Monday, February 28, 2011

Entry Level Chemist Job Opportunity in Coralville, Iowa

A chemistry alumnus writes to us:

My name is Kevin Roberts and I am an 1999 graduate of the St. Olaf chemistry program. The reason I'm writing is to pass along a potential job opportunity for your graduating seniors this year.

I work for Integrated DNA Technologies ( in Coralville, IA (Iowa City suburb.) Our company is a major supplier of custom DNA sequences for a wide variety of molecular biology applications. I've been here for almost 10 years. I'm currently the Assistant Manager of our Small Molecular Chemistry group. We're responsible for the in-house synthesis of a number dyes and other specialized chemicals we use in our DNA production departments.

We're looking for an entry level chemist for our department. Here's a link to the job posting: Someone with a solid organic chemistry background and a summer of research experience (especially synthetic organic) would be more than qualified for this position.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Segetis - MN Green Chemistry Moves into Production Mode

A few weeks ago I attended a day-long conference in Minneapolis organized by the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum. There attendees from Minnesota industries, academia, government organizations and non-profits learned how green chemistry is progressing in the state. One presenter, Cora Liebig, talked about a relative newcomer to Minnesota industry, Segetis, Inc. The four-year old company uses a set of Levulinic ketals, derived from biological materials, to make cleaning solvents or coupling agents in liquid formulations. By using this same base material the company also produces effective plasticizers for a range of plastics, can make polyols for polyurethane materials; and can extend the materials for applications as polyester thermosets or thermoplastics. See the recent Star Tribune article about the new partnership between Segetis and Method Products or check out their web site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Summer Course Offerings in Chemistry

The St. Olaf College Chemistry Department plans to offer an array of courses during the coming summer: Chem 125/126, Chem 247/248 with labs 253/254, and Chem 379 (first summer session only, no lab, but Experimental Biochemistry, Chem 373, can be taken in a subsequent term). A special offering of Chem 123 is available to a limited audience, see Dr. Abdella if you are interested in this possibility.

More information about summer school at St. Olaf College, and how to register for courses, is available at the Registrar's web site:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Summer Research Opportunity!

The St. Olaf Chemistry Department has received word from an alumna that the new NSF-supported Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at UC-Davis is looking for chemistry students for this summer. The website for the REU program is: The website for the department at UC-Davis is:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Put Peace Corps on Your Calendar

Information Table

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Time: 10:00am-2:00pm
Location: Buntrock Commons, 2nd Floor

Come to the information table to talk to a Peace Corps Recruiter about Peace Corps!

Information Session

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Time: 6:00pm-7:00pm
Location: Buntrock Commons 143

Come to the information session to watch a video, talk to Returned Volunteers, and ask a Recruiter your questions!

Chemists & Celebrating Black History Month

A few years ago the American Chemical Society put together an education page highlighting the contributions of African Americans to the chemical sciences. By no means was this an exhaustive list, but it illustrates the creative depth and passions an array of people contribute to chemistry. Take some time to explore the ACS list, search the literature or peruse the publications at the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBBChE).

This past November Dr. Warren Washington received the National Medal of Science for his work on the development of computational climate models. Two of his creations were used extensively by the IPCC in their 2007 report. Dr. Washington is a renown climate modeler and his biographical profile with the National Center for Atmospheric Research can be found here. You will also find a variety of other links, including multimedia resources, regarding Dr. Washington on the page.

Enjoy celebrating chemistry and Black History Month.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Job Opportunity: Recent Grads

An Ole chem alumnus writes about a job opportunity:

NHK Laboratories, Inc. is located in sunny Southern California. As a growing firm, we are constantly searching from qualified, energetic and enthusiastic personnel. We realize that employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Accordingly we offer competitive salaries, generous benefits including health and retirement plans with company contributions, and a dynamic fun place to work!

We are currently looking for Chemists to work in our Quality Control laboratory. This is an excellent opportunity for recent graduates. My name is Christopher Yen (class of 1989) and my email is If you are interested please email a letter of interest with your resume and supply three references.

