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American Chemical Society Conference Attendance:
Eleven Chemistry/Biochemistry Students with Dr. Lee Attend 244th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia PA on August 19-23, 2012
From left, Darius Fartash (’13 Chemistry), Omoakhe Tisor ('15 Biochemistry), Courtney Veilleux ('14 Biochemisry), Peter Vitale ('14 Biochemistry), Erin Morgan ('13 Chemistry), Dr. Lee, Jaclyn Robustelli ('14 Biochemistry), Michelle Muzzio ('15 Biochemistry), Zuzanna Michalak (’13 Chemistry), Allyson Moffat (’13 Chemistry), Rosario Giacomini (’15 Biochemistry), and Kevin Towler (’15 Chemistry).
As a capstone to the student research experience of summer 2012, eleven Iona undergraduate research students attended the 244th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) with their faculty mentor, Dr. Lee. The student attendees were Darius Fartash (’13), Zuzanna Michalak (’13), Erin Morgan ('13), Allyson Moffat ('13), Jaclyn Robustelli ('14), Peter Vitale ('14), Courtney Veilleux ('14), Michelle Muzzio ('15), Omoakhe Tisor ('15), Kevin Towler ('15), Rosario Giacomini ('15). This was made possible through NSF research grant awarded to Dr. Lee. Among these 11 students, six (6) of the students, who are Patrick Martin Scholars (Erin Morgan, Jaclyn Robustelli, Courtney Veilleux, Michelle Muzzio, Omoakhe Tisor, Kevin Towler), are particularly grateful to Dr. Patrick Martin for his generous scholarship.
Each year the ACS organizes two national meetings that provide chemists with an opportunity to meet and share research experiences, learn what’s cutting-edge in their areas of interest, as well as network with colleagues from across the world. This year, the 244th such Meeting took place in Philadelphia, PA, and the team of eleven students was honored to be a part of it. The ACS National Meeting is an international conference attended by nearly 12,000 chemists world-wide. The conference consists of seminars, workshops, and poster presentations, scheduled over a five-day period, discussing frontier research and teaching in chemical science. The theme of this year's meeting was "Materials for Health and Medicine" which showcased the latest developments in biomaterials research as they are related to health and medicine.
The student team made five presentations to an audience of interested chemists:
#1. "Assessing Role of Specific Anions in Templated Crystal Nucleation at the Liquid-Liquid Interface" by Courtney Veilleux, Michelle Muzzio, Omoakhe Tisor and Dr. Lee, was presented at the Division of Colloid and Surface Science General Poster session.
#2. "Monitoring Denaturation of Soluble Proteins by Near Infrared Spectroscopy" by Erin Morgan, Jaclyn Robustelli, and Dr. Lee was presented at the Division of Chemical Education Undergraduate Analytical Chemistry Research Poster session.
#3. "Generation and Analyis of Glycine Polymorphs: Micro and Macro Approaches" by Peter Vitale, Courtney Veilleux, Jaclyn Robustelli, Allyson Moffat, and Dr. Lee was presented at the Division of Chemical Education Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Research Poster session.
#4. "Interactions of Osmolytes with Neutral Lipid Membrane" by Zuzanna Michalak, Darius Fartash, Nousin Haque, and Dr. Lee was presented at the Division of Chemical Education Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Research Poster session.
#5. "The Role of Calcium in Anionic Mixed Bilayer" by Zuzanna Michalak, Darius Fartash, Nousin Haque, and Dr. Lee was presented at the Division of Chemical Education Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Research Poster session.
Additionally, the team attended numerous enlightening scientific lectures such as a Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture by Robert S. Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the topic of "Chemistry in Medicine". They also attended plenary seminars by accomplished chemists on the topic of "Materials for Health & Medicine".
The words of the student attendees themselves can best describe the various benefits gained from their experience:
“Even though I am a veteran, when it comes to the yearly ACS meetings, I still wasn’t fully prepared for what the Philly trip offered. The five-day trip was filled with interesting speeches on innovations in chemistry and hours spent touring the historic Philadelphia. I attended lectures designed for undergraduates, as well as the Kavli Foundation Innovations Lecture with the famous Robert Langer as the speaker. Learning through lectures was supplemented with educational tours to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and of course the famous “Rocky steps.”
