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Departments of

Chemistry and BioChemistry


The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) complex will redefine what a science building can be and play an active role in boosting scientific innovation. 2012

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A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR A CATALYST FOR CHANGE The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) complex



RESEARCH News James Coe Builds a Dust Library


Alumni news Jeffrey Bricker, J.Jean Cui, James Stevens, Marinda Wu, Esther Takeuchi


FACULTY News Malcolm H. Chisholm Gives Distinguished Nyholm Lectures

Chemists Awarded $7.5M Grant to Fight Nerve Agents

Professor Sheldon Shore Elected Professor Gideon Fraenkel Retires FACULTY RESEARCH Christopher S. Callam, John Herbert, Yiying Wu


GRADUATE STUDIES UPDATE Professor Rob Coleman finished a four-year term as Vice Chair for Graduate Studies in September, 2011


events The OSU International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy


staff news Recognition and New Hires


FACILITIES FOCUS CCBD Celebrates with Open House

2012 Lectures

Surface Analysis Facility Chemistry NMR Laboratory Analytical Services Laboratory



FACULTY RESEARCH Dmitri Kudryashov, Jane Jackman, Zhengrong Justin Wu undergraduate News Biochemistry Undergraduate Program Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics NSF REU Program Biochemistry Club

A Message from the Deans

Dear Friends of Chemistry, This past year brought significant changes to what many of you have always known as the Department of Chemistry. These include changes in leadership, structure, and strategic direction. LEADERSHIP Malcolm Chisholm, Distinguished University Professor, stepped down as department chair. Susan Olesik, Dow Professor of Chemistry, now heads the department. We are grateful to Professor Chisholm for his dedicated service and to Professor Olesik for assuming the challenges of leadership. Professor Mark Foster, most recently interim chair of the Department of Biochemistry, is the department’s new associate chair. Professor Christopher Hadad, former vice chair for undergraduate studies, is now associate dean of natural and mathematical sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. Hadad has been involved in semester conversion preparation, and in planning for the new Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building (CBEC). DEPARTMENT STRUCTURE We thank all of the faculty members in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry as they continue the thoughtful and deliberative process of combining two great academic units into one unified department. The official process of merging the two units continues smoothly; we anticipate it will be made official by the university’s Board of Trustees later this year. STRATEGIC DIRECTION Under Professor Olesik’s leadership, the faculty is actively working to develop a strategic plan that aligns with the cross-cutting themes of the college’s new strategic plan. We are committed to actively engaging all faculty and staff in this process to identify priority projects and programs for an informed investment of our time and resources. BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Planning for CBEC continues, with groundbreaking scheduled for summer 2012 and building completion slated for late 2014. Private naming opportunities are available. Contributions support this comprehensive, interdisciplinary research enterprise that integrates basic science and engineering research strengths. CBEC is a priority capital project, not only for the college, but for the university’s north academic corridor development. Please join us by investing in the future of our students, faculty and researchers. Finally, it was a pleasure to meet so many of our notable chemistry alumni this past August during the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Denver. Please keep up with the news of the College of Arts and Sciences through our ASCENT newsletter, Sincerely, Joseph E. Steinmetz, PhD, Executive Dean and Vice Provost, College of Arts and Sciences

Peter March, PhD, Divisional Dean, Natural and Mathematical Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences


message from the chair Dear Alumni and Friends, It is my pleasure to introduce this issue of the Ohio State Chemistry and Biochemistry Magazine. You will see we are on the move, with change and progress being made in virtually every corner of the department. In October 2011, I took over the reins as department chair from the able hands of Malcolm Chisholm. As described in previous letters, the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry have been working diligently on plans to become a merged unit. We have functioned as a single unit since fall 2011, and hope to make the merger official by the end of spring 2012.


Two Connected Buildings The Laboratory Wing experimental research and teaching spaces

The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) Complex

The Six-Story Office Tower administrative offices and theoretical research areas • 225,000 gross square feet • Ohio State’s first LEED-certified laboratory building • Building design elements promote interaction, facilitate collaborative research • Transparent, floor-to-ceiling glass exteriors—maximize winter sunlight; minimize summer sun • Optimum laboratory space— proper floor-to-floor height, structural dimensions, and environmental stability support intensive research • Part of the University’s Framework Space Plan • Project Cost: approximately $126 million

Our cover story details the construction of the “Gem of the Midwest” CBEC Building. The glass framework CBEC building designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli will be a strikingly beautiful building. The flexibility of its internal design will allow the reconfiguration of laboratory space as new research partners are defined. The opportunity for chemists, biochemists and chemical and biomolecular engineers to share the same building will be a model for enhanced interdisciplinary collaborations. The CBEC groundbreaking ceremony is June 18th, 2012. I heartily invite you to attend this momentous occasion. I do hope that you will consider attending. We would love to show you around the department and discuss our plans for an incredibly bright future for the new Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Activities will occur throughout the day. Of course, our department’s outstanding reputation is based on both your successes while students here and your considerable accomplishments as alumni. It would be invaluable for us to talk with you about our plans, receive your input, and provide an opportunity for reunions of research groups. I hope to see and talk with you at the groundbreaking.

