Chemistry Newsletter 2017

Chair’s Column

Greetings from USD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry! 

As the new Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, I am pleased to take my turn to share news of our department, current student achievement, and alumni stories. I am reminded on a daily basis how special this department is and know that you feel the same way.  I would like to give a deeply felt thanks to Tammy Dwyer for her 13 years of service as chair. She has done an impressive job.

As we look forward, it is, of course, essential to remember how far we have come.  At the annual retreat, Tammy and Mitch Malachowski shared with us the rich history of our department over the years.  For those of you who were students ten or more years ago, close your eyes as Mitch told us, and think back to what the labs and classrooms used to look like in Camino Hall; Quite a bit different than today.  Not only different in our fantastic new building, or in the equipment our students train and conduct research, but also in the culture of the department.  While we have always focused on research and teaching, the scale of each has impressively risen over the years.At the retreat, Tammy spoke of this journey as we have worked to become one of the leading research and teaching undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry departments in the nation.  We now require students to conduct 100 hours of research. Many students work in a research lab for two or more years! She also described the creation of new scientific discovery from our faculty and students, which has helped us to achieve our goal while maintaining a strong teaching culture.   

 There are many exciting things to share with you including the continued growth of our department.  We welcome Dr. Eleanor Gillette who comes to USD from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg MD.  After her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, she earned her doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Maryland. Dr. Gillette is an electrochemist focused on utilizing structurally well-controlled metal or metal oxide nanomaterials as a test-bed for understanding energy storage and conversion reactions. She plans to continue this work with a focus on spectroelectrochemistry to understand the dynamic interactions between organic molecules and metallic surfaces during electrochemical reactions.  She is a welcomed addition to the department. Megan Kyle, our budgeting specialist, has moved to work with USD Finance and we welcome Brittany Saylers to the department.  Brittany has already been a tremendous help with faculty and staff, and I appreciate her hard work for all of us. 

Our students and faculty have done an outstanding job this year, and I am proud to share with you a few accomplishments:

We've had 34 student presentations, 36 faculty presentations, and seminars, 15 new and current grants within the department. New grants' include a renewal of the prestigious Beckman Scholars Program AND a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award by Dr. Benz, two NSF IUSE grants, one by Drs. E. Bell, JK Bell and Provost, and another for Dr. Malachowski to supporting research in the classroom across the US. Dr. Clark received an NIH research grant, and Dr. Iovine received a renewal of an NSF REU grant. Dr. De Haan was able to earn funding to get access to the Cloud Chamber in Paris where he brought several students to study. In addition to the many professional societies and national organizations, that our faculty is involved with. A simple example is a service Dr. Kua provides as an editorial board member on the origin-of-life journal, "Life." Over the summer there were 56 students involved in research with faculty, and slightly more students worked on faculty-mentored research during the school year. Dr. Schellinger and Dr. Jessica Bell each were recognized for their teaching and service as they won an ACS Outstanding Chemical Educator Award from the San Diego Section. Dr. Bolender earned the USD International Impact Award while Dr. Daley mentored the USD Chemistry & Biochemistry club for an ACS award for the club's activities. We are all proud and excited for Dr. Dwyer recent award as an esteemed American Chemical Society 2017 Fellow. Read about our faculty and staff in the rest of the SPIN; you will be as impressed as I am.

Please send us your updates and accomplishments.  We appreciate hearing from you– remember to find us on  Facebook (University of San Diego Chemistry and Biochemistry) and  LinkedIn (send a request to join the group “University of San Diego Chemistry and Biochemistry”)

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Joseph Provost


Instrument Update Biochemistry Majors Accreditation  Alumni Profiles
Bridges Program Update NSF REU Program ACS Fellow Awardee
Beckman Scholars Update New Faculty and Staff Introductions Faculty Research Group Updates

 Welcome Post-Docs Andrey Samoshin, Devoun Stewart and Tiffany Stewart


Andrey Samoshin

Dr. Andrey Samoshin

Andrey was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the United States at the impressionable age of 9 and grew up in Stockton, CA. He was an undergraduate at the University of the Pacific where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry and also a Master's degree. He then went on to earn a Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara with Prof. Javier Read de Alaniz. 

 Andrey is a post-doctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Tim Clark at USD and his research revolves around the development of novel methods for making carbon-boron bonds. The goal is to improve efficiency, selectivity, as well as an understanding of the mechanisms of these reactions. In addition to the boron research, he is currently working on developing new carbo-silation chemistry in collaboration with Dr. Greg O'Neil at Western Washington University.  

According to Andrey, there are many things he enjoys about teaching. He enjoys talking to students - especially those who are genuinely interested in learning and more importantly understanding the material. He enjoys working with students who come to office hours with specific questions that they have tried to figure out but need just a bit of help to understand. I admire the drive and initiative that I see in these students.

 One of the most important things Andrey has learned in the course of teaching classes at USD is to be flexible and adapt the material and pace to the class. If it seems the students are not grasping a certain concept or need a bit more help in their understanding, he knows he should take the time to work through more examples or try to make more connections to previous material. 

 Among his future plans, Andrey intends to seek out a teaching position at a PUI. 


Devoun Stewart

Dr. Devoun Stewart

Devoun was born on the beautiful, sunny island of Jamaica.  He completed a double major (B.S. in Chemistry and B.S. in Biochemistry) at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. Following graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg Sweden. While there, he joined an atmospheric chemistry research group where he learned a lot about aerosol chemistry, but also that snow looks a lot better on TV (winters in Sweden are BRUTAL!). He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry (focused on atmospheric chemistry) at Howard University. 

 Devoun is a post-doctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. David De Haan at USD investigating light absorbing aerosols such as brown carbon and its effect climate (both directly and indirectly). One of the objectives is to understand the optical properties of brown carbon aerosols formed from the aqueous-phase processing of carbonyl species, with or without sunlight and/or oxidants. Since the climate effects of aerosols are closely tied to interactions with water, one aspect of his research is to develop an instrument capable of simultaneous aerosol water uptake and size-resolved bounce measurements. This instrument will enable an understanding of the effects of water uptake and phase change on the optical properties of brown carbon aerosols. 

 As a future tenure-track professor at a liberal arts college, Devoun sought a post-doctoral experience at an institution that valued excellent teaching and scholarship. He was drawn to USD because excellent teaching and research is at the forefront of USD's mission. As a recipient of a Diversity Post-Doctoral Fellowship at USD, he has a unique opportunity to further develop as a scholar and an outstanding teacher. So far, he has had the pleasure of working closely with students in the classroom and helped mentor four undergraduate research students in Dr. De Haan's lab.  According to Devoun, the weather in San Diego makes this sweet deal even sweeter.

 After the post-doc, Devoun hopes to secure a tenure-track position at a liberal arts college like USD that has a fantastic support system and values excellence in teaching and research.

Tiffany Stewart

Dr. Tiffany Stewart

Tiffany was born and raised in Macon, Georgia (about 45 minutes south of Atlanta). She earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Howard University. She earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Howard University and is the newest of our post-doctoral scholars having successfully defended her dissertation just a couple of months ago!

 Tiffany is a post-doctoral scholar working jointly with Dr. Tim Clark and Dr. David De Haan. Her research in the Clark group will focus on phosphine-directed C-H borylation reactions. In the De Haan group, she will be responsible for the structural characterization of brown carbon aerosol species.

