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Message from the Department Head: November 2019

Dr. Ed Bowden
Ed Bowden
Department Head

Welcome to the latest NC State Department of Chemistry Newsletter. Since our last newsletter, significant developments have taken place within the department. Before sharing that news, however, let me first highlight that on Saturday, November 16, we will be celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Department of Chemistry at NC State. Two years after NC State was founded in 1887, chemistry commenced operations as one of the five original departments at NC State, with W.A. Withers as the sole professor. On November 16, we will celebrate our history and progress with talks from alumni and faculty, a poster session, and a banquet. Our website provides additional anniversary details.

I am very happy to report that Professor Maria Oliver-Hoyo has been appointed as associate dean for academic affairs in NC State’s College of Sciences. Several new faculty and staff have also joined our ranks. Two experienced instructors, Lori Del Negro and Marion Martin, were appointed as teaching assistant professors during the 2018-19 academic year. Lori earned her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado and previously served as a faculty member at Lake Forest College. Marion, a Ph.D. graduate of Stanford University, was previously a faculty member at Furman University. This past summer, Kirsten Daykin joined us as a lecturer. Kirsten holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University. And we welcome three new staff members: Nada Taylor, who is administrative assistant in the department head’s office; Amy Roosje, our graduate program coordinator; and Premila Nayaratne, administrative support specialist in Partners III Building on Centennial Campus. Nada is originally from Beirut where she worked at the American University of Beirut and the American University of Science and Technology. Both Amy and Premila came to our department from NC State’s College of Engineering. Amy was in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Premila was in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

Three of our faculty members have been recognized with appointments to endowed positions. Alex Smirnov became the Governor Robert W. Scott Distinguished Professor shortly after our last newsletter was released. After joining our department in 2000, Alex has garnered recognition for his wide-ranging research in magnetic resonance including high-field EPR spectroscopy, spin physics, nanotechnology, and biophysics of lipid bilayers and membrane proteins. This past summer, Associate Professors Gavin Williams and Josh Pierce were appointed as our first LORD Corporation Distinguished Scholars, made possible with generous funding from the LORD Corporation headquartered in Cary. Gavin, who started at NC State in 2009, directs a research effort in organic chemistry and chemical biology, including polyketide biosynthesis, protein and metabolic engineering, development of molecular biosensors, and synthetic biology. Josh, who joined our department in 2012, has built his research program in organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, focusing on natural products and new drugs to combat infectious diseases, cancer and pain.

Our great faculty, students and staff were extremely successful over the past year in research, teaching, service and patent activities. Please see our By the Numbers compilation for details of many of their extraordinary accomplishments.

In the last newsletter, I informed you about the imminent birth of METRIC (Molecular Education, Technology, and Research Innovation Core), NC State’s new university-level core facility for molecular characterization that emerged from the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry. METRIC, now 16 months old, has undergone rapid development and now provides state-of-the-art measurement capabilities in mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance, and X-Ray diffractometry for faculty and students not only in our department but for departments across the university. A complete renovation of the basement of Dabney Hall for the purpose of housing the mass spectrometry center and NMR instrumentation is nearing completion.

Our new department website launched last year. We hope you will visit the new site and that you find it useful and fun to explore our department in more detail.

Until the next newsletter,


(Professor Edmond Bowden, Department Head)