Kress receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to chemistry alumna Rachel Kress, who has received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Rachel graduated summa cum laude with an ACS-certified Chemistry degree in May 2017.  She performed undergraduate research with Dr. David Nikles on developing a method for determining local temperatures of nanoparticles.  She is currently in the PhD program at Rice University.  The NSF GRF program supports outstanding students in the pursuit of research-based masters and PhD degrees.  An NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is a highly prestigious award that provides three years of financial support for the student’s graduate research.  This year, 2000 students received NSF GRFs out of over 12,000 applicants.

Dr. Ayanjeet Ghosh joins the faculty

Dr. Ayanjeet Ghosh, currently a postdoctoral associate at the University of Illinois, will join the Department as an assistant professor in physical chemistry in August.  Dr. Ghosh earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 2-D IR spectroscopy.  He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin.  Dr. Ghosh’s  research will employ infrared spectroscopy as a means to provide chemical contrast in optical and atomic force microscopy. He will seek to extend the unique capabilities of infrared spectroscopy towards molecular imaging, and push the boundaries of existing technology through development and application of novel infrared microscopies towards problems of major societal importance, such as cancer diagnostics and design of better solar cell materials.

Congratulations graduates

The department is pleased to congratulate students receiving degrees at the May commencement ceremony

  • PhD
    • Juliette Commodore, Mass Spectrometry Studies of Peptides Cationized by Trivalent Metal Ions
      Advisor: Dr. Carolyn Cassady
    • Dokyong Kim, Investigation of Protein-Protein Interactions in the SUF Pathway for FE-S Cluster Assembly in Escherichia Coli
      Advisor: Dr. Patrick Frantom
    • John Lightcap, Observation and Electronic Properties of Reactive Intermediates from Measurement and Electronic Structure Calculations
      Advisor: Dr. David Dixon
    • Sefadzi Tay Agbozo, Characterization of the Carotenoid Cis-Bixin
      Advisors: Dr. Michael Bowman and Dr. Shane Street
  • MS
    • Dokyong Kim
    • Endre Mihaly
  • ACS-Certified BS Degree
    • Mikaela Armstrong
    • Kip Callahan, cum laude
    • David Charles
    • Madison Colley
    • Caroline Cunningham, summa cum laude
    • Matthew Delahay
    • Brennan Fitzgerald, summa cum laude
    • Kyle Furlow, summa cum laude
    • Nicholas Gosstola, cum laude
    • Sarah Guertin, magna cum laude
    • Jackson Gunter, summa cum laude
    • Jessica Hastings
    • James Howard, cum laude
    • Sarah Howard, summa cum laude
    • Natalie Kidd, summa cum laude
    • Elliot Lakner, cum laude
    • Paul Lawson
    • William Layfield
    • Tristan McGinnis, summa cum laude
    • Tucker McMillen
    • Connor Meyers, summa cum laude
    • Carson Mize
    • Catherine Owens
    • Taylor Perkins
    • Martin Schwarze, summa cum laude
    • Lara Scott, summa cum laude
    • Alexander Shaver, summa cum laude
    • Andrea Shull, cum laude
    • Matthew Wilson
  • BS
    • Wade Davis, magna cum laude
    • Colin Dunne, magna cum laude
    • John Graham
    • Zoe Guckien, summa cum laude
    • Jacob Howell, magna cum laude
    • Addison Iszler, summa cum laude
    • Thomas Martin
    • Benjamin Michaels, magna cum laude
    • Sumi Mize
    • Mary Muffly, summa cum laude
    • Anna Parker, magna cum laude
    • Brett Tancak, magna cum laude
  • Dual Chemical Engineering-Chemistry degree
    • Mary Taglieri

Dr. Pan receives UA Research Award

Dr. Shanlin Pan received the Senior Investigator award in the Physical and Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering division at the UA Faculty Research Day. Each year the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development hosts the UA Faculty Research Day.  Two faculty in at both the senior and junior level are selected to receive awards in one of three areas.  Dr. Pan’s research focuses on applications of electrochemistry and spectroscopy to understanding problems in energy conversion and storage, as well as catalysis.

Conte receives presentation award

Juliana Conte, a PhD student working with Dr. Frantom, received the best overall presentation award at the 2018 Southeastern Enzyme Conference in Atlanta, GA. Juliana’s poster was entitled, “Investigation of 2-Phosphinometylmalic Acid Synthase:  A Member of the DRE-TIM Metallolyase Superfamily.

Juliana Conte won the best presentation award at the 2018 Southeast Enzyme Conference.