 In the short time, she has been at USD, Tiffany finds the department and the campus as a whole a warm and inviting community. She states that everyone she has met so far has been genuinely concerned about how she is adjusting and offering any assistance needed and she can see that the department has created a very supportive environment. Tiffany finds it very refreshing to work with a group of people that are devoted to a colleagues' success and to their students' success. She looks forward to growing as a scientist here. 

 Following her post-doc, Tiffany aspires to aim her research program towards serving people in low- to middle-income countries. She wants to use the skills that she has developed during her graduate studies and what she learns as a post-doc to address their citizen's needs with access to essential medications. 

 Instrument Update


The year 2016 has been good for scientific instruments acquisitions. The most significant acquisitions made by the USD Chemistry & Biochemistry Department this year are: a new refrigerated floor incubator shaker by VWR, a new freeze dryer by Labconco, and a new Tabletop centrifuge by Beckman.


The new tabletop centrifuge from Beckman, poetically named Allegra, is a convenient, robust and reliable centrifuge allowing us to speed up our processes for teaching labs and research. It has been put to work immediately by our Teaching Labs and is being used by the Provost, JBell and TBell labs. We've also open its access to research groups from other departments (Physics and Biology). This is a state-of-the-art instrument widely used by the industry and USD is proud to offer a valuable hands-on-experience with the Allegra centrifuge to his students.


Our department has also acquired a modern freeze dryer collector by Labconco, in order to replace an older model that had a failing compressor. Smaller, safer, and quieter than the previous model, this freeze dryer is designed to handle the lyophilization needs of research laboratories and can be found in most pharmaceutical research and manufacturing laboratories as well. At -84C, its collector has the ability to freeze dry samples with low eutectic temperatures. Biochemistry and BioPhysics research students have been using it as soon as it was installed in our department. The Biology department also contributed to this purchase, since several research groups in Biology use the freeze-drying process routinely.



Lastly, the robust, compact, and easy to use new MaxQ refrigerated incubated floor shaker replaces an obsolete similar system. Our new shaker is ideal for solubility studies, extraction procedures, cell cultures, general mixing procedures, hybridization studies, bacterial suspensions, plasmid purifications, protein expressions, staining, de-staining and washing procedures. This shaker came with a smart, yet simple feature: large suction feet to prevent the unit from walking (literally) at high shaking speed! Our Biochemistry Research students in the Provost, TBell, and JBell groups and our Biochemistry Teaching labs students have wasted no time in putting this shaker to use!

 Our department continues its efforts to ensure that our students have access to modern scientific instrumentation in a safe environment, thus preparing them well for their future careers.


BRIDGES Program Update

Photo: (From top to bottom) Amanda Ennis with the Sletten research group, Kyra Thrush with the Amaro research group and Sirena Tran with the Horner research group.This year, three students spent their summer research at larger, PhD-degree granting institutions through the “Bridges to Doctoral Institutions Program.” In partnership with The Luce Foundation, the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at USD supports the Bridges program that helps female USD chemistry and biochemistry majors in their transition from undergraduate to Ph.D. settings.

 Amanda Ennis ’18, chemistry major, did research in Professor Ellen Sletten’s laboratory at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). With Dan Estabrook as her mentor, Amanda investigated custom poly(oxazoline) surfactants for the stabilization and functionalization of perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions.

 Kyra Thrush ’18, biochemistry major, did research in Professor Rommie Amaro’s laboratory at University of Califonia San Diego (UCSD). Along with her mentors, Dr. Ozlem Demir and Pek Leong, she worked on the computational structural analysis of a protein kinase to determine the interactions of existing drugs with the aim of developing future drug binding improvements.

 Sirena Tran ’18,  biochemistry major, did research in Professor Stacy Horner’s laboratory at Duke University. She spent her time in the laboratory with her postdoc mentor, Dr. Dia Beachboard,  identifying a post-translational modification of RAB1B to investigate the mechanism of viral infection.

We look forward to their success in graduate school, and we are very grateful for the support and mentorship of their mentors and principal investigators. 


Beckman Scholars Update

USD secured a prestigious Beckman Scholars Program (BSP) award this year. This program, led by Lauren Benz and including 10 additional USD STEM faculty, including our very own Drs. Iovine, Clark, J. Bell, A. Bell, and Schellinger, Provost and De Haan, began on the heels of the 2014 BSP Award spearheaded by a former department chair, Debbie Tahmassebi. We congratulate our first cohort which includes Halie Sonnenschein (‘18), Shea Ricketts (‘18), and Mary Tenuta (‘18). Halie is mentored by Dr. Jessica Bell in Chemistry & Biochemistry and is studying the relationship between the innate immune system and cytoskeleton as part of the host's response to pathogen challenge. Shea is studying the relationship between force and deformation in the cytoskeleton with Dr. Rae Anderson in Physics. Mary will study the unique ecological and evolutionary relationships between insects and plants under the direction of Dr. Geoff Morse in Biology. Congratulations to all of you! 


Biochemistry Major is Accredited by Two National Societies

 The USD Biochemistry major is now just one of a handful of programs across the US that are recognized by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). The program was reviewed after a long and thorough application and has been Accredited by this scientific society. One of only 60 institutions with this recognition, our students are now able to gain access to a range of unique and interesting resources as well as will have the ability to take a national standardized exam to have the ASBMB certify and even given national honors status to their degree.

 The national review board commented on our program that:

  • Excellent faculty, outstanding in both teaching and research
  • A balanced and integrated curriculum
  • An emphasis on research throughout the curriculum and a required research experience for all students
  • A specific course focused on the process of research
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity within the department and university
  • A well-developed program for assessment of student learning

 This accreditation now means that our students have a path to have their degree certified by both the ASBMB and the American Chemical Society. Way to go Torero Scientists!


NSF REU Program at USD

This was the last year for the NSF REU Grant (Climate Change Across The Various Scales of System Organization) project. Several of the Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty took on mentoring students for this year’s project. Drs. Schellinger, Provost, and Clark all guided students on their research. Through the collaborative grant, nine students from around the country were able to get a meaningful research training. Veterans, first-generation students, transfer students and under-represented students were able to take advantage of this ten-week opportunity. Another proposal written by Dr's Drew Talley (Environmental and Ocean Sciences) and Provost has been submitted to the NSF. This time we hope to bring a focus on how to communicate science to a broad general audience as a theme.


New Faculty and Staff Introductions

Dr. Anthony Bell

Anthony Bell

Dr. Anthony (Tony) Bell joined the faculty at USD in Fall 2016. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Millsaps University and a Ph.D. from the New York University. Following post-doctoral appointments at Columbia Medical School and Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Bell joined the faculty at Southern Mississippi University as an Assistant Professor.

Areas of Interest 

Dr. Bell teaches Biochemistry lecture and laboratory and General Chemistry laboratory. The focus of Dr. Bell's research laboratory is to develop nucleic acid ligands against the DNA-binding cytokine, HMGB1 (High Mobility Group B1). HMGB1 was originally classified as a highly abundant (10 6 copies/cell) architectural nuclear protein. In this capacity, HMGB1 binds cruciform DNA with high affinity to remodel chromatin. It is now clear that HMGB1 can also function in the extracellular matrix (ECM). In disease states such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, necrotic cells passively release or “leak” HMGB1 into the ECM. In this capacity, HMGB1 functions as a pro-inflammatory cytokine that drives chronic inflammation. Dr. Bell hypothesizes that DNA ligands can be delivered to the ECM to sequester HMGB1 to effectively shut off harmful pro-inflammatory signaling. The Bell lab is currently developing nucleic acid ligands composed of DNA and peptide nucleic acids (PNA). PNA are used to enhance the  in vivo stability of the resultant ligands. 

