Wednesday, October 31, 2012

US EPA Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships program, is offering undergraduate fellowships for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. The deadline for receipt of applications is December 5, 2012, at 11:59:59 PM ET.  Subject to availability of funding and other applicable considerations, the Agency plans to award approximately 40 new fellowships in the summer of 2013.  Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer of their junior year. The fellowship provides up to $20,700 per academic year of support and $8,600 of support for a three-month summer internship.  Chemistry major Ben Auch '12 is a past recipient of this fellowship!

For more details, please see the program web site

Saturday, October 27, 2012

America's Science Problem and Politics

The November 2012 issue of Scientific American has an article by Shawn Lawrence Otto called "America's Science Problem" and I would encourage all chemistry majors to read it.  (It is renamed "Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy" in the online version.)  The author discusses the origins of the anti-science movement in the USA, beginning with the attacks on the theory of evolution by Democrat William Jennings Bryan.  It develops its thesis by describing denial of scientific processes, scientific outcomes and personal attacks on scientists through today.  Included in this description are Democrats who believe vaccines cause autism, have knee-jerk reactions to possible health implications for technology (cancer & mobile phones), and Republicans who deny anthropogenic climate change, evolutionary biology, the meaning of the fossil record over geologic time, and an anti-regulatory zeal against environmental protections among a host of other examples.  As a student of science you should be aware of this continuing development in the social context of scientific work.  This is the job climate you are entering.  Those of you with voting privileges in the USA, I would strongly encourage you to take a close look at the candidates on your ballots and consider these issues among others you value. 

You can access the digital version of the Scientific American article using the above link.  In this same issue is an analysis of the candidates for President and what they say (and don't say) about their support of science.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Attention Chem Majors --

Interested in a "real world" part-time job? It's a bit of a drive, but there are openings at 3M for Technical Aide positions. Hours are very flexible and it is a great opportunity to get some experience doing chemistry in the "real world."

Bill Moser (St. Olaf '91) writes: "I'm currently working on a project developing new materials to help reduce shrinkage stress that is encountered under typical conditions of polymer curing. We have some internal funding for this project, and thus have an opportunity to hire one or two tech aides to help us. A tech aide could begin almost immediately, and we would have funding to support them at least through next summer and possibly beyond."

The requirements for tech aides include: minimum GPA of 3.0 and completion of at least one semester of college course work. Tech aides are limited to less than 900 hours of work each year. The hours that tech aides work are highly flexible and are negotiable with their supervisor. Since most tech aides are currently college students, they will typically work much less during the school year (some as low as 10 hours per week or so) and more during summer (perhaps 20-30 hours per week, limited to a max of 40 hours for any week).

If you would like to know more, please don't hesitate to contact Bill directly by e-mail ( He'd be happy to provide additional details.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Organometallic Chemistry Seminar

We will be hosting a seminar tomorrow in RNS 390 with refreshments at 3:00 and seminar to start at 3:15.   I would like 3 students again to volunteer to take our speaker to lunch at noon tomorrow.  If you would like to do this, please email Karen ASAP so she can make arrangements in the King's Dining Room.

