Thank You To Our Donors!
The department wishes to sincerely thank the following alumni and friends for their generous support of USD Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Myron Cagan ‘72
Jennie Fong ‘05

Donate to USD Chemistry and Biochemistry

Message from the Chair

It is such a pleasure to continually share with you the positive and wonderful happenings in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at USD. No surprise to any of us, student interest in chemistry and biochemistry continues to grow. In May 2006, we graduated 22 majors; we currently have 28 students scheduled to graduate in 2007 (approximately 75 percent biochemistry majors and 25 percent chemistry majors); and we already have 34 declared majors slated to graduate in 2008! It appears that our days as a small department are gone, though we remain committed to the focus on student development that is a hallmark of our teaching and research. In all areas, our department is flourishing. You can keep up with the latest department news at our Web site at

In this issue of The Spin, we honor Dr. Jack Opdycke on the occasion of his retirement as of May 2007. A valued member of the department since 1966, Dr. Opdycke has interacted with (and impacted the educations of) thousands of USD students over the years. If you would like to share your good wishes for a healthy and happy retirement, Dr. Opdycke would love to hear from you. Please send your thoughts to him directly at: USD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492.

As we bid farewell to Dr. Opdycke this year, we welcome the newest members of our faculty. Dr. Stephen Mills, a biochemist, has joined us as an Assistant Professor. You can get to know a little more about Dr. Mills in this newsletter. We also welcome Dr. Bridget Salzameda ’02 (Chemistry) and Dr. Anne Duffy as new adjunct faculty members in the department. We will miss Dr. Sandrine Berniolles, Dr. Hima Joshi and Dr. Christine Mullen, who have moved on to other opportunities.

Tammy Dwyer and
Debbie Tahmassebi
share a kayak.
Research efforts in the department continue to thrive and be productive. During the summer of 2006, six faculty members mentored 20 undergraduates and two incoming freshman (PURE) students in their laboratories. You can read more about all of the ongoing research in this newsletter. Our kayaking trip to La Jolla Cove has become a popular summer tradition and has grown into a flotilla (nearly 20 kayaks – mostly doubles!) of students and faculty from the four science departments.

The department is actively working to engage our strong alumni network. Many of you have shared your accomplishments and we want to learn more about the paths you have chosen after graduating from USD. Be sure to visit us online at and let us know what you would like to see in the “Alumni” portion of our Web site.

Finally, beginning with our next issue, The Spin will be available only in electronic format. Please make sure that we have your current electronic address (by sending an e-mail to Hailey Adams at

Tammy Dwyer
Chair, Department of Chemistry

Meet Joanna Cole: Making the Most of The USD Experience

Cole in Ireland
Joanna Cole ’07 (Chemistry) received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2006-2007 academic year. She was one of only 22 students from California and 300 students nationally to receive this prestigious award. Here, she shares some reflections of her experiences while a student at USD.

These days I find myself doing two things I never would have imagined four years ago: studying chemistry and still living in San Diego. Much to my delight, USD has provided me with the opportunity to do both of these. After taking a few basic science classes as a freshman, I began to consider studying chemistry. Little by little, opportunities opened up for me to expand my experiences in more than just the classroom. I agreed to do some summer research for Dr. Tahmassebi after my first year, which was perfect because I was a local college kid looking for more than another boring summer job. It was a great experience to be in a setting where I worked alongside my professor and fellow students in the lab without worrying about the lectures, exams and grades associated with a class. I’ve continued doing research for the past two years, working with Dr. Tahmassebi and Dr. Dwyer to study the structure of DNA oligomers that contain non-natural bases. All of these valuable experiences have given me a taste of the joys and the frustrations of independent scientific research. I don’t believe I would have had these opportunities at just any university.

Cole in Ireland
Joanna Cole in Ireland.

