Chemistry & Biochemistry

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

May 2021

  • Chemistry major Ethan Iverson ’21 presented his research project titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Three Schiff Base Constitutional Isomers and Their Respective Copper (II) Complexes” at the Spring 2021 American Chemical Society Virtual Convention. The poster presentation resulted from research that Iverson completed with Director of General Chemistry Labs Willis Weigand. Iverson was also awarded the Outstanding Senior Award by the American Chemical Society, which was presented at a virtual awards ceremony by the local Central Texas chapter.





April 2021

  • Ethan Iverson  ’21, a research student of Director of General Chemistry Labs Willis Weigand , has been invited to present his poster, “Synthesis and Characterization of Three Schiff Base Constitutional Isomers and Their Respective Copper (II) Complexes,” at the Spring American Chemical Society National Meeting. He was selected to present his poster during a live, online Inorganic Technical Division session on April 21, 2021.





March 2021

  • Sean Calvert ’22, in collaboration with Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Mike Gesinski, received the prestigious American Chemical Society Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). As a fellow, Calvert will receive funding to study gold catalysis over the summer under Gesinski’s mentorship. Additionally, Calvert has been invited to attend an awards ceremony, present his research at a poster session, and tour Pfizer Research and Development Labs in Groton, CT.





  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sara Massey coauthored an article titled “Photosynthesis Tunes Quantum-Mechanical Mixing of Electronic and Vibrational States to Steer Exciton Energy Transfer” in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The peer-reviewed paper shows evidence that photosynthetic bacteria use quantum-mechanical mechanisms to protect themselves from oxidative damage. The paper was coauthored with scientists at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.





January 2021

  • Professor of Chemistry and the Herbert and Kate Dishman Chair in Science Emily Niemeyer published an article titled “Hands-on Experiences for Remotely Taught Analytical Chemistry Laboratories” in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. The article is a contribution to the “ABCs of Education and Professional Development in Analytical Science” portion of the journal and is part of a series on teaching analytical chemistry during the pandemic. Coauthored with Joel Destino and Erin Gross from Creighton University and Steven Petrovic from Southern Oregon University, the peer-reviewed pedagogical article provides an overview of different methodologies that provide hands-on laboratory experiences to students in remote and hybrid analytical chemistry courses. The collaborative article stemmed from Niemeyer’s role as a facilitator at regional and national active-learning workshops for analytical chemistry faculty. Find the article here.





December 2020

  • Garey Chair and Professor of Chemistry Maha Zewail-Foote published an article “Using Student-Centered Approaches to Teach the Biochemistry of SARS-CoV-2” in the journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.The article discusses pedagogical approaches to enhance science literacy and model authentic science inquiry in biochemistry. This same learning framework was used when the class quickly shifted to learning about the biochemistry of SARS-CoV-2 last spring.





October 2020

  • Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer published an article titled “Instituting a Group Component to a Final Exam” in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. The article is a contribution to the “ABCs of Education and Professional Development in Analytical Science” portion of the journal and was coauthored with Tom Wenzel from Bates College. The peer-reviewed pedagogical article provides an overview of considerations for adding a collaborative group element to final exams in upper-level analytical chemistry courses. The work stemmed from Niemeyer and Wenzel’s ongoing collaboration as facilitators at regional and national active-learning workshops for analytical chemistry faculty.





  • Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer and Derrica McDowell ’20 published a chapter titled “Factors Influencing the Production of Phenolic Compounds within Basil ( Ocimum basilicum L. )” in the forthcoming book Ocimum: An Overview.  Their chapter discusses the phenolic compounds found within basil and their associated health benefits, explains various strategies to increase phytochemical levels in basil, and offers conclusions about methods that can be used to maximize basil phenolic content. The book is part of the Herbs and Herbalism  series published by Nova Science Publishers. Research for the chapter was supported by the Herbert and Kate Dishman fund at Southwestern University.





August 2020

  • Garey Chair and Professor of Chemistry Maha Zewail-Foote  published an article in the Journal of Chemical Education  on transitioning her biochemistry lab class to a remote format. She described the assignments she created that maintained the research learning objectives of the course and enhanced research skills as well as the community outreach project, Making a Difference, that she developed for the class.