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Department News

CSB/SJU Chemistry News

Chinese Research Students - Summer 2007

Recent Student Awards

Student Presentations

Alumnae/i News

Faculty Grants and Publications


Chemistry Majors Present Papers at the Spring ACS Meeting

Jeff Bandar and Zeljko Ostojic


Nicholas Jones and Brian Johnson Mentors of Zeljko and Jeff 



2008 Chemistry Awards

Distinquished Service Award

  • Richard G. Lahr 

This award is presented annually to CSB or SJU senior who has contributed to the department in some aspect of service. Their name is placed on a plaque in the Ardolf Science Center.

Glen Arth Award

  • Zachary R. Shaheen

Glen Arth graduated from Saint John's University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1933. He then attended the University of Colorado where he obtained a master's degree in chemistry. He went to work of the pharmaceutical company, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, where he worked until his death in September 1975. Glen Arth made many important contributions in the synthesis and biochemistry of steroids. Notable among his accomplishments was his participation in the synthesis of cortisone.In 1976 Glen Arth's friends and coworkers at Merck, Sharpe & Dohme established the Glen Arth scholarship in his memory. Annually this $750 award is given to an outstanding Saint John's University junior chemistry major.

Sister Rogatia Sohler Award

  • Ha H. Pham

Sister Rogatia Sohler graduated brom the College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1932. Following graduation from CSB, she went to Marquette University from which she obtained a Master's degree in organic chemistry. In 1933, she began teaching chemistry at CSB where she taught until her retirement in 1973. Sister Rogatia died at the age of 90 in September 1992.

Sixteen years ago the Chemistry Department established an award in her name. The family of Dr. William Muldoon established an academic scholarship for this award. The $750 award is given annually to an outstanding College of Saint Benedict junior chemistry major.

Father Matthew Kiess Award

  • Jeffrey S. Bandar

Father Matthew Kiess was a master teacher and excellent experimental chemist. He was instrumental in leading the fund drive that led to the construction of the science center on the Saint John's campus in 1964-65. The $1000 scholarship in his name is awarded to a CSB or SJU sophomore or junior has shown outstanding skill, effort and accomplishment in the laboratory.

American Institute of Chemists Award

  • Zeljko Ostojic - Saint John's University
  • Alison M. Thorsness - College of Saint Benedict

This award is presented to an outstanding senior from each school who has a demonstrated record of ability, leadership and shows professional promise in the field of chemistry or biochemistry. The award consists of a certificate and a one-year membership in the American Institute of Chemists.

Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry

This award is presented annually to juniors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the analystical chemistry sequence. The award consists of an eight-month subscription to the journal Analytical Chemistry and an eight-month honorary membership in the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

Undergraduate Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry

  • Katherine A. Hartjes - College of Saint Benedict
  • Luke E. Steiner - Saint John's University

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in organic chemistry. It is sponsored by the American Chemical Society and the Joint Polymer Education Committee.

CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in general chemistry. The awardees receive a copy of the CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry.

  • Emily Carlson
  • Jeffrey Gilbertson
  • Sara Kingston
  • Zachary Lauer
  • Rachel Seurer

Alumni News

Laura MacManus-Spencer (Class of '01) is Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Laura is in her second year at Union College and is mentoring undergraduate researchers on projects studying the environmental fate of UV filter chemicals, such as those in sunblocks, lotions, lip balms, etc.

Nate Schultz, Class of '01, is the 2007 winner of the University of Minnesota's Graduate School's "Best Dissertaion Award" in the Physical Sciences and Engineering. Nate did his Ph.D. research under the direction of Professor Don Truhlar. He now works in the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory.

Katie Jermihov (Class of '06) is working at Beckman Coulter in Chaska as a production scientist.

Brian Hansen (Class of '06) is in medical school at Des Moines University

Erica Layer (Class of '06) will leave for South Africa on July 24. For the next two years, she will be serving in the Peace Corps as a 'School & Community Resource' volunteer. Erica will be working with three primary schools in a rural village, assisting teachers to improve their teaching and classroom practices, helping to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, and working to get the community more involved in the education system.

