Tuesday, September 28, 2010

To senior Chem majors:

The fall GRE Chemistry exam, taken primarily by students who are planning to attend graduate school, is scheduled for November 13. To help students prepare, chemistry faculty have traditionally offered evening review sessions in analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, a tradition that we plan to continue this fall. In addition, you should be aware that you can download the GRE Chemistry Test Practice Book by selecting the link at http://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/chemistry

If you plan to take the GRE Chemistry exam, I would appreciate if if you would send me some information that will be helpful in planning the schedule of the GRE review sessions: [Note: if you are not planning to take this exam, you do not need to reply to this message.]

(1) The date when you are planning to take the GRE Chemistry exam (other dates than Nov 13 are given at the GRE site)
(2) Schedule conflicts during Monday-Thursday evenings (we anticipate scheduling the sessions between fall break and Nov 13)
(3) Any questions you may have

Your prompt reply will help us in planning the review sessions.

Thank you.

Gary Miessler

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chemistry Seminar

Chemistry Seminar - Thursday, September 23 in RNS 390 Refreshments at 3:00 p.m. followed by the seminar at 3:15.

Forensic Characterization and Comparison of Nail Polish Removers in
Liquid Samples and Fire Debris

Nick Parker, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

St. Olaf College, Class of 2011

Nail polish removers contain flammable substances like acetone, and can be used to commit both arson and assault. It was the goal of this study to determine whether nail polish removers could be identified as such and/or differentiated among brands and varieties. Liquid samples of 61 nail polish removers were analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to determine the content of each product, and a classification scheme was devised to maximally differentiate the nail polish removers on the basis of both brand and variety. A sample of 13 of these products were then used to accelerate fires, and the debris was analyzed by passive diffusion adsorption and GC/MS. Results showed that many but not all nail polish removers are differentiable, but future research is needed to make this type of analysis practical in working crime laboratories.

Making Sense of the Ribosome

Steven Braun
St. Olaf College, Class of 2011
Chemistry, Asian Studies (Japan Studies)

As the center of protein synthesis, the ribosome is one of the most essential components of the cell. Due to its great structural complexity, a great amount of research has been done to characterize local motifs, especially since the publication of the first full atomic resolution structure of the H. marismortui ribosomal complex in 2000. Even so, much of ribosomal structure is difficult to understand at first glance. This summer, I worked with Bob Hanson to investigate new methods of structural characterization and visualizations of the ribosome. The results of our work suggest that in order to truly make some sense of the ribosome, its beauty must be appreciated more significantly at the global level rather than the local level.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Invitation to Biomedical Grad School Visit at University of Iowa

2nd Annual Biomedical Pre-Graduate School Conference
Friday, October 15, 2010
Faculty Chair - Madeline Shea, Director, FUTURE in Biomedicine Program
Coordinator – Jodi Graff, Biosciences Program
Orientation to PhD Training
Kelch Conference Room - 1289 Carver Biomedical Research Building (CBRB)
9:00 a.m. Lobby - Registration and Continental Breakfast
Information Tables – Literature and/or Liaisons from PhD Training Programs
9:30 a.m. Welcome – Benita Wolff, Associate Dean of Diversity
9:40 a.m. Unique Research Opportunities at the Carver College of Medicine
10:00 a.m. Just what the PhD ordered: Qualities we seek in applicants to our doctoral programs
(also known as, “How to Prepare for Success in Graduate School”)
10:30 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m. Admissions Procedures from A – Z
11:15 a.m. I completed my PhD: What are my career opportunities?
11:50 p.m. Escorted to Seebohm Conference Room (283 EMRB) for lunch
Lunch - Seebohm Conference Room – 283 Eckstein Medical Research Building (EMRB)
12:00 p.m. Lunch with UI Graduate Students
1:00 p.m. Escorted to MERF to meet with admissions committee members
Research Environment
Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF)

