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The Department by the Numbers: November 2019

Periodic Table Photo on the Brickyard

Below is a brief update on our faculty, staff and students.

We currently have 27 tenured and tenure-track, 13 teaching and three research faculty. Check out our full list of faculty, which includes contact information.

Our faculty members excel in their roles as teachers, mentors and researchers. Our general and organic chemistry programs serve over 7,000 students per year across the university.

We couldn’t do any of this without the active support of our staff. We have 16 staff members who excel in their dedication to our research and teaching mission. Here is the full list of our staff, including contact information.

In 2018-19 we granted a total of 19 Ph.D. and five M.S. degrees. We also graduated 24 B.S. and 11 B.A. chemistry majors.

Recent Honors and Awards

Here are some of the awards and accolades received by members of the department in 2018-19 (in no particular order):

  • Mike Whangbo became a Distinguished Foreign Guest Professor at Shandong University, Jinan, China, and a Jiaxi Lu Foreign Guest Professor, Haixi institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Fuzhou, China. He has also been named editor-in-chief for the Inorganic Chemistry Section of the journal Molecules.
  • Nancy Awwad won a poster award at the International Conference on Photochemistry in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Ghada Rabah received the 2018-2019 Outstanding Teacher Award.
  • Christopher Poteat received a travel award from the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry to present his work at the ACS conference in San Diego, California.
  • Reza Ghiladi was appointed a Foreign Expert in Antimicrobial Materials at Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.
  • Vlad Perigylin received a conference travel award from the EPR Scientific Committee of the 2019 Rocky Mountain Conference on Magnetic Resonance that was sponsored by the NSF SharedEPR network. This allowed him to give a presentation at the 42nd International EPR Symposium in Denver, Colorado.
  • Daniel Yonemoto received a GRC Poster Award at the Electron Donor-Acceptor Interaction Gordon Conference, which took place in Newport, Rhode Island.
  • Gavin Williams’ project with collaborators from the College of Design and the Leading Strand was featured at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • Lexie Malico won a poster prize at the Fusion 2nd Synthetic Biology for Natural Products Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
  • Maria Oliver-Hoyo received a Fulbright Scholar Award, Class of 2018, to develop a chemical education research project in Uruguay.
  • Chelsea Taliaferro won a second place award at the NC State Graduate Research Symposium in Spring 2019.
  • Zhongtian Zhang and Lexie Malico completed internships this summer 2019 at Amyris, Emeryville.
  • Maria Gallardo-Williams received the 2018-2019 Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award.
  • The following students completed the Foundations in Teaching Training Program: Esam Ahmad Almanasrah, Hongxia Bai, Tzu-Yu Chen, Dylan Denison, Yuan Gao, Emmanuel Echeverri Jimenez, Myuggi Jung, Eliska Klimentova, Qihui Liu, Iuliia Mandzhieva, Minhua Nie, Matthew James Pech, Garim You and Xingao Zhang.
  • Kianna Jimenez (Smirnov lab) and Jackie Gowen (Muddiman lab) received the Bereman Family Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Karen Butler (Baker lab) and Evan Willis (Proulx lab) were presented the Miles F. Anderson Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Chang Liu (Jakubikova lab) and Carl Meunier (Sombers lab) shared the Robert A. Osteryoung Award for Excellence in Research.
  • Patrick Parker (Pierce lab) was presented with the Percy L. Julian Award for Excellence in Research.
  • Three of our graduate students have been awarded the NIH/NC State Molecular Biotechnology Training Program (MBTP) Fellowship: Jessie Garcia (Williams lab), Christina Martinez (Pierce lab) and Michael Caleb Bagley (Muddiman lab).
  • Melanie Chestnut (Smirnov lab) received the Award of Excellence at the EPR2017 conference in Morgantown, W.V.
  • Phyo Phyo Kyaw Zin (Fourches lab) received the highly competitive ACS CINF Award ($1,000) at the 2017 ACS Fall National Meeting in Washington, D.C., and was also honored with the Olive Ruth Russell Fellowship from Berea College.
  • Crissi Martinez-Brokaw received the Molecular Biotechnology Training Program Traineeship for graduate research in Joshua Pierce’s laboratory. Part of this two-year program includes an industrial rotation, which Crissi is completing at Merck this summer as part of their Future Talents Program. Crissi is expanding her research skills in Merck’s chemical biology group while working on the development of novel kinase probes. “Working at Merck has provided me a platform to hone my abilities as a researcher, improve my science communication skills and develop a network of colleagues and friends that are invaluable,” Crissi says. Crissi adds that the internship greatly influenced her career goals and provided “the confidence and resources to reach them.”
  • Lide Cha and Thane Jones, from the Wei-chen Chang and Joshua Pierce labs, respectively, received the Burroughs Wellcome Fellowship this year. This fellowship supports students studying synthetic organic chemistry. Lide’s research project is focused on understanding the novel mechanism of non-heme iron(II) enzyme catalyzed transformations for the synthesis of natural product analogs. He hopes to apply knowledge obtained from his research to create natural products chemo-enzymatically. Thane also studies natural products, specifically, Abyssomicin C, a complex marine product isolated from the Japanese Sea. Thane is working on developing a practical, modular synthetic route to further explore Abyssomicin C’s antibiotic properties.
  • Phyo Phyo Kyaw Zin is researching the development of novel cheminformatics approaches to aid in the advancement of drug discovery in Denis Fourches’ laboratory. Phyo Phyo received the AAUW international fellowship this year, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education. At NC State, Phyo Phyo developed a PKS Enumerator, which generates in-silico chemical libraries to screen, model and prioritize macrolides to be biosynthesized. Additionally, Phyo Phyo explains the web-application based database for macrolactones she built while interning at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, which has provided insights into privileged, underexplored structural class of compounds with therapeutic use. She also received three awards at hackathons: Best Use of Google Cloud Platform by MLH, PackHacks2019 at NC State; Second Best Overall Project at DiamondHacks2019 at NC State; and Best Use of AI/Machine Learning at PearlHacks2019 at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • Madison Davidson received the Glaxo fellowship this year which will support her research in Wei-chen Chang’s group. She is currently working on two projects while she is wrapping up her fifth year at NC State. Madison describes the project goals: “One involves redirection of non-heme iron 2-oxoglutarate dependent enzymes, while another works on preparing a chemo-enzymatic approach for the synthesis of viridicatins.”