As much as I enjoy the beautiful labs in the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology, I decided on a change of scenery and spent the Fall 2005 semester taking classes in Cork, Ireland. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. In April 2006, I was introduced to Dr. Jilly Evans (Vice President of Biology at Amira Pharmaceuticals) who was giving a talk at USD and we spoke about the possibility of an internship in the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, I spent the entire summer of 2006 working in both chemistry and biology laboratories at Amira. Given the very different setting of the industrial research, I was impressed by the exceptionally positive environment. I worked mostly in the chemistry lab synthesizing possible therapeutic drugs, though I was able to help out in the biology lab as well. I quickly realized how much my extensive lab experience at USD meant to me and to the company. Using much of what I had learned over the past three years, I could work fairly independently doing what the other scientists did everyday, and the best part was the friendly and fun atmosphere in which everyone truly loved what they were doing and how much they enjoy collaborating with the other scientists with whom they work. I was treated as an important member of the company and one who was making real contributions. The internship taught me the real-world value of my unique USD educational experience and the importance of loving whatever it is I choose to pursue in life. As I graduate this spring and pursue further education leading to a career in the pharmaceutical field, I will be sure to take not only the knowledge I’ve gained here at USD, but the passion for all aspects of life as well.

Research Updates

Bolender Research Update

Baja research group along with friends and family
at the Happiest Place on Earth!

This summer was a very busy time in the Bolender Lab with 10 students working on the various Baja projects. Five of these students worked directly with me, and I co-mentored the other students working with Drs. Boudrias (MARS), Gorga (MARS) and Baird (Biology). We took two trips to Magdalena Bay over the summer (4 days and 10 days). We all had an amazing time, except for the near lightning strike while we were out trying to sample sea grasses!

In particular, Nicole Pena ‘07 worked on translating into Spanish the various water quality protocols so that our colleagues in Vigilantes de Bahia Magdalena (the local Waterkeeper group) can understand and carry out some of the pollution monitoring at a local community level. Joanna Kinsey ‘06 and Ashley Parks ‘08 continued their study of polychlorinated biphenyls in clams and sediments taken from around Magdalena Bay. The good news (or bad news if you are Joanna and wanting to get a paper out!) is that there are undetectable levels of PCB’s all around the bay. Ashley is going to move to a more “lab-based” experiment examining how chiral PCBs get resolved as they are taken up into plant tissue. Tiffany Wilkus ‘07 continued studying heavy metal accumulation in sea grass tissues. The trends seem to indicate that the heavy metal concentrations are decreasing with the addition of the remediation system in the cannery and fishmeal plant.

I have not lost touch with the physical chemist in me. Briana Simon ‘07 is working on a new project in my lab. Brie has synthesized lanthanide containing nanocrystals with fluoride, chloride and bromide counter ions. The fluoride systems are known in the literature, but the chloride and bromide systems are new. Part of her study has been to examine various capping groups that will allow the nanocrystals to be water soluble, yet hold together in their nanometer sized structure. We have also made nanoparticles with multiple lanthanide ion dopants to measure energy transfer affects. Based on these results, we can determine distances between the various luminophores within these nanocrystals. These results confirm that we do have true nanoparticals, and not just solvated lanthanide ions. Chemistry adjunct faculty member Dr. Julia Schafer is working on these nanocrystals as well. Her goal is to incorporate them into silica based sol-gels for potential sensor use. At present, we have results that might allow us to distinguish lead and iron concentrations in natural waters simultaneously.

De Haan Research Update

In 2006, David De Haan’s smog research group focused on the question “What happens to organic pollutants when fog evaporates?” Will Hastings (senior), Sean Hanley (junior), Ashley Corrigan (sophomore) and Frances Lee (freshman) studied the reactivity of the aldehyde glyoxal with other compounds commonly found in fog and cloud droplets. In response to a reviewer’s questions, at the beginning of the summer we confirmed the surprising result that, no matter what the drying rate or humidity, glyoxal does not evaporate from a cloud droplet. This resulted in a quick acceptance of our paper in the top journal Environmental Science and Technology (Congratulations to student co-authors Kirsten Loeffler, Charlie Koehler and Nichole Paul!). Our team then found that glyoxal will react with amino acids (also found in fog and clouds in significant amounts) under mildly acidic or neutral conditions.

