web site). The mission of your alma mater is no more and no less than “to be recognized around the world as one of the great public institutions of higher education in America”. Among the milestones that will mark our progress toward this goal let me emphasize but two, and they are these: we will provide a diverse and stimulating undergraduate academic environment, and we shall be a premier research and graduate university. If that sounds familiar, it may be because these aims have been the categorical imperative of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for some time. It is exciting to see the University affirm these goals, and we look forward to the implementation of the strategic plan. Among the important future developments will be a new University budget system, to take effect in the summer of 2009, and a significant enhancement of fundraising efforts. Greatness is rarely cheap, and we will have to secure the resources to ensure excellence of the University’s faculty, staff, and facilities.
Closer to home, the long awaited renovation of the north and west wings of Brown Laboratory is now essentially complete, and the Department marked the reoccupation of the ‘house that H. Fletcher Brown built’ with a reception on May 14, 2008. Besides being once again beautiful to behold, the building has actually gained some space. All of our NMR spectrometers are now housed in the ‘Magnet Hall’, a large space (~ 4000 square feet, and two stories high) created by enclosing the courtyard between the two wings of Brown Lab. Those of you who did not know that the north wing had a third floor will be amazed to hear that we have regained that elusive space, which is now occupied by brand new synthesis laboratories. Two of the three buildings serving as the home of Chemistry and Biochemistry are now in excellent shape. Next we must turn our attention to Drake Laboratory; after 35 years of intensive use as a teaching and research facility, this building is showing definite signs of wear. The University’s plan to erect a new ‘Undergraduate Science Building’ will take off some of the pressure and will hopefully be followed by a renovation of Drake Lab to create state-of-the-art research space. Stay tuned.
Brown Lab Renovation Completed
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 Marked the official re-opening of Brown Laboratory, home to the faculty, students and staff of UD's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Zhihao Zhuang, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, 2007 - Present.
Sharon Rozovsky, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, 2007 - Present
As usual, the past year has brought some new arrivals, and we had to say farewell to old friends. I am particularly pleased to report the addition of two new assistant professors, namely Profs. Sharon Rozovsky and Zhihao Zhuang. Zhihao arrived on campus in the fall of 2007, having completed his Ph. D. at the University of New Mexico, and a postdoctoral fellowship with Steve Benkovic at Penn State. His laboratory is now set up, and his research group (already numbering two graduate students and one postdoc) is focusing on the chemistry of DNA synthesis and repair. Sharon came to Newark in December 2007, after having received her Ph. D. from Columbia University and spending some time as a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley (with Jay Groves). The completion of her laboratories is imminent, culminating in the preparation of a home for her 600 MHz solid-state NMR spectrometer. Sharon and her students will study the function of membrane enzymes in their native lipid environments. Both of our new colleagues have already secured initial research support from the University of Delaware Research Foundation, and they are busy recruiting students, writing grant proposals and teaching classes. We are extremely pleased that these two talented young scholars have joined our faculty and we are looking forward to the development of their research and teaching careers.
It is also a pleasure to welcome Ms. Mary Beth Kramer, M. S. ‘76 to our permanent teaching staff. Mary Beth has been teaching introductory chemistry classes for us for many years on short term contracts. Beginning with the Fall of 08, she has been appointed as an Instructor.
Two of our colleagues are about to enter into retirement. After 33 years of service as an inorganic chemist, Prof. John Bulkowski (Ph. D. 73, Carnegie Mellon University) will retire effective August 31, 2008. In addition, one of our biochemistry colleagues, Prof. Mahendra Jain, has elected to retire after 35 years at UD. Following a year’s leave, Mahendra will formally retire on August 31, 2009. These two long-serving faculty members have made distinguished contributions to the Department and we thank them both. We hope to see them around the Department often and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
While the Associate Chair of this Department is fortunately indestructible and serves ‘for life’ , it has been our custom to rotate the position of Assistant Chair. I am pleased to announce that this summer Prof. Brian Bahnson will become our new Assistant Chair. I also wish to express my gratitude to Prof. Andrew Teplyakov, whose term has just ended. His extraordinary efforts in recruiting and guiding our graduate students have made all the difference. Andrew will enjoy a well-earned sabbatical in the fall semester. Further in the administrative vein, Prof. Doug Doren has been appointed Associate Dean for Research; Doug served as Interim Associate Dean last year and continues his work for the College of Arts and Sciences.