Dr. Bell is joined in San Diego by his wife, Judy Beth, and daughters Elizabeth and Catherine. 


Dr. Eleanor Gillette


Dr. Eleanor Gillette joined the faculty at USD in Fall 2017.  She received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland College Park.  She was most recently a post-doctoral scholar at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.


Areas of Interest

Dr. Gillette teaches General Chemistry lecture and laboratory and General Chemistry laboratory.  Her research uses a variety of analytical techniques to understand the chemical reactions which enable electrochemical energy storage and conversion technologies like batteries and fuel cells. She is especially interested in using surface enhanced infrared spectroscopy to investigate the influence of changes in ionic composition, solvent composition or electrolyte additives on the progression of common electrochemical reactions at well-defined electrode/electrolyte interfaces.  These observations will make it possible to investigate the rational design of advanced materials and novel nanostructures which can be used to improve reaction kinetics and minimize side reactions and degradation.

Dr. Gillette is joined in San Diego by her husband, Giovanni


 Ginelle Johnson

Ginelle Johnson Ginelle joined the department in August 2016 as the Executive Assistant and helps to facilitate the day-to-day running of the department. She graduated in 2011 from Devry University with and B.Sc in Technical Management and hold an MBA from National Unversity.  Her previous experience includes  8 years active duty service in the United States Army holding positions such a Human Resources Manager, Quality Control Specialist and Recruiter.  She also has over 15 years of Administrative experience 5 of those years in education.

In her free time, Ginelle enjoys hiking, spending time at the beach, and traveling.


Brittany Salyers

Brittany Salyers

Brittany joined the department in July 2017 as the Purchasing and Budget Coordinator. She executes all purchase requests for the department and oversees the department budget. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with a minor in Art History, from the University of California, Irvine and she comes to USD from the San Diego Museum of Art where she managed the Public Programs Department for many years.

In her free time, Brittany enjoys baking, traveling, and is an avid seamstress.


Alumni Profiles

Jeremiah Fillo (2004)

  Jeremiah Fillo

Please tell us what you have been up to (personally and professionally) since you graduated from USD?

After working for two biotech companies (Genomics Institute for the Novartis Research Foundation and BioSite,  Inc.), I attended medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and completed a residency in Family Medicine in Modesto, California.  I have also married Maryal Concepcion, another family physician, and we are doing a JobShare at the clinic in Arnold, California.  If I work the morning clinic, she works the afternoon clinic and thus leaves me time to work on our newly purchased house and expanding family.


What motivated you to pursue medical school?  What advice do you have for current students considering a career in medicine?

While medical school was being considered since high school (when I envisioned myself in the lifestyle of my local family doctor), I received a stark reminder of why I desired to attend medical school when I was working my second job out of college at BioSite, Inc.  I was grateful for the position and regular income, but the long hours void of any interaction with other lab technicians made it abundantly clear to me that while it was a good position for the moment, it was not where I wanted to remain long-term.


What is your current career position and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am a Family Practice Physician at a clinic in Arnold, California.  The clinic is associated with the Adventist Health facility in Sonora, but my responsibilities keep me at the clinic, a 10-minute walk from my house.  What I enjoy the most about my current position is the interaction I have with my patients (many of whom I run into when out in the community), and the variety of the work; I can be attending to an elderly couple at 9 am, a newborn at 9:30, followed by a mother-to-be at 10.


What aspects of your education and experiences at USD have been most important to your professional successes?

My perseverance in finding an answer and contacting other professionals for specialty assistance when needed has served me well in my chosen profession.  My ability to put my patients at ease regardless of their ailment or current living situation has also been vital to my success.  Both of these abilities were forged and honed during my years at USD through my studies in the chemistry department and the ever-present staff willing to offer assistance when asked for and I will remain forever grateful for my time spent there.


What are some of your best memories from your time at USD?

Discussing our differing college experiences with my wife, some of my best memories from my time at USD would include going to the soccer games and cheering until we were red in the face and going to classes with only 10-20 other students, as opposed to the 200-300 students that is the common class size at other universities.

Maureen Zetimeisi (1995)

Maureen Zetlmeis

Please tell us what you have been up to personally and professionally since you graduated from USD?

That is a lot of time to cover! After graduation, I briefly went back home to St Louis where I was working for a Graduate Student at Washington University and after a few months, I moved back to San Diego to pursue career options in Biotech.

My first job in San Diego was at a small startup company called Biosite Diagnostics (now Alere). I was working in the product development/improvement department at their point of care test for drugs of abuse.   After a few years, I moved to another company called La Jolla Pharmaceutical working in their drug manufacturing facility.   Then I moved to Sequenom where I was working on assays or tests for detecting SNPs that were indicators for genetic predispositions and/or diseases. After about a year in the lab, they opened up a position as a Field Applications Scientist for the Pacific Rim (New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong) and we would travel to customers who had purchased our MALDI TOF mass spectrometry and spend a few weeks in their facility training laboratory staff on using this technology.   Most recently, I have spent the last 13 years at a company called Binding Site Inc. where we manufacture and sell diagnostic tests for various diseases, focusing on plasma cell disorders and immune status testing. Since I have been here, I have worked in a few departments under a variety of positions, starting in Technical Services as a Field Applications Specialist and then moving over to Marketing as a Product Manager and now in my current position as a Marketing Manager.


What is your current career position and what do you enjoy most about it?

 I am a Marketing Manager at a Biotech company here in San Diego called Binding Site Inc. where I manage 3 Product Managers. I never thought I would find myself in Marketing and I do enjoy the melding of Science and Marketing. The people I work with are really fun and enjoyable and it is rewarding for me to guide a team and watch them overcome challenges and be successful.


  What career advice do you have for current students studying chemistry/biology?

 If possible, work with a professor on his/her research either over a summer or after hours. It will give you experience that you cannot find in the classroom and you will give you some idea of what it is like to work on projects in a corporate setting. If you want to stay true to Science then consider pursuing your Ph.D. Regardless of whether you are looking at jumping into the workplace after undergrad, or if you are heading to graduate school to get your Ph.D. or Med School, always be open-minded and flexible and don’t be afraid to try different types of jobs.


 What aspects of your education and experiences at USD have been most important to your professional success?

 Stochiometry was one of those things that I thought I would never use again and it popped up in my first interview where the manager wanted to be sure she had someone who knew how to convert units. She had interviewed a few people who didn’t know how – maybe that is why I got the job at Biosite!   Also, learning how to tackle a complex problem one piece at a time has been extremely important in nearly every job I have had in my career.  


  What are some of your best memories from your time at USD?

There are so many great memories from my years at USD! I remember taking my first -and quite challenging -Organic Chemistry test and being greeted by the class the year before who just wanted to see our stunned faces when we left the room and we didn’t disappoint!

 I remember the beautiful sunsets walking to and from dinner and I remember the white chocolate chip scones in the morning. A scone and a cup of coffee were the best things before an 8 a.m. lab.