It will:

In the summer of 2012, work begins on a structure that redefines what a science building can be. Destined to become an architectural campus landmark, CBEC will play an active role in boosting scientific research and innovation.

Research-friendly features When complete in 2014, CBEC will be a catalyst for change, collaboration, partnerships, discovery, innovation, opportunity. And, it’s about time.

Susan V. Olesik Dow Professor and Chair Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry


“Laboratory neighborhoods” on each floor provide research space for scientists and engineers. These include a central core of cold rooms, conference rooms, centralized services, and multiple lounges.

Anyone who remembers the challenges of working in our existing five buildings—McPherson, Celeste, Newman & Wolfrom, Evans, and Johnston Laboratories— knows these buildings were not designed with 21st Century research in mind.

The emphasis on lounges is a central design element that provides more interactive spaces to encourage interaction of researchers from different disciplines.

More than 60 percent of the chemistry department’s research space is in Evans Laboratory, initially constructed in 1958 and expanded in 1968.

Modularly designed laboratories form large contiguous blocks of space with clear connectivity and an openness that facilitates cooperation—another design element that promotes a comprehensive, interdisciplinary research enterprise at the interface of chemical sciences and engineering research strengths.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Best wishes.

and flexibility built right in. It is not difficult to see how it will accelerate the discovery process for world-class faculty, staff, and students, and open a door of endless possibilities.

Imagine a world-class structure with contemporary, environmentally- and user-friendly spaces, hyper-functionality,

CBEC’s location in the heart of the science and engineering region

• Maximize our competitive edge • Expand student learning opportunities • Jump-start careers in the sciences, health sciences, and engineering to fuel Ohio’s economy • Increase leading-edge research to develop anti-cancer drugs and vaccines; energy-efficient materials, like solar panels and wind-turbine blades, datastorage materials, and biomedical devices • Facilitate collaborations and partnerships • Enhance creativity • Provide safe, modern, energyefficient space • Attract outstanding faculty and graduate students • Accommodate the demands of modern research


Key Initial Donations for CBEC Dr. Gary Booth

of campus will help to create a community of scientists, engineers, postdoctoral fellows, students, and technical staff working collaboratively in all the areas of research strengths in Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Cutting-edge research today tackles a range of critical global problems, such as: nano/bioscience and technology; energy-related materials; energy and the environment; and theory, modeling, and simulations. These research areas require a multidisciplinary approach utilizing specific expertise of teams of scientists and engineers to foster innovative, creative approaches to problem-solving. CBEC supports Ohio State’s Research and Teaching Mission: It helps meet the growing need for building interdisciplinary research programs across multiple departments and colleges within the university’s “One Ohio State Framework” and supports the promise to continue offering a first-rate undergraduate education by investing in interactive classrooms, laboratories, and opportunities for students to enhance their research possibilities in interdisciplinary science. Finally, in addition to its other features, CBEC has the potential for making a profound impact on raising Ohio State’s profile as a leader in innovative research initiatives that help drive the economy. It will make it easier for its occupants to leverage large-scale grants; recruit top faculty, post-docs and graduate students; and become a hub of academic research and industrial partnerships.

8 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Gary and Jane Booth have very generously donated $100,000 to the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Complex (CBEC). Gary received his B.S. from the University of Eastern Kentucky and his Ph.D. at Ohio State. Gary’s generosity of spirit was seen throughout his career at Procter & Gamble where he retired as Vice President of Research and Development. It is exemplified through his work after retirement on the Malawi water supply. Malawi is called “green heart of Africa” for the beauty of its land and warmth of its people, but is one of the world’s poorest countries. Seventy percent of the water supply was contaminated and waterborne diseases claim 45,000 lives a year. The problem seemed intractable until Dr. Gary Booth and fellow retired executives of Procter & Gamble launched an initiative called Children’s Safe Drinking Water. This was an initiative that put an effective, ultra low-tech PUR water treatment system in every home in Malawi. Deaths by waterborne disease plummeted to 5,000 a year. Gary’s generous spirit is also exemplified by the way in which he has donated his time, expertise and energy to be the chair of the CBEC Chemistry and Biochemistry National Committee. This committee will lead the fundraising effort for our new building, which will be started with a groundbreaking on June 18, 2012 and the building is scheduled to be completed in December 2014.

Dr. Ving Lee Dr. Ving J. Lee has very generously donated $100,000 to the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Complex (CBEC). Dr. Lee is currently CEO and CSO of Adesis, Incorporated ( , as well as CSO and co-founder of Limerick BioPharma ( He also serves as an advisor for several private and public biotech companies. Dr. Lee received his BA and M.S.-Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, respectively, and held postdoctoral fellowships at U. Illinois and Harvard University (NIH). He has held leadership and technical positions at Lederle Laboratories (Cyanamid), Microcide Pharmaceuticals, Iconix Pharmaceuticals (Iconix Biosciences), Anacor Pharmaceuticals and CB Research and Development.