The following graduate students received awards at our Recruitment Weekend poster session:

  • BASF – Innovative Graduate Research Award (Junior) – Thane R. Jones “Towards the Total Synthesis of Abyssomicin C” (Pierce group)
  • BASF – Innovative Graduate Research Award (Senior) – Lexie Malico “Biosensor-Guided High-Throughput Engineering of Artificial Pathways to Non-Natural Biosynthetic Products” (Williams group)
  • Eastman Chemical Creativity Award- Talita Malewschik “EPA Priority Pollutants as New Substrates for Dehaloperoxidase: Spectroscopic and Mechanistic Studies” (Ghiladi group)
  • Sealed Air Award for Broader Impact Research – Lyniesha Wright “Moving Past Rote Assignment of Functional Groups: Teaching Molecular Concepts of IR and NMR” (Oliver-Hoyo group)
  • Outstanding Junior Graduate Research Poster – Inorg/Pchem – Chenyu Jiang “Manganese-doped Zn/S Quantum Dots as Photosensitizers in Antimicrobial Photodynamic Inactivation” (Ghiladi group)
  • Outstanding Senior Graduate Research Poster – Inorg/Pchem- Alexis J. Guzmán Santiago “Identification of Key Functionalization Species in the Cp*Ir(III)-Catalyzed-Ortho Halogenation of Benzamides” (Ison group)
  • Outstanding Junior Graduate Research Poster – Bio- Caleb Bagley “IR-MALDESI Visualization of Artemisinin and its Relatives in Artemisia Annua” (Muddiman group)
  • Outstanding Senior Graduate Research Poster – Bio- Karen E. Butler “Differentiation of Aspartic Acid Containing Isomeric Peptides by Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry (IMMS)” (Baker group)
  • Outstanding Junior Graduate Research Poster – Organic- Jinghuai Dou “Enzymatically triggered chromogenic cross-linking agent for use in vitro and in vivo under physiological conditions” (Lindsey group)
  • Outstanding Senior Graduate Research Poster – Organic- You-Chen Lin “Progress Towards the Synthesis of Polycyclic Guanidinium Alkaloids” (Pierce group)
  • Caitlin, Erin and Jocelyn Muddiman Research Award- Melanie Odenkirk  “Elucidating multi-omic molecular signatures of end-term preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus” (Baker group)
  • CMI award for Chemistry at the Interface of Medicine – Kyle Griewisch “Synthetic 4-Oxazolidinones: The Search for Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Drug Targets” (Pierce group)
  • Wolf Pack Interdisciplinary Award – Jessie Garcia “Development of a Genetically-Encoded Methyltransferase Biosensor” (Williams group)

At the graduation ceremony in May, Senior Awards were given out to the following graduates:

  • Scholarly Achievement – Kaylie Kirkwood
  • Research – Kaylie Kirkwood
  • Community Engagement – Madison Lee