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The Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry has a rich history, a strong international reputation, and a bright future. Our curricula provide the educational foundation for all Virginia Tech science and engineering students. Our undergraduate and graduate degree programs prepare society's future scientists. Our alumni are gainfully employed in the industrial, government, and academic sectors.  

Rachael Parker Receives Protein Society Award

    Rachael Parker
(July 14, 2014) Rachael Parker, a third-year graduate student in Tijana Grove’s research group, has been selected to receive The Finn Wold Travel Award from The Protein Society. Supported by contributions from the Society and its members—and named in honor of one of the Society’s founding members—the Wold Award is given to outstanding students based on scientific merit. In addition to financial support to contribute to the 28th Annual Symposium of The Protein Society (this year in San Diego), awardees will be recognized during the plenary awards session. Rachel’s work targets the design of a synthetic module that specifically binds the Mycobacteria cell wall. Her studies have implications in the development of inexpensive point-of-care diagnostic devices for TB.

Jessica Wynn Delivers Award-Worthy Presentation

    Jessica Wynn
(June 27, 2014) Jessica Wynn, a fifth year graduate student in the Webster Santos research group, won second place oral presentation at the international meeting of boron chemists (BORAM XIV) in New Jersey.  Jessica’s work deals with developing novel branched peptide boronic acids that recognize the structure of RNA macromolecules vital to the replication of HIV-1.  Her studies have implications in the next generation of therapeutics that can combat HIV/AIDS.

The Chemistry Community Says Goodbye to Prof. James E. McGrath

    James E. McGrath
(May 18, 2014) It is with sadness that the Dept. of Chemistry says goodbye to University Distinguished Professor James E. McGrath, who passed away of a brain tumor on May 18th.  Jim came to Virginia Tech as an Assistant Professor in 1975. Over the next 40 years he developed the Polymer Chemistry program and Materials Research Institute at Virginia Tech into a world class center for scientific inquiry, innovation, and education--from undergraduates to industry professionals.  He loved Virginia Tech and its enthusiastic faculty, staff, students, and alumni in the Chemistry Department. A scholarship fund has been established in his name.    (More about J.E. McGrath)

First-ever Virginia Science Festival to be Held in Blacksburg

    Karen Brewer
(May 14, 2014) As part of her NSF-sponsored outreach, Prof. Karen Brewer and her research group represented the Dept. of Chemistry at the media announcement of the inaugural Virginia Science Festival, to be held in Blacksburg and Roanoke from October 4-11, 2014.   Jointly sponsored by the City of Roanoke, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Town of Blacksburg, NASA-Langley (and others), the Virginia Science Festival will be a highly visible outdoor event designed to provide opportunities for engagement and exchange between children, teens, families, and local scientists.  It will feature more than 100 exhibitors who will provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment.  Contact Prof. Brewer for more info on her outreach activities.

Prof. John Morris's Research Highlighted in C&E News

    John Morris
(May 7, 2014) The Morris research group has developed a new research facility at Aberdeen Proving Grounds for studying the surface chemistry of chemical warfare agents. This high security laboratory is the first of its kind for exploring how the most toxic compounds ever created, such as sarin and VX nerve gases, interact on surfaces of environmental and military importance. Of particular interest are the strengths and mechanisms of hydrogen-bonding interactions that govern the uptake of agents on polar surfaces such as silica, one of the most abundant materials on earth. To date, scientists have largely been restricted to conducting experiments with less toxic analogues (often referred to as simulants) of the actual agents. These simulants contain the central phosphoryl ester of the agents, but they lack the structure and key chemical functionality of the agents, which makes the prediction of agent-surface chemistry tenuous. Morris and colleagues (including former students) have therefore developed a new surface science approach to uncover the mechanisms and energetics that govern agent-surface hydrogen bonding forces on silica. This information will help scientists predict the environmental fate of agents and devise methods for agent decontamination.  Read the full article HERE.

Elements Newsletter Spring 2014

The Spring 2014 issue of Elements is available here!



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