Spring 2021
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Dear Colleagues and Students,

We made it safely through the fall semester! Classes with fewer than ten students were in person. Classes with enrollment between 10 and 100 students were hybrid, meaning half of the students attended while the other half participated via Zoom. Our teaching labs were 50% in person. Our faculty and students were able to achieve near pre-pandemic research productivity. The faculty, graduate students, and staff worked extremely hard. I could not be prouder of how our department responded to this unprecedented situation.

John A. Pojman, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
ARTICLES
Elgrishi Facilitates Improving Water Quality Through the Detection and Reduction of Chromium
Elizabeth Cui | October 2020

LSU’s Dr. Noémie Elgrishi and her research team dive deep into the Mississippi to investigate the use of inexpensive carbon electrodes for the detection and reduction of hexavalent chromium in water.

Water is essential to our survival. It hydrates us, lubricates our joints, flushes waste from our bodies, regulates body temperature, and makes up approximately 60 percent of our being.

However, not all water is created equal. There are variations in pH, mineral content, and quality depending on the origin and treatment the water has endured. Just look at the shelves of water bottles at the supermarket, there is purified water, reverse-osmosis water, filtered water, and alkaline water; the options are endless... | More >
George Sexton – LSU Chemistry Instrument Room Manager, 1953-1986
Ken Kneipp | January 2021
When we think back to experiences we have had – in numerous settings as a student, or, later, in various workplaces over our career – our most vivid memories are often shaped by the people we have met along the way. As an LSU Chemistry graduate student during the late 1960s (Ph.D., 1971), I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to make associations with many fine LSU people, and to build friendships that have endured for decades.

Of course, as a student, you always remember the faculty members that you knew and had the privilege of working with. But, an organization as complex as a major university’s Chemistry Department also requires the skills of many dedicated and talented support staff. Their often behind-the-scenes work is critical to the successful efforts of faculty, research associates, and graduate students. One such individual who I worked closely with as a student, and with whom I developed a long-standing friendship, is George Sexton, who managed the Chemistry Department’s Instrument Laboratory from 1953 until 1986...| More >
Chemistry Depicted in Art
Gretchen Schneider & Shelly Kleinpeter | December 2020
Displayed in the entrance lobby of Arthur Choppin Hall, hangs an abstract architectural painting titled “Local Matter.” The large canvas is full of bright-colored layers that glow as the focal point of the room. As students and faculty enter the building or study in the lobby, the painting is hard to miss. In addition to adding color to the lobby, the painting also has hidden meaning and importance for the department...| More >
Khachatryan Leads the Materials Core at LSU Superfund Research Center to Major Discoveries
Elizabeth Cui | December 2020
In a game of hide and seek, LSU’s Dr. Lavrent Khachatryan has spotted his opponent, the environmentally persistent free radical (EPFR). EPFR’s are invisible to the naked eye, making them a worthy challenger for the chemistry expert.

EPFR’s exist all around us and in large quantities. From the tops of trees to the air around us, these pollutant particles are a danger to us all.

“These radicals, when we inhale them, they go into our lungs and cause problems through chemical processes that create active radicals, especially hydroxyl,” Khachatryan said. “Particularly, hydroxyl radicals may cause problems within the cells bodies and accelerate break down of tissue.”...| More >
FEATURED ALUMNUS
Andrés Villalpando Serving New Role as IPA Plant Chemist at ExxonMobil

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for chemicals used in disinfectant products has been on the rise across the globe. Near Louisiana State University’s main campus is ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. Each year, the plant produces millions of gallons of isopropyl alcohol (IPA), a key ingredient in many disinfectant sprays, alcohol wipes, and medical hand sanitizers. In fact, ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Chemical Plant is home to the largest IPA production in the worldStarting this January, LSU Chemistry alumnus Andrés Villalpando will serve as Plant Chemist for the IPA unit at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant...| More >
C&EN 2021 Trailblazers
C&EN | February 2021