Todd Richmond (1987)

Todd Richmond

Please tell us what you have been up to (personally and professionally) since you graduated from USD?

After finishing up at USD, I packed up and headed north to dreaded Los Angeles (Pasadena to be specific) to begin grad school. I say dreaded because as a 3 rd generation native San Diegan, I grew up hating LA. Now I was going into the belly of the beast. Turns out Pasadena actually is pretty nice, and Caltech was a great place to be a graduate student. In addition to working on protein structure-function relationships in RTEM-1 beta-lactamase, I was playing in local bands as well as the Caltech Big Band, racing road, and mountain bikes, and generally enjoying grad school. Once I finally finished (evidently I wasn’t in a hurry), I headed north again for a postdoc at UC San Francisco working on HIV Integrase. While I loved living in SF and playing in a great jazz quartet, I found that I really loved teaching more than bench chemistry, so I turned down an NIH fellowship and instead took a tenure-track faculty position at The Claremont Colleges.  That was in ’95, and now back in LA (broadly construed). I was using the relatively new internet in my teaching and research and became much more interested in the intersection of technology and digital content. That led me to resign my faculty position and do a career change in 2000.

I landed at USC first as a web developer (probably the only one there with a Ph.D. in chemistry), then their first webmaster. Soon after that, I was stolen away by the Dean of the Cinema School to run a new-media research center. We did a lot of experimentation with blogs and wikis in the classroom, interactive media and narrative, and other crazy projects. Eventually, I wound up migrating to another research center in 2006 as a project director at the Institute for Creative Technologies. We do basic and applied research, and build advanced prototypes around immersive technology, mostly for training soft-skills (largely DoD funded). Over time I moved in the senior management, running the advanced prototypes group and now also the Mixed Reality Lab. Also, I am a research faculty member at the School of Cinematic Arts and have taught in the MBA program as well. I’m still playing music as a bassist in a couple of different bands, everything from jazz to Brazilian pop music to a Steely Dan tribute band. I have a son who is now a Junior at USC in the Interactive Media program and am married to an artist who is also faculty at CalArts. I’m also consulting with Pardee RAND Graduate School helping them to revamp their public policy curriculum.  


What is your current career position, what led you there, and what do you enjoy most about it?

 Answered above – went where my interests and the changing world led me.


What career advice do you have for current students studying chemistry/biochemistry?

 Do what you love, and do more than just one thing. I can point to ways my music has helped my science, and ways that my chemistry background has helped in interactive media. Being a polymath is highly useful. Never assume that what you’re learning now won’t be useful elsewhere in life.

Also, have fun playing – it’s how we learn. And create things – art, music, whatever. People also ask me if I regret not using my chemistry background. I tell them I use it all the time, as grad school taught me how to formulate questions and then move to answer them in coherent ways. That way of thinking is valuable no matter what the discipline or topic.


What aspects of your education and experiences at USD have been most important to your professional successes?

 I can trace most of what I’ve used directly to Pat Traylor and my organic class. Seriously. In retrospect, her approach to “first principles” has stuck with me and directly impacts every aspect of my life to this day. In fact today I gave a talk at RAND and put up an organic chemistry slide, talking about the difference between learning what, how, and why.


What are some of your best memories from your time at USD?

Office hours with Pat were also wonderful, even when she was giving me a hard time for taking a wrong approach or when she would squint at me over her horn-rimmed classes when I said something stupid. There also was great camaraderie with the other students – we felt like we were in it together, even though I still wanted to crush the curve. But I also was older (I’d taken 4 years off after HS to try and be a rock musician), so I was a bit more focused. I knew the “real world” sucked, so I loved college.

I also played a lot of intramural sports and that was a great way to get out of the lab and interact with other students on campus. Since I was a commuter and spent long hours in either classes or the research lab, it could be a bit isolating. Between music and sports, I had ways to interact with other people beyond just class.


Nicole Corbitt (1998)                                                                  Nicole Corbitt

What are some of your best memories from your time at USD? 

My senior year in high school was stress-ridden as it is for all graduating seniors with questions as to what am I going to do with my life? What school is best for me? What career am I going to pursue? I had gotten into all my top schools, now it came down to the final decision. I stepped onto each of the campuses and was marveled by the academics, sports, etc… and then I came to Visiting Day at USD. After touring the beautiful campus, I was privileged to meet the Chemistry Department Head and be given a tour of the laboratories where I met even more of the wonderful staff. I was floored by their hospitality and their genuine love for their students. It shined through more than any other school or department I had seen… I knew my decision was final.


What aspects of your education and experiences at USD have been most important to your professional successes?

The best decision of my life was to go to USD. I was given amazing opportunities to learn “hands-on” and to work with some amazing professors “1:1” through the small class sizes. Luck was also on my side when I was chosen to work alongside the amazing Chemistry Department staff through the work-study program, becoming a TA for lab classes and being given the opportunity to do undergraduate research. I can say without a doubt that in 1994-1995, I fell in love with Chemistry and knew at that very moment that I would always want to be in the laboratory.


Please tell us what you have been up to (personally and professionally) since you graduated from USD?

From that moment on, I have been in the laboratory working side by side with my fellow scientists and I have not looked back… Working for start-up companies, biotechnology, large and small pharmaceutical, quality control and R&D departments has been an amazing journey. My newest adventure is working as a Sr. Scientist III, supervising a team of analytical scientists in the new Pharma services division of Thermo Fisher Scientific in North Carolina. My future is endless and I could not have done it without the support, encouragement, and love of learning that I received at USD. The staff was there to encourage me every step of the way, whether I was struggling with my classes, deciding on which courses to take, dealing with roommates, or just general life problems.


What career advice do you have for current students studying chemistry/biochemistry?

The best advice that I can give to any student looking to pursue a career in the Sciences, whether it be Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, is find something that you are passionate about and absorb and learn as much as you can. The sciences are not an easy path, so fall in “Love” with what you do because it is what makes life worth living.

 On my move to North Carolina… I took some detours on my drive…. These are the only recent photos I have of myself


 Dr. Dwyer Awarded Prestigious ACS Fellow  

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has recognized Dr. Tammy Dwyer for her outstanding achievement and support to science and for their exemplary service to the society. The ACS designation is a lifetime achievement-type honor awarded to a member who has made exceptional contributions to the science, the profession of chemistry and has provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community. 

The ACS specifically recognized Dr. Dwyer for leading transformative change elevating undergraduate research, increasing the faculty and research profile of her department, and contributing significantly to the field of NMR solution structures of DNA. And recognized ger for engaging high school chemistry students and teachers as San Diego Local Section Education Committee Chair and member (1994-2012) and for creating sponsored monthly meetings and initiating employment efforts as Local Station Chair (2000-2001).

