SUMMER 2020
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
The past few months have been unlike any I have experienced since I started my academic career in 1990. We have closed down our research labs, had to switch to remote instruction, and moved all administration to homes. In May, we started returning to our labs while being extremely cautious about the COVID virus. Now, we plan for a Fall semester like no other. Through it all, the Department has worked hard to overcome the challenges. I could not be more proud of our staff, faculty and students. I feel privileged to be Chair of this great department and look forward to the future with great enthusiasm.
John A. Pojman
Professor and Chai r
ARTICLES
LSU Chemistry Helping Fill the Need for Critical Supplies Across the University Community and Louisiana
by Gretchen Schneider
In response to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies due to the novel coronavirus, Louisiana State University's Department of Chemistry is helping fill the needs of frontline workers around the state and university community.

In collaboration with the LSU Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the chemistry department is produced hand sanitizer for the university community. Dr. Jason LeJeune, LSU’s Environmental Health and Safety manager, reached out to LSU Chemistry Chair John Pojman and Professor David Spivak to determine the feasibility of producing hand sanitizer utilizing campus resources..... | More
LSU Chemistry Faculty Collaborate on $20M Funded Project for Research and Education on 3D Printing
by Elizabeth Cui
3D printing stock image
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards Louisiana with a five-year, $20 million grant to form the Louisiana Materials Design Alliance (LAMDA), transforming research and education in manufacturing and materials.

In midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, starting a new forward-thinking project provides hope and excitement for a time post-coronavirus.

“It’s [EPSCoR] really trying to encourage a collaboration,” said Dr. John Pojman, the chair of the LSU chemistry department and professor of macromolecular science. “I can say I never would have met the people I have. Last summer was the first time I used zoom and we spent days and days doing zoom meetings with people at Louisiana Tech.”

LAMDA will research 3D printing for plastic and metal products that have a lower defect rate and higher sustainability... | More
Professor Vicente Receives NIH Funding for MARC Program
LSU Office of Research and Economic Development | May 2020
For decades, LSU has participated in national efforts to encourage diversity in undergraduate research—especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM. In 2004, the university joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) R25 program to increase the participation and retention of minority, disabled, and economically disadvantaged students in various biomedical fields, such as chemistry, biology, human and veterinary medicine, kinesiology, psychology, and biological and mechanical engineering. That initiative was recently replaced by the NIH with the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) T34 program, geared specifically toward college juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a PhD or PhD-MD in biomedical or behavioral sciences after they graduate.... | More
Winnie Wong-Ng (PhD ’74) to Join COS Hall of Distinction
by Carol M. Taylor
While the annual festivities associated with LSU’s College of Science Hall of Distinction were postponed due to COVID-19, we are pleased to announce that Dr Winnie Wong-Ng (LSU Chemistry PhD ’74) is one of this year’s honorees. She is being recognized for her contributions to phase equilibria, crystal chemistry, and crystallographic research in solid state materials over a 30-year career, mostly at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. Dr Julia Chan (former LSU Professor, now at the University of Texas at Dallas) was a postdoctoral fellow at NIST in the late 1990s; she describes Wong-Ng as a “distinguished LSU alumna, LSU philanthropic supporter, and a mentor to young scientists.” | More
Revolutionary New Portable No Contact Forensic Sampling Device
Professor Kermit Murray, Post-doctoral Researcher Fabrizio Donnaruma, and Graduate Student Jamira Stephenson developed an innovative, cost-effective instrument for the collection of forensic evidence.  The portable forensic sampling device utilizes gas-pulse displacement with nanoparticle extraction and vacuum capture for off-line mass spectrometry. The device will provide accessibility for hard to reach sampling areas and contamination-free capturing with low nanogram sampling range...| More
Tuo Wang Receives NIH Grant to Study Drug Effects on the Carbohydrate Armor of Fungal Pathogens
Assistant Professor Tuo Wang has been awarded a $413,914, two-year exploratory/developmental research grant (R21) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIH’s R21 mechanism is intended to encourage high-risk, high-reward projects that may result in new research directions. The grant will provide funding for Professor Wang’s effort in characterizing the complex carbohydrates present in the pathogenic fungus 𝘈𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘴.