In addition to his generous donation, Ving’s generous spirit is also exemplified by the way in which he is donating his time, expertise, and energy as a committee member of the CBEC Chemistry and Biochemistry National Committee.



ALUMNI News James Coe Builds a Dust Library

Jeffrey Bricker, PhD, 1983

Bricker Receives ACS Award for Creative Invention

James Coe and his research team were testing a new kind of sensor in their laboratory last year when dust got stuck inside it. After isolating 63 unique dust particles, they found they could measure the composition of single dust particles—a discovery they believe could aid the study of respiratory diseases caused by airborne particles. Most dust is natural in origin, Coe said. The 63 particles they identified were mainly irregular blobs containing bits of many different ingredients, of which organic matter was the most common. It is some kind of plant or animal material, although the researchers will have to do an in-depth analysis to find out precisely what kind. Quartz was the second-most common ingredient. Man-made chemicals from air pollution, fertilizers, and construction materials were also present in small amounts. A single dust particle is like a snapshot of mankind’s impact on the environment, Coe said. Read more at

Chemists Awarded $7.5M Grant to Fight Nerve Agents A $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health accelerates the efforts of Christopher Hadad and Thomas J. Magliery to find ways to counteract nerve agents that might be used in terrorist attacks. Nerve agents are deadly chemicals that attack the nervous system by bonding with an enzyme preventing it from transmitting chemical messages from the brain to the rest of the body. This results in paralysis, seizures, and ultimate death by asphyxiation. Once attached to the enzyme, nerve agents can’t be removed. Therefore, it is urgent to stop them before they can attach to the enzyme.

“Fortunately, there are enzymes already in human blood that can deactivate these agents. We just have to engineer them to be more efficient, and we have to be able to produce and formulate them as drugs,” Magliery said.

Jeffrey Bricker received the ACS Award for Creative Inventions in 2011. This national award honors a single inventor for the “successful application of research in chemistry and/or chemical engineering that contributes to the material prosperity and happiness of people.” Bricker’s leadership role in catalysis research has facilitated the commercialization of important refining and petrochemical technologies that have contributed to development of more energy efficient processes, to conservation of the world’s natural resources, and to improved environmental safety.

He has been awarded 50 U.S. patents and gives numerous lectures around the world. He has received a number of awards including the UOP Stine Star Award (1991), and a 2006 Honeywell Specialty Materials Growth and Innovation Award. He is a member of the North American Catalysis Society and the American Chemical Society.

Bricker is the Senior Director of Research at UOP, a Honeywell Company, which provides expertise and conducts research in the areas of new materials, catalysis,

One nominator described Bricker as “a creative inventor with great chemical engineering expertise, outstanding scientific intuition, and excellent leadership skills.”

J.JEAN CUI, PhD, 1994

Hadad outlined one of the main challenges. “In nature, each enzyme generally has only one function – one thing that it does very well,” he said. “But we need an enzyme that will deactivate many different nerve agents.”

Jingrong Jean Cui, an Associate Research Fellow at Pfizer, is a well- known medicinal chemist and drug developer in the oncology and kinase field. In December 2011, she and Pfizer co-inventors received the 38th Annual National Inventor of the Year award from the Intellectual Property Owners Association Education Foundation. This was given in recognition of the invention of Pfizer’s Xalkori®Crizotinib, the first and only therapy specifically for patients with locally or advanced metastatic anaplastic lymphoma kinase ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August 2011.

The research could lead to new types of antidotes for exposure to pesticides and other poisons. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant extends a previous grant and establishes a new Center of Excellence at Ohio State. Read more at

10 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

advanced analytical and characterization, membranes, bio-renewables, and exploratory platforms. In this role, he is responsible for UOP’s long-range research programs and capabilities development.


FACULTY News Malcolm H. Chisholm GIVES DISTINGUISHED Nyholm LECTURES Malcolm Chisholm returned to the faculty in October, after serving as chair for four years. In 2011, he gave the Nyholm Lecture of the Royal Society of Chemistry and received the Nyholm Medal from Sir David Phillips, the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Additionally, Chisholm gave the RJP Williams Lecture at Oxford University, the Year of Chemistry Lecture at Miami University, Florida; and the C.S. Lind Lectures of the East Tennessee Section of the American Chemical Society at UT Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The S.C. Lind Leadership is one of the oldest and most distinguished lectureships of the ACS sections. The first lecturer in this series was Ohio State chemist Edward Mack in 1948, followed by Linus Pauling in 1949.

JAMES STEVENS, PhD, 1979 James Stevens, whose career was featured in the last Chemistry Magazine and who is a Dow Corporate Fellow and chief chemist, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Sheldon Shore Elected (pictured left) a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. This honor reflects on distinction in chemical education and service to the chemical profession. With Shore’s election this year, the department now has seven ACS Fellows; the others are Professors Turro, Miller, McCoy, Olesik, Cowan, and Chisholm.