Dwyer Research Update

My research lab continues to be driven by a terrific collaboration with Debbie Tahmassebi’s group in which we co-mentor students in a systematic study of the structural details of DNA oligonucleotides containing non-natural bases. The department’s 500 MHz NMR spectrometer has allowed us to launch this work beyond our wildest dreams of several years ago. During spring 2006, we added a new student to the project, Danielle Pfaff, who was in her second year of study in biochemistry. Danielle continued to work with us during the summer of 2006 (funded by a USD SURE proposal) and completed the assignments of the NMR chemical shifts for the majority of protons in three different decamer DNA duplexes, one of which contains a completely non-hydrogen bonding base pair between a guanine and 2,6-difluorotoluene. Kristy Clarke ’02 (Chemistry) also was back in the laboratory during her summer break from teaching high school in Dana Point, Calif., and worked very closely with Danielle to construct NMR restraint files for all three duplexes and to begin the molecular dynamics and calculation phase of the work. In addition to this collaborative work, the summer of 2006 permitted the opportunity to explore an older project in my lab on the formation of quinoxaline molecules from dicarbonyl and diamine compounds. Chemistry adjunct professor Dr. Kelli Khuong has re-invigorated the computational part of this project and has made tremendous progress towards understanding the mechanistic details that we have sought.

Iovine Research Update

The spring was a season of change in the Iovine lab. Three talented lab members graduated this spring and are moving on to the next phase of their promising careers. Emily Perttu joined my lab in the spring of 2003. Emily was my second research student and someone who has made deep intellectual contributions to my research program. Along with Matt Arnold, Emily synthesized and characterized an entire series of dendrimer-like molecules held together by a boron core. Emily’s body of research put our group on the scientific map and resulted in a 2005 publication to the journal Tetrahedron Letters. During her time at USD, Emily was the recipient of a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, Merck Summer Scholar Award and SURE award. Emily is pursuing a Ph.D. in bioengineering at UC Berkeley.

Also graduating this spring was Ashley Sullivan. Ashley joined the group in the summer of 2005 and continued research throughout the 2005-2006 academic year. Ashley is a talented synthetic chemist with a knack for experimental design. Ashley was my first student to tackle a synthetic methodology project. Although this research is ongoing, Ashley made tremendous progress on a difficult project. Ashley is off to Europe, lab coat packed. Ashley will spend one year in Europe doing research at the University of Zurich under the tutelage of Dr. Jay Siegel (formerly at UCSD). Following her European research experience, Ashley plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Lastly, the group lost Matt Fletcher to graduation. Matt leaves my group with two publications. This is an outstanding achievement, especially considering Matt joined the group in the summer of 2005. A portion of Matt’s research was a collaborative effort with the Kua group and resulted in a 2006 paper to the Journal of Physical Chemistry A. Matt’s second line of research extended the group’s expertise into the arena of polymer chemistry. This work has recently been published as a communication to the journal Macromolecules. Matt will take the LSAT this fall and is simultaneously looking for a B.S. chemistry position in the biotech or pharmaceutical industry.

Graduation hit the group hard, but we bounced back with an energetic and talented group of four students. Joining the lab during summer 2006 were Jason Loera, Cole Klick, Sasha Neuwelt and Erik Raaum. The group made great progress on a diverse assortment of projects. Jason and Sasha have been listed as co-authors on a paper submitted to Pediatric Blood and Cancer that was a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between our group at USD, Oregon Health Sciences University and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Please read more about our research group and our science on my Web site at Good luck to Emily, Matt and Ashley.

Kua Research Update

The Kua research group this summer,
discussing the finer points of a Reactive Force Field.
Jeremy Kua, Keaton Tomlin and Charles Gyselbrecht.

We are continuing to make research progress on a variety of fronts. This summer, we published our second paper on the thermodynamics of boroxine formation in collaboration with the Iovine group. Matt Fletcher ‘06 was a co-author on that paper, contributing both to the NMR work and also to the computational effort. We have recently submitted our first paper on metal-benzene clusters, focusing on the relative stability of multiple-decker sandwich and rice-ball clusters of titanium-benzene. Keaton Tomlin ‘08 is a co-author on this paper. We have also recently completed a preliminary computational study on the kinetics of boroxine formation and are currently working on writing up the paper. Charles Gyselbrecht ‘08 is a co-author on this paper. On the hardware end, we recently got an 8-processor SGI Origin 2000 machine up and running thanks to the amazing single-handed effort of a computer science student, Andrew Piland ‘07, who even found needed parts for free.

