand how bacteria create the signal molecules to communicate with one another. Dr. Nagarajan’s research could significantly impact the use of antibiotics to treat infectious disease.
Graduate student Phillip Hammer has been awarded the prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF). The NESSF is a nationally competitive fellowship in which selection is based upon scientific merit, relevance of proposed research, and academic excellence. NASA received 767 applications among four research divisions including Planetary Science, the division for which Hammer applied. Only 28 out of 180 applicants were selected for the Planetary Science division!
Hammer’s research proposal, “Some Like It Hot: A Study of Thermally Altered Meteorites and Laboratory Analogs”, deals with understanding the formation and evolution of organic compounds in meteorite parent bodies. Hammer will carry out this research in the laboratory of his advisor, Prof. Michael Callahan, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The one-year fellowship, which includes a $30,000 annual stipend, is renewable for up to two years.
Chemistry graduate student Paul Phillips recently attended the 97th annual American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division meeting on the University of San Diego campus. Paul was one of 12 students from undergraduate to Ph.D. candidate that competed for top honors. Paul presented his work titled, “Binding Affinity Optimization of α-Conotoxin MII Analogs to Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors” and received an honorable mention for the quality of his presentation.
Paul Phillips, a graduate student in Dr. Owen McDougal’s research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Boise State University, recently published his work “Assessing the utility and limitations of high throughput virtual screening” in AIMS Molecular Science. The study focused on using specialized computer modeling methods on conotoxins, a type of venom found in the snails of genus Conus. The compounds found in Conus snail darter venom show promise for binding and inhibiting nerve receptors that contribute to Parkinson’s disease and as non-narcotic analgesics for chronic pain relief.
Undergraduate chemistry student John French (pictured right), under the mentorship of Dr. Owen McDougal and Dr. Matt King (pictured left), investigated the Quantitative Determination of Vinpocetine in Dietary Supplements. His study focused on HPLC-UV measurement techniques for determining concentrations of vinpocetine in neutraceuticals. Vinpocetine is currently unregulated by the FDA or any other federal agency. During the course of this study, French perfected extraction methods for this controversial additive. French’s manuscript was recently published in Natural Product Communications 11 (5) 2016.
Kiyo Fujimoto, 2016 chemistry alumnus, has been offered a prestigious three-year graduate fellowship from the Department of Energy! Only 32 students were selected nationwide for this competitive fellowship which is administered on behalf of the Integrated University Program (IUP). The fellowship will help pay for her graduate studies and the research she will be conducting in Boise State’s Materials Science Ph.D. Program!
Pictured left to right: Billal Sultani, Roberto Cruz Romero, Kiyo Fujimoto, Savannah Irving, Sarah Rehn, Jacob Smith, Lillian Volz, Chris Radford, Keanan Cassidy, Levi Mitchell
Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award: Kenneth Coward, Austin Mello, Justin Nelson, Sadie Ranck, Laura Van Duker
Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry: Austin Snyder
Award for Excellence in Biochemistry: Jessica Roberts
Award for Excellence in Physical Chemistry: Jenny Fothergill
Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry: Joshua Pridey
BSU Analyst Certification: Joshua Pridey, Veronica Wiseman, Christina Lee
BSU Dept. of Chemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships: Kynna Bertagnolli and Brandon Stevenson
BSU Dept. of Chemistry Graduate Summer Research Fellowships: Thaaer Muhammed and Hanna Meinikheim
Graduating Seniors: Keanan Cassidy, Sarah Rehn, Roberto Cruz Romero, Jacob Smith, Kiyo Fujimoto, Billal Sultani, Savannah Irving, Lillian Volz, Chris Radford, Levi Mitchell
Outstanding Graduating Senior (Merck): Sarah Rehn
Departmental Scholarship Recipients for 2016-2017: Bri Durham, Jenny Fothergill, Tristan Olsen, Jo Williams, Alex Sessa, Sierra Etzler, Michael Black, Heather Black, Zoe Anderson, Sammy Walker, Andy Bogard, Bradley Lopes, Adam Thompson, Lukas Little, Steve Nick, Joseph Jenkins, Christopher Bonner, Kynna Bertagnolli, Alex Bravo, Gabrielle Donalson, Eric Read
Out-going Chem Club Officers: President Alexandra Isnor, Vice President Kevin Shumard, Treasurer Jordan Orien, Secretary Steve Nick
In-coming Chem Club Officers: President Steve Nick, Vice President Jo Williams, Treasurer Alex Sessa