Don’t Trust Charlatans: Earth is Heating Up

This title introduced an op-ed piece in last Friday’s Oregonian (Aug 7, 2009) by professors Arthur Glasfeld and Julie Fry. The two chemists explained in straightforward terms how the vast weight of scientific evidence and scientific opinion supports global warming and the significant role played by human-generated greenhouse gases. Score two points for Reed College chemistry!

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Constance Bailey ’10 reports from Germany

Connie is spending her summer as a research assistant at the Hans-Knoll Institute in Jena, Germany where she is working in the lab of Prof. Christian Hertweck. The opportunity came about in an unusual way. Connie, motivated by some articles that she had read for her Structural Biochem (Chem 391) class decided to write to Prof. Hertweck and ask for a job. To her surprise, the answer was positive.

Some of her reactions to date:

“All-in-all my experience here has been amazing. I’ve been doing a very
interdisciplinary project where I do a lot of microbiology, a little
molecular biology, and a lot of organic synthesis, and a lot of
staring at MS and NMR spectra.  It’s very neat that it allows me to
do work that encompasses both my biological and chemical interests. 
The seminars I’ve seen are fantastic, and the PI is very nice and
encouraging and manages a really fantastic dynamic in the group. He
also has a great sense of scientific presentation in how he writes
articles, how he coaches people to give seminars, and the way that he
sees his research projects as little narrative stories. Everyone
speaks English well in the lab (I’d say this is generally true of the
scientific community), although occasionally the language barrier has
been a little bit difficult, and where I’m living is a pretty boring
area of town, but for the most part it’s been a really great experience.”

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Stefan Minasian ’03 & Molly Dodge ’04 to wed in August

Stefan and I have been exchanging emails this week in order to arrange the details concerning his upcoming Reed chemistry seminar (Oct 1 – title to be announced, but it concerns “isolating and characterizing metal-metal bonded complexes of the actinides”) when he let a bit of personal news slip in: “I’m getting married August 22nd to my long-time girlfriend Molly Dodge
(also a Reedie), so forgive me if I’m slow to respond to emails in the
next few weeks.” If you’d like to pass along some good wishes, send them to Stefan at

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Happy Birthday, Reed Aleksander Hicks

Randy Hicks, a longtime fixture in the Chem 101/102 labs, the Chem 102 end-of-year fireworks display, and one of two discoverers of the Periodic Table of the Cupcakes, wrote to me last summer (yikes!) from his (then) new location in the Chemistry department at Wheaton College with wonderful news. He and Jennifer had just “published” the Synthesis of a novel biochemical composite material: Reed Aleksander Hicks on August 3, 2008 (follow the link for full publication and description). Which means that Reed Aleksander is getting ready to celebrate his first birthday. Have a happy one, Reed (and ask for ice cream).

Reed Aleksander Hicks 080308.jpg
Added July 22, 2009: Randy happens to be visiting Oregon this week and he wrote, “I’m in Salem, at Willamette, right now
participating in CUR’s proposal writing institute. I have a draft due
in…2 hours. At the conclusion of the workshop on Thursday, I will be
heading north to extend my stay.” And he sent me a current picture of Reed Aleksander.

Reed Aleksander Hicks 072109.JPG
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Allison Stelling ’04 in JACS ’07

Just before the news pages went into hibernation, I received notice of a paper published by Allison in the November 22, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Allison is a graduate student in the Tonge lab at SUNY-Stony Brook and was the lead author on the article,  Ultrafast Structural Dynamics in BLUF Domains: Transient Infrared Spectroscopy of AppA and Its Mutants (JACS, 2007, 129(50), 15556-15564).