1:15 p.m. Informal Q&A with Admissions Committee Members - Available in Clusters
1163, 1171, 1181, 1185 (MERF) – ~4 programs represented per room
1:40 p.m. Informal Q&A with Admissions Committee Members - Available in Clusters
1163, 1171, 1181, 1185 (MERF) - ~4 programs represented per room
2:00 p.m. Convene in MERF Atrium - Depart for Tour of a Research Core Facility or Laboratory (Groups will be led by Graduate Students)
Participants will indicate tour preferences during online registration for conference.
Medical Nuclear Magnetic Facility (NMRF) – located in CBRB
Central Microscopy Research Facility (CMRF) – located in EMRB
DNA Facility for Sequencing, Microarrays, and RT PCR – located in EMRB
Protein Crystallography Facility (PCF) – located in BSB
High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Facility (HRMSF) – located in EMRB
Individual Laboratory Tours – to be arranged based on interest
2:30 p.m. Return to MERF Atrium – Regular Schedule of Events Concludes
2:30 p.m. Optional Opportunity – Additional Core Tour or Laboratory Tour with Graduate Student
3:00 p.m. Tour leaders will escort visitors back to MERF Atrium.
BSB – Bowen Science Building, CBRB – Carver Biomedical Research Building,
EMRB – Eckstein Medical Research Building, MERF – Medical Education and Research Facility

Friday, September 10, 2010

Symposium of Chemistry Summer Research

Thursday, September 16th
3:30pm - 4:30pm
Regents Hall 4th Floor Atrium
 Treats Provided
Come find out what your fellow St Olaf students got up to over the summer!
Enjoy a treat, take a look at the impressive research work that St Olaf chemistry students are conducting, and find out more about summer research. Students will be presenting posters and be available to talk about their research experience.

  This is a Chemistry Seminar, and you will need to be present and
sign the book after the seminar to get this credit.

If you conducted Summer Research off campus or during the semester last year and would like to present a poster, please contact Dr Peter Gittins ( gittins@stolaf.edu )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Opportunity to Visit a Graduate School Program

10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
at South Dakota State University invites you to:
tour the newly opened Avera Health and Science Center,
explore research opportunities at SDSU
and investigate graduate study in Chemistry, Chemical Education, and Biochemistry.

For more information, visit www.sdstate.edu/chem
or contact:
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007
(605) 688-5151

Tour the new $51 million Avera Health and Sciences Center, home to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Actively Funded Research Projects:
•FRET Microscopy
•Biofuels and Biomaterials
•Natural Products
•Environmental Geochemistry
•Chemical Education
•Atmospheric Chemistry
•Global Ecosystems
•Green Chemistry
•Materials Chemistry
•Detection of Multiple Protein Interactions

For planning purposes, please RSVP to natalie.garry@sdstate.edu or 605-688-5154 by Sept. 27.


9:30 Refreshments and Registration
10:00 Welcome
10:15 Introduction and Department Overview

•General Description
•Faculty, Staff, Students
•Instrumentation and Other Resources
10:30 Graduate Program Overview
•Application Procedure
•Living in Brookings
10:45 Faculty Research Discussions
•Bio/Organic Chemistry
•Chemical Education
12:00 Lunch and Discussions with Individual Faculty Members
12:45 Campus Tour

•Student Union
•HPER/Wellness Center
•Art & Ag Museums
•Performing Arts Center
•Research Park
1:30 Graduate Student Posters, Department Tour
•Research Labs
•Instructional Labs
•Instrumentation and Other Facilities
2:30 Refreshments, Q&A, Wrap-up

Sessions to be held in Room 043 of the Avera Health and Science Center.

Campus maps are available at

Monday, September 6, 2010

Information about the Pediatric Oncology Education Program

Excellent undergraduate students are invited to apply for the NIH/NCI-funded (5 R25CA023944) Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program, http://www.stjude.org/poe. The program offers a unique opportunity for students preparing for careers in the biomedical sciences, medicine, and pharmacy to gain biomedical and oncology research experience. Students participate in basic or clinical oncology research, research and clinical conferences, and a core lecture series designed specifically for them. All participants make a PowerPoint presentation on their research project and submit a report on their research project written in the style of a journal in which their mentor publishes.

A primary goal of the POE program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research, either as a laboratory-based scientist or a clinician scientist. Thus, highly qualified students with an interest in cancer research are particularly encouraged to apply.