The theme of the 244th American Chemical Society Meeting and Exposition was Materials for Health and Medicine. The most interesting talks were part of the Technical Symposium on Counterfeit Drug Detection. One speaker addressed his success about busting a counterfeit manufacturer of Tb medication, equating his job as a chemist to that of the savvy, secret agent, James Bond. If that’s not an enticing perk to being a chemist, I don’t know what else is! Other lectures focused more closely on direct chemistry in biological functions and their impacts in medicine. From the challenges in creating artificial organs, to the synthesis of an HIV drug, these lectures proved the interdisciplinary nature of science where chemists, physicists, and biologists must collaborate to achieve successes in medicine. However, the most exciting and rewarding part of the meeting was presenting my research. Pre-presentation jitters instantly diminished when it was time to present, as the audience showed interest in my work. The hour-long session showing off my work was definitely fulfilling and gave justice to the months spent in the lab.
As we ventured out of the exposition to the city of Philadelphia, we were met with the history of America. Walking to all the staples of historic Philly and experiencing the exposition itself made it a trip to remember!"
Zuzanna Michalak ('13 Chemistry)
"Hi Dr. Lee! Thanks for a great trip to the ACS conference in Philly!
The trip to the ACS National Conference in Philadelphia was full of interesting and exciting moments for me. To start, it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to present research I had been conducting for over a year. What makes presenting at the ACS conference so special, however, is that there are literally thousands of chemists from everywhere present, and you never really known who is checking out your work (until you ask!). It was a great opportunity to network with other institutions, especially potential future ones. Additionally, the lectures from world renowned chemists were rather inspiring. One in particular, Dr. Langer's, really stuck out to me as being extraordinary. The regenerative work being done in his lab and the outstanding success of his students speaks volumes about Dr. Langer. While other scientists are certainly achieving profound things, Dr. Langer seems to be doing so with the best of intentions in mind for humanity, and because of that, I truly enjoyed his talk. Finally, the location of the conference must also be acknowledged! Philadelphia is a city full of American history, and I am very thankful I was able to take a break from science and see some sites such as the Liberty Bell. The ACS National Conference in Philadelphia was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I hope to attend and present again at the next ACS meeting."
Peter Vitale ('14 Biochemistry)
"I've never been to Philadelphia before so this trip was a totally new experience for me on many different levels. Of course, the city is known for so much history and it was surreal to actually get to finally go there. However, more importantly, the ACS National Conference opened my eyes to so much more that is out there to do and discover. When I first came to Iona last year, I was one of those students who thought about med school and nothing else. This past semester, I have changed my mind about that but I was lost about what else I could do with science, particularly biochemistry. At the Conference, it became clear to me that there are plenty of things I am interested in and would love to explore and learn more about. In particular, the lectures about counterfeit prescription drugs on Sunday were interesting to me because it showed how chemistry, biology, and political science could be intertwined and used together to create new ways to prevent such counterfeiting and better the lives of people affected by these types of things across the world.
Although I am only going into sophomore year, the graduate school sessions were also invaluable because I realized just how much work it takes to make it there and stay there once a person is in there. Realizing all of this now will definitely help me a lot if that is what I choose to pursue in a few years. Another experience that Philly left me with was bonding with the rest of the group. Just working with everyone over the summer paled in comparison to actually seeing the group everyday for a couple of days and hanging out with them in and out of the Conference. I know that it will help us work even better together, which is awesome.
Again, thank you so much for this experience and I can't wait to get back in the lab!"
Michelle Muzzio ('15 Biochemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
"After attending the ACS National Conference in Philly, I can honestly say that I feel more motivated about my future. One of the main sources of motivation came from talking to the graduate school programs. Being able to talk about what each program required and what each program entailed was incredibly informative and helpful. My favorite school was West Kentucky University, which had a graduate program in which students receive a Master of Arts in Education in one year and teach in Kentucky in a high-needs school for three years after. Although I am not definitely sure about my future, I now know that I have many options with my chemistry degree and feel more confident about exploring different areas to enter after I graduate.
The poster presentations and talks were also incredibly educational. Not only were we able to hear from incredible scientists, who have been doing research for years, but we were also able to see work of fellow students. It was inspiring to be a part of a convention in which everyone sincerely wants to do research that will hopefully make a difference in some way, shape, or form. It made me want to continue to push forward and do the best I can do in the lab, classroom, and life in general.