Under this award, Professor Wang aims to develop solid-state NMR methods and identify the structural factors of cell walls that contribute to fungal virulence and drug resistance. They are trying to understand how the fungal pathogens adjust the architecture of their cell walls, the carbohydrate-rich armor of these microbes, to survive through treatments of antifungal drugs. Such efforts provide direct, molecular guide to the rational design of novel antifungal agents.. . | More
New Organic Faculty Members
by Carol M. Taylor
I n Fall 2019, the Department conducted a search for a new faculty member in Organic Chemistry. Whilst searching broadly, our preference was for scientists with research interests in either the materials arena or biological and medicinal chemistry. Our intent was that these new faculty would add to existing strengths and be attractive vis-à-vis external funding. The search committee consisted of Carol Taylor (Chair), Justin Ragains, Rendy Kartika, David Spivak and Semin Lee. They were ably assisted by Amy Commander, our HR Specialist and winner of this year’s Outstanding Staff Award. Thanks to the support of Dean Peterson and the wisdom of the upper administration, we are delighted to announce that we were successful in appointing  two  outstanding new assistant professors.
Dr. GarciaLopez Chemistry
Dr. Víctor García-López
Dr. Fatima Rivas Chemistry
Dr. Fatima Rivas
FEATURED ALUMNUS
Dr. Richard A. Evans: Celebrating the Legacy of LSU Chemistry’s First African American Doctoral Graduate
by Gretchen Schneider and Saundra McGuire
Born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi, Dr. Richard Evans received no formal science education in a traditional classroom or access to science laboratories during his elementary and high school years. Following the encouragement and inspiration of Dr. Saint Elmo Brady, Dr. Evans completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1959 and his master’s degree in 1963. In 1971, Dr. Evans defended his doctoral dissertation and became the first African American to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from LSU. His achievement was a remarkable milestone during the long journey of African Americans toward equality in the STEM fields. Dr. Richard Evans lived a legacy devoted to his family, his faith, and the teaching and mentoring of aspiring minority scientists..... | More
UNDERGRADUATE SPOTLIGHT
by Shelly Kleinpeter
Hayden Tageant, B.S. May 2020

The complex and creative nature of chemistry is what drew recent LSU graduate Hayden Tageant to pursue a degree in chemistry.

“I loved that chemistry was involved in so many different aspects including research, clothing, art, the food industry, and the human body,” Tageant says.

Hayden served as the president of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society or SAACS for two years. He used his time as president to bring in different professionals to show fellow students the opportunities a chemistry degree can bring.

He also used his time as president of SAACS to focus on the service aspect of the club by participating in the ChemDemo program. This program aims to bring chemistry into the Baton Rouge community. Under Hayden’s leadership this past year, they were awarded best student organization team for their service during the annual LSU dance marathon event.

Hayden also explored the many facets of chemistry through undergraduate research at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Comparative Biomedical Sciences Department. This research provided a deeper understanding of what he was learning in the classroom and showed him the real-world application of his coursework.

Hayden’s advice for future chemistry students is to get involved in campus organizations and take advantage of every resource the department offers its students. ”LSU challenged me through a rigorous coursework that taught me how to solve problems both in and out of the classroom.”  
 
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Prof. WeiWei Xie Received LSU Rainmaker Award

LSU Chemistry Assistant Professor Weiwei Xie has been named the 2019 Rainmaker - Emerging Scholar in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics... | More
Dr. Elzbieta Cook Recieved Teaching Awards

Dr. Elzbieta Cook received the University Distinguished Teaching award and the George Deer Distinguished Teaching Award from the University College ..   | More
Amy Commander Received Chemistry Outstanding Staff Award

The LSU Department of Chemistry proudly recognized Mrs. Amy Commander as the 2020 Outstanding Staff Award recipient. ...  | More
College of Science Teaching and Research Awards
Learn more about each faculty member and their exemplary teaching and Research:

Asst. Prof. Noémie Elgrishi - Undergraduate Teaching Award
Dr. Kandace Hurst, Instructor - Undergraduate Teaching Award
Dr. Funda Kizilkaya, Senior Instructor - Undergraduate Teaching Award
Asst. Prof. Revati Kumar - Non-Tenured Faculty Research Award
Asst. Prof. Semin Lee - Undergraduate Teaching Award
Assoc. Prof. Justin Ragains - Graduate Teaching Award
NEW FUNDING
Dr. Les Butler - DOE SBIR Phase II- Grating-Based Imaging-Scattering with Portable Neutron Generator

Dr. Lavrent Khachatryan -   NIH- Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals - Materials Core (MC)

Dr. Kermit Murray - NSF- IIBR Instrumentation: Sub-micrometer Resolution Mass Spectrometry Imaging by Deep-UV Laser Ablation and Post-ionization

Dr. Graça Vicente - NIH- Maximizing Access to Research Careers at Louisiana State University

Dr. Tuo Wang - Pennsylvania State University/ DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC): Solid-State NMR and Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Techniques for Investigating Carbohydrate Structure and Lignin Interactions in Plant Wall Cells ; NIH- Using Solid-state NMR Spectroscopy to Elucidate Cell Wall Structural Dynamics Involved in Virulence and Drug Response of Aspergillus fumigatus

Dr. Weiwei Xie - NSF CAREER- Chemistry Perspectives to Design Novel Superconductors

Dr. Donghui Zhang - NSF- Investigating the Effect of Coronal Charge Patterning on the Solution Structure of Amphiphilic Multiblock Copolymers

STUDENT AWARDS
Susith Galle Kankanamge Received the 2020 
Dissertation Fellowship  