While we spent most of the spring and half of the summer running electronic structure calculations, we have begun to embark on using a reactive force field to simulate larger-scale self-assembly. A reactive force field can make and break covalent chemical bonds; regular “classical” force fields cannot. We are being aided by Dr. Adri van Duin, a research scientist at Caltech who developed this force field. (There are only two reactive force fields currently used in molecular simulations, the van Duin reactive force field and modifications of the Brenner potential.) We are applying this method to study the self-assembly of three systems: metal-benzene clusters, covalent organic frameworks containing boron and a SbCl3-dioxane system. We are collaborating with Dr. Arnold Rheingold at UCSD, an X-ray crystallographer who works on the experimental side of the SbCl3-dioxane system. Finally, we are just starting a collaboration with the De Haan group. We are hoping to help tease out some of the key reactions in the complicated atmospheric chemistry involving glyoxal and its oligomers.

Malachowski Research Update

Dr. Mitch Malachowski spent his summer working on a research project at UCSD with Professor Seth Cohen and his graduate students. The project involved the synthesis of a series of dipyrromethene compounds that coordinate to metal ions such as copper and cobalt. As part of the project, Dr. Malachowski helped with the solving of five crystal structures of new complexes that he prepared. He will continue portions of this project with his research students this year. The work was supported by a grant from the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.

Plesniak Research Update

The Plesniak lab has been making great progress on our Hunter-Killer peptide project. We continue to characterize the structure and activity of hunter-killer peptides, which target specific tissues for apoptosis. We’ve recently begun a collaboration with Dr. Stan Opella at UCSD for the characterization of our peptides in the presence of lipid aggregates called bicelles.

We’ve also just published a paper in Chemical Biology and Drug Design. Cristina M. Sandoval, Bernhard H. Geierstanger, Satoshi Fujimura, Calvin Balatbat, Taylor Williams, Julio de Unamuno, Jennifer A. Whiles-Lillig, Lisa M. Ellerby, H. Michael Ellerby, Patricia Jennings and Leigh A. Plesniak (2006), “Structural Evaluation of a Novel Pro-apoptotic Peptide Coupled to CNGRC Tumor Homing Sequence by NMR” Chemical Biology and Drug Design 67, 6 417-24. The paper can be viewed at here. The last figure in this paper was used for the cover of the July issue.

Cristina Sandoval, Calvin Balatbat and Taylor Williams are all USD students who graduated in May 2006. Cristina is attending graduate school in biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Taylor is attending medical School at the University of Kansas. Calvin Balatbat is working at MIT doing stem cell research. Julio de Unamuno is a rising senior biochem major at USD.

We expect to complete two more papers in the near future.

Tahmassebi Research Update

Even for faculty members, the learning process is never over! This past year, I spent my Sabbatical year at The Scripps Research Institute working with Dr. David Millar and his post-docs in the department of molecular biology. You may ask, what does Dr. T know about biology? That’s a reasonable question to ask considering the last biology course that I took was in the 9th grade and it involved dissecting a variety of creatures. I figured that I would use this opportunity to learn some molecular biology techniques and approach lab gloves in a whole new light; now to protect the reagents from me as opposed to the other way around.

The goal of the project that I have been working on is to elucidate the dynamic conformational changes associated with the synthesis mode of DNA polymerase using fluorescence techniques. Much of the mechanism of differentiation and incorporation of the correct nucleotide is understood, but there is still debate regarding some of the rates and structural changes that occur during this process. I have been using a synthetic fluorescent DNA base in order to observe some of these changes, and had the pleasure of utilizing some of my synthetic experience to make this base. The project is going well and yielding some very interesting results. Following my return to USD this fall, I plan to continue the collaboration with Dr. Millar and am looking forward to working with some talented undergraduate students to further the progress on this work.

Chemistry Club Happenings

Allison Casciato, pictured with Dr. De Haan,
received the Outstanding Performance in
General Chemistry Award for 2005-2006.
The award is sponsored by CRC Press.]