Dr. Lee, thank you so much for allowing me to attend the ACS conference. It was truly a great experience, and I could not be any more honored and proud to be a part of Project Symphony."
Allyson Moffat ('13 Chemistry)
"This Summer's trip to Philadelphia for the ACS Convention was great. Not only did I get the opportunity to see my classmates and colleagues in Project Symphony present their research, i also got to explore the different undergraduate and graduate research projects being done across the nation. In addition to the student research presentations, I also attended several seminars and speeches on chemistry from several respected experts in the field, presenting on topics such as the encapsulation of foreign medical devices by the immune system, research of HIV and Hepatitis C virus, and even the concept of a sperical nucleic acid and its potential in the medical industry.
One presentation that particularly grabbed my attention was from chemical engineer Dr. Robert Langer. Dr. Langer's presentation was focused on the use of in vitro delivery of medicine. Dr. Langer presented his use of non-toxic polymers to dissolve in the body at controlled rates, optimized individually for each drug. He not only depicted the results of his work, but also told his audience about the trials and tribulations he went through to get grant approvals for his idea. He posted a list of primary reasons that different organizations rejected his grant proposals, ranging from "drug-polymer system is toxic" to "drug-polymer system will not work." With each item on the list dated, we could see that he spent well over a decade optimizing his setup and waiting for a grant to supply money for further testing. Dr. Langer's unflinching determination was beyond honorable and set a great example to all aspiring chemists and chemical engineers in his audience.
Thanks again for everything this past week"
-Kevin Towler ('15 Chemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
"My third consecutive trip to the Fall ACS Convention meeting was a truly memorable experience. Philadelphia welcomed our group of thirteen with great sights, flavors, and hospitality. We visited the famous Independence Hall as well as the Liberty Bell. These historical landmarks provided us with a glimpse into the rich history Philadelphia had to offer.
As a group, we went to the Philadelphia Convention Center, which was hosting the ACS Convention. With its tremendous size, the center accommodated a great number of speakers and exhibitions directed to the national and international chemistry community. We attended a few notable lectures, in particular one by Dr. Robert Langer, who gave a remarkable speech covering his work with remote drug delivery systems and advances in biocompatible synthetic organs.
On the day of the undergraduate poster sessions, five posters were presented. My presentation went very well. For the first fifteen minutes no one approached my poster, but then suddenly a lady from Trinity College asked me to run through the poster. After her a young man from SUNY Oswego showed interest in our work. I believe I had seen him before at the ACS undergraduate research symposium in SUNY Old Westbury. Then I presented to a few more people and before I knew it the first hour was up. Overall each person was interested to understand what we were doing, which was a very good feeling."
Darius Fartash ('13 Chemistry)
"The ACS meeting in Philadelphia was a great experience as an undergraduate. I learned a lot about the graduate school program. It definitely has me motivated to start looking at programs now along with the professors own research so I can get an idea of what seems interesting to me. A lot of the presentations seemed to go over my head because the things they were discussing were so complex, yet that makes me more motivated to learned about it and finally understand it. Even though I missed our bonding night, I feel as if I did bond with everyone in the group which can only add positive things to our research group for this upcoming semester."
Jaclyn Robustelli ('14 Biochemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
"I had a wonderful experience at this year's ACS meeting in Philadelphia. I enjoyed the lectures and poster sessions that I attended. I remember that there was a lecture during the planary session that really caught my eye because it was focused on the role of chemistry in medical procedures. This was a very interesting lecture because the presenter did an excellent job presenting by keeping his audience interested. He talked about how everyday materials were used in medicine. For example, he talked about silicon, and the material used for hip replacements and cataract surgery. I enjoyed the poster sessions because I was able to see all of the projects that other undergraduate students from all over the country were working on. For example, there was a project that tested the levels of salicylic acid found in pain relievers such as icy hot and Bengay. This project was influenced by the death of a student athlete who accidentally over dosed on aspirin when she simultaneously took aspirin and used pain reliever creams for an injury. This was one of the many projects that caught my interest. I also enjoyed this trip because it gave our research group an opportunity to create a bond as we explored Philadelphia and attended the various lectures. Overall, this was a great experience."