MARINDA WU, BS, 1971 Marinda Wu was elected 2012 President-Elect of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Wu had been a member of the ACS Board of Directors. She has worked in the chemical industry for 30 years, and was co-founder of a start-up company working on polymer surface modifications. She also founded “Science is Fun,” which introduces young students to the joys of science. She has received numerous honors and awards in recognition of her service to the profession and her work in promoting chemistry to the public.

Professor Gideon Fraenkel Retires. After 51 years of service to the department, Fraenkel retired in 2011. However, he remains research active; he just received renewed-NSF funding.

FACULTY RESEARCH Esther Takeuchi, PhD, 1981

Christopher S. Callam

Takeuchi Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Our research focuses on synthetic organic chemistry, involving the synthesis of complex, biologically active organic molecules that have novel design and function starting from chiral carbohydrate templates. Two current synthetic targets are (+)-Pyrenolide-D and Courdamine-F.

Esther Takeuchi, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Greatbatch Professor of Advanced Power Sources at the University of Buffalo, has earned more patents than any other woman in the U.S.—148 at last count, most of them related to her pioneering development of sophisticated power sources for implantable devices.

There is interest in developing new applications for biocatalytic reducing agents. Biocatalytic methods are impressive since they must be performed in an aqueous medium (water). Research has optimized the reductions of prochiral ketones and imines using legume seeds.

In 2011, Takeuchi was one of nine living inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which honors legendary inventors whose innovations have changed the world.

Experiments with two different types of beans have allowed us to prepare alcohols in high enantiomeric excess of opposite configuration. These experiments can be conducted with minimal specialized equipment, and without the need of oxygen/moisture sensitive reagents or expensive catalysts.

Takeuchi developed the battery that enabled implantable cardiac defibrillators (the leading therapy for treating serious cardiac arrhythmia) for which she was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama in 2009. A UB faculty member since 2007, Takeuchi conducts research targeted at creating special energy storage solutions for special circumstances. Takeuchi recently was named a member of the National Science Foundation’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, a post she will hold until 2013. She

12 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

We are also working on two collaborative research projects with Dr. Christopher Hadad. We are developing synthetic pathways for small molecule chemical reactivators for protection from organophosphorus agents, including chemical nerve agents and pesticides. We are also working on understanding biological distribution of these enzymatic systems by developing spin-probes for the in vivo detection of biological agents using trityl radicals and electron paramagnetic resonance imaging.

is a member of the National Academy of Engineering-just one of 113 women elected to the organization. A fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Takeuchi received the 2008 Astellas USA Foundation Award, administered by the American Chemical Society.

As the director of undergraduate organic laboratories, I have been heavily involved in various service activities for the Department, including management and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate teaching


gRADUATE STUDIES UPDATE assistants, curriculum development, scheduling and enrollment for the organic course, development of new lab experiments and Research Experience to Enhance Learning (REEL) modules.

Professor Rob Coleman finished a four-year term as Vice Chair for Graduate Studies in September, 2011.

During my six years I have taught over 100 courses and instructed over 12,000 students in Organic chemistry courses (Laboratory - 245, 246, 254, 255 and Lecture – 251, 252, and 253). I have received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award in 2005 and have been a Finalist for the award three other times (2007, 2008 and 2009).

Coleman led the way in the redesign of the graduate curriculum to give all incoming students a core background in important areas of chemistry.

I have been actively involved in service and mentoring of our undergraduate programs outside of the classroom. I have been involved in programs with the dormitories, Welcome Week and freshman orientation.

As we move from quarters to semesters starting in the fall of 2012, he envisioned that each incoming graduate student will take core courses chosen from five core areas, analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.

In the summer of 2008, I began mentoring undergraduate research students. Last year three of my students completed an honors undergraduate research thesis.

As research in science and technology continues to become more multi-disciplinary, basic knowledge in related fields is crucial and can be used by students to solve problems or design new applications during their graduate career. Students will take these core courses during their first semester, followed by more advanced classes in their area of interest.

John Herbert The Herbert group specializes in the development and application of computational algorithms in molecular quantum mechanics. Key areas of interest include the following: (1) Fast methods for computing intermolecular interactions. Our group is working on new approximation techniques that enable reliable calculations in much larger systems than has previously been possible.

During his tenure as Vice Chair, Coleman was an advocate for the graduate students and committed to helping them achieve recognition. He had a perfect record of success in nominating students in the past eight university-wide competitions for the Presidential Fellowship. The chemistry department nominee received this top university award in every competition. The eight Presidential Fellows appear below.

(2) Excited states in macromolecules and condensed phases. We are working to develop low-cost computational methods that can describe excited states, especially for large systems. Molecules of interest include DNA (where each individual nucleobase is a UV chromophore, but the excitedstate wave functions often extend over multiple bases) as well as radical intermediates that are generated by radiolysis of liquid water. (3) Improving the (classical) description of the electrostatic environment. Accurate description of the quantum/classical interface is challenging, and we are developing new theory to address this challenge.