The POE 2010 class average undergraduate GPA was 3.825. In 2010, 51 students from 42 schools in 18 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were selected from 460 applicants. POEs must be United States citizens, non-citizen nationals, or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States (required by the funding agency). All must have completed at least their college sophomore year by the time they participate. Sophomores without relevant research experience will not be competitive applicants for this program. While not required, prior research experience is a strong advantage for all applicants. Medical students spend a minimum of 9 weeks in the program. The minimum tenure requirement for all others is 11 weeks (10 weeks for returning students). All POE applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.40 (on a 4.0 scale) in math and science (biology, chemistry, and physics) and at least a 3.40 overall. The stipend is $4,000. Fully furnished group housing adjacent to our campus is provided at no cost for non- local students.

The POE home page, http://www.stjude.org/poe, contains links to the program application, which must be submitted online. The deadline for receipt of all 2011 application materials is February 1, 2011. Early application is highly recommended. Members of under-represented ethnic minority groups and women are particularly encouraged to apply, since one of the major long-term program goals is to increase the diversity of persons engaged in oncology research and practice. Our NIH/NCI-funded (2 P30CA021765-32S1) Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) grant provides stipends for additional undergraduate under-represented minority POE Program participants.

Contact Person:
Suzanne Gronemeyer, PhD
Director, Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program
Associate Director, Academic Programs
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place, Mail Stop 0304
Memphis, TN 38105-3678

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jmol - a paradigm shift in crystallographic visualization

New publication by Robert M. Hanson, Ph.D. St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Recent advances in molecular and crystallographic visualization methods are allowing instructors unprecedented opportunities to enhance student learning using virtual models within a familiar web-browser context. In step with these advances, the latest versions of the Jmol molecular visualization applet offer capabilities that hold potential for revolutionizing the way students learn about symmetry, uncertainty and the overall enterprise of molecular structure determination.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US EPA Green Chemistry Internship for January 2011


Over the last two years, St. Olaf Chemistry Students have been selected for this internship. Let's continue that trend!

If you are interested, please apply asap as the program has been known to make decisions on these internships early.

For more information see the links below and talk with Paul Jackson (jackson@stolaf.edu, RNS 422), Paul served as the St. Olaf internship supervisor the last two years.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics;
Economics, Exposure, and Technology Division;
Industrial Chemistry Division;
Green Chemistry Program

Green Chemistry Program Intern

U.S. EPA Headquarters
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460

The United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC has openings for at least two college student interns to join its Green Chemistry Program during the month of January. The position is volunteer, not paid, but offers a unique opportunity for training in green chemistry. During December, EPA will receive nominations for the 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards; during January, EPA staff and interns will read all of the nominations, write a brief review of each nomination, discuss the nominated technologies in multidisciplinary group meetings, and prepare the nominations for the judging panel convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute®. Because the work is highly technical, interns need to have a strong science background including at least one year of organic chemistry. For general information about the program and summaries of previous nominations, visit www.epa.gov/greenchemistry. If you have questions or would like to be considered for an internship, please send email to greenchemistry@epa.gov.

The position is a volunteer one, but the senior PhD chemist who works in EPA’s Green Chemistry Program has worked with a number of summer and January interns previously and can provide educational support.

• Sophomore, Junior, or Senior with strong academic record in science.
• At least one year of organic chemistry; majors might include chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pre-med, but other majors will be considered.
• Strong analytical abilities, ability to extend knowledge and skills to a very broad range of cutting-edge technologies related to chemistry.
• Evidence of effectiveness working independently; demonstrated self-starter.

Other Useful skills:
• Ability to learn quickly
• Strong written and verbal communication skills
• Ability to interact well with all kinds of people
• Understanding of and respect for diversity

This is an unpaid internship.

APPLICATION MATERIALS (apply by email to greenchemistry@epa.gov)
Cover letter including a statement of interest in this internship
Transcript listing science courses and grades (does not have to be official)
Contact information (phone and email) for 2-3 references

EPA is making this opportunity available to college students who are available during January (i.e., students at schools with J-terms, interim January terms, etc.). We have up to four openings and will consider applicants as we receive them. Students will get the most from the internship if they are at EPA for the four weeks between January 3 and January 28. Internships with different start and end dates may be considered.

Deadline: The Program may make an “early decision” and offer positions to exceptionally qualified candidates prior to the deadline.

Please send email to greenchemistry@epa.gov.