The Chemistry Club had an extremely active year. In fall 2005, we contributed to ChemExpo, a daylong event in Balboa Park that aims to excite children of all ages about chemistry. There was a lot of chemistry information displayed, as well as hands-on activities and live demonstrations. USD ChemClub students performed several demonstrations on-stage at the event. In spring 2006, 13 members of ChemClub participated in ‘Chem for Kids,’ a non-profit volunteer organization that travels to middle schools to educate students about chemistry through hands-on demonstrations and activities. We visited High Tech Middle School and presented several acid/base demos as well as a nylon polymerization reaction. The San Diego Union-Tribune is writing an article about ‘Chem for Kids’ and its impact on the community, due to be published later this year. In the fall 2006 semester, we are hoping to visit six new schools. The ChemClub ended the 2005-2006 year with another stellar barbecue. The department presented several awards and the senior class presented their gift of stereo boom boxes for all teaching laboratories. It was a fitting end to a great year. Danielle Pfaff ’08 (Biochem) will be President of the ChemClub in 2006-2007. Please contact her for information about activities in the coming year at

Christo Dru
ChemClub President, 2005-2006

New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Mills

Dr. Stephen Mills and his wife, Alice.

Dr. Stephen Mills joined the faculty at USD in August 2006. He received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Judy Klinman involved determining the role of copper in a copper amine oxidase from Hansenula polymorpha. Following a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Marletta (also at UC Berkeley), Dr. Mills taught in the Joint Science Department at the Claremont Colleges during the 2005-2006 academic year. While he actually began his undergraduate career as a chemical engineering major, Dr. Mills became hooked on chemistry after witnessing some of the explosive demos in his general chemistry class. Not only has he maintained his passion for chemistry, but he enjoys sharing that passion with students – and yes, he still likes to blow things up.

Although new facilities and the San Diego climate are a nice bonus, Dr. Mills said it was the department’s energy and focus that attracted him to the university. Mills shares the department’s vision of excellence in teaching and research and sees the USD student population as both capable and energetic. Dr. Mills teaches both in the Biochemistry lecture and laboratory sequence and Organic Chemistry lecture and laboratory. Students will quickly learn that his lectures are interactive and student-focused.

Dr. Mills research program focuses on metal-containing proteins. Using metal substitution, kinetic assays and spectroscopic methods, the role the metal plays in protein structure and function can be examined. While Dr. Mills is still setting up his lab, he hopes to begin working with student researchers later this fall. Dr. Mills sees undergraduate research as a valuable teaching tool and a way for students to join in on exciting discussions about chemistry.

After a summer spent moving and unpacking, Dr. Mills and his wife Alice, a physician at UCSD, have been enjoying their Sunday afternoons exploring the beaches, museums and parks of San Diego.

Celebrating A Career: Jack Opdycke

Dr. Jack Opdycke joined the USD faculty in 1966. (left)
Jack on a recent trip to Vancouver.(right)

Dr. Jack Opdycke has been teaching chemistry at USD for 40 years. As he enters his final year of teaching prior to retirement, we asked him to share with us a little bit about his life and his experiences at USD.

While most of us know Jack as a fixture in the USD chemistry department, few of us know that when he attended La Jolla High School, he opted not to take chemistry. It wasn’t until he entered San Diego State University as an engineering major in the fall of 1953 that he took his first chemistry course. As the only student in the general chemistry class not to have taken chemistry as a high school student, he knew he had to work especially hard to master the material. In the process, he discovered that he really enjoyed chemistry and had a talent for it, and so he changed his major to chemistry. Jack had always enjoyed learning about how things work, and chemistry fulfilled his need to understand.

In 1954, Jack transferred to UC Riverside, which at the time had just recently opened. The school had a notably good faculty and offered undergraduate research. The fact that a girl named Judy – whom he met through his cousin a short time before – lived in the area made the transfer that much more appealing. (By the way, Jack and Judy will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in just a couple of years.)

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Jack returned to San Diego to do research at Convair. Jack had a lifelong desire to become a teacher, so while working at Convair he took a couple of education classes at SDSU. He had originally thought of becoming a high school teacher, but decided instead to teach at the university level, and this decision led him back to UC Riverside to obtain a Ph.D.

Jack’s first official college level teaching position, at Fort Collins College in Durango, Colo., started before he officially finished his Ph.D. With a family of three small children, Jack finished his Ph.D. dissertation in a trailer “office” next to the garage of their home. After teaching at Fort Collins for two years, Jack received a call from the San Diego University College for Men (the men’s college portion of what is now USD) to gauge his interest in a position that had become available.