LSU Boyd Professor Isiah Warner is recognized as one of the 2021 Trailblazers in the latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). The C&EN Trailblazers program celebrates the diversity that drives chemistry and chemical engineering forward. This year’s Trailblazer issue highlights Black excellence in chemistry. | C&EN Feature >
LSU Art and Science Professors Discuss the Role of Uncertainty in their Fields in Webinar Series
Josh Arcote | Reveille | March 1, 2021

In a four-part series, LSU faculty members from a wide range of disciplines discuss how uncertainty affects their work and their field. The feature highlights Professor John Pojman's lecture on the epistemological implications of Chaos Theory. | Article >
Elgrishi Research Team Featured in Emerging Investigators Issue of Chemical Society Reviews

In the 2020 Emerging Investigators Issue of Chemical Society Reviews, the Elgrishi research group examines the reduction of toxic chromium(VI) to benign chromium(III) as a solution to decontaminate drinking water. | Article >
LSU Students Get Creative, Thank Chemistry Professor Virtually After Unconventional Semester

LSU Chemistry's Associate Professor Rendy Kartika was surprised by a thoughtful gesture from his students over the weekend. After a challenging semester of virtual learning, students held up "Thank You" notes for their hard-working teacher. | WBRZ Article >
LSU Chemistry Alumna Recognized as a 'Rising Star' in the Fields of Proteomics and Metabolomics
Journal of Proteomic Research | January 2021

Dr. Christina Jones, LSU Chemistry Alumna, was recognized as one of forty emerging scientists in the fields of proteomics and metabolomics by the Journal of Proteomic Research. | JPR Feature >
LSU Chemistry Alumnus Named Most Promising Engineer in Government

LSU Chemistry Alumnus, Dr. Larico Treadwell, for being named a Most Promising Engineer in Government by US Black Engineer & IT magazine. Dr. Treadwell is a chemist and material scientist at Sandia National Labs. | USBE IT Feature >
Dr. Treva Brown Named "Extraordinay Citizen" and Top Forty Under 40

Dr. Treva Brown, LSU Chemistry B.S. Alumna, was recently featured in Slidell Magazine - “Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors” (pgs 6-7). | Slidell Magazine >

Dr. Brown was also named Northshore’s Forty under 40 this year (pg. 12). | More >
ON THE BLOG
UNDERGRADUATE SPOTLIGHT
by Kayla Brown

Peter Howard, Chemistry Senior

The LSU Department of Chemistry possesses incredibly passionate and talented students. One such student is chemistry senior and Stamps Scholar Peter Howard. From New Orleans, Howard found his interest in science while taking classes in middle school. "I was able to figure out that science was something I really enjoyed and came somewhat naturally to me," Howard explained. As he entered high school, he was able to take more specific science classes and eventually found his love of chemistry.  
 
In addition to studying chemistry, Howard is also pursuing a music minor and is a trained vocalist. Howard states that the vastly different subjects complement each other quite well, and "finding a balance between the two helps [him] feel refreshed." To Howard, chemistry and singing are similar in that they both involve knowing when to apply various techniques to experiments and vocal pieces, respectively.
 
Howard is currently conducting research in Dr. Macnaughtan's lab to analyze the nature of the Chlamydia trachomatis protein and its mutation. He plans to graduate in the spring of 2022 and then pursue a PhD focusing on food science or food technology.
IN MEMORIAM
Charles Howard Barré (1922-2020)
Mooringsport native and College of Science graduate Charles Barré died peacefully on November 18 at the age of 98. He was an avid supporter of LSU and the College of Science tirelessly giving his time and resources to support his alma mater.

Barré received his bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry from LSU in 1943 and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. In 1946, he joined Marathon Oil Company in Texas City, Texas, and gained positions of increasing responsibility in Marathon’s operations in Munich, Germany, and Findlay, Ohio. At Marathon, he became vice president of refining in 1971 and was named director in 1977 until his retirement in 1984. He served on the boards of many corporations and foundations including director of the National Petroleum Refiners Association from 1972 to 1983 and vice president from 1975 to 1978...| College of Science Tribute >
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Professor Warner Receives 2021 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education
Gretchen Schneider | February 2021
Professor Isiah Warner is the recipient of the 2021 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education. The award recognizes scientists who have enhanced the personal and professional development of students in analytical chemistry.