Thank you,

Chris Yen

Monday, February 7, 2011

Press Release from the ACS, Just in Time for Valentine's Day

New explanation for heart-healthy benefits of chocolate

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2011 — In time for the chocolate-giving and chocolate-noshing fest on Valentine’s Day, scientists are reporting discovery of how this treat boosts the body’s production of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) — the “good” form of cholesterol that protects against heart disease. Just as those boxes of chocolates get hearts throbbing and mouths watering, polyphenols in chocolate rev up the activity of certain proteins, including proteins that attach to the genetic material DNA in ways that boost HDL levels. Their report appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, one of 39 peer-reviewed scientific journals published by the American Chemical Society.

Midori Natsume, Ph.D., and colleagues note that studies have shown that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease by boosting levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and decreasing levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Credit for those heart-healthy effects goes to a cadre of antioxidant compounds in cocoa called polyphenols, which are particularly abundant in dark chocolate. Until now, however, nobody knew exactly how the polyphenols in cocoa orchestrated those beneficial effects.

The scientists analyzed the effects of cocoa polyphenols on cholesterol using cultures of human liver and intestinal cells. They focused on the production of apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), a protein that is the major component of “good” cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B (ApoB), the main component of “bad” cholesterol. It turns out that cocoa polyphenols increased ApoA1 levels and decreased ApoB levels in both the liver and intestine. Further, the scientists discovered that the polyphenols seem to work by enhancing the activity of so-called sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs). SREBPs attach to the genetic material DNA and activate genes that boost ApoA1 levels, increasing “good” cholesterol. The scientists also found that polyphenols appear to increase the activity of LDL receptors, proteins that help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

Here is a Valentine’s Day sampler of other recent research on the health benefits chocolate published in ACS journals:

· New evidence that dark chocolate helps ease emotional stress

· Study finds that people are programmed to love chocolate

· Natural ACE inhibitors in chocolate, wine and tea may help lower blood pressure

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Job for Sophomore or Junior Majors at Natural Process Design

Carolyn Dry, a Carleton graduate and founder of NaturalProcessDesign company, is looking for an undergraduate chemist or two to work at her company over breaks and over the summer. She is interested in finding smart employees to work on projects at the company labs/offices in Winona, MN.

The job is for a creative junior or sophomore chemistry student (or two) with very good to excellent academic standing. The work will consist of various projects, listed on our website, These topics are coatings that absorb greenhouse gases, self repairing composites and concrete, maybe artifical photossynthesis, etc. The expectation is that the student(s) will work over breaks and during the summers in WInona. Starting pay is $12 per hour. Please contact Paul Jackson if you are interested. (

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Biochemistry in Summer School?

Are you interested in studying Biochemistry I (Chem 379) this summer? The chemistry department is considering whether or not to offer this high-demand course. Summer students would have the opportunity to learn in a much smaller group than during regular semesters. This course does not have a required lab and will meet, if offered, for 1.5 hours on M-F mornings. To help us in making the decision to offer this course, please email Dr. Abdella ( ASAP with a statement of interest in this opportunity.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Office of Graduate Studies

Please post, forward, or tell your students about the 2011 Nebraska Summer Research Program housed on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The program offers students an excellent opportunity to hone research skills and to experience life as a graduate student. Students will enhance their academic resume, work closely with faculty and peers, and have fun with social and professional development activities, all while receiving numerous benefits. Students historically underrepresented in graduate education are especially encouraged to apply. Due to funding restrictions, participation is limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
All programs for 2011 are listed at and include projects in Applied Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Redox Biology and Biochemistry, and Virology. We're featuring the project(s) listed below.
  • The Integrated Development of Bioenergy Systems REU explores the field of integrative plant biology with topics of energy and metabolism, climate change, genetic engineering, and health and nutrition researched using advance techniques in microbiology and through the lens of the role plants play. Students with backgrounds in mathematics or computer science who are interested in biology are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more at
  • The Nebraska Materials Research Science and Engineering Center REU focuses on new magnetic structures and materials at the nanometer scale. Research projects involve nanodevices for space exploration and drug delivery, DNA chips, carbon nanotubes for hydrogen storage and nanomagnetic structures for faster computers and energy conversion. Learn more at
Our online application makes it easy for students to apply. Priority review of applications begins Tuesday, February 15 and all applications are due Tuesday, March 1.
Thank you for your assistance in disseminating this information.
Best regards,
Renee Rodriguez Batman
Summer Research Program Director
Director of Graduate Recruitment
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Office of Graduate Studies