When Jack arrived back in San Diego in the fall of 1966, USD existed as two separate colleges (one for men and one for women) with their own names. The annual student tuition was $15 per unit and the chemistry department was located on the first floor of Serra Hall. The entire campus was made up of four main buildings – Serra Hall, Duchesne Hall (now Founders Hall), Thomas More Hall (now Warren Hall) and Camino Hall, and every professor was given a free parking space with their name painted on it!

In 1967, the men’s and women’s colleges allowed cross-registration for the first time ever, and in the summer of that year Jack was hired to teach a physical chemistry class at the College for Women. At that time there was little contact between the two colleges, even though they were only separated by a short trek past the Immaculata Church. Jack was one of the first to teach “across colleges,” and that experience helped to foster communication between the two schools.

In his early years at USD, the number of faculty in the college was so small that Jack could go to the Serra faculty lounge and talk with virtually every professor on the men’s college campus. It was quite common for all of these faculty members to meet informally and make decisions about the direction of the school. Jack was among a group of about six professors who started a grassroots effort to link the men’s and women’s colleges. This group organized a week-long seminar in which the faculty from the two colleges met to discuss important issues common to both. The outcomes of these brainstorming sessions led to the development of the merger of the two colleges, which took place in 1971.

Jack has indeed witnessed significant changes to USD during his tenure here, but he has kept up with the times. Jack has been on the leading edge of implementing technology in the classroom. He and Sister Pat Shaffer received funding for and implemented Class Talk, a computer-based classroom student response system, and he uses many technologies in his current courses, including smart boards, WebCT and powerpoint presentations. Jack has also played a significant role in developing our current General Chemistry Laboratory curriculum – he recently designed the comprehensive laboratory practical that we use at the end of the semester for Chemistry 151L. Jack’s dedication to teaching has not wavered.

Regarding extra-curricular activities, Jack has kept in shape physically throughout the years by playing tennis with his colleagues Jerry Estberg, Tom Herrinton, Monsignor Eagen, Curt Spanis, Henry Kolar, Jacques Wendel and, more recently, Peter Iovine. He enjoys woodworking, car repair and gardening. Always interested in how things work, Jack purchased his first car at the age of 12 for $100, which he had earned from his paper route. He worked on the 1929 Buick sedan and sold it at a profit.

Jack has seen the university’s student population grow and change during the past 40 years. While student formality has declined, he insists that student quality has not. Of all the things he will miss concerning USD, he states that he will miss the students the most. He expressed some concern that students and professors are not as close as they once were, but concedes that it is hard to stop a bustling university from growing.

When asked what he looks forward to most in the coming years he was quick to respond that spending more time with his family will be his first priority. Jack and his wife Judy have six children and six grandchildren. Five of their children attended USD, and four currently live in San Diego. In recent years, Jack and Judy have traveled to Scotland, Corfu and the Dominican Republic to visit their children. No matter where his future travels take him, the department wishes for him only the very best. To join the department in wishing Dr. Opdcke a happy and healthy retirement, please write to him directly at: USD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492.

USD Hires Director of the Pre-Health and National Awards Advising Office

Carol Moffett
Director of Pre-Health
and National Awards
Advising at USD.

Carol Moffett recently joined the USD campus as the Director of Pre-Health and National Awards Advising. Her goal will be to offer personal guidance to Pre-Health USD students and alumni during their educational journey. Carol will assist students and alumni with identifying specific health professional school prerequisite requirements, determining appropriate courses, locating volunteer and community service opportunities and helping students to understand the professional school application process. In addition to these responsibilities and goals, Carol will be assisting the National Scholars Awards faculty by working to identify qualified applicants and assisting students with the scholarship application process. To accomplish the aforementioned goals, the Health Professions Advising Office will offer various workshops throughout the academic year. These workshops include the introductory workshop, Preparing for the Health Professions (offered throughout each academic year, September-April), an Interviewing Skills workshop, Professional School Application workshops, Health Career Pathway Options workshops, Personal Statement workshops and How to Write a Winning Proposal workshop (for scholarships). Alumni working in the health professions who are interested in mentoring pre-health students should contact Carol. Her office is located in the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology, Room 251, and her phone number is (619) 260-2944. If you prefer, contact her vial e-mail at Advising is by appointment.

Goodbye to a Friend

By Donald B. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Professor Emeritus
John P. McDermott
taught at USD
from 1960 to 1984.

