Chemistry News from Reed Magazine, June 2018

 Chemistry was back on the Reed Magazine cover in June 2018. The cover article, “The Proton Phenomenon” (p. 24) is notable for its detailed profile of Reed’s newest chemistry professor, Miriam Bowring [2016-], and also for its deep dives into the three topics that underpin Prof. Bowring’s research: hydrogen fuels, organometallic catalysis, and one of the strangest of all chemical phenomena, proton tunneling. The gods may be able to climb over the top of Olympus, but protons can tunnel right through. The article also introduces us to several Reed students who had played an active role in this research, including Zac Mathe ’17, Jo Keller ’20, Hunter Wise ’18, and Oleks Lushchyk ’17. This is a must-read for any Reed chemist, or even for anyone who has ever thought, “what could quantum mechanics have to do with me?”

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Mary Katherine Raymond Johansson ’91 Delivers 2018 Dunne Lecture

Mary Katherine’s presentation on April 5th was titled, “From Reed Class of ’91 to Developing Pro-Fluorescent Assays at a Biotech Startup”. Mary captivated her Reed audience with her personal and chemical history that spanned three decades, multiple generations of the Raymond and Johansson families, and research projects ranging from 15N NMR to protein photophysics. Continue reading

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Chemistry Grads at 2018 Reunion

Chemistry grads have been diffusing through the building this past week in advance of 2018 Reunion. Thank you for taking the time to say “Hello” and to share your stories of graduate school, work, and family life.

A list of the grads we saw:

  • Class of 1992 – Melissa Melby
  • Class of 2003 – Kristin Coan, Peter Jordan, Rachael Relph
  • Class of 2006 – Susan Beaver
  • Class of 2012 – Li Zha
  • Class of 2013 – Emma Farley, Wade (Spike) Horbinski, Erin Jacot, Ilsa Kirby, Kayla Sheridan
  • Class of 2014 – Ari Remmel, Erin Sheffels, Veronica Stewart
  • Class of 2015 – Christina Johnson, Jacob Luton
  • Class of 2016 – Sofia Claesson, Natalie Stone

And three photos of our post-Reed chemists: Continue reading

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EPA Awards Grant for Diesel Monitoring

As anyone who has waited in traffic behind a diesel-powered vehicle knows, there’s something especially noxious about diesel exhaust. We can hope that the manufacturers of diesel-powered vehicles are trying to clean up their act, but, in the mean time more vehicles, particularly container trucks and railroad engines, are moving through SE Portland around the Brooklyn rail yards on the west side of campus, and no one really knows what is happening to local air quality. That’s where environmental chemists, Prof. Juliane Fry (Reed) and Prof. Linda George (Portland State University), enter the picture. The US EPA has awarded the Reed-PSU team a $466,276 grant to monitor emissions in the Portland area for 2 years. Other grant partners include Oregon DEQ, Neighbors for Clean Air, Multnomah County, and City of Portland. To learn more about this research study, check out the Reed magazine (“Reed and Partners Win EPA Grant to Profile Diesel Exhaust”, 7 May 2018).

Related links:

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Alison Butler ’77 Receives ACS Bader Award in Bioinorganic Chemistry

Earlier this year the American Chemical Society announced the recipients of its 2018 national awards. Over 50 areas were recognized, ranging from scientific inventions and discoveries to contributions to the art of teaching, from exceptional work by graduate students and early career investigators to senior researchers who have blazed trails for others to follow.

UC Santa Barbara professor and Reedie, Alison Butler ’77, recipient of the Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry, stands squarely in the trailblazer category. Her award citation reads: “For elucidating the bioinorganic chemistry of the marine environment, including the chemistry of siderophores and vanadium haloperoxidases.”

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Alumni News from Reed Magazine, March 2018

Home Away from Home, the March 2018 issue of the Reed magazine, focuses on the newest, large construction project to hit campus. Located at the north end of the “bouncy bridge” and rising several stories into the sky, Reed’s newest dormitory building is already taking shape summer with completion scheduled for 2019. The cover article (p. 20) explains the special features that went into the building’s design, and calls attention to the fact that the new dorm will make on-campus housing available to nearly 80% of the current student body, a status that has not been achieved since the 1920’s (see graph p. 26-7).

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Alumni News from the Reed Magazine, December 2017

The December 2017 magazine that appeared on my doorstep over winter break was titled “Into Oblivion” and contained sad news to match: an obituary for Reed College’s longtime tai chi teacher, David Barrett ’79.

I received my first tai chi lessons from Dave back in spring 2003, standing in the gym alongside half a dozen Reed students, spending the entire year learning the full hand form, and then continuing to practice with Dave, his new batch of Reed students, and (when my schedule permitted) his off-campus regulars. Every April Dave would take some time out of class to share stories about the Renn Fayres of his student days in the late ’70’s. These nearly always included a nod in my direction, accompanied by the question, “am I right, Professore?” Dave’s message was always on point: enjoy the end of classes and stay healthy and safe. As the start of classes approached each fall, I always looked forward to reuniting with him on the South Lawn to talk about tai chi practice, his summer travels, our families, and anything else that came to mind. He was a terrific teacher. He was also a wise, good friend and, like everyone who crossed his path, I miss him dearly.