Read more about this wonderful award here  

Faculty Research Group Updates

Jessica Bell Research Group

The Bell lab has enjoyed many successes over the 2016-2017 academic year. Summer of 2016, 11 summer interns were working in the laboratory: SURE fellows Halie Sonnenschein (’18), Frank Slykas (’17), Megan Macheck (’17), Sasha-Kaye Graham (’18), and Sirena Tran (’18); High School teacher from Las Vegas, NV Ms. Louis Zhou returned for the  2 nd year; ACS SEED students: Richard Cruz and Ryan Wey; Volunteers: Karli Wittenberg (’17), Flowreen Shikwana (’18), and Mariam Dawood (’18). As soon as Ryan finished with his internship in August, he was off to start his first year at Vanderbilt University. September 2016 saw us welcoming Timothy “TJ” Marshall (’19), Christian “Andres” Quintero (’18), and Ryan McCool (’20) to the lab. In December 2016, Frank Slykas (’17) and Halie Sonnenschein (’18) presented their work at the 2016 American Society for Cell Biology meeting. We also met with my former post-doctoral advisor, Charles Craik, at the University of California – San Francisco. Frank and Halie enjoyed sharing their research with Charlie and the discussion on career paths from Charlie’s perspective at an R1 institution and as a Graduate Program Director. As 2016 came to a close, Karli Wittenberg (’17) made a huge breakthrough in our studies of Suppressor of IKKepsilon (SIKE). She identified that cells lacking SIKE migrate ~30% slower than normal cells! Finally, we have a phenotype that will assist us in understanding the function behind SIKE’s interactions with cytoskeletal proteins. April 2017, Frank, Karli, Halie, Megan, and Sirena presented the group’s research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting in Chicago.

May 2017 we congratulated Frank, Karli, Meghan and Ian Minzer as they graduated from USD. Frank is working in the San Diego biotechnology industry while he applies to medical school. Karli is completing the Teacher Credential Program at USD and was recently hired by Hoover High School to teach their Honors Chemistry courses. Megan Macheck has begun her studies at Creighton University’s Medical School. Ian Minzer is working as a research assistant in Colorado while he applies to medical school. In the spring of 2017, Nina Marie Garcia (’17) received a research grant from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Halie Sonnenschein (’17) received Goldwater and Beckman Scholarships, and Sirena Tran (’17) received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Foundation and also received the Bridges Program scholarship that allowed her to spend a summer in the Horner laboratory at Duke University. In May, we received the news that the NSF IUSE grant, “An Interdisciplinary Faculty Community Using a Protein-focused Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) to Improve Student Learning,” with PI J. Ellis Bell and Co-PIs Joseph Provost and Jessica Bell was funded.


jessica bell labPictured: Our exploits at Miguel’s Cocina – Ahhh! The queso! Clockwise starting lower left: Sasha-Kaye Graham, Mariam Dawood, Sirena Tran, Halie Sonnenschein, Nina Marie Garcia, Andres Quintero, Ryan McCool, Frank Slykas, Karli Wittenberg, Michael Schwabe, Jessica Bell

Lauren Benz Research Group

The Benz lab has been hard at work this summer! We welcomed our newest group members: Aaron Liu of Bishop High School (back row, far right), and Akhil Penumudi (’18). Aaron and Akhil are working on the formation of metal-organic framework (MOF) films using hydrothermal reactions. Continuing students in the lab include Xinlei (“Cindy”) Chen (front row, far left, ‘18) and Jin Xiang Low (center, back row, ‘17). Xinlei is studying the interfacial properties of MOF mixed matrix membranes, and Jin is using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy to study post-synthetic exchange processes on MOF films. Jin and Cindy will present their work at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in D.C. in the fall. Postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Jaesung Bae (back row, far left) has been working with the group on filtration studies of new mixed matrix membranes, and other types of membranes. He has shared his expertise with the group and we wish him the best of luck for his return home to South Korea this fall. Recent accomplishments include the publication of a review article in Nature Materials on MOF membranes, and an article in Langmuir on the adsorption and diffusion of methanol in ZIF-8 films which included Benz group student alumni Amber Mosier (’15), Hanna Larson (’15), Bette Webster (’15), and Mia Ivos (’18). Dr. Benz also received the good news recently that she was awarded a 2017 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award which will support summer student research on the surface chemistry of complex materials. Last but not least, in January of 2016 the group created a new element that we’ve named “Kingstonium”. Though seemingly inert in this image, the new element emits quite a bit of energy and is expected to reveal some interesting new properties.


lauren benz lab 

In the picture (R to L ) Aaron Liu of Bishop High School, and Akhil Penumudi (’18).  Xinlei (“Cindy”) Chen and Jin Xiang Low.

Tim Clark Research Group

It has been another fun year in the Clark research group. After Tim returned from 6 months in Spain working with a collaborator, the research lab got going again and had a very productive summer. Four research students have graduated and moved on to their next endeavors (see below) and five new students have joined the group. Tim received a collaborative grant from the National Institutes of Health with Greg O’Neil at Western Washington University. He was also awarded a prestigious Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Starting this fall, there are two post-docs working in Tim’s group: Dr. Andrey Samoshin and Dr. Tiffany Stewart ( a split position with Dr. David DeHaan). We also have a visiting international scholar from Spain, Victor Tena, working in the lab for 3 months.

 Some specific recent accomplishments by Clark research group members:

  • Taylor Thane, Clay Oliver, Shawn Wright, and Effie Albitz have graduated (Class of 2017) and have moved on to various positions. Taylor and Shawn have gone to graduate school (UC Irvine and Colorado State), Effie is doing Teach for America, and Clay has a position doing sales with a biomedical company in Boise.
  • Joshua Wilson joined the research group during the summer of 2017 as an NSF REU scholar. Gillian Meyer, Stephanie Richardson, Maggie Nistler, and Chris Miller also joined the Clark group. Welcome new students!
  • Justin Marcum (’16), Katie McGarry (post-doc), and Carl Ferber (’16) had their work published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry ( 2016, 81, 7963–7969).
  • High school teachers June Honsberger and David Emmerson co-authored a book chapter for an ACS Symposium Series, which was focused on their outreach activities to high school students. The book is currently in press.
  • Stephen Hyland, Stephanie Richardson, Chris Miller, Taylor Thane, Maggie Nistler, and Andrey Samoshin presented a total of four posters at the Fall 2017 ACS National Meeting in Washington DC.

  ACS Meeting in Washington DC (Fall 2017)


ACS Meeting in Washington DC (Fall 2017)


Christopher Daley Research Group

Research continued on the two main projects in the Daley lab with (i) the synthesis of model complexes of the nitrile hydratase active site and (ii) on the development of ligands for enantioselective catalysis. The nitrile hydratase work, performed by Wesley Chow and Raquel Markham, has resulted in the successful synthesis of a serine-based model derivative of both the Fe- and Co-NHase active sites in their pre- “post-translationally modified oxidized” forms. Wesley and Raquel presented their work at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington, DC (August 2017). The enantioselective catalysis work has been led by the efforts of Lilia Baldauf along with newcomers to the lab Courtney Suhr, Theresa Thomas, S. Aleksandr (Alek) Volkir as well as Crawford High School student Konthong Khisirivong (Summer 2017). Through their work, we made headway on the development of a “greener” synthesis of our target ligands as well as began our first enantioselective catalysis studies. Lilia Baldauf presented the work also at the ACS National Meeting in Washington, DC. It is our aim to publish the research findings above this academic year.

Much of the group’s research progress came through summer research. We were fortunate enough to have an active group during the summer of 2017 thanks to the financial support of ACS SEED (K.K.), the TRiO McNair Scholars Program (L.B.), SURE (R.M.), and the Alice B. Hayes Science Scholarship (W.C.).

Efforts will continue on both projects during the 2017-2018 academic year with Wesley, Raquel, Lilia, Theresa, and Courtney continuing along with newcomer Maxwell (Max) O’Toole. We will also be looking for new group members as Wesley and Lilia will be graduating at the end of spring and moving on with their careers!