There has also been some turnover among our staff. Among those who left the Department this past year to pursue other callings were the Assistant to the Chair, Diane Quig, our Staff Assistant for the COBRE grant, Vicky Paisley, Senior Secretary Teresa Tritt, and our Senior Machinist Jack Kelly, who retired after many years of service. In turn we welcome Eileen Burns (Assistant to the Chair), Gus Mandrachia (Administrative Coordinator) and Tracy McQueen (Senior Secretary) to the Department. A search for a new machinist is currently under way. This is also a good time to mention a change in the responsibilities of erstwhile Facilities Manager Dave Murray, who has done a great job steering us through the renovation process with minimal interruption. Dave’s position has been rechristened ‘Manager of Operations’ and comes with significant supervisory duties.
Turning now to news of the most pleasant kind, I have the honor to acknowledge the support of our alumni, friends, and supporters who have favored us with donations during the past year. All of you are mentioned by name in a separate section of this newsletter, but I cannot wait to tell you about some of the outstanding gifts we have received. As in the previous year, Mr. David Plastino, B.S. ’78, has made a substantial gift to the University, underwriting both the ‘David A. Plastino Scholars Program’ at the University level and the ‘Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellows Program’ in the
Photo by Jon Cox
UD alumnus David A. Plastino funded research projects presented at the 2007 UD Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium by undergrads (from left) Ann Benavidez, Stephen Tereniak, Sasha Wagner, Michael Pirnot and Kristin Nuzzio.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The latter funds the summer research of six undergraduate students as of this writing. Dave fondly remembers his research experience in the laboratory of Prof. Bulkowski, and he is in the fortunate position to provide a similar experience to a new generation of our students. As in the previous two years, the David Lipp Family Foundation has made a sizable contribution to the Department, unrestricted in its purpose. The late Dr. David Lipp (M. S. ’72) received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts and went on to a very successful career as an industrial chemist. The funds from the Lipp Foundation provide critical support of deserving students in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the form of David Lipp Fellowships. Another notable gift has been received from the family of the late Dr. Brennie Hackley Jr. (M. S. ’54, Ph. D. ’57). Dr. Hackley served the government as Chief Scientist and Scientific Advisor to the U. S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. In accordance with the wishes of his family, represented by his wife Ethel and daughter Michele Hackley Johnson, M. D. (B. A. ’75), the proceeds from this endowment will be used for a graduate scholarship, to be awarded for the first time during the coming academic year. We have also been blessed with a large donation from Dr. C. Frank Shaw III (B. S. ’66), currently a Professor of Chemistry at Illinois State University. Having supported the eponymous Award in Inorganic Chemistry since its inception in 1992, Dr. Shaw has now elevated it to endowed status.
Last but not least, I want to acknowledge the valiant response by many of you to my appeal of last March. You will remember that we needed just a few thousand dollars to ensure the perpetuity of the Carl A. von Frankenberg Award and the Jerry Trofimenko Memorial Prize, by backing them with endowments. Well, you certainly rose to the challenge; we collected more than $13,000 in contributions! As a consequence, all of our named departmental awards for undergraduate and graduate students are now endowed and will therefore be conferred ‘forever’ (or at least as long as there are chemists and biochemists around here). Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you who sent donations, and we hope we can count on your support in the future. While the awards are now secured, we have many other pressing needs. Your unrestricted contributions are a testament to your success, and they are a source of pride for us and for yourselves. Show your dedication to Blue Hen Chemistry and let us hear from you!
With best regards,
Klaus H. Theopold