Chemistry-related news was sparse in December ’17, but the random bits that emerged had their own distinctive flavor. Continue reading

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Alumni News from the Reed Magazine, September 2017

Take a step back in time… once upon a time you were a Reed College student. What were your days like? Perhaps your most vivid memory is of signing up for classes, or searching for missing lecture or lab notes, or visiting a prof during office hours for the first time? The first alumni letter in the September 2017 issue of the Reed Magazine, “Gene Hunter,” is from Steve Doob ’63, who reminds us that not every Reed memory is academic. Reflecting on his time in Hum 110 , he writes, “My experience with it in 1959 was not so pleasant. Much of the reason for my displeasure was the subjects we were studying. But the main reason humanities was unpleasant for me was the smoking. It seemed like everyone smoked in the class, including the professor.

zinc-site of iron-dependent regulator (IdeR) protein extracted from tuberculosis mycobacterium (Zn = red sphere, C = white, N = blue, S = orange, O = red, H2O = yellow)

The smoke disappeared from Reed classrooms years ago (see summer memory at bottom), but memories are obviously a big part of every issue of the Reed Magazine, and so are reports on current campus events. Each issue weaves together threads from many disciplines, from Hum 110 to biochemistry. For example, at the other end of the magazine from Mr. Doob’s letter, just inside the back cover (p. 56) is a full-page image of a computer model of a zinc-containing protein that Prof. Arthur Glasfeld [chemistry 1989-] presents to his students in Chem 391, Structural Biochemistry. The image beautifully illustrates the different graphical tools that chemists rely on for depicting molecular structure, and the distinction that always exists between experimental data (blue mesh) and conceptual models.

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Chemists at the Murdock College Science Research Conference

Last November, about the time when serious rain returned to Portland, 10 Reed scientists, 3 faculty + 7 students, made their way across the Cascades to sunny Spokane, Washington for the Murdock College Science Research Conference.

The Reed crew included chemistry professors Rebecca LaLonde ’01 and Miriam Bowring, as well as biology professor Anna Ritz, and students from different disciplines presenting results from their summer research projects. The students (Reed chemists in bold) and their presentation titles are listed below. Special congratulations to senior Joshua Tsang ’18 (2017 Arthur F. Scott scholar) who won a blue ribbon and a cash prize for his poster presentation in the Analytical / Inorganic / Physical Organic / Computational chemistry category.

  • Joshua Tsang ’18 – “Hydrodefluorination and Hydrogenation of Fluorinated Arenes by Rhodium Catalysts” (off-campus mentor: Kris McNeill ’92, ETH)
  • Brianna Dobson ’19 – “Encapsulation of Reactions in a Tetrahedral Ga Supramolecular Cage” (Reed mentor: Rebecca LaLonde , co-authors: Gayle Chan ’19, Johnathan Sheiman ’18)
  • Ellis Douma ’19 – “Benzophenone Blues: Proton Tunneling and Ketyl Test of Air-Free Methods” (Reed mentor: Miriam Bowring; co-author Zachary S. Mathe ’17)
  • Maileen Nakashima ’19 – “Sulfur/Iodine Flux Synthesis of Indium Antimony Sulfide” (off-campus mentor: Susan Lattumer, Florida State U.; co-author Ryan Groom)
  • Jo Keller ’20 – “Isolation and Quantification of Heck Catalysis Coupling Products” (Reed mentor: Miriam Bowring; co-author Oleksandr Lushchyk ’17)
  • Avehi Singh ’18 (biology) – “The relationship between host mutation and microbiome composition in Daphnia magna” (Reed mentor: Sarah Schaack, co-author: Nicholas Thayer ’20)
  • Nick Egan ’19 (sociology) – “Pepper Pathway: Visualizing Proteins of Influence in Cancer Pathways” (Reed mentor: Anna Ritz)

The Reed contingent would also like to thank the behind-the-scenes work of Dean Nigel Nicholson (who also attended the conference), Kayla Johnston, Jane Woodcock, and Matthew Packwood. Top-notch administrative support is what makes these special events possible.

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Prof. Kelly Chacón Talks with ASBMB’s Minority Affairs

óChildhood interests sometimes go unrecognized and life takes another path, sometimes several paths, before those early interests finally rise up and take flight. Such is the story arc of Reed’s newest biochemistry professor, Prof. Kelly Chacón [2015-].

Kelly is currently taking a junior sabbatical break from teaching in order to spend some extra time in her research lab, but she recently spent a few minutes discussing her past, present, and future, with a reporter from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s (ASBMB) Minority Affairs section. The Minority Affairs interview appeared on 1 Sept 2017 under the title, September Research Spotlight on Kelly Chacón, Ph.D..

Among the many things you might learn about Kelly … After dropping out of high-school at 15, she didn’t discover biochemistry until 9 years later when, as a student at a local community college, she read about the Miller-Urey spark chamber experiment … Her road from college to college professor was anything but smooth (Reed students who feel like “imposters” might be reassured to know that the highly trained and well-organized instructor at the front of the class has dealt with those very same fears) … Some favorite pastimes include sewing and steel-tip darts … And the heroine and role model who inspires her, and the app that keeps her focused.

Recent posts about Kelly Chacón:

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