Chemistry News


August 2017
Griffith Lab Welcomes Carolyn Hutchinson

Carolyn Hutchinson comes to Willamette from Iowa State University, where she completed her PhD in analytical chemistry in May 2017. Her research focused on using high resolution mass spectrometry to investigate the fast pyrolysis of biomass on a molecular level. While at Iowa State, she also served as president of the Queer* Graduate Student Association and as vice president of oSTEM ISU as well as being an active member of Pride Summit. She earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry at Christopher Newport University in Virginia along with a minor in Latin Classical Studies, graduating magna cum laude with departmental honors and as a member of Alpha Chi national college honor society. Carolyn is looking forward to a productive year of research and growth with the Griffith lab. So far, she has been enjoying the ample opportunities to get outdoors as well as the variety of dog sports readily available in the area.

August 2017
Chemistry Department Welcomes Professor Jonathan White

The Department of Chemistry is excited to welcome Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jonathan White to our department as a biochemist and chemical biologist. Jonathan comes to us from Oregon Health & Science University, where he developed new chemical tools to study heterogeneity in cancers. He completed his PhD degree at the University of Oregon, where he studied the reactivity of platinum anticancer compounds." Jonathan was born and raised in Oregon, and looks forward to teaching chemistry and biochemistry at Willamette!

July 2017
Todd Melgreen Joins Willamette as Chemical Hygiene Officer
June 2017
2017 Chemistry Student Awards

The Department of Chemistry would like to congratulate the 2017-2018 Chemistry Award winners! See the list of winners here

March 2017
David Griffith secures $325K National Science Foundation Grant
Professor David Griffith has been awarded a $325,157 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to investigate the chemical factors that control halogenated estrogen and what happens to the hormone when it’s released into aquatic environments. Read about how this grant is creating research opportunities for undergraduate students at Willamette.
February 2016
Chemistry Professor Receives Tenure
Professor Alison Fisher received tenure on February 20th! Congratulations Alison! 
February 2015
Famous Alumni Makes Biochemistry News
 Nick Symmonds '06 is featured in American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's February 2015 issue.
July 2015
Sarah Kirk Receives New Type of Research Grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust
With this three-year, $48,000 Murdock grant, Sarah will design and synthesize several derivatives of tetracaine, a local eye anesthetic.  These novel molecules have implications in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disease. The Murdock grant, with further support from Willamette’s Science Collaborative Research Program, will also fund five Willamette undergraduates to collaborate with Sarah in her research on tetracaine derivatives.
June 2015
M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust awards Alison Fisher second College Research Program for Life Sciences Grant

 It is our pleasure to announce that Associate Professor Alison Fisher in the Department of Chemistry has received word from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust that her grant through the College Research Program for Life Sciences has been renewed for two years in the amount of $36,100.  This grant will support the work of three undergraduate chemistry majors, who will collaborate with Professor Fisher on her research project, research that has also been supported by Willamette’s Science Collaborative Research Program (SCRP) and Alison’s laboratory start-up funds when she first began teaching at Willamette.

February 2015
A Great Article from the Washington Post
May 2014
2014 Chemistry Student Awards

The Department of Chemistry would like to congratulate all of the 2014 Chemistry award recipients. Chemistry Awards 2014

Three Chemistry Majors Chosen to be Webber Scholars

Congratulations to the new William Webber scholars! Chemistry majors Kira Egelhofer, Emily Miller, and Jennifer Grauberger, were recently awarded this wonderful opportunity to teach elementary students science. William B. Webber established the program to honor and encourage women studying in the sciences. Each year, 8-10 female biology, chemistry, environmental science and physics majors who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their area of research take the Willamette Science Outreach Program (WSOP) into 5th grade classrooms. Their task is to serve as mentors to foster scientific curiosity and understanding, and to provide encouragement to pursue an interest in science, math, and engineering. Mr. Webber saw his scholarship program as an opportunity to provide especially young girls with a female role model and mentor, while recognizing, honoring and financially supporting the scholars as they earn their science degrees from Willamette University.

New D.E. Goodney Mentorship Award Established

In honoring Prof. David Goodney, the 2014 chemistry seniors created the D.E. Goodney Mentorship Award. The award is given to a senior, chosen by their peers, who is a positive role model for the department, supporting their peers academically, emotionally, and co-curricularly. Donations made by alumni and faculty provide a monetary gift to accompany this award. This year’s first recipient was Lisa Broadstone. Congrats Lisa!

Seven Graduating Chemistry Majors Receive Senior Keys

Seven graduating seniors received Senior Keys: Lisa Broadstone, Rebecca Josephson, Chris Whitehead, Joe Harman, Garrett Davis, Emily Harvey, and Jeff Sirginson. Congratulations! Senior Keys are presented to members of the senior class who are the most outstanding and who go above and beyond and stand out for their meritorious service to the Associated Students of Willamette University.