Susith Galle Kankanamge, a fourth-year chemistry graduate student advised by  Dr. Daniel Kuroda , received the 2020 Dissertation Year Fellowship . .. | More
 Drew Hood Received the College of Science Distinguished Dissertation Award

Dr. Drew Hood received the 2020 College of Science Distinguished Dissertation Award for his dissertation titled  “Cationic Cobalt (II) Hydroformylation.”  | More  
Nichole Kaufman Appointed as the ACS GSSPC Coordinator

Nichole Kaufman, a fourth-year graduate student advised by Dr. Graça Vicente, was selected to serve as the ACS Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee (GSSPC) Coordinator...| More
2019-2020 Chemistry Graduate Student Awards
LSU Chemistry is pleased to announce the graduate students selected for the 2019-2020 Chemistry Graduate Research and Teaching Awards:

Josh Malone - James G. Traynham Teaching & Research Award
Tianyi Yu - Dow Chemical Macromolecular Award
Guanyu Zhang - Kiran Allam International Award
Xin Gui - Mary Jo Pribble Inorganic Award
Maodie Wang - H. Dupont Durst Organic Award
Susith Galle Kankanamge - Neil Kestner Physical Award
Judith de Mel - Timothy S. Evenson Polymer Award
Josh Lutz - Chemistry Coates Dissertation Award
Emmanuel Ampiah - Chem 4553 TA Award
Varad Agarkar - Chem 2364 TA Award
Vanessa Hulse - Chem 1212 TA Award
Alexander Meyer - Chem 1212 TA Award
Hermanthie Charya Wickamasinghe - Chem 1212 TA Award

Graduate student Tianyi Yu received the Graduate Student Oral Presentation Award in Annual Applied Polymer Technology Extension Consortium (APTEC) Meeting, Baton Rouge (Nov. 2019).

Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Kartika Research Group, Dr. Alex Cleveland , was awarded the prestigious Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellowship as he assumes a research position at the Los Alamos National Lab.

Graduate students Fatimat Badmus and Joshua Van Houten from the Kartika Research Group received poster awards at the Florida Heterocyclic Conference in Gainesville, Florida.

Undergraduate student Jonathan Bruna successfully defended his honors thesis. Jonathan conducted research under Dr. Noémie Elgrishi for the past three years. 

Undergraduate student worker Brandon Andrews was selected as a nominee for  LSU 's 2019-2020 Student Employee of the Year. The business sophomore has been working in the Williams stockroom since August 2019.
IN MEMORIAM
Dr. Eileen M. Skelly Frame, 1953 -2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Skelly Frame. Dr. Frame received her doctorate from LSU Chemistry in 1982 and became the first female Chemistry Professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Following her military service, she joined the General Electric Corporation and supervised the atomic spectroscopy laboratory at GE’s Research and Development Center in New York. She also held positions as Clinical and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at both Union College, in Schenectady, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy. Dr. Frame was an avid fan of LSU football and a member of the LSU College of Science Dean's Circle. For more information about Dr. Frame, visit her memorial page .
Chemistry May 2020 Graduates
Bachelor of Science

Emily Cambre, Sarah Clawson, Elliot Fruge, Lauren Hinkel, Ellen Hymel, Julia Power, Angelie Matar, Kayla Ruchardson, Andrew Rytlewski, Kristin Sobie, Thomas Stremlau,
Hayden Tageant, Courtney Toussel, Kynnedi Sonnier, Alexander Stant, Stephen Vining, Evan Young, Zachary Zeringue
Doctor of Philosophy

Samuel Bynum (Pojman)
Pu Du (Kumar)
Michael P. Hayes (Cook)
Huy Nguyen (McCarley)
FEATURED VIDEOS
L SU Chemistry Facilities Tour
May 2020 Graduate Tribute
2020 FALL COLLOQUIUM SCHEDULE
August 28: Safety Meeting

September 18: Dr. Tuo Wang, Louisiana State University
Title: " Elucidation of Carbohydrate Structure in Plant Biomass and Fungal Pathogens Using Solid-State NMR and Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Methods"

October 16: TBA

October 30: Dr. Jeff Reimer, University of California, Berkley
Title: "Grand Challenges for MOFs: a role for NMR" 

November 20: Dr . Martin Zanni , University of Wisconsin, Madison 
Title: TBA

December 4: Boussert Lecture: Dr. Thierry Gacoin , Laboratoire PMC, CNRS
Title: TBA

The Colloquium Program is held in the  Life Sciences Annex Auditorium (A-101) at 3:30 PM . For additional information, visit: LSU Chemistry Colloquium Program
UPCOMING EVENTS
Benjamin P. Boussert Lecture

Friday, December 4, 2020

Gacoin Thierry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Physics and Chemistry Departments
École Polytechnique 
Palaiseau, France
hosted by Dr. Noémie Elgrishi
To submit news for the LSU Chemistry Newsletter, email Gretchen Schneider (editor) at gschne2@lsu.edu.