Omoakhe Tisor ('15 Biochemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
"This year marked the 244th annual American Chemical Society Conference in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The focus of the meeting was materials in health and science. Over the course of three days, we listened to many lectures from professors on a variety of topics. We also were able to see a few of our own chemists present their research work. I found a few of the lectures to be very intriguing although they were difficult to understand. We listened to a lecture by Dr. Katharine Holloway from Merck’s research team. She presented on her and her company’s involvement in the development of AIDS and HCV treatment medications. They began working on a treatment for AIDS during the early 1980’s and by 1996 they had finally had their drug approved for sale. She spoke about the process of getting a drug approved and the amount of steps it takes. It was interesting to see how many drugs are proposed each year and how many actually gain approval. Her company developed one of the first AIDS/HIV medications. Crixivan; is classified as a protease inhibitor. While it is no longer used, it helped pave the way for many other companies and universities to continue improving treatment. Merck is now focusing on hepatitis-c and how to deliver drugs to the body more effectively. They are researching delivering drugs in smaller doses but having the same effect. This would help reduce side effects and the inconvenience of having to remember to take a pill every few hours. She mentioned protecting a pill with a polymer so that it will stay in the body longer and the user would have to take it much less frequently. The science of drug delivery is not one I really thought about until her presentation. To design a pill that can withstand the different parts of the human body and still be delivered where it needs to go is astounding.
The second lecture I found to be very interesting was Dr. Robert Langer’s lecture on chemistry in medicine. He is a chemical engineer and professor at MIT and has received countless awards for his work dating back to the 1970’s. He spoke about biotechnology and drug delivery systems in the first part of his lecture and moved to tissue engineering towards the end. I was fascinated by his work in developing synthetic body parts such as a nose or an ear. He is working towards developing parts of the body that can withstand pressure and is not just purely cosmetic. He showed videos of repairing paralysis in mice and many other medical advances that he hopes will be in practice within the next few years. I was blown away by his work and the amount of respect he had for his students and co-workers.
Overall I really enjoyed this trip to Philadelphia. There were lots of things to do and see and I feel as if our research group was able to bond. The ACS convention really gave me reassurance that chemistry is something I want to be a part of my life and it is an experience I will always remember. I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to join project symphony and I hope to present my research someday as many others have."
Rosario Giacomini ('15, Chemistry)
"Going to the American Chemical Society national meeting in Philadelphia PA was a wonderful experience. Not only did we get to tour the historic city but we also were able to meet and interact with Chemists from around the world. The meeting had sessions that were tailored toward an undergraduate audience. One of the most helpful sessions that we attended was the graduate school reality check session which laid out the whole graduate school process from submitting applications to what you do after you get in.
Another exciting part of the trip was being able to present the research we have been working on for the past year. It was nice to be able to interact with other scientists who were truly interested in the work that we were doing. This kind of experience is incredibly helpful in developing the communication skills to explain your research to an audience. It was also exciting to go around to other student presenters and ask about the research they are doing at their university. Overall the trip was a great learning experience and lots of fun!"
Erin Morgan ('13, Chemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
"This August, the long hours of research in Dr. Lee's lab were paid off in the poster presentation, and overall experience, at the American Chemical Society National Exposition. After over a year of crystalizing droplets and the creating innovative solutions for analysis, I feel as if Dr. Lee's group had finally had some of its hardwork paid off.
Before the trip, I expected the reward and highlight of the trip to be presenting my research at the poster presentations. Although it was a fantastic experience to share my research at the meeting, I was pleasantly surprised that the ACS 2012 Exposition was much more than a college-level science fair. The trip opened my eyes to opportunities for summer research at other institutions, information about graduate school, and seminars on chemistry topics that I otherwise wouldn't have learned about. In particular, I really enjoyed the Graduate School Recruiter's Breakfast, where I got a lot of information about both Chemistry programs to keep in mind, and information on summer research opportunities.
Being at the ACS meeting was also a fantastic experience because of the group that went. After a full year of working with my fellow research students, it was great to hear science presentations and explore Philadelphia. From seeing the liberty bell, to hearing Dr. Robert Langer speak about tissue regeneration, going to the sites and presentations made everything much more appreciated. This was definitely an event that I deeply appreciated being able to attend, and I'd recommend anybody to join research in Cornelia and have the opportunity to present their work."
Courtney Veilleux ('14, Biochemistry, Pat Martin Scholar)
Over the past five years about 60 percent of students in chemistry have gone on to graduate or professional schools. Other students have begun their careers in industry. The success of our program speaks for itself.Read More »
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