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ChemNews, Spring 2000

Part of University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry newsletters

O m Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky Spring 2000 (859) 257-4741 MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRPERSON, contributed to the quality and collegiality of the department and are continuing to do so. BOYD E' HALEY ,Additionally, several of the current faculty have made major con- ! i ; W Many exciting things are happening for the tributions and have added considerably to the academic and research . ,\ faculty and students in the Department of quality of the department. Dr. David Robertson has redesigned our . Chemistry. Many of our 1999 graduating se- general chemistry program, updating it with computer assisted learn- We t; niors were accepted into high quality gradu- ing capabilities. Dr. Mark Meier has been unbelievably successful in t g ate schools and three of them received Na- converting small amounts of RCTF support into obtaining two new J rt ', tionai Science Foundation pre-doctorai feiiow- NMRs from the competitive programs of the National Science Foun- .. ships (a major honor) and several received dation. By this spring the Department of Chemistry should have one - ;.'., ' scholarship support from the institutions that Of the best NMR suites or any major university. . we accepted them. Many of our young faculty With the selection of the Department of Chemistry to receive " ' have received independent external funding, RCTF support, we were authorized to hire four new faculty in the several of the seniorfaculty were successful in maintaining theirindi- area 0t biological chemistry. The last position was filled when Dr. vidual grants, and some have been successful in obtaining major Edward DeMoll, from the Department ofMicrobiology& Immunology funding for research centers and graduate training programs. at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, accepted a position as In the past year the Committee on Professional Training (CPT) associate professor. Dr. DeMoII's research area involves a chemical of the American Chemical Society (ACS) passed a proposal that re approach to the biochemical mechanisms of anaerobic bacterial me- quired all departments of chemistry to include biochemistry if they tabolism. These are bacteria that are usually quite Pathogenic and wished to be approved to award ACS accredited degrees. This has are involved in the etioloy of numerous human and animal diseases. lead to numerous symposia and workshops dedicated to describing Our first recruit was Dr. Anne-Francis Miller, from the Department of procedures for the "integration" of biochemistry into core chemistry Chemistry at The Johns Hopkins UniVerSityi who accepted a position courses and the offering of stand alone courses in biological chemis- as associate professor. Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized try. Last year, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ken- expert in protein NMR and specializes in the study of metal contain- tucky proposed, through the Research Challenge Trust Fund (RCTF) ing enzymes. Her work was recently highlighted in Chemical and established by the governor's office, to establish a Biological Chem- Engineering News. She brings an active and Very well-funded re- istry program that would offer an undergraduate degree in chemistry search program with her. Our mostjunior recruit is Dr. Stephen Testa with a major emphasis in biological chemistry. This would take care from the Department Of Chemistry at the University Of ROCheSteri of the requirements of A08 for accreditation and also allow the De- Who accepted a position as assistant professor. Dr. Testa is an ac- partment of Chemistry to offer a new, and quite popular, area for complished young scientist whose research area isthe study of anti- student training. This would be important for students interested in sense RNA as a potential treatment for Stepping the expression 0t biomedical or bio-environmental sciences, including pre-medical and specific proteins Within living cells. This technology has application pre-pharmaceutical studies as well as other areas. It would also to the treatment 0t many diseases including Ale and cancer. Our allow the department the opportunity to expand the graduate research other faculty member is Dr. Tae Ji from the Department of Molecular program into an area that has available to it a greatly increased pool Biology at the University Of Wyoming. Dr. Ji is an established leader of federal research funds, especially from the National Institutes of in hormone receptorbiochemistry and has been continuously funded Health. Our proposal to starta Biological Chemistry Program lead to by NlH Since 1972- His work is internationally recognized and he the Department of Chemistry being selected by a University Commit- brings a large, active and well-funded research program to our de- tee as a Tier One department. Being identified as Tier One meant partment. It should be noted that these four faculty will compliment that our department was identified as one that could reach national an already present group 0t five faculty With biological chemistry re- prominence with the infusion of reasonable support for expansion. search programs that are also Very well recognized and well funded. One of the major assets the department had that lead to the However, with the arrival of these faculty the Department of Chemis- seiection as a Tier One RCTF academic unit was the annual Naff try Will immediately start to offer an outstanding program in biological Symposium. This Symposium is supported by a generous gift from chemistry. Dr. Benton Naff that was provided 25 years ago. The establishment it is to the credit of our current faculty and the faculty search . of the Naff Symposium was the seed that started the Biological Chem- committee that the Very dittiCUlt job cf identifying and recruiting these istry Program at the University of Kentucky. We all owe Dr. Naff a outstanding faculty was accomplished. Many cf the faculty went OUt major "thank you" for the insight and generosity that he displayed in of their way to help, and there is no doubt that the credit for the suc- proyiding support for this permanent symposium series. cess of this recruitment effort belongs to the entire department and Obtaining the RCTF funds was not accomplished by a single was a major group effort. application from the current chair. it is a real compliment to the fac- The faculty 0t the Department Of Chemistry have scored big in uity who were responsible for the quality of the department as it was obtaining major external funding. Dr. Robert Haddon received multi- before l became a member. Two of these faculty, Dr. Joseph Wilson year support trcrh NSF to start a Materials Science Research Center- and Dr. Donald Sands, retired this past summer. We are pleased Drs. Leonidas Bachas, Sylvia Daunert and Art Cammers-Goodwin that they have continued to participate in teaching in the Department. were prominent in Obtaining another major NSF training grant in Bio- Dr. Bill Ehmann and Dr. Robert Kiser, professors emeritus, have also sensor Technology The funding of these two programs at the multi- _________,.,