After working for 1.5 years in a biochemical genetics lab at the Mayo Clinic, Ryan Bielat (Class of '04) recently started a new position with Cima Labs in Brooklyn Park, MN. He's an analytical chemist with Cima and is involved in producing fast-dissolve oral-disintegrating pharmaceuticals.

Aaron Mohs (Class of '02) is in his second year of graduate school at the University of Utah. His research advisor is Dr. Zheng-Rong Lu. His research is focused on synthesizing novel Gd-polymeric contrast agents for MR and CT imaging. Dr Lu's group website can be found at:

Steve Vander Louw (Class of '92) is a marketing manager at 3M. He and his wife have an 8 month-old daughter. His new address is 4035 Salem Drive West, Woodbury, MN 55129.

Dorian Nelson and several of his colleagues at Merck recently published "An Improved Protocol for the Preparation of 3-Pyridyl- and Some Arylboronic Acids" in the Journal of Organic Chemistry (J. Org. Chem., 67 (15), 5394-5397, 2002). Dorian is employed at the Process Research Department, Merck Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 2000, Rahway, New Jersey 07065, and can be reached at [email protected]

Lee McDonald (Class of '84) is Associate Director of R&D at a tissue engineering biotechnology company called Ortec International. Ortec markets an FDA-approved tissue-engineered skin product called OrCel, for wound healing applications. Lee is responsible for development and validation of analytical methods for our products, intermediates, and raw materials, along with various other research projects. The analytical work covers the range from spectroscopy, chromatography, and wet chemistry for some raw materials, through bioanalytical methods, and on to cell biology methods for living tissue products. After leaving St. John's Lee received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Wright State University in 1989. Subsequently he did a post-doc at NIH before taking up an industrial career.

Matthew Christopherson (Class of '93) is currently a Senior Chemist at Upsher-Smith Laboratories in Plymouth, MN. Upsher-Smith is a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. Matt is currently doing method development with the majority of his time being spent using HPLC and GC.

Roland Buresh (Class of '73), a soil scientist with the International Rice Institute, has been elected a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. His research focuses on sustainable management of rice production systems. He is on the editorial advisory board of "Field Crops Research" and "Agroforestry Systems" and is an associate editor for "Agronomy Journal." His e-mail address is: [email protected]

After 14 years in the high school classroom (Mounds View High School and St Paul Academy), Rick Swanson (Class of '83) left teaching to become Science Content Director for DragonflyTV, a new children's science series distributed nationally by PBS and produced by Twin Cities Public Television in St Paul. The series debuted nationally on January 19, 2002. Rick says, "It has been an exciting and challenging change of career. I continue to make progress toward my PhD in History of Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota. My (tentative) dissertation topic deals with the evolution of chemistry, particularly combinatorial chemistry, as an information science." Rick's e-mail address is: [email protected]

Bob Conzemius writes, "I am currently at the University of Oklahoma, working on my Ph.D. in meteorology.  I was last at Barr Engineering in July 1996. Since then, I worked two years at a television station in Mankato, MN, spent an additional year doing consulting work, and taught meteorology at St. Cloud State University as a "sabbatical replacement" for a year. I am now earning my Ph.D. so I can continue this teaching in the future, although it won't necessarily be at St. Cloud State." Bob's email address is: [email protected].  His homepage can be visited at:

CHEM 350 and 351 Research

CHEM 350 Library Research and Seminar (1-2 credits). In depth library research and reading of primary sources on a single topic; emphasis of seminar is on comprehension and criticism. Under the guidance of a faculty moderator the student reads background and primary literature on a topic chosen with the moderator (see note that follows about choosing a moderator). Progress is recorded in the form of a review-type essay. A final paper is required which has evolved through several drafts with constructive criticism from the faculty moderator on each draft. Prerequisites: CHEM 236, 320.