As always, you can follow the Daley Group progress on our web page at, and/or Dr. Daley on Facebook or Twitter. If you are a Daley Group alumnus, please contact Dr. Daley with updates so that we can keep your page up to date with all your latest and greatest exploits!

Daley Summer 2017 (left-to-right): Lilia Baldauf, Alek Volkir, Konthong Khisirivong, Wesley Chow, Raquel Markham, and Dr. Christopher Daley.


David De Haan Research Group

 The De Haan group and collaborators, Paris cloud chamber, summer 2017 edition:, L to R: Jean-Francois Doussin (Univ. Paris Est Creteil), Elyse Pennington (’17 Harvey Mudd College), Edouard Pangui (UPEC), Hannah Welsh (’17 HMC), Mathieu Cazaunau (UPEC), Alyssa Andretta (’18 Chem. USD), and David De Haan.

Meanwhile, back in San Diego: postdocs Devoun Stewart and Tiffany Stewart, Alexia de Loera (’18), Richard Gardner (’18), and Nguyet Phung (‘18)


Dr. De Haan, on sabbatical during the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters, spent 4 months collaborating with Maggie Tolbert and her research group at CU Boulder, working on brown carbon formation chemistry, and 1 month conducting cloud chamber experiments at the Universite Paris Est – Creteil with French scientists and undergraduates from USD and Harvey Mudd College (see picture). It’s like his own personal study abroad program in environmental chemistry. By October, the research group had re-grown to include 2 postdocs and 4 seniors.

The group published 2 papers in May, in Environmental Science & Technology and ES&T Letters, respectively. Both papers featured summary cartoons drawn by Dr. D and his daughter Audrey:

His NSF grant is in Year 2.

   The De Haan group and collaborators, Paris cloud chamber, summer 2017 edition:,  L to R:  Jean-Francois Doussin (Univ. Paris Est Creteil), Elyse Pennington (’17 Harvey Mudd College), Edouard Pangui (UPEC), Hannah Welsh (’17 HMC), Mathieu Cazaunau (UPEC), Alyssa Andretta (’18 Chem. USD), and David De Haan

Peter Iovine Research Group

Melissa Tran, James Young, Andy Saiz, Candy Pham, Grayson Lang, and Maribel Clerk  

The Iovine group has been working hard on a portfolio of projects ranging from mechanochemistry to biomedical polymers. We had a wonderful summer 2017 including a trip to the National Organic Symposium at UC Davis and an NSF-consortium meeting at Grand Valley State University. The picture was taken on our first day of summer research as you can see, our hoods were down, so we went for Boba! Summer 2017 group members were: Melissa Tran, James Young, Andy Saiz, Candy Pham, Grayson Lang, and Maribel Clerk. Not shown, but also making great contributions to the group, was Carson Gorney (Mater Dei High School). 

At the time of this writing, our fall 2017 semester is in full swing and the group has returned for an all-out assault on our target molecules. Group members for the fall 2017 semester are Melissa Tran, James Young, Andy Saiz, Candy Pham, Grayson Lang, Jordan Castro, and Brandon Orzolek.

I have been hearing from many former Iovine group members but would love to connect with others. Please email, call, or find us on twitter (@peteriovine).

Jeremy Kua Research Group

The Kua group has had a productive year in his chemistry of the origin-of-life projects. The two papers were published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry in 2016. Kyra Thrush ('18) completed the energy map of C1 species formed by the reactions of HCN, H2O, and NH3, published in JPC-B. She now has all the data for the much larger C2 set where CH2O has been added to the mix of molecules and is currently writing up the paper - likely to be submitted sometime this Fall semester. Kyra was also a Bridges fellow in Prof. Rommie Amaro's lab at UCSD this past summer learning more computational chemistry related to biochemical systems. A project examining ester-mediated amide bond formation in a mixture of glycine and glycolic acid was published in JPC-A with Lauren Sweet ('17) as a co-author.

Three new students joined the Kua group this past year. Helen Loli ('18) is working on the co-oligomerization of CH2O and pyrrole. Her first paper was recently submitted to JPC-A and we are awaiting referee reports. She is now extending the project by examining the effect of acetic acid on the energy barriers. Richard Gardner ('18) is a joint student with the De Haan lab. He has been examining the reactions of sulfur-compounds with small water-soluble aldehydes. Natalie Chuang ('19) extended the CH2O oligomerization work to include the C5 species (previously we had only completed C1-C4). The Kua group was at ACS San Francisco this past April and presented some of their work at the conference.

The Kua group also has a new research lab (one-third of what used to be the ST383 computer room). We have two huge whiteboards, a roundtable for discussions, and of course lots of workstations. On the hardware front, Dr. Kua's collaboration with the I.T. department to build a new modular blade server (dubbed "saber1" by Dr. Kua) to seed a high-performance computing core facility at USD has gone well. The server has now doubled in size to 256 cores! We have also upgraded our computational software to take advantage of the latest offerings and increased speed.

Mitch Malachowski Research Group

Dr. Malachowski’s work on synthesizing new dipyrromethenes ligands and binding them to metal ions continues to move forward and his students have prepared large numbers of new, interesting compounds.   His students are becoming incredibly proficient at synthesizing, purifying and crystallizing the metal complexes. Holly Cunningham, Laura Quan, Nick DeChristofano, Jessica Polak and Kelsey Carreras-Simons have spent uncounted numbers of hours in the lab over the past two semesters growing crystals and have made impressive progress over that time. Laura and Holly had their first crystal structure solved in the spring so we continue to make nice progress on these compounds.

Dr. Malachowski continues to travel extensively to conferences, gives talks on various campuses and offers workshops to campuses interested in doing more undergraduate research. Since last spring, he has traveled to New Jersey, Washington, DC, France, San Francisco and North Carolina to give presentations. A good deal of this time was taken up running workshops describing the wonders and challenges of undergraduate research to faculty and administrators at many other universities. This work has been extremely rewarding as he now has been able to work with over 600 schools and 2,500 faculty and administrators and has raised the undergraduate research and USD flag to all of these participants. Along with three colleagues at other institutions, he recently received a $1,800,000 grant from the NSF to further this project.

Dr. Malachowski continued to pursue his work on the impact of undergraduate research on students and student learning and published a series of articles and chapters in books on this topic during 2016-2017. His most recent work appeared in the American Chemical Society Symposium series on undergraduate research where he co-authored an article with his Council on Undergraduate Research friends.

Dr. Malachowski also taught a class in our London study abroad program this summer on the “Chemistry of Sport” where he probed atoms and molecules and structure and bonding with non-science majors. Along with more traditional chemical topics, they studied the chemistry of golf clubs, tennis rackets, rowing shells, artificial body parts and other sports’ materials along performance-enhancing drugs and metabolic issues. The students particularly enjoyed the trips to Wimbledon, the London theatre, a 150-year-old operating theatre and an eventful night at a cricket match.

