Department News

Congratulations to Dr. John Berberian

Dr. Berberian

Professor of Chemistry Dr. John Berberian has received a three-year, $302,228 individual National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions (NSF -RUI) grant. His project, entitled “RUI: The Study of Molecular Motion in Simple Glass Forming Liquids” investigates the forces involved in the amorphous- crystalline behavior of simple glass forming materials above and near the glass transition temperature.

Dr. Berberian has a long and distinguished history of more than 35 years of obtaining grants from the NSF and other funding agencies. The current grant is further tribute to John’s demonstrated and acknowledged expertise in dielectrics, as well as his track record of performing this research with undergraduates, most of whom have gone on to graduate school and are in prominent positions in academia and industry.

Congratulations John!

A New Approach to Fighting HIV: Research of Dr. Jean Chmielewski ’83 featured in Chemical & Engineering News

The research of Dr. Jean Chmielewski ’83 and colleague Dr. Christine Hrycyna of Purdue University on a new a new approach to fighting HIV has been featured in a recent issue of Chemical and Engineering News (October 3, 2011, p 38).

Drs. Chmielewski and Hrycyna and their colleagues have targeted P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a transporter protein that is highly expressed in the blood-brain barrier, and prevents many small molecules from entering the brain. The researchers have created a new drug that acts like a Trojan horse: It gains entry to the brain by turning off P-gp and then converts to an ant-HIV drug in brain cells.

Dr. Jean Chmielewski received a B.S. degree with a major in chemistry from Saint Joseph’s University in 1983 and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Columbia University in 1988. She was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Rockefeller University and the University of California at Berkeley before she joined the faculty at Purdue University in 1990. Dr. Chmielewski has been recognized as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and with a Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. Her research in chemical biology is directed toward drug discovery, the cellular delivery of therapeutic agents, and bionanotechnology. She is currently Alice Watson Kramer Distinguished Professor in Organic Chemistry/Chemical Biology

Dr. Ivan Dmochowski to Present 2011-2012 Chemistry McGroddy Frontiers in Science Lecture

The Department of Chemistry cordially invites you to attend the 2011-2012 McGroddy Frontiers in Science Lecture on November 30, 2011. This year the Chemistry Department has selected Dr. Ivan Dmochowski of the University of Pennsylvania to give the McGroddy Frontiers in Science seminar. The title of Dr. Dmochowski’s seminar is “New Chemical Strategies for Probing Biological Spaces ”

This Seminar Series was launched with a gift from Dr. James C. McGroddy ’58, a retired vice president from IBM Corporation. The seminar series focuses on interdisciplinary research, bringing to campus researchers who discuss their work at the frontier of the natural sciences. Each year, the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and the University’s chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, host speakers in the series.

Senior Chemistry Major Presents Poster at ACS National Meeting

Above: Senior chemistry major Maria DiFeo and her poster at the ACS meeting

Above: Senior chemistry major Maria DiFeo and her poster at the ACS meeting

Chemistry major Maria DiFeo, alongside Dr. Mark Forman, Professor of Chemistry, presented a poster summarizing her research on the synthesis of non-natural products at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Anaheim, April 28, 2011.

Maria began her research with Dr. Forman during the summer of 2009 as a Saint Joseph’s University Summer Scholar, a program that pairs students with a faculty advisor who supervises their work. Maria was a Summer Scholar again in 2010, and then continued her research during the 2010-2011 academic year.

The ACS meeting allowed Maria to not only present the results of her research, but also to spend time with some of the 14,000-plus students, professors, scientists and corporate representatives attending, providing invaluable networking opportunities.

Student Awards

In addition to the above, Maria DiFeo was recently named this year’s recipient of the American Institute of Chemists Award for Scholastic Achievement at Saint Joseph’s University.

Maria was selected for this award in recognition of her academic ability, leadership, and professional promise. A resident of Perkasie, PA, Maria has been engaged in a research project in organic chemistry with Dr. Mark Forman.

In the fall, Maria will begin the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Thomas Jefferson University.

Congratulations Maria.

Above: Senior Sean Vilanova, bottom row, second from right, alongside Scholastic Achievement Award winners from other Universities

Sean Vilanova is this year’s recipient of the American Chemical Society Scholastic Achievement Award at Saint Joseph’s University.

A resident of Jackson, NJ, Sean was chosen for the award based on his high academic achievement and research accomplishments. Named to the Dean’s List every semester since freshman year, Sean also has been actively involved in research with Dr. Jean Smolen. As a 2009 and 2010 Summer Scholar, Sean investigated the effect of goethite particle size on the reduction of important environmental pollutants.

In the fall, Sean will begin graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame.

Congratulations Sean.

Dr. Berberian Granted a 2011 Provost’s Award

Dr. John Berberian has been awarded a 2011 Provost’s Award for Funded Research. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Berberian has become an acknowledged expert in the field of dielectric permittivity measurements on supercooled liquids. Some of his recent accomplishments include being elected as the first chairperson of the Board of Directors of the International Dielectric Society (and holding this position since 2004) and being awarded the Eric O. Forster Award for Distinguished Dielectric and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS) Service at the 2009 CEIDP/DEIS meeting. During his tenure at Saint Joseph’s University, Dr. Berberian has been the recipient of several NSF research grants as well as grants from the Research Corporation and American Chemical Society – Petroleum Research Fund. Congratulations John!

Dr. Rao Awarded 2011 Curriculum Development Grant

Dr. Usha Rao has been awarded a 2011 Curriculum Development Grant by the Provost to develop a new course entitled “Pollution and the Public Health”. This course is intended to fulfill the First-year Seminar requirement in the new GEP curriculum at Saint Joseph’s. Dr. Rao’s course will introduce students to the fundamental factors governing air, water, and soil pollution. Students in this class will also discuss how these factors impact public health in the US and in the developing world.

Dr. Rao has been teaching in the Department of Chemistry and in the Environmental Science Program at Saint Joseph’s University since 2000. During this time, Dr. Rao has developed numerous new courses in Chemistry and Environmental Science; she is a 2003-2004 winner of a Merit Teaching Award at Saint Joseph’s University. Congratulations Usha!