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

Dr. Dunkle receives NIH grant

Dr. Jack Dunkle, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study antibiotic resistance in collaboration with researchers at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL.  Antibiotic resistance is a major concern as many of the commonly used antibiotic drugs become ineffective and bacteria evolve that are resistant to all available treatments.  The team will study the erythromycin resistance methyltransferase enzyme, which is one process by which bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. By understanding the mechanism for this enzyme, Dr. Dunkle and his team hope to be able to identify potential targets for drugs to combat antibiotic resistance.  UA Press Release

Prof. Arduengo retires

Dr. Anthony J. Arduengo, III, Saxon Professor of Chemistry retired at the end of 2017.  Prof. Arduengo joined the UA faculty in 1999 as Saxon professor after spending the prior 15 years at the Central Research and Development Department of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company in Wilmington, DE.  At du Poet, Dr. Arduengo made numerous seminal contributions to fundamental chemistry.  These accomplishments included, but are not limited to, the first planar T-shaped (10-P-3) bonding arrangement at phosphorus (e.g., ADPO), discovery and experimental establishment of the edge inversion process, creation of the first stable nitrile and chloronium ylides, design and investigation of highly electrophilic carbenes (e.g., DTTC), isolation and structural characterization of the thiazol-2-ylidene carbene model of the vitamin-B1 cofactor, and design and synthesis of the first thermally stable, structurally characterized imidazolin-2-ylidene carbene. At UA, Dr. Arduengo has continued his pioneering research into the chemistry of stabilized carbene species and other structures with unusual valency.  Dr. Arduengo has also established new research in the area of xylochemistry through the STANCE (Technology for a Sustainable Chemical Economy) research program.  Xylochemistry seeks to use chemicals derived from wood and other plant materials in the synthesis of fine chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals.  Alabama’s abundant forestry industry provides ample resources for establishing a xylochemical industry.  Through the Gates Foundation Medicines for All Initiative, Dr. Arduengo has worked to develop cheap and efficient routes to medicines critical to the developing world.  Prof. Arduengo is passionate about providing students with international educational opportunities. For the past several years, Prof. Arduengo has organized study abroad programs for UA students at universities in Germany. Prof. Arduengo provides instruction in organic chemistry as well as German language, allowing students to remain on track in their chemistry degree program. He also has developed a number of courses that expose students to the chemistry of cooking, wine making, and beer brewing. These courses allow students to learn about the culture of Germany, while also expanding their knowledge of practical chemistry.

Prof. Arduengo will remain at UA as Saxon Professor Emeritus as he continues to pursue research supporting the Medicines for All initiative and the STANCE research project.  The Department wishes Prof. Arduengo well in his retirement and looks forward to the continued opportunity to work with him as an emeritus faculty member.

Welcome New Faculty Members

The Department is pleased to welcome two new faculty members who are joining the department as NTRC assistant professors.  Dr. Alice DeSimone earned her PhD at Georgia Tech.  She will serve as an instructor in general chemistry and as lab coordinator for physical and analytical chemistry lab classes.  Dr. Yinghui Liu earned her PhD at UA and will serve as lab coordinator for organic and inorganic chemistry lab classes as well as teaching in our elementary general, organic, and biochemistry sequence.

Introducing the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Department is pleased to officially announce that the Board of Trustees has approved changing our name to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Biochemistry has long been an integral component of the research and teaching mission of the department and plays a vital role in modern chemical research.  Our name change highlights this integral role for biochemical research at UA in the Department.

Congratulations Graduates

The Department of Chemistry congratulates students earning chemistry degrees at the Winter Commencement Ceremony on December 16th.

  • PhD
    • Dr. David Johnson, Synthetic Applications of ( (E)-α-Trialkylsilyl-α,β-Unsaturated Esters
      Advisor: Prof. Michael Jennings
  • MS
    • Silas Brown
    • Matthew Davenport
    • Ranelle Duke
    • Kristina Haney
    • Sarah Kelley
    • David Matetich
    • Jennifer Shankwitz
    • Katie Strickland
  • ACS-certified BS degree
    • Rishab Iyer
  • BS degree
    • Amira Abba, summa cum laude
    • Christopher Brit, magna cum laude
    • Connary Franklin, magna cum laude
    • Morgan Nail
    • Julie Weaver

Welcome new graduate students

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to welcome twenty new students to its graduate program.

  • Jabeen Abbasi: Central University of India
  • Mahedra Acharya: Tribhuvan University
  • Biniam Afewerki Berhane: Eritrea Institute of Technology
  • Brandon Hinderks: University of West Florida
  • Rezoanul Islam: University of Dhaka
  • Ramesh Karki: Tribhuvan University
  • Xiao Li: China University of Geosciences
  • Marcos Mason: California Polytechnical University
  • Michael Pennington: Akron University
  • Courtney Peterson: Salisbury University
  • Jordan Pierce: Bellarmine University
  • Matthew Shapiro: Berry College
  • Zachary Simmons: University of Alabama
  • Surakshya Thapa: Tribhuvan University
  • Skye Travis: University of Southern Mississippi
  • Corey Walters: Tougaloo University
  • Logan Whitt:  Union University
  • Jacob Wilson: University of Alabama
  • Wenzhi Yao: University of Alabama
  • Xiyuan Yao: Nankai University

NSF grant to fund new MALDI-TOF instrument

The NSF has announced it will fund a proposal entitled, “MRI:  Acquisition of a high performance matrix-assisted laser ionization dual time-of-flight (MALDI/TOF-TOF) mass spectrometer (MS),” through the Major Research Implementation program.  The proposal led by Dr. Carolyn Cassady will provide funds to purchase a state of the art MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer.  The MALDI-TOF instrument will be part of the department’s Mass Spectrometry facility.  MALDI-TOF allows molecular weight characterization of non-volatile compounds, such as biomolecules and polymers.  The instrument will support researchers in the departments of Chemistry, Chemical & Biological Engineering, and Biological Sciences.