Warner’s commitment to excellence in teaching, mentorship, and research has impacted the academic and career development of countless students from high school to doctoral level across multiple disciplines, particularly in chemistry...| More >
NEW PATENTS
New Patent to Improve Detection of Breast Cancer
Professor Les Butler is a co-inventor on a recently awarded U.S. Patent for Phase-Contrast X-Ray Interferometry. Patent Summary >
Patent for a Biomolecular Processing Platform
Professor Robin McCarley is a co-inventor on a recently issued U.S. Patent for a biomolecular processing platform and methods suitable for nucleic acid sequencing and protein/polypeptide identification. Patent Summary >
Energy Storage Device Safer Than Conventional Lithium-Ion Batteries
Associate Professor Daniel Kuroda received a U.S. Patent with co-inventors Dr. Kristen Fulfer and former undergraduate student Kaylee Theresa Woodard for an energy storage apparatus that employs an amide electrolyte for additional safety benefits over conventional lithium-ion batteries. Patent Summary >
NEW FUNDING
Dr. Fatima Rivas- LA Board of Regents (BOR)- Synthesis of functional molecular hybrids

Dr. Gerald Schneider- American Chemical Society- Study of non-ionic alternating polymers by fast field cycling relaxometry

Dr. Tuo Wang- Americal Chemical Society- Atomic Resolution of Kerogen Structure by Natural-Abundance 2D 13C-13C Correlation Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy. More >

Dr. Amy Xu- LA Board of Regents (BOR)- Structural characterization of shape memory polymers using small angle scattering
STUDENT AWARDS
Graduate student Ovini Weeratunge Kankanamge was recently named one of the recipients of the 2020 Tom W. Dutton Award. The scholarship, established in 1969, recognizes a female undergraduate or graduate student(s) for outstanding service to the University community through participation and leadership in community service activities while attending LSU...| More >
Graduate student Bailee Barrett is the recipient of the 2020-2022 Coates Research Scholar Award for her research project titled, "Investigating of charge patterning effects on the self-assembly of sequence defined amphiphilic ionic block copolypeptoids in dilute aqueous solution."
FALL 2020 GRADUATES
Bachelor of Science
Nicholas Borne
Madison Chapple
Abrielle Decuir
Salim Lutfallah
Tynia Madison
Brandon Meaux
Suk Moon
Diana Raborn
Doctor of Philosophy
Visal Subasinghege Don (Advisor: Kumar)
Ashley Fulton (Advisor: Ragains)
Ke Li (Advisor: Kumar)
Sen Gao (Advisor: Maverick)
Prakash Hamal (Advisor: Haber)
Oluwaremilkun Omowunmi Lawal (Advisor: Murray)
Lakshapathy De Mel (Advisor: Schneider)
Tianyi Yu (Advisor: Zhang)
FEATURED VIDEOS
Impact of Mentorship
LSU | Nov 2020

Former mentees of Dr. Isiah Warner speak about the importance of mentorship and how it has impacted their lives.
Sticky Spiderwebs
ChemDemo & SAACS | Oct 2020

Tynia Madison, LSU Chemistry senior and co-president of LSU's Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, makes sticky spider webs.
The Chemistry of Fireworks
ChemDemo & CGSC | Jan 2021

LSU ChemDemo and CGSC members explain how chemicals converting energy from one form into another create vibrant colors in the night sky.
LSU Chemistry Glassblower
LSU Chemistry | Feb 2021

At LSU Chemistry, we have our very own talented scientific glassblower, Adrien Connangle.
UPCOMING EVENTS
To submit news for the LSU Chemistry Newsletter, email Gretchen Schneider (editor) at gschne2@lsu.edu.