ACS majors should take CHEM 350 before starting research or in the Spring of their junior year. Non-ACS majors may take CH 350 in either the Spring of the junior year or the Fall of the senior year. In consult with the CHEM 320/350/351 supervisor (see the List of Faculty Duties to find out who this is), students must choose a faculty moderator before registering for CH 350. They must also submit to the supervisor the form "Library Research Proposal" and sign a "Research Contract". These papers should be signed by the third week of the semester in which the credits will be earned. The seminar requirement of this course is described below.

CHEM 351, 375 Laboratory Research (1-4 credits). Independent laboratory research experience using modern techniques and equipment. Under the supervision of a faculty moderator the student investigates a research program in the laboratory. Progress is recorded in a laboratory notebook and a formal paper describing their work. Prerequisites: CHEM 320 and permission of instructor.

Registration for CHEM 351 is by permission of the department. Students wishing to enroll in CHEM 351 must develop a research proposal with the help of a faculty member, normally during the second semester of the junior year. If this proposal is accepted by the department, the student is required to fill out the "Laboratory Research Proposal" form and sign a research contract before registering for CH 351. These forms must be submitted to the CHEM 320/350/351 supervisor. These papers should be signed by the third week of the semester in which the credits will be earned.

Senior Chemistry Seminar. Each student reports on his/her Lib/Lab research in a 20 minute oral presentation at the annual Senior Chemistry Seminar Symposium held during the Spring semester. The supervisor will be in contact with senior majors to assist them in the preparation of the seminar.

Awards and Grants

Richard White has received the Natural Science Advising Award.

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments has funded a proposal written by Kate Graham. The grant of $60,000 will be credited toward the purchase of a HPLC-MS spectrometer. Kate and Mike Ross have submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF-MRI) to fund the balance of the cost of the intrusment.

The HPLC-MS instrument will be used in organic, advanced analytical, and biochemistry labs. In addition, it will play a central role in the following projected research projects.

  • Isolation of Bioactive Natural Products
  • Quantification of Pesticides and Pesticide Residues in the Sauk River Watershed
  • Analysis of Biological Mechanisms for Drug Resistance
  • Modeling a Trinuclear Site in Multicopper Oxidases
  • Oxidized LDL Studies
  • DNA Repair in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Identification of Endothelial Proteins Involved in Tight Junction Formation
  • Vitamin K Status in Female Athletes

Henry Jakubowski has received the first Tom Creed Memorial Award for Effective Electronic Pedagogy from the Committee on Academic Computing at CSB/SJU. The annual award recognizes the efforts of CSB/SJU faculty who strive to effectively incorporate infromation technology and Web applications into their teaching. Henry developed his own Web-based materials for his biochemistry class. He started working with online texts and graphics for his classes in 1996, and he has continually added to the site to the point where he no longer requires the students in his biochemistry class to buy a textbook.

Chris Schaller, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was recently awarded a PRF-G grant from the Petroleum Research Fund (PRF). The PRF is a trust that was established in 1944 by seven major petroleum companies. The American Chemical Society administers several grant programs using this trust. This award, for $25,000, will make it possible for four undergraduates to conduct summer research with Dr. Schaller over the next two years. Schaller's research is in the area of organometallic chemistry, and focuses on the syntheses of alkyl metal hydride complexes that are relevent to industrial catalysis.

Henry Jakubowski and Dave Mitchell have been awarded $60,000 by The Merck Company Foundation to establish a new fellowship program offering students year-round research projects in biology and chemistry. The research program will augment the development of a biochemistry major, now under way, and it will establish collaborative projects between biology and chemistry faculty and students.

Presentations and Publications

Frank Rioux presented a seminar entitled "Calculating pKas Using Quantum Mechanical Methods" to the CSB/SJU Chemistry Department on Febrauary 25, 2003.

Brian Johnson presented a paper entitled "Student-Designed Research Projects in the General Chemistry Laboratory" at the Workshop on Teaching/Learning Methods in General Chemistry held at St. Cloud State University, October 25-26, 2002.

Frank Rioux presented a poster paper entitled "Textbook Errors: The Covalent Bond" at the Workshop on Teaching/Learning Methods in General Chemistry held at St. Cloud State University, October 25-26, 2002.