Reaction discovery with pincer complexes
Oleg V. Ozerov
Texas A&M University

The name “pincer” has become reserved for tridentate chelating ligands that bind to a metal center in a meridional (T-shaped) fashion. They are typically denoted by the three donor atoms attached to the metal. Our group has devoted considerable attention to the chemistry of the T-shaped three-coordinate pincer-ligated fragments of group 9 metals (Co, Rh, or Ir). These are highly unsaturated species that cannot be isolated in their free form, but can be generated in solution. They display remarkable propensity for insertion into various X-Y bonds in oxidative addition reactions. The presentation will describe the various oxidative addition reactions of aryl halides and pseudohalides, and show how the study of these reactions can lead to discovery of new catalytic transformations. The emphasis will be on how molecular design, elementary reaction discovery, and development of effective new catalysts are intricately but not always obviously related.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Received from Mayo Graduate School, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Are you seeking Ph.D. training for a career that melds the unparalleled thrill of discovering basic biological mechanisms with the excitement of translating those findings into the novel therapies for human diseases? 
In other words, Basic Science on Steroids, where you not only perform cutting-edge basic research that leads to new insights in biology, but also see how your discoveries can make a difference.  If so, please consider the Mayo Clinic’s Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Program (MPET) in the Mayo Graduate School.
You may not even be aware that Mayo has a graduate school that offers Ph.D. degrees.  We do!  And it’s just one part of Mayo’s commitment to research and education that includes a yearly research budget of over $500,000,000 (mostly from NIH grant awards) and full institutional support of Ph.D. training. What we offer:
Exceptional Student Outcomes
Examples of our student’s successes include:
• Tremendous productivity during student training—Ph.D. (and M.D./Ph.D.) students graduating in the last 10 years averaged 5.8 publications, with publications in some of the very best journals in the world (e.g., Molecular Cell, Nature Immunology, Nature Genetics, Nature Cell Biology, PNAS, Neuron, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Genes & Development, Nature Biotechnology).
• Nearly all students go on to academic postdoctoral training at top-notch institutions
• Former students now have careers as leaders in academia and industry.
• Funding of a highly competitive, peer-reviewed NIH predoctoral pharmacology training grant (T32GM072474) that received rave reviews.
• Students complete Ph.D. training in an average of 5.2 years.
Committed Mentors
Our faculty members are committed to fostering the intellectual development of students into future leaders in biomedical science (as demonstrated by our student outcomes!). 
Cutting-Edge Research
Our research programs are firmly rooted in basic science research that integrate across the disciplines of pharmacology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, genomics, and proteomics.  The goals of these programs are to discover the basic mechanisms that regulate cell function and to translate these findings into novel therapies. 
• Cancer Biology and Therapeutics—Discover the molecular underpinnings that drive cancer and new approaches to treat these diseases
• Regenerative Medicine—Research how to program (or reprogram) human cells to regenerate organs and develop novel therapeutics
• Pharmacogenomics and Genetics—Employ cutting-edge genetic technologies to discover, at the molecular and genetic levels, why humans have vastly different responses to drugs
• Drug Discovery—Use supercomputers and chemistry to discover and develop mechanism-based drugs
• Neurobiology and Genetics of Addiction—Develop sophisticated genetic models and methods to understand addictive behaviors
• Cardiovascular Biology and Therapeutics—Identify the molecular mechanisms and genetic defects that contribute to heart disease and develop improved therapies
Full Student Financial Support
Student stipend, tuition, and, benefits (including health insurance) are paid by the institution for 5 years! So, students don’t have to worry about how to fund their stipends and can focus on research. 
To Apply
Applications are due by December 1, 2012. (Be sure to indicate MPET as your first choice!)
To learn more about the MPET program and mentor’s research programs
Please don’t hesitate to contact us. 
Richard Weinshilboum, M.D.
Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  and Medicine
Graduate Program Director
Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Mayo Graduate School
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota
Phone: 507-284-4308

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chemistry Job Fair

The Minnesota Local Section of the American Chemical Society is pleased to announce our upcoming
Chemistry Job Fair
The Chemistry Job Fair will be held from 4 - 7 PM on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN, in the 3rd floor Atrium of the Coeur de Catherine Building.
The Job Fair will be followed by the seminar 
Job Hunting Skills for Chemists 
delivered by ACS Career Consultant John Engelman at 7 PM in the 3rd floor Ballroom.
This is an opportunity to meet with technical recruiters from the Twin Cities area, and is open to professionals and students from chemistry and related fields. Résumé review will also be provided. Please arrive with copies of your current résumé, and attired to meet with professional recruiters. Food and beverages will be served.
To RSVP for this free event, please pre-register at

Friday, October 12, 2012

Creating Your Own Opportunity

"Creating Your Own Opportunities"
Special Chemistry Junior-Only Event
Thursday Oct. 18, 7:00-8:30
RNS 356

This is a very important event for all junior chemistry majors. The basic premise is this: Don't wait for opportunities to land in your lap. Go after them! Regardless of your career plans, there is going to be vital information discussed at this meeting that will help you get where you want to go (or help you figure out where that is).

We're starting a new program in the Chemistry Department this year to proactively help YOU SPECIFICALLY make the absolute best you can out of the few remaining opportunities you have before graduation next year. I know -- sounds like a long time off, still, but now is the time to plan. Now is the time to get organized! We want to help you do that.

At this meeting we'll discuss:

-- Research opportunities both during this coming summer and during the academic year.
-- Deadlines and how to make sure you don't miss them.
-- Getting recommendation letters.
-- Opportunities for independent study and independent research.
-- Advanced courses in chemistry coming your way this spring and next year, including "Literature of Chemistry" -- a senior-only course.
-- The seminar program, and what you can do to shape it to your interests and make it your own.

The Department really needs your input on many of these fronts. How can we help you achieve your goals? How can we make these last few semesters the best for you? How can we tune our program to this PARTICULAR group of upcoming seniors? What do you want to see? What do you want to learn about?

So, 7:00 - 8:30 next Thursday, RNS 356. Be there! (Or let me know you can't make it and why, please.)

Refreshments provided. (Suggestions welcome!)

Prof. Hanson

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chemistry Job Fair: American Chemical Society

The Minnesota Chapter of ACS has announced it's upcoming Chemistry Job Fair scheduled on Tuesday, October 16th from 4:00-7:00pm. This free event features keynote speaker John Engleman, ACS Fellow, and is open to students and professionals from chemistry related fields. Registration and further information can be found at