Integrative Learning at its best – Fairfield University Students, Alumni, and Faculty present and defend their research to the scientific community

Submitted by Carolyn Arnold on November 14, 2013

Fairfield University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduates joined faculty and alumni at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) held in New Haven Conn., October 23-26.   Students engaged scholars from throughout the northeast by giving talks and poster presentations on their scientific research with faculty.  DSC_0047

With support from the CAS Science Institute, the Western CT section of the ACS, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, students, faculty, and alumni spent two days at the conference presenting their own work, attending other research sessions, networking with faculty and fellow students from a diverse range of institutions, and gathering for social events.  Being imbedded in a scientifically an intellectually rich environment allowed students, alums, and faculty opportunities to learn about exciting new research, see how others presented their work, and make valuable career connections to other scientists.  Work presented by our students, alumni, and faculty covered a wide range of topics from environmental contamination, forensics, ligand-metal complexes, organic synthesis, biofuels, and the function of biochemical receptors.

Here is a detailed list of the presentations.  

Tim Jacisin (’14) gave a 15 minute oral presentation on his work with Dr. Kubasik on the “Synthesis and LC-MS  Characterization of Isotopologues of Z-Aib6-OtBu.”  These short but in intense talks require careful planning and often feature probing questions from the audience members.

George Lisi (’09) gave an oral presentation on work done as part of his Doctoral research in collaboration with Dr. Dean Wilcox at Dartmouth University detailing the “Thermodynamics of unfolding of the insulin hexamer:  A model for metal-stabilized protein quaternary structure.”  George also joined the group for dinner on Friday evening, providing a great opportunity for current undergraduates to learn about graduate school life.   George is planning on defending his Ph.D. dissertation this summer. DSC_0042

Erin Sullivan (’14) gave an oral presentation on her work done this past year working with Dr. Steven Suib at the University of Connecticut on the “Synthesis and characterization of zinc-doped titanium oxide for the production of methyl lactate from biomass resources.”  Erin also presented a poster on “Zinc and copper analysis of eastern oyster fluid” based on work done in collaboration with Dr. Harper-Leatherman, along with Dr. Brousseau and Dr. Braun from the Fairfield University Department of Biology.

Julia Spiridigliozzi (’14) presented a poster on her research performed this past summer at the Union County New Jersey Forensics Laboratory in Westfield NJ.   Her work was on “Studies of the benefits and limitations of a handheld chemical identification system in a forensic laboratory setting.”

Bayan Abunar (’14) presented a poster on her work with Dr. Harper-Leatherman on “Protein monolayer electrochemistry of self-organized gold nanoparticle-cytochrome c superstructures.” DSC_0034

Christine Villa (’14), Nicholas Bernier (’16), Kilee Bayne (14), Camile Gomes (’14)  and Margaret Siu (’15) presented a poster on “Syntheses, X-Ray crystallographic, spectroscopic and electrochemical characteristics of three and five coordinate SNS copper (I) and (II) complexes:  Effect of pincer ligand on coordination geometry.”

Camile Gomes (’14), and Margaret Siu, and Nicholas Bernier (’16) presented a poster on the “Syntheses and NMR characterizations of tridendate pincer SNS ligand precursors using microwave reaction conditions.”

Dr. Aaron Van Dyke organized a session at the meeting on Biorganic Chemistry/Chemical Biology and gave an oral presentation on “Small molecule reprogramming of glucocorticoid receptor function” based on research completed as part of his post-doctoral studies as part of this session.

Dr. John Miecznikowski organized and chaired a session on Bioinorganic Chemistry and gave an oral presentation as part of this session entitled: “Towards a better understanding of liver alcohol dehydrogenase: Synthesis, spectroscopic and electrochemical characterization, density functional theory calculations, and activity of tridentate SNS and NNN zinc(II) pincer complexes based on bis-­triazole and bis-­imidazole precursors.”

Dr. Amanda Harper-Leatherman organized a session on Nanoscience for the NERM conference. DSC_0052

On Friday evening we were able to gather for a wonderful dinner at the Temple Bar and Grill.   Alumni Eric Falcone (’08), George Lisi (’09),  Lauren Keilich (’11), Amanda DiMarzio (’11), Brianne O’Loughlin (’11), and Dr. Christopher Koenigsmann (’08), along with Departmental Faculty member Gary Weddle, currently on sabbatical doing research with Prof. Mark Johnson at Yale University, where able to join us for a rousing evening of good food and conversation.    Eric is currently a Ph.D. candidate in medicinal chemistry at the University of Connecticut; George is a Ph.D. candidate at Dartmouth College in bio-inorganic chemistry; Lauren is a Ph.D. candidate in bio-organic chemistry at Yale University; Amanda is a chemist at Unilever in Trumbull, CT; Brianne recently received her MBA degree and  s working in the banking sector in Danbury, CT; Chris recently defended his Ph.D. dissertation at SUNY Stony Brook and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University.



Photo caption: Students and faculty at the NERM undergraduate research poster session.
Back row right to left: Dr. Kubasik, Dr VanDyke, Christine Villa, Dr. Miecznikowski, Erin Sullivan, Tim Jacisin, Nicholas Bernier

Front row right to left: Dr Harper-Leatheman, Julia K Spiridigliozzi, Kilee Bayne, Bayun Abunar, Camille Gomes, Margaret Siu, Dr. Steffen



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