In the past three years, 102 students received PhDs in chemistry. Professor Claudia Turro began her term as Vice Chair in October, 2011, and has begun a vigorous campaign to recruit outstanding students to the program and to implement the newly-designed graduate curriculum.

Yiying Wu Professor Wu joined the chemistry faculty at Ohio State in the summer of 2005 after receiving his PhD in materials chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley with Professor Peidong Yang in 2003, and his postdoctoral research with Professor Galen D. Stucky at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received the Cottrell Scholar Award in 2008 and NSF-CAREER award in 2010.

Recipients of The Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship

His research focuses on materials chemistry and physics for energy conversion and storage. A major area of interest is dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC). His research activities include (1) new materials synthesis, such as organic and organometallic dye molecules, as well as nanostructured semiconductor electrodes; (2) understanding the charge transport in the porous semiconductor electrodes and the recombination mechanisms at the electrode/dye/electrolyte interface through electrochemical and photoelectrochemical methods; and (3) creating tandem DSCs with high efficiencies. Other areas of interest include Li-ion batteries, electrocatalysis and sonochemistry.

14 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chris Knight (2007, Advisor: Prof. Singer) Ya-Ting Kao (2008, Advisor: Prof. Zhong) Samantha Horvath (2008, Advisor: Prof. McCoy) Yanguang Li (2009, Advisor: Prof. Wu) Craig Smith (2009, Advisor: Prof. RajanBabu) Leif Jacobson (2010, Advisor: Prof. Herbert) Shubham Vyas (2010, Advisor: Prof. Hadad) Adrian Lange (2011, Advisor: Prof. Herbert)




The OSU International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy—two thirds of a Century In 1946 a group of scientists first met on the Ohio State University campus to discuss the latest developments in molecular spectroscopy and related fields. To put things into perspective, academic research in the physical sciences was just starting to blossom after World War II with a kick-start from returning veterans becoming students and money from a U.S. government willing and able to spend on science. Quantum mechanics was only about 20 years old and just starting to be applied to the understanding of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation and molecules, the basis of molecular spectroscopy. Against this background, two of the leading molecular spectroscopists of that time, Professors Harold H. Nielsen, Ohio State, and David Dennison, University of Michigan, decided to start an annual meeting on molecular spectroscopy. The first meeting was to be held at Ohio State and alternate between Michigan and Ohio State thereafter. Logistical problems prevented the University of Michigan from hosting the second meeting. By this quirk

of fate Ohio State has been the site for all 66 Molecular Spectroscopy Symposium meetings. This fact, coupled with a world class faculty in molecular spectroscopy, established Ohio State University as perhaps the premier center for molecular spectroscopy for two-thirds of a century. The Symposium in 1946 had about 30 participants, mostly physicists and exclusively American-based. The majority was from universities, but industrial laboratories were well represented. The emphasis at that first meeting was on infrared spectroscopy, but by the second meeting in 1947, molecular spectroscopy from the microwave to the ultraviolet region of the spectrum was covered, and participants came from Europe. While physicists continued to dominate the meeting, there were spectroscopic talks oriented towards chemistry and astronomy, as well as biological and medical applications. In a few short years, the Spectroscopy Symposium became the place to present work pertaining to the detection of molecules

and their characterization via spectroscopy ranging from radio waves to ultraviolet light. The Spectroscopy Symposium was initially chaired by Professor H. Neilsen and later by Professor K. N. Rao, both of the Physics Department. In 1992, Terry A. Miller, the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physical Chemistry, became the Symposium chair and remains so today. Perhaps the best way to document the evolution of the Symposium is to refer to the graph of presented talks. The first meeting had 30 talks and a slightly larger number of participants. For the period 2005-2011, the Symposium has averaged 458 talks and still slightly more participants, an average of 498 over those years. One of the hallmarks of the Spectroscopy Symposium has been the nearly universal participation of the spectroscopic community. In the past few years, approximately 50 percent of the participants have been students, mostly graduate students with a significant fraction of post-docs and a smattering of continued undergraduate researchers.

2012 Lectures The Fiftieth Mack Award Lecture February 9, 2012 Featured Speaker: Professor Sunney Xie, Harvard University. For more information, go to

Nearly all the students give talks at the Symposium, and for most it is their first talk at any scientific meeting. The list of famous scientists who have given their first talk at the Symposium is legendary. About 30 percent of the Symposium participants currently are senior scientists outside North America, representing about 20 countries. The remaining 20-30 percent of the participants are senior scientists from North America. The frequent participation of Nobel Laureates and other senior scientists indicates the high level of science at the Symposium. However, the large student participation indicates the contribution of the Symposium to the graduate and post-doctoral education of several generations of scientists. In recognition of this, starting in 1992, the Rao Prize has been awarded to the three best talks given by students prior to their PhD degree. At this point 64 Rao Prizes have been awarded--one year, four prizes were awarded due to a tie. Presently the awardees represent 38 universities from 10 countries. The prize winners are selected by an international panel of judges with no direct connection to the Symposium or Ohio State.

