Chemistry & Biochemistry

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

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.

April 2020

  • Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer, Jiyoun Ahn ’17, and Andie Alford ’17 published an article titled “Variation in Phenolic Profiles and Antioxidant Properties among Medicinal and Culinary Herbs of the LamiaceaeFamily” in the most recent issue of the Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization. Ahn and Alford grew 23 common and less-well-known Lamiaceaeplants during the SCOPE summer research program and then analyzed them for their chemistry capstone research. Niemeyer completed the project by conducting mass spectral analysis of the herbs during her spring 2019 sabbatical in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin. The research was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Robert A. Welch Foundation, and the Herbert and Kate Dishman endowment.

March 2020

  • Professor of Chemistry Emily Niemeyer and Katie McCance ’15 published an article titled “Classroom Observations to Characterize Active Learning within Introductory Undergraduate Science Courses” in the March/April issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching. The authors discuss the analysis of observation data to characterize different instructional practices in science classrooms. McCance, a doctoral student in the Department of STEM Education at North Carolina State University, and Niemeyer collaborated on the study with Timothy Weston, a research faculty member at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The research was completed with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

February 2020

  • Professor of Biology and Chair of the Pre-Med Advisory Committee Maria Cuevas was the recipient of the inaugural Advisor of the Year Award conferred by the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (TAAHP). The award was created to recognize a TAAHP member who has exhibited excellence in health professions advising over the past year. Cuevas added significant resources for students in her first two years as Southwestern’s chief faculty pre-health advisor and chair of the Pre-Med Committee, including a robust pre-health website, a physical home for pre-health students in the new science building, and an enhanced process for committee recommendation letters.