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Alumni News for Winter ’09 Reed Magazine

Bits and pieces gathered from different parts of the Winter ’09 issue of the Reed magazine:

  • In December Ron Sato ’68 coordinated
    the Feeding Frenzy on campus, where alumni bring and served nourishment to exam-crazed
    students on the Sunday night before finals.
  • “Breaking Depression’s Icy Grip”
    p. 37 described the upbringing and career of Kenneth Koe ’45. Koe  was part of the research team at Pfizer that
    developed Zoloft, one of the most prescribed SSRIs. He visited campus in August
    2008 to receive the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science
    and Technology.
  • Arlene Blum ’66  visited Reed in November 2008 to present a
    lecture, “Breaking Trail: Mountains and Molecules.” Arlene traced her
    evolution from beginning climber and chemistry student at Reed to expeditionary
    leader and environmental scientist.
  • Steve Carlson ’93 joined Fish &
    Richardson P.C. as a principal in their
    Silicon Valley office, where he focuses on patent litigation.
  • Luke Kanies ’96 and Cindy Ellig Kanies
    welcomed identical twins, Vivian and
    Lilian, on August 29, 2008 (see p. 47 for family photo)

In Memoriam …

  • Beverly Joyce Young
    Sandmann ’53
    , died on February 1, 2007, in Carlsbad, California. Beverly worked as a lab technician, mother, and homemaker, and was always very proud to be a Reed graduate.
  • Roderic Maurice Kauai
    Dale ’70
    died on November 4, 2008, in
    Portland. Rod would eventually earn a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale and go on to hold executive positions at several biotechnology companies, including two that he started himself, Biotix and Oligos.
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Oliver Laeyendecker ’90

The graduation ceremony for the class of 2009 was held yesterday on the front lawn. It was, as always, a pleasure to share in the happiness of our graduates and their families and to offer our congratulations. Its also a joy to hear back from graduates like Ollie, who wrote to us in early April:

I’ve been accepted into the PhD program in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I will start in the fall and try to balance work with study. I still think that the Reed Chemistry program prepared [me] really well for the research I currently do. Thank you for setting me up for success.

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Jodi O’Donnell takes root at Siena

Another “news” story from 2007 that nearly got lost in the changeover from the old computer system to the current one was the transplant of our visiting professor Jodi O’Donnell to Siena College. She spent two lovely years with us, 2005-07, before moving east. Here’s what she wrote shortly after arriving in Loudonville (Albany), NY:

I hope all is well with you! I just wanted to drop a line to say hi and pass my new contact information to you. We are settling in well in NY and enjoying exploring all the wonderful outdoor activities upstate NY has to offer. So far we’ve been whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks and camping in the Catskills! Both are only an hour’s drive from our new home. We’re still adjusting to the evil heat and humidity, though! We’re living in an apartment for now, as sadly, we are still homeowners in Oregon, but hopefully that will change soon.

I’ve started to move into my office and lab at Siena and am getting to know my new colleagues. Everyone has been very helpful and kind, making the transition go quite smoothly. There are three “new kids” in the Chemistry department alone, so we are able to work together to find our way around.

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Kate Aubrecht ’92 moves to Saint Anselm

Kate Aubrecht, one of my very first thesis students, sent me some photos and news back in July 2007. Little did I know that our news blog would stop publication that same summer until a new computer system could be brought online. Here are her emails, almost two years later:

As many of you know, I am joining the faculty of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH this August. Barney, Thea, and I will all get to live in the same house all week. My new work email is We welcomed Thea (Althea Linden Grubbs-Aubrecht)in March. I interviewed at Saint Anselm in February. Although I will miss Holy Cross, single parenting during the week would be really hard. Barney got the good news of a positive tenure decision at Dartmouth this spring. Eventful year here. Bianca Sclavi ’92 should get photo credit for the close-up of Thea. She was visiting from Paris for a FASEB conference in Vermont and then visited us for the weekend.


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Kevan Shokat ’86 Elected to NAS

72 new members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Among them is Kevan Shokat, Reed ’86, currently a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UC San Francisco.

Since this is the time of year when seniors are filing their finished theses, it is interesting to go back and look at Kevan’s. The Reed library catalog describes this document as “49 leaves” carrying the title, “Synthesis of a precursor of PRCPCP, a non-hydrolyzable analog of phosphoribosylpyrophosphate (PRPP)”. Ron McClard served as Kevan’s thesis advisor.

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