Congratulations Honors Day Awardees

Congratulations to the Chemistry and Biochemistry students who received Department awards during Honors day.
  • Outstanding General Chemistry Students: Audrey Allen, MacKenzie Brannan, Jacey Lemonds, Amelia McKee, Michelle Moore, Andrew Ravine, Ethan Reeves, James Thompson, Amber Thibeaux, Abby Whitfield
  • Outstanding Performance by a Nursing Major: Casey Coggins
  • Outstanding Organic Chemistry Student Award: Ryan Tuckey, Kyle Singletary, Sean Walsh, Amber Wesoloski
  • Outstanding Analytical Chemistry Award: Russell Clarke
  • ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award: Alexander Shaver
  • ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Award: James Howard
  • ACS Division of Physical Chemistry Award: Sebastian Rowe
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award: Sebastian Rowe
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award: Taylor Perkins
  • American Institute of Chemists Award: Tristin McGinnis
  • First Year Graduate Student Teaching Award: Zachary Simmons, Jake Wilson
  • Outstanding Second Year Graduate Student Award: Sanjit Das, Ashley McNeil
  • Outstanding Third Year Graduate Student Award: Xinyao Jing
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award: Dr. Kerry Barnett
  • Outstanding Dissertation Research Award: Dr. Shengjie Zhang



2018 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergraduate Honors Recipients

2018 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Graduate Student Award Recipients


Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards

Congratulations to the students doing research in the Department who received Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards.
  • Amber Gomez
    Mentor: Dr. David Dixon
    Title: Computational Studies of the Electron and Fluoride Affinities of Early Actinide Oxides and Oxo-Fluoride Complexes
  • James Howard
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Shaughnessy
    Title: Application of Air-Stable Palladium(II) Precatalysts to Suzuki Cross-Coupling Reactions and C-H Activeation of Pyridine N-Oxides
  • Addison Iszler
    Mentor: Dr. Marco Bonizzoni
    Title: Noncovalent Interactions in PAMAM Dendrimer Analogues
  • Elliot Lakner
    Mentor: Dr. David Dixon
    Title: Structural and Electronic Properties of Pd Clusters: Catalyst Models
  • Donna Xia
    Mentor: Dr. David Dixon
    Title: Actinide Aqueous Hydrolysis Reactions: Initial Steps in Actinide Aggregation
Donna Xia also received the Henry Pettus Randall, Jr. Scholarship as the highest rated project by a Randall Scholars Program student.

Students win Goldwater Scholarships

Two students associated with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have been awarded prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.

Elizabeth Rowe is a dual Chemistry and Chemical Engineering major.  She is involved in research on novel polymeric materials with Prof. Paul Rupar.

Elizabeth Rowe

Donna Xia is a Chemical Engineering major.  She is involved in research on computational chemistry with Dr. David Dixon.

Donna Xia


In Memory of Prof. David Nikles

David Eugene Nikles, born July 3rd, 1954, passed away at home on Sunday, March 19th, 2018. He was preceded in death by his father, Edward Nikles; his brothers, Russell and Randall Nikles; his paternal grandparents, Edward and Margaret Nikles; and his maternal grandparents, William and Anna Willis. He is survived by his wife, Jackie; daughter, Sarah; son, Daniel; mother, Lucille Nikles; and siblings, Tim Nikles (Jeanne Nikles), Laura Nikles (Denise Bell), and Sue Nikles Moore (Tim Moore).

Dr. Nikles attended the University of Akron, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1977. He went on to attend Case Western Reserve University, earning his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry in 1982. After graduating, he became a staff scientist at Hoechst Celanese Research Division in Summit, New Jersey, where he worked from 1982 to 1990. In August of 1990, he joined the faculty of The University of Alabama, and remained active in education and research until his passing. During his tenure, he served as Associate Director for the Center for Materials for Information Technology and as Director of the Central Analytical Faculty. He had been a member of the American Chemical Society for 40 years, and an active member of the National Information Storage Consortium.

Dr. Nikles’ research interests included inorganic nanoparticles and polymeric materials applied to magnetic data storage, cancer treatment, and targeted drug delivery. The scope of his research encompassed the synthesis, characterization, and applications of organic, inorganic, organometallic, and polymeric materials for optics, electronics, optical data storage, electrophotography, holography, magnetic tape, and magnetic recording. In recent years, Dr. Nikles’ research focused on the use of magnetically nanoparticles that could be heated by an external alternating magnetic field.  Dr. Nikles and his students collaborated with his wife, Dr. Jackie Nikles, and researchers at UAB to apply these particles to targeted cancer therapies.

Dr. Nikles was a dedicated educator who always had time for his students.  He hosted numerous graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in his lab over the years.  He was always willing to take on new undergraduate researchers and devoted countless hours to their mentoring.  Dr. Nikles’ students won numerous awards, including several who were recognized as Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award recipients at UA.

Dave was a generous colleague who was willing to do all he could to help support his colleagues, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and UA.  He made a significant impression on all who knew him and will be greatly missed by his colleagues and students.

Obituary from the Tuscaloosa News