Joe Provost Research Group

jos provost lab

This has been an exciting year for Team Provost. The graduation of several amazing seniors who finished their Torero research experience with a bang. Taylor Cottle, a second year Goldwater and a Beckman scholar earned top honors at the ASBMB presentation and the regional AAAS Pacific Science meeting for his research to understand the role of the sodium hydrogen exchanger (NHE) in nascent tumor cells. Taylor is now representing USD in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University. Thomas Edwards-Polveroni left after two years in the lab to be one of the inaugural class of the Mayo Clinic medical school in Arizona. Chelsea Marshal finished up her work determining the interaction between NHE and other regulators and is now doing an amazing job at Medical School at the University of Arizona. Chyna Gray who worked on a CRISPR project in the lab has started graduate school at Brown University in a biomedical program. Congratulations are also awarded to Alexander Holland who helped start a new project to knock out and knock in various cancer genes using CRISPR and is now in the pacific northwest getting ready to begin a career in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry.

Current students include Emily Pitch, also a Beckman Scholar working on reversible palmitoylation of NHE, Shane Davis picking up Chyna and Alexander’s CRISPR work, Daniel Ghebreigziabher who is conducting biophysical interactions between proteins, Clare Baker taking on Taylor’s project to measure the changes of cellular pH during hypoxia in tumor cells. Aryna Armand joined Colton Gregori to investigate proteases and cancer. Isaac Bell will continue to study the interaction of two proteins that regulate NHE. This summer Reynold Akinboro is an incoming freshman who also worked in the lab this summer. Overall a great group to continue in the tradition of those who set the stage of excellence for them.

Overall things are moving along nicely. Two papers are “in preparation” with seven different USD student authors! Dr. Provost has been fortunate to give several talks and workshops on research and integrating research into the teaching laboratory. This year, in collaboration with Drs Ellis Bell (PI) and Jessica Bell (Co-PI) we were very pleased to find our NSF IUSE grant was funded. Three years to work with other universities around the country to build a protein-centered research community in a teaching environment. Provost is finishing his 14-year of service and leadership for the ASBMB on the Education and Professional Development committee while continuing his role on the ACS Committee on Professional Training (reviewing applications for accreditation) and served as a leadership mentor for project kaleidoscope (PKAL Summer Leadership Institute). We are also excited to add a new research technician to the lab – Clifford the Big Red Dog research assistant. See him in his safety glasses.

Joan Schellinger Research Group

joan schellinger lab

The Schellinger laboratory is a peptide-based research program focused on developing and synthesizing biologically relevant molecules in pharmaceutics, materials science and origins of life. On our third year, we have developed a robust research program with three ongoing projects and active student participation. Below is a summary of each project:

 The first project, microwave-assisted RAFT polymerization of peptide-based polymers, capitalizes on the versatility of peptides as potential biomaterials. We are currently focusing on finding optimal reaction conditions for the preparation of peptide-based polymers via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization using microwave irradiation. This methodology will serve as a useful platform for the design, synthesis, and evaluation of complex polymers containing peptides that can have interesting 2D or 3D structure, physical properties, and function for oil recovery or materials for drug delivery. Students who worked or currently working on this project are  Alisson Magsumbol ’17(NSF-REU Scholar), Alexandra Jameson ’18 (NSF-REU TIM, UCSD Scholar) Amanda Ennis ’18 (Bridges to Doctoral Institution Scholar), William Sherwin ’19 (NSF-REU Scholar, UCSD) and Jonathan Tran ’19 (SURE Scholar).

Developing thiol-responsive biodegradable starch-peptide conjugates for peptide delivery is the focus of our second project that is in collaboration with the Iovine laboratory at USD. We are preparing novel hybrid bioconjugates that contain both peptides and starch in the same molecule. We are exploring various conjugation strategies such as dibromomaleimide and click chemistry to connect starch and peptide, which will increase the bioavailability of peptides by protecting the peptides from any enzymatic degradation while at the same time retaining biological function. These conjugates can have potential application in peptide delivery for cancer therapy, vaccine, and antimicrobial drugs. Students who worked or currently working on this project are Praveen Wickremasinghe ’17, Olnita Martini ’18 (NSF-REU TIM Scholar), Nathan Lorentz ’18 (SURE Scholar), and TinTin Luu ’19 (SURE Scholar).

The third project involves the triphosphorylation of ribozymes for an RNA world with peptides as cofactors. This NASA-funded collaborative work has a central goal of understanding how RNA world organisms may have emerged on primitive Earth. In this project, we will identify RNA molecules, known as ribozymes, using a well-established in-vitro selection assay developed in Prof. Ulrich Muller’s lab at UCSD. This assay will investigate triphosphorylation ribozymes that utilize trimetaphosphate, a prebiotically plausible molecule used as an energy source to triphosphorylate RNA 5’-hydroxy groups, in the presence of a peptide. Our lab is currently focused on synthesizing and characterizing various peptides containing canonical and prebiotically plausible amino acids. Students who worked or currently working on this project are  Micaella Jorge ’17 (McNair Scholar), Raj Patel ’18, Estefania Martinez ’19 (Alumni Research Fellowship Awardee) and Marco Tamez (ACS Project SEED, Crawford High School).

As we progress on our research work, group members actively participated and presented in various research conference: 2017 SoCal Undergraduate Research Symposium at UC Irvine, 2017 ACS Meeting in San Francisco, 2017 Creative Collaborations at USD, 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Conference at UCSD and 2016 SACNAS STEM Conference in Los Angeles.

Our group is continuously growing with lots of exciting activities and discoveries underway. We are also thrilled to have a new space for our laboratory, where all the magic happens! J For more information about our lab and activities, check out Schellinger Lab facebook profile:

Faculty Publications 2016

Publications (Undergraduate students indicated by *, post-docs #)


Mallory, K.L., Miller, D.P., Oliver, L.D. Jr, Freedman, J.C., Kostick-Dunn, J.L., Carlyon, J.A., Marion, J.D., Bell, J.K., Marconi, R.T., "Cyclic-di-GMP binding induces structural rearrangements in the PlzA and PlzC proteins of the Lyme disease and relapsing fever spirochetes: a possible switch mechanism for c-di-GMP-mediated effector functions", Pathog Dis . Nov;74(8) (2016).

Denny Jr., M.S., Moreton, J.C., Benz, L., Cohen, S. M., “Metal-organic frameworks for membrane-based separations,” Nature Reviews Materials, 1, 16078 (2016).


Mosier, A.M.,* Larson, H.L.W.,* Webster, E.M.,* Ivos, M.,* Tian, F.# and Benz, L., “Low-temperature Adsorption and Diffusion of Methanol in ZIF-8 Nanoparticle Films,” Langmuir, 32 (12), 2947, (2016).


Marcum, J.S.,* McGarry, K.A.;# Ferber, C.J.;* Clark, T.B. “Synthesis of Biaryl Ethers by the Copper-Catalyzed Chan–Evans–Lam Etherification from Benzylic Amines Boronate Esters”, J. Org. Chem., 81, 7963–7969 (2016).


Clark, T. B. “a-Hydroxyboronate Esters: Formation and Synthetic Applications”, Asian J. Org. Chem., 5, 31–42 (2016).


Guillet, J.L. Bhowmick, I., Shores, M.P., Daley, C.J.A., Gembicky, M., Golen, J.A., Rheingold, A.L., Doerrer, L.H. “Thiocyanate-Ligated Heterobimetallic {PtM} Lantern Complexes Including a Ferromagnetically Coupled 1D Coordination Polymer,” Inorg. Chem. 55(16), 8099-8109 (2016).


Huh, D.N.,* Czer, E.T., *Cordova, K.E., *Moore, C.E., Rheingold, A.L., Daley, C.J.A. “Metal Nitrosyl Chemistry: Interesting metal oxidation and nitrosylation of ligand frame-work in a diamide-bis(phosphine) ruthenium(II) complex,” Inorg. Chim. Acta. 450, 236-242 (2016).