Emily Miller '15 Receives Presidential Scholarship

Congratulations to Emily Miller on her recent Presidential Scholarship. Emily’s project, “Synthesis of Redox-Active Chitosan Derivatives for Use as Targeted Therapeutic Antioxidants” will be conducted with Associate Professor of Chemistry, Drew Duncan. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to one or two stellar Willamette students who intend to carry out a research project during the summer of their junior year and into their senior year. The principal criteria for evaluation are research design, originality, and contribution to the discipline.

Chemistry Student, Shelby Decker '16 Awarded Gilman Scholarship

Shelby Decker '16, chemistry major and Chinese studies minor, has been awarded a Gilman Scholarship to help support his study abroad during summer 2014 at the CIEE intensive language program in Beijing. The Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute for International Education. The program aims to encourage students to choose non-traditional study and intern destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support students who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad.

April 2014
Jenny Grauberger '15 Receives Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship

Jenny Grauberger ’15 — who devotes her education to empowering women and advancing medical research — is a national recipient of Iota Sigma Pi’s annual Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship, an annual award that recognizes excellence in chemistry or biochemistry.

MIT Professor Dr. Drennan Speaks at Willamette

Prof. Williamson and Prof. Duncan applied for a Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship to bring an esteemed biochemist to Willamette's campus. We got it! Willamette University is one of five undergraduate institutions to receive the Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions, which funded a visit by MIT professor of chemistry, Catherine Drennan. Dr. Drennan worked with the William Webber Scholars at Highland Elementary, gave a community science pub talk at Gilgamesh Brewing, as well as gave a talk to chemists, students, and faculty here at Willamette in early April.

Miguel Correa '14 Receives Sigma Xi Research Grant

Sigma Xi, the scientific honorary society, awarded Miguel Correa ’14, a Grants-in-aid of Research grant for his senior thesis research. Chemistry major Miguel Correa, received a grant from the fall application. Only 20% of applicants were funded this round, and Miguel's award was one of only four in Oregon and Washington.

February 2014
Sarah Kirk and Alison Fisher Get Promoted

Please join us in congratulating Sarah Kirk and Alison Fisher for their recent promotions! Professor Kirk was promoted from Associate to full Professor. Professor Fisher was promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor.

January 2014
New Analytical Chemist, David Griffith, Joins Chemistry Department

We are excited to welcome Assistant Professor David Griffith to the department as our new Analytical Chemist. David comes to us after having completed a degree at Wood Hole Institute (MIT) in Environmental Chemistry and Chemical Oceanography. Most recently he taught at Bowdoin College in Maine.

December 2013
David Goodney Retires

After 37 years at Willamette, our beloved professor, colleague, and friend, David Goodney, has chosen to retire. The seniors have celebrated his legacy in several fun ways this past semester including a day in which all of the chemistry faculty dressed up in “Goodney attire” – blue button down shirts, ties, and mustaches! We will miss you so much, Dave!

Start-Up Grant for New Science Faculty from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Sarah Kirk and the chemistry department received a Start-up Grant for New Science Faculty from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The grant provides $30,000 in matching funds toward a start-up package for our new analytical chemist.

May 2013
2013 Chemistry Student Awards

The Department of Chemistry would like to congratulate the 2013 Chemistry award recipients. Chemistry Awards 2013

Chem Major Rebecca Josephson '14 Receives Presidential Scholarship

Congratulations to Rebecca Josephson on her recent Presidential Scholarship. Becca’s project, “Binding Interactions of Anti-Cancer Ruthenium-Based Drug NAMI-A with Nucleic Acids” will be conducted with Professor of Chemistry, Karen McFarlane Holman. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to one or two stellar Willamette students who intend to carry out a research project during the summer of their junior or senior year. The principal criteria for evaluation are research design, originality, and contribution to the discipline.

September 2012
Chemistry Students Featured in SCRP Spotlight Piece

Check out the research Alex Lantz '13 and Geri Laudenbach '13 did over this summer with Prof. Alison Fisher. Check out the article.

August 2012
WU Chemistry Alum Michael Harris '10 Receives NSF Graduate Fellowship

WU Chemistry alumnus, Michael Harris ’10 received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to support his research in organic chemistry. Read more about his story.

February 2012
Professor Andrew Duncan Awarded Tenure
Professor Duncan's excellent work both in the lab and the classroom has culminated in his recent promotion to Associate Professor and tenure award. Professor Duncan works primarily with synthetic organic and organometallic molecules with an eye towards developing new methods for making large-ring molecules. His expertise and enthusiasm for his work make him a coveted mentor for many students and we are thrilled to finally say that he will be a permanent figure in our department. Congratulations Professor Duncan!
November 2011
Murdock awards General Scientific Research Grant

On the heels of their NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant, Dr. Emma Coddington and five of her colleagues – David Altman, Jason Duncan, Alison Fisher, Barbara Stebbins-Boaz and Gary Tallman – have been awarded a General Scientific Research Grant in the amount of $171,000 from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to add important functionality to Willamette’s new imaging facility. With the new funds the team plans to purchase 5 critical items including a 34 channel photomultiplier tube, a BiG detector and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, additional microscope objectives, humidity and carbon dioxide controls, and an additional image analysis workstation. The addition of this grant speaks to the very impressive efforts of our science faculty to provide our students with the opportunities and equipment to address questions at the forefront of scientific research.

