Chemistry Department News

Chemistry at Whitman News

Congratulations to Janni Conrad ('15) who was awarded a 2015 Fulbright Study/Research Grant to examine the influence of organic matter on arsenic contamination with Dr. Mario Villalobos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México!

Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Collins, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Amherst College, who will join the Chemistry Department in Fall 2015 as our newest Assistant Professor! Dr. Collins will teach Organic and General Chemsitry courses and will conduct research using biocatalysis to synthesize natural products. You can view his profile here.


Two Chemistry faculty were awarded grants from the Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences in March 2015.  Assistant Professor Dalia Rokhsana received $57,600 to explore "Realistic computational and synthetic models for structure/function studies of Mo-Cu containing carbon monoxide dehydrogenase" and Assistant Professor Mark Juhasz received $57,600 for studies of "New synthetic methodologies for CB11, CB9 and C2B10 carboranes."  Funding from these awards will support student-faculty collaborative research projects over the next three years.

2015 ACS Meeting Group

During the second week of spring break, 15 seniors and 2 professors attended the 2015 Spring National ACS Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The conference spanned 5 days and students and faculty were both attendees and contributors, attending dozens of research talks and poster sessions as well as presenting their own work across the various chemistry divisions.

From left to right: Rosie Midget, Dr. Nathan Boland, Suzy Xu,  Maclean Harned,  Peter Carmichael, Janni Conrad, David Wilson, Joseph Tillman, Graham Matheson, Samuel Hinkle, Clint Vorauer, Julianna Wetmore, Morgan Dienst, Julia Burrows, Dr. Tim Machonkin, (and crouching) Greg Dwulet.

Instrumentation and Funding

The Department has added several new instruments for use by laboratory classes and in student-faculty research. A new Agilent HPLC and two Buck Scientific GCs were installed in Fall 2011, a new Agilent LC-MS was installed in Spring 2012, a new Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 400 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer was obtained in Fall 2012, and a new Beckman Coulter PACE/MDQ Capillary Electrophoresis instrument was added in Fall 2013.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement logo

Assistant Professor Marion Götz received a $35,000 grant from Research Corporation in May 2010. This grant provided funding for two years of student-faculty research exploring "Structure-based design and synthesis of bimodal proteasome inhibitors as therapeutic agents."

NSF logo

Tim Machonkin was awarded a NSF-RUI grant of $259,000 to carry out work on "The Sources of Substrate Specificity in Hydroquinone Dioxygenases." Funding from the grant supported collaborative student-faculty research over a period of three years (April 2010 - Mar 2013).

NSF logo

The Department of Chemistry was awarded an NSF-MRI grant of $389,000 for the acquisition of a new 400 MHz NMR spectrometer. Installed in the Hall of Science in January, 2010, the Bruker Avance 400 NMR is used for student-faculty research and in chemistry laboratory courses.

HHMI Logo

Whitman College received an $800,000 Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to enhance the Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB) programs. This money, along with contributions from the college, has provided funds for the creation of new laboratory spaces and a program to support student-faculty research. This HHMI grant has also supported a summer-institute for middle school science teachers, curriculum development for new courses in the biomolecular sciences, and a new tenure-track position in Chemistry.