Meek Industrial Lectures May 3-4, 2012 Featured Speaker: Dr. James Stevens, Dow. For more information, go to

While the Symposium has now logged two-thirds of a century, there is no indication that it is slowing down or will fail to reach the Century mark. Indeed the 21st Century has already produced fundamentally new methods for taking spectra, e.g. chirped-pulse microwave and frequency combs, which are inherently broad-band and multiplexed.

Paquette Legacy Symposium May 19, 2012 Featured Speakers: Professor Thomas R. Hoye, University of Minnesota; Professor Andrew G. Myers, Harvard University; Dr. John Toth, Eli Lilly; Professor Jovica Badjic, Ohio State University For more information, go to

Spectroscopy has long played a key role in understanding energy produced from fossil fuel combustion, and as fuel sources evolve so must that understanding.

Shore Lecture April 11, 2012 Featured Speaker: Professor Roald Hoffman, Cornell University. For more information, go to

16 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Recognition Therese O’Donnell-Leonard (pictured left with Executive Dean Joseph Steinmetz), department administrative support supervisor, received a College of Arts and Sciences 2011 Outstanding Staff Award. O’Donnell-Leonard has been with the department for six years, supervising office associates who arrange faculty travel and provide clerical support for faculty. O’Donnell-Leonard has been instrumental in organizing special department events for distinguished visitors, and has helped with communication and alumni relations.

New Hires JD Wear Director of Computer Support Services, has supervised five full-time computer professionals since April 2011. He is leading the efforts to fully integrate the biochemistry buildings into our network and services infrastructure. Wear had been a systems manager in the physics department for 18 years. Maureen Young Fiscal Associate, graduated from OSU, Fisher College of Business June 2010 majoring in Business Administration with a specialization in accounting. Her last job was at Ohio State Office of Sponsored Programs in fiscal services and I came back to Ohio State because I love the atmosphere and the people. Jeanne Bapst Fiscal and HR Manager, hired in April 2011, Bapst manages the fiscal and HR operations for chemistry and biochemistry in both campus locations and is helping the effort to become one streamlined department. Previously, Bapst worked in the Medical Center Development office, where she managed annual budgets and oversaw administrative, fiscal, and HR functions; and had worked as a financial analyst for the James Foundation; and served as facility manager and therapy aide in Outpatient Rehabilitation. Nick Lewis HR Associate, who started in November 2011, is a recent graduate of Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business where he majored in Human Resources with a minor in Neuroscience. He interned with the YMCA of the Rockies and with Honda. Lewis was a Squad Leader in the OSU Marching Band. He is primarily responsible for biochemists’ HR requests.


FACILITIES FOCUS CCBD Celebrates with Open House The Center for Chemical and Biophysical Dynamics (CCBD), a laser research laboratory now available to the materials community, celebrated its conversion to an open user facility with an open house in May, 2011. Visitors toured the CCBD’s two labs in Newman-Wolfrom Laboratory to see available instrumentation, talked with CCBD Lab Director Terry Gustafson and Lab Manager Evgeny Danilov about lab capabilities, and saw posters of recent work done in CCBD by Ohio State students. CCBD provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for time-resolved laser spectroscopy. The CCBD research facility is housed in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry; it is partially supported by the OSU Institute for Materials Research. CCBD Research Services include: • Picosecond Fluorescence Lifetime Measurements - For picosecond fluorescence lifetime measurements, a cw mode-locked Nd:YLF laser, capable of producing ~3 W of second harmonic (527 nm) and ~1 W of third harmonic radiation (352 nm), along with a cavity dumped, synchronously pumped dye laser is used as a source for time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) measurements with a time resolution of ca. 40 ps. • Femtosecond Laser Sources - The femtosecond systems consist of ca. 35 fs 800 nm Ti:Sapphire seed lasers and high energy re-generative amplifiers. The regenerative amplifiers pump optical parametric amplifiers to generate femtosecond pulses at a variety of wavelengths (from ~240 nm to ~12 microns) using nonlinear frequency conversion. • Detection Systems - The detection systems include single-wavelength and array detectors. The experiment and data acquisition is computer-controlled by LabView-based software.

Chemistry NMR Laboratory The Chemistry NMR Laboratory houses five spectrometers used by students and researchers in the department and across campus. Our 400 MHz spectrometer was upgraded in summer 2011 with a Bruker Avance III digital console, a broadband probe, and a SampleJet automatic multi-sample changer. The application of the latter option will improve the ‘hands-on’ experience in our large undergraduate organic laboratory program. The instrument will hold more than 500 samples automatically cycled through a queue of experiments for analysis. Prior to this upgrade, a typical 1H NMR experiment would take an average of 10 minutes and require students to receive extensive training to become proficient at data

• Nanosecond Time-Resolved Dispersive Infrared Spectrometer - The CCBD is also equipped with a nanosecond time-resolved dispersive infrared spectrometer with a 50 ns-response MCT detector. The excitation is provided by a nanosecond Nd:YAG laser source tunable from ~410 to 690 nm and from ~210 to 340 nm.

collection. With upwards of 1200 students enrolled in the Organic Chemistry laboratories each quarter, this system was inadequate. The automatic system allows each student to obtain real data from all of their synthetic experiments to determine reaction success or failure, note impurities and determine structures of their end products. Additionally, the new digital hardware improves the quality of NMR spectral data and simplifies several difficult procedures allowing more users to obtain highquality, advance NMR data. For more information visit

Analytical Services Laboratory In 1989, the chemistry department obtained its first departmental Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer. This instrument, the Bruker ESP300 CW X-band model, was “state-of-the-art” for its day. Many students and postdocs—inorganic and organic, in chemistry and in engineering, observed their unpaired electrons with this instrument.