Frank Rioux presented a seminar entitled "Teaching Quantum to Undergraduates" at the University of Iowa on September 9, 2002.

Kate Graham presented a seminar entitled "Biologically Active Compounds from Mycoparasitic/Fungicolous Fungi" at Gustavus Adolphus College on May 10, 2002.

Frank Rioux and Chris Schaller presented papers at the 222nd National ACS meeting held at Chicago, August 26-28, 2001. Schaller presented "Computational assignments in organic chemistry: An evolution," co-authored by Kate Graham and Abbot John Klassen. Rioux presented "Computer-assisted learning in quantum chemistry." Both papers were presented in a symposium on Computational Chemistry in the Undergraduate Curriculum" sponsored by the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry. The two and a half day symposium was co-organized by Frank Rioux.

The following publications by the department faculty and students have appeared recently.

  • Upadhyaya, Pramod; McIntee, Edward J.; Villalata, Peter W.; Hecht, Stephen S. "Identification of Adducts Formed in the Reaction of 5'-Acetoxy-N'-Nitrosonornicotine with Deoxyguanosine and DNA" Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2006, 19, 426-435.
  • F. Rioux, "Single-Slit Diffraction and the Uncertainty Principle" Journal of Chemical Education, 2005, 82, 1210.
  • F. Rioux, "Illustrating the Superposition Principle with Single-Photon Interference" The Chemical Educator, 2005, 10, 424-426.
  • Conaway, C. Clifford; Wang, Chung-Xiou; Pittman, Brian; Yang, Yang-Ming; Schwartz, Joel E.; Tian, Defa; McIntee, Edward J.; Hecht, Stephen S.; Chung, Fung-Lung, Phenethyl Isothiocyanate and Sulforaphane and Their N-Acetylcysteine Conjugates Inhibit Malignant Progression of Lung Adenomas Induced by Tobacco Carcinogens in A/J Mice, Cancer Research, 2005, 65, 8548-8557
  • K. Graham and B. Johnson, "Maintaining an Undergraduate Research Program", manuscript accepted for publication in CUR Quarterly, June, 2004.
  • Frank Rioux "Kinetic Energy is Important in the Nanoscale World" The Chemical Educator, 2004, 9, 12-16.
  • F. Rioux and B. Johnson, "Using Optical Transforms to Teach Quantum Mechanics", Chem. Educator 2004, 9, 12-16.
  • K. J. Graham and B. J. Johnson, "Some Simple Suggestions for Improving the Research Environment", CUR Quarterly, June 2004, p154-157.
  • F. Rioux, "Computational Chemistry" appears in Chemistry: Foundations and Applications, 4 Vols. J. J. Lagowski, Ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA,2004.
  • Jalas, E.  McIntee, P.  Kenney, P. Upadhyaya,  L. Peterson, S.  Hecht;  Stereospecific Deuterium Substitution Attenuates the Tumorigenicity and Metabolism of the Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamine 4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2003, 16, 794-806.
  • F. Rioux,"A Comment on the Vibrational Analysis for C60 and Other Fullerenes," Journal of Chemical Education, 2003, 80, 1380. 
  • F. Rioux,  "An Alternative Derivation of Gas Pressure Using the Kinetic Theory" The Chemical Educator, 2003, 8, 237.
  • Frank Rioux, "A Comment on the Vibrational Analysis for C60," Journal of Chemical Education, 2003, 80, 1380. LTE
  • Frank Rioux, "An Alternative Derivation of Gas Pressure Using the Kinetic Theory," The Chemical Educator, 2003, 8, 237.
  • Ed McIntee, et. al. "Reactions of Formaldehyde Plus Acetaldehyde with Deoxyguanosine and DNA: Formation of Cyclic Deoxyguanosine Adducts and Formaldehyde Cross-Links," Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2003, 16, 145-152.
  • Frank Rioux, "Calculating Diffraction Patterns," European Journal of Physics, 2003, 24, N1-N3.
  • Frank Rioux, "The Chemical Bond Examined Using the Virial Theorem," The Chemical Educator, 2003, 8, 8-10.