John P. McDermott, Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at USD, passed away on May 26, 2006 at the age of 88. Professor McDermott joined the faculty of what was then the USD College for Men in 1960 after a very successful career as a research chemist with Standard Oil of New Jersey. Shortly after his arrival at USD, John was appointed Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics, a position he held until 1967, when reorganization of the College for Men led to the elimination of the divisional structure. During the time that he chaired the division, John played a pivotal role in shaping the math and science areas at the fledgling university. That these departments have blossomed into among the strongest at the university is due in no small measure to his pioneering efforts.

John McDermott was a humble man of great integrity and dedication anchored by a deep spiritual commitment, and buoyed by a personal warmth and a delightful sense of humor that endeared him to both colleagues and students. He was a very successful administrator and an outstanding teacher and mentor. After retiring from the university in 1984, John and his wife, Stephanie, traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and the world. John and Stephanie were happily married for 62 years.

Our Newest Alumni: Chemistry and Biochemistry Class of 2006

Calvin Balatbat Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Boston, Mass.
Ashley Brehm Pharmacy Assistant, Las Vegas, Nev.
Shawn Carr Pharmatek, San Diego
Andrew Deddeh Rankin Industries
Kyle Kent Oregon Health Sciences (Medicine)
Joanna Kinsey Pharmatek, San Diego
Tim Murphy Pharmatek, San Diego
Olamide Oladipo University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Osteopathy)
Emily Perttu Graduate School (Bioengineering, UC Berkeley)
Cristina Sandoval Graduate School (Biochemistry, University of Colorado at Boulder)
Ashley Sullivan Research Associate (University of Zurich)
Robert Thompson EnviroMatrix, San Diego
Sarah Walsh Ambit Biosciences, San Diego
Taylor Williams University of Kansas (Medicine)

We would like to hear from the following alumni:

Matt Fletcher
Michael George
Vincent Gonzalez
Bonnie Kwan
Lauren Lantz
Kirsten Loeffler
Ashlee Nunes
Martha Ochoa

Submit your Alumni Profile Update by logging on to our News and Alumni Web site.

Alumni Highlight: Joe Cordaro ’99 Synthesizes First “True” Stable Cyaphide Complex

Alumnus Joe Cordaro’s chemistry is making a splash. Joe has just returned to the United States after two years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). In the laboratory of Hansjörg Grützmacher, Joe and his co-workers synthesized a ruthenium cyaphide complex from a silyl-substituted phosphaalkyne. This represents the first known “true” metal-cyaphide complex. The group’s work was featured on the cover of the journal Angewandte Chemie (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 6159-6162) and received an “Editor’s Choice” citation in Science (Science 9/8/2006, 313 (5792), 1364). Joe is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Craig Hawker at UC Santa Barbara. Well done, Joe!

Alumni News

Rosa Nagaishi (Yamada)‘63
Retired Chemistry Teacher
I retired in 2004 after receiving National Board Certification (99) and teaching chemistry in the Los Angeles Unified District for 40 years. My husband Hiro, who retired in 1999 from aerospace, and I have three children. Kevin has been teaching Biology for 11 years and is getting married in May. Monica is also a high school science teacher and is married to an elementary school teacher. Debbie is still in graduate school in the field of science. I went back to work part-time and teach the sewer science program for the L.A. County Sanitation Department. We spend time cleaning and testing water in a high school science classroom. I am also an academic advisor to two science teacher networks and co-director of the program for Target Science. I am really enjoying the free time and flexibility I have to work during my retirement. I often think of Pat Schaffer, and I am glad they have the seminars in her name. Thanks for keeping me informed. It is really exciting to see the progress.

Sheila Kennedy ‘76
Safety Coordinator at UCSD
I have been married to Carl Luster ‘76 since the summer that we graduated. We now have two 6-foot, red-haired sons. Since 1997, I’ve been part of the lab support staff for the chemistry and biochemistry department at UCSD. Now, I coordinate health and safety programs, teach lab safety and assist the lab instructors and TAs.

Tim McDowell ‘85
Regional Manager and Systems Administrator
I am currently a contractor with DoD Peterson AFB, Colorado, as a network administrator and Homeland Security Analyst. It’s a far cry from chemistry, but I still use it daily. I married Sveta and have a 3-year-old son, Alexander. I have earned a couple of graduate degrees along the way and I am still learning.