For more information visit

Surface Analysis Facility

Everyone knows, “state-of-the-art” is a moving target. Back then, students who were accustomed to chart-recorders needed to be specifically trained to use a keyboard-interfaced computer to control the spectrometer and collect the data.

Our Surface Analysis Facility which recently acquired a Bruker Icon Dimension Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), already offered a Kratos Axis Ultra x-ray photoelectron spectrometer and a JEOL scanning electron microscope. The AFM allows researchers to gain insight into the topography and hardness of a material on the surface, in addition to torsional forces on the surface.

The Surface Analysis Facility provides its expertise to the entire university, neighboring universities and a few local industries.

Last year, Professor Chris Hadad received funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which purchased an upgrade: the Bruker EMXPlus. The original magnet was kept and upgraded to the latest in electronics and computer control. Sensitivity is more than ten times greater. Temperature controlled experiments are far easier. The modern Linux based Xenon software is more user-friendly than the single-letter menu system of the ‘80’s era software. Today’s students who live their lives wired will enjoy analyzing the data in the comfort of their office or easy chair at home.

To learn more about the AFM and other tools offered in the Surface Analysis Facility, visit

For more information visit

The Icon Dimension AFM is equipped with ScanAsyst, which is capable of imaging with minimal input from the users, due the computer’s ability to adjust the scanning parameters for the user. This greatly increases the accessibility of AFM imaging to the casual user without compromising the control from the more experienced user. The AFM also includes a heater/cooler stage and a liquid cell.

18 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry




Dmitri Kudryashov, assistant professor; MD, Russian Medical State University; PhD, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Cardiology Research Center; postdoctoral fellow, UCLA—received the Paul Boyer Award for Outstanding Postdoctoral Studies in Biochemistry and the Herbert Newby McCoy Award. Kudryashov joined Ohio State’s Department of Biochemistry in 2011. Actin is one of the most conserved, abundant, and functionally versatile proteins. Many pathological events in the human body, from cancer cell invasion to loss of hearing and heart failure, are related to actin-linked processes. Viruses, bacteria, and unicellular parasites evolved various mechanisms to hijack actin at different stages of their life cycles. Recently, we deciphered a highly unusual mechanism of actin cytoskeleton dismantling by the Actin Crosslinking Domain (ACD) produced by V. cholera and other bacterial pathogens. We found that actin subunits are covalently crosslinked by ACD into an orientation incompatible with their polymerization. This crosslinking compromises the integrity of intestinal epithelium and leads to inability of host macrophage cells to efficiently eliminate the bacteria. One of our present goals is to utilize properties of ACD and other bacterial toxins to create in vivo tools for mapping functions of actin in various subcellular compartments, particularly in the nucleus. This will clarify the mechanisms of actin participation in chromatin remodeling, initiation and termination of transcription, and maturation and transport of mRNA. Our ability to selectively target cancer cells is strictly limited, as cancer-specific molecules are also present in cells of healthy organs. On the other hand, targeting two receptor molecules at the same time should be considerably more specific. Therefore, to challenge the problem of selectivity, we are working on engineering toxin-based effector molecules that would stay neutral towards healthy tissues but selectively target tumor cells overexpressing a specific combination of receptors on their surface.

Jane Jackman Jane Jackman, assistant professor; PhD, biochemistry, 1999 Duke University Post-doctoral training, RNA biochemistry and yeast genetics, University of Rochester. Joined Ohio State’s Department of Biochemistry in 2007. All biological systems use small RNA molecules known as “transfer RNA” or “tRNA” to serve as critical adapter molecules in the process of translating the DNA blueprint of the genome into the functional proteins that carry out critical life functions in these organisms. During this process, each of the 20-22 amino acids needed to constitute proteins are attached to a unique tRNA species; then the tRNAs bring these amino acids to the site of protein synthesis in an ordered fashion that allows them to be linked together correctly to form proteins. A great deal of energy is expended to produce and maintain a high quality pool of tRNAs in each cell. We study enzymes that catalyze several of these critical reactions during tRNA biogenesis. Our research group has identified several unusual enzymes involved in this process, including an RNA polymerase known as “Thg1” that synthesizes RNA or DNA in the opposite direction to all other known polymerase enzymes. Recently, we demonstrated that members of this enzyme family participate in previously unidentified RNA repair reactions. In collaboration with Dr. Sylvie Doublié, University of Vermont School of Medicine, we obtained the first high-resolution structure of this unusual reverse polymerase. The structure, along with biochemical analysis, revealed that Thg1 shares an unexpected similarity with canonical DNA/RNA polymerases. This work raises questions about the very origins of life itself, since the ability to synthesize genetic material in the form of RNA and/or DNA is critical to the establishment of life forms that can faithfully pass information to future generations.

