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

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


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

Welcome New Graduate Students

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is pleased to welcome four new students to its graduate program.

  • Hixson, Andrea: University of Tennessee
  • Norvell, Victoria: Kennesaw State University
  • Sanchez-Rodriquez, Jose: Inter-American University of Puerto Rico
  • Speed, Daniel: University of West Florida

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.