Hawkins, L.N.# Lemire, A.N., Galloway, M.M.,# Corrigan, A.L.,* Turley, J.J.,* Espelien, B. M.,* De Haan, D.O., "Maillard Chemistry in Clouds and Aqueous Aerosol As a Source of Atmospheric Humic-Like Substances", Environmental Science & Technology  50 (14), 7443-7452 (2016).


Naleway, S. E., Yu, C. F., Hsiong, R.L., Sengupta, A.,# Iovine, P.M., Hildebrand, J.A., Meyers, M.A., McKittrick, J. “Bioinspired Intrinsic Control of Freeze Cast Composites: Harnessing Hydrophobic Hydration and Clathrate Hydrates” Acta Materialia, 114, 67-79 (2016).


Sengupta, A.,# Linehan*, A. R., Iovine, P. M. “Impact of Starch Content on Protein Adsorption Characteristics in Amphiphilic Hybrid Graft Copolymers” Int. J. Biological Macromolecules 82, 256-263 (2016).


Kua, J., Sweet L.M.* “Preliminary Oligomerization in a Glycolic Acid – Glycine Mixture: A Free Energy Map” J. Phys. Chem. A, 120, 7577-7588 (2016).


Kua, J., Thrush K. L.,* “HCN, Formamidic Acid and Formamide in Aqueous Solution: A Free Energy Map”, J. Phys. Chem. B, 120, 8175-8185 (2016).


Malachowski, M.R., Osborn, J.M., Karukstis, K.K., Ambos, E.L., “Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research on a Grand Scale: Helping Systems and Consortia Comprehensively Adopt Undergraduate Research,” National Science Foundation ENFUSE, Washington, DC, (2016).

Provost, J. J., Colabroy K.L., Kelly B.K., Wallert M.A., The Science of Cooking: Understanding the Biology and Chemistry Behind Food and Cooking . John Wiley and Sons, (2016).


Wallert, M.A., Hasle D., Wallert C.H., Cottle, W.T., Provost J.J., "You can never have too many

kinases: The sodium hydrogen exchanger isoform I regulation by phosphorylation.", J. Cell

Signaling 1:3 (2016).


Ngambenjawong, C., Cieslewicz, M., Schellinger, J. G., Pun, S. H., "Synthesis and evaluation of

multivalent M2pep peptides for targeting alternatively activated M2 macrophages", J. Control Release, 224, 103 (2016).


Bell, J.K., Eckdahl, T.T., Hecht, D.A., Killion, P.J., Latzer, J., Mans, T.L., Provost, J.J., Rakus, J.F., Siebrasse, E.A., and Bell, J.E. "CURES in biochemistry – where we are and where we are going", Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ. 45:7-12 (2017).


Rodriguez, A.A.,* de Loera, A.,* Powelson, M.H.,* Galloway, M.M.,# De Haan, D.O., "Formaldehyde and Acetaldehyde Increase Aqueous-Phase Production of Imidazoles in Methylglyoxal/Amine Mixtures: Quantifying a Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation Mechanism", Environmental Science & Technology Letters  4 (6), 234-239 (2017).


De Haan, D.O., Hawkins, L.N., Welsh, H.G., Pednekar, R., Casar, J.R., Pennington, E.A., de Loera, A.* Jimenez, N.G.* Symons, M.A.* Zauscher, M.# Pajunoja, A., Caponi, L., Cazaunau, M., Formenti, P., Gratien, A., Pangui, E., and Doussin, J.-F., "Brown Carbon Production in Ammonium- or Amine-Containing Aerosol Particles by Reactive Uptake of Methylglyoxal and Photolytic Cloud Cycling", Environmental Science & Technology,  51 (13), 7458-7466 (2017).


Malachowski, M.R., Osborn, J.M., Karukstis, K.K., Ambos, E.L., Kinzie, J. “Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research and Scaffolding Undergraduate Research Experiences in the STEM Curriculum,” American Chemical Society Symposium, ACS, Washington, DC, (2017).


Faculty Research Grant and Funding Awards 2016

Jessica Bell received the Outstanding Educator Award for 2017 from the San Diego section of the American Chemical Society.


Jessica BellEllis Bell and  Joe Provost were awarded a National Science Foundation IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) grant ($600,000) entitled "Malate Dehydrogenase CUREs Community: A Protein Centric Approach".


Jessica Bell and  Christopher Daley were awarded support from the American Chemical Society to host high school students in their laboratories during summers 2016 and 2017 (ACS Project SEED, $5000/summer).


Lauren Benz served as lead PI on a successful proposal for USD's Beckman Scholars Program from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation ($130,000).


Lauren Benz received a Research Corporation grant ($3,000) to seed collaboration on her work "Surface and Interfacial Chemistry of MOFs and MMMs".


Lauren Benz received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award ($60,000) for her work on "The Surface Chemistry of Complex Materials".


Jim Bolender was honored with International Impact Award from USD for his work with students on water quality issues in Uganda.


Tim Clark received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award ($60,000) for his work on “Metal-Catalyzed Borylation Reactions”.


Tim Clark was awarded a National Institutes of Health R15 grant ($380,334) for his work on “Nucleophilic Borylation of Aldehydes and Conjugated Carbonyls: Applications to Homologation and Carbosilylation Reactions”


Tammy Dwyer was named a 2017 ACS Fellow by the American Chemical Society.


Peter Iovine was awarded an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Undergraduate Research (UR) grant entitled “Unlocking the Rich Mechanochemistry of Aziridines Using Triazoline Synthons” ($70,000).


Peter Iovine served as co-PI on a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) Collaborative Proposal with Colby College, Northern Kentucky University, Trinity University, University of Richmond, and Grand Valley State University ($10,627/year).


Mitch Malachowski was the lead PI on a National Science Foundation grant "Comprehensive Transformation of STEM Curricula and Institutional Culture Through Scaffolded Undergraduate Research Experiences,” ($1,875,800).


Joe Provost received the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2017 - a student nominated award from the Office of Undergraduate Research at USD.


Joan Schellinger served as co-PI on a NASA Exobiology (NNH15ZDA001N-EXO) grant entitled “In Vitro Selection of Ribozymes to Study the Emergence of an RNA World”(UCSD collaboration, $46,058).


Joan Schellinger received the Outstanding Educator Award for 2016 from the San Diego section of the American Chemical Society.


 2016-2017 Student Awards



Outstanding Senior

Eric Knapke

Outstanding Achievement

Taylor Cottle

Chelsea Marshall

Frank Slykas

Taylor Thane

Research Excellence

Effie Albitz

Justine Fordyce

Alexander Holland

Micaella Jorge

Thomas Polverani-Edwards

Karli Wittenberg

Praveen Wickermasinghe

Shawn Wright

CRC Press Outstanding Freshman

Kelsey Morris

Outstanding Sophomore

Brandon Orzolek

Melissa Tran

ACS Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry

Jordan Castro

Outstanding Biochemistry Student

Nina Marie Garcia

Alexandra Murray

ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Taylor Thane

ACS Excellence in Organic Chemistry Award

Taylor Thane

Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Halie Sonnenschein

Barry Goldwater Scholarship (Honorable Mention)

Nina Marie Garcia

Sirena Tran