September 2011
Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) Program Grant

Sarah Kirk and Todd Silverstein have been awarded a two-year, $199,846 grant from the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) Program through the National Science Foundation. With these funds the chemistry department plans to create and evaluate a new laboratory model for instrumental analysis and biochemistry for use at Willamette and other predominantly undergraduate institutions including Chemeketa Community College. The course design will integrate Instrumental Analysis with the Biochemistry Laboratory, where students are exposed to three of the four major classes of biomolecules and introduced to many key methods in instrumental analysis from all major subdisciplines of chemistry. Furthermore, students will be taught in a progressive instructional style that allows them to develop as research scientists.

National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Project
Emma Coddington and 5 of her colleagues-David Altman, Barbara Stebbins-Boaz, Alison Fisher, Jason Duncan, and Gary Tallman have been awarded $526,788 from the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Project. Their project entitled "MRI: Acquisition of a laser scanning confocal system to advance research and training in biology, chemistry, and physics at Willamette University" will use the funds to purchase a Zeiss LSM-710 confocal microscope and develop a Core Imaging Facility on campus. This collaboration between chemistry, biology and physics will allow an estimated 400 students from intro to advanced courses to utilize this fantastic resource. Notably, the NSF award the proposal three excellent designations and one reviewer went so far as to say "This should be a model grant application for anyone applying to the MRI program. It is the best written and presented MRI application I have ever read".
May 2011
2011 Chemistry Department Student Awards

The Chemistry Department would like to congratulate all of the 2011 Chemistry award recipients. Chemistry Awards 2011

Frances Chapple Award in Physical Chemistry
The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce the Frances Chapple Award that has been established this year to recognize an outstanding student in the field of physical chemistry. The award is named in honor of Professor Emerita Frances Chapple who has been an inspiration to many young chemists throughout her distinguished career at Willamette.

The first recipient of the Frances Chapple Award is chemistry junior Estella Yee.
Hewlett Grant for Experimental Biochemistry

The Chemistry Department was awarded a Hewlett grant for the curricular revision of Experimental Biochemistry I and II (CHEM 346/347) for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Prof. Alison Fisher, Prof. Todd Silverstein, and Prof. Sarah Kirk will use the grant in their continuing enhancement of the biochemistry track curriculum at Willamette.

February 2011
Promotion to Full Professor

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Prof. Karen Holman and Prof. Chuck Williamson have both been promoted to the rank of full professor. Congratulations to both of them on this milestone in their careers.

November 2010
2010 Oregon Professor of the Year - Chemistry's Karen Holman

Professor of Chemistry, Karen Holman, was named the 2010 Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The Foundation presents this prestigious award to one professor in each state in recognition of excellence in undergraduate education. This is an outstanding honor for Professor Holman that recognizes her passion as an educator and mentor, and her talent to engage students in the study of chemistry.

Professor of the Year

September 2010
Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching

Prof. Andrew Duncan recently received a Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award is given annually to faculty and staff at Willamette who display excellence in various aspects of their career development.

May 2010
Chemistry Student Award Recipients

The Chemistry Department would like to congratulate all of the 2010 Chemistry award recipients: Chemistry Awards 2010

April 2010
Math and Chemistry student Jeff Weber named Hertz Fellow

Chemistry senior Jeff Weber was awarded a prestigious $250,000 fellowship from the Hertz Foundation. The award is the nation's most generous doctoral fellowship and will fund Jeff during his graduate studies.

Awards won by Charlotte Osborne

In addition to other awards and scholarships, chemistry junior Charlotte Osborne has recently received the Dick Van Santen Award and a Goldwater Scholarship. The Dick Van Santen Award is given by the Portland Section of the American Chemical Society to an outstanding undergraduate student in Oregon who is planning to pursue a career in chemistry. The Goldwater Scholarship program provides funding for undergraduate students planning careers in math, the sciences, or engineering.

Sarah Kirk awarded a Partners in Science grant

M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded Prof. Sarah Kirk a $15,000 grant through the Partners in Science Program. This award will enable Greg Whatley, a science teacher at South Salem High School, to partner with Prof. Kirk to conduct research at Willamette University in the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Alumni donations

The Chemistry Department would like to thank alumni Benjamin Leipzig (2007) and Steve Sloop (1987) who have each recently donated to the department. These contributions will help support chemistry students at Willamette as they do research towards their senior theses.