20 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry


We would like to hear from you!

Zhengrong Justin Wu

Chemistry and Biochemistry alumni are everywhere, in all 50 states and 28 countries around the world. Please take a moment to fill out and return this form so that we can share your stories with fellow alumni wherever they may be, via our website or the next newsletter.

Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics NSF REU Program

Zhengrong Justin Wu, Associate Professor, PhD, biochemistry, University of Maryland at Baltimore County; postdoctoral research, National Institutes of Health. Wu joined Ohio State’s biochemistry faculty in 2004

Mail this form to: Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry 1118 Newman and Wolfrom Laboratory 100 W. 18th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210

Our group works to understand the structural and dynamic determinants of the function of macromolecules using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other powerful biophysical methods. Research foci include: • Understanding unfolding-mediated protein aggregation and polymerization of lens crystallins, an important family of proteins whose aggregation is the main contributor of cataracts—understanding the mechanism of unfolding and formation of insoluble aggregates will contribute to our knowledge of other aggregation-related diseases, including alzheimers and dementia; • Elucidating the mechanism of the enzyme RCL, an exemplar of a newly discovered family of nucleotide N-glycosidases—as one of the most responsive genes to c-Myc oncogene, up-regulated RCL activity has been shown to be associated with a number of tumors, so structural and kinetic studies of RCL should yield to new insights into the causes of cancer as well as potential treatments; • Investigating the protein-nucleic acid and protein-protein interactions critical for gene regulation during hematopoiesis, the process responsible for development and maintenance of blood cells—failure of such regulation can disrupt stem cell differentiation and lead to various diseases, including acute myeloid leukemia.

UNDERGRADUATE NEWS Biochemistry Undergraduate Program Chemistry and Biochemistry administer the undergraduate biochemistry major and provide instruction in biochemistry to undergraduate students majoring in the other biological and life sciences. The biochemistry major provides excellent preparation for professional and graduate training in the life sciences. Students receive strong foundational education in physics, mathematics, and chemistry through organic, before beginning more specialized courses in biochemistry, usually in their junior and senior years. In October 2011, 431 undergraduate students had declared biochemistry as their major or minor degree program, 133 of whom were honors students. Demographically, 44% of the students were women; 3% Hispanic, 8% African-American, and 16% Asian. Two 2011 graduates were awarded highlycompetitive NSF Predoctoral Fellowships; Laura Sanman (now a graduate student in chemical and systems biology, Stanford University) and Emily Wong (now in the molecular biophysics and biochemistry PhD program, Yale University). 22 Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Name Address

Degree Year of graduation Email In 2011, the National Science Foundation renewed the 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program, overseen by the Departments of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. The NSF developed the REU to give science majors from smaller institutions access to top-quality, structured laboratory experience, led by nationally-recognized experts. This opportunity to do intellectually demanding research helps make these students more competitive when applying for graduate or professional school. This successful program, implemented at Ohio State five years ago, is a joint enterprise between these two departments. The REU program focuses heavily on students from underrepresented groups (low-income families, minorities), which has helped faculty from both departments promote diversity in their own research programs, and contribute effectively to the university’s diversity plan. As a model for Ohio State’s “One University” mandate, running the REU program forges strong collaborative and working relationships between biochemistry and molecular genetics. Each year, their faculty work closely together on events that enrich the program for REU participants. Students entering the program are invited to participate in an introductory workshop in which graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (under the supervision of participating faculty) offer a set of lectures and handson training in basic methodologies like pipetting skills, protein/nucleic acid isolation and quantitation, PCR-based amplification, notebook maintenance, and preparing visual aids. Students then conduct nine weeks of laboratory research working closely with a faculty mentor, as well as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and

technicians in respective labs. At the end of the program, the students present their results to faculty and students in a formal, scientific poster session.

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In addition to preparation and participation in their individual research activities, the program features a number of events aimed at broadening their horizons in different respects. Sessions are dedicated to “Ethics,” with topics on the human genome, cloning and stem cell research, and animal rights. Other individual sessions include: 1) presentations regarding graduate school admissions; career opportunities in academic, industrial or government settings, medical research; 2) visits to core research facilities; 3) visits to the transgenic mice facility, and the NSF-funded Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC) at the Biotechnology Center; 4) a visit to Battelle Memorial Institute, an organization that conducts annual research and development funded at $2.7 billion; and 5) a visit to the Omeris Business Technology Center, which promotes and facilitates the formation of technology-based businesses.

Biochemistry Club An undergraduate-led Biochemistry Club organizes and promotes opportunities for academic and professional development for majors, through monthly meetings, informal mixers, and presentations by representatives from allied health professionals or biochemical industry employers.


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