Matthew Bratcher ‘91
Research Chemist
I am working at the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Life is good with my wife Vickie and two kids, Jason (5) and Caelie (3).

Gregory Still ‘91
I have been practicing podiatric medicine and surgery in Colorado for seven years. I practice with a large multi-specialty group in Denver and am also the current president of the Colorado Podiatric Medical Association. I am single and have no kids. Denver is a great place to live.

Jacqueline Duncan (Quiroga) ‘92
Quality Manager
I am currently the Quality Manager for JVC in Atlanta. After spending the initial years after graduation working as a chemist for the Gillette Company, I started leaning towards a career in Quality Management. I’ve been living in the metro Atlanta area for six years and I am married with two children, ages 9 and 7.

Timothy Miller ‘92
Hi all! It’s been awhile since I updated, so here’s a quick rundown. I recently bought my own dental office after associating for nine years. It’s all going well. My wife Elizabeth Johnstone-Miller, also a USD graduate, is in her final year of medical school at UCSF. Elizabeth will pursue psychiatry while I am getting more involved in the area of implant dentistry. We have no children, but we do have two dogs. I am willing to talk to students interested in careers in dentistry. It sounds like the chemistry department is doing well. I’ll have to come take a tour.

Trevor Isaacs ‘94
B.A., M.A., C.S.C.S.
Trevor has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a graduate degree in biomechanics and athletic training. In addition to his extensive education, he possesses certifications in Personal Training, Advanced Post-Therapeutic Exercise and Pilates Mat. Trevor strives to maintain a keen understanding of the latest breakthroughs in strength and conditioning and therapeutic exercise. With this in mind, he is preparing to sit for his board certification in Kinesiotherapy (LKT) as well as his license as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). In 1998, Trevor started Excel, a fitness center located in La Jolla.

Chris Stafford ‘94
Medical Doctor
After completing a fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine in 2004, I have been stationed at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Currently, I am deployed to Iraq for six months with the United States Marine Corps in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am married to Cathleen ’94 (MFCC) and have two sons, Jack (7) and Bennett (3).

Melissa Rosness ‘98
Associate Director of Manufacturing Operations
I am currently working at Althea Technologies, Inc. in San Diego and I am also back at USD as a graduate student working on an M.B.A.

Moe Abouzari ‘99
Medical School Student
After graduation in 1999, I started using my chemistry background at a local food/pharma company by the name of CP Kelco. After two years of working for the company, I was promoted to scientist level and continued my work until August 2004, when I moved to northern California for medical school. Currently, I am just finishing my second year and getting ready for the more exciting aspect of the medical field: seeing patients. During my time out of school, I married my long-time girlfriend and just last year we were blessed with a little girl named Melody.

Ryan White ‘01
Graduate Student
I am (hopefully) finishing up my last year of graduate school at UNC-CH.

Patricia Benton ‘02
Dental School Student
After graduating with a biochemistry degree in 2002, I worked for two years in a pediatric dental office in Washington. I am now living in Boston, attending my second year at Tufts School of Dental Medicine and I plan to graduate in 2008.

Yin Sian Lai ‘02
Graduate Student
After obtaining my M.B.A. from USD, I went back to Singapore. I am waiting for acceptance into a dual M.Sc. program in Supply Chain Management and Logistics, jointly offered by the National University of Singapore and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jamie Mills ‘02
Graduate Student
I am a fourth year graduate student in Dr. Patricia Jenning’s lab at UCSD and am pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Angelina Thayer ‘02
Senior Research Associate and M.A. Graduate Student
I am currently working as a Senior Research Associate in Medicinal Chemistry at Kalypsys. I am also pursuing an M.A. at SDSU part-time! As you can imagine, life is crazy!

Nicholas Marinkovich ‘05
Research Associate I
Since July 2005, I have been employed at the San Diego subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Takeda. USD provided me with a great foundation to build upon. I work in the analytical chemistry department where I help perform drug metabolism/pharmacokinetic analysis. At Takeda, I use LC-MS for all of my data generation. Currently, I am studying for the MCAT and plan to apply to medical school one last time in July.

Tad Rowe ‘05
Currently employed at Althea Technologies.