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Communiqué: The Department of Chemistry's 2013 Mid-Year Update

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry's electronic newsletter, Communiqué, with updates on recent happenings in the department.


We have many ways for you to keep in touch with what's happening in the Department of Chemistry. Check out our website home page. Join our Facebook group. Follow us on Twitter. Or join the chemistry group on LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.

Supporting the Department of Chemistry

TFounded in 1904, the Department of Chemistry is one of the oldest and most prestigious departments at the University of Minnesota, and ranks among the nation's top 20 doctorate-granting programs. With the support of generous alumni and friends, chemistry faculty members annually provide more than 11,000 students with exceptional educational experiences and opportunities to conduct innovative and collaborative research with a global impact.

Gifts to the department ensure that we are training the next generation of scientists and continuing invaluable research to address and solve the most challenging problems that face our world. Now more than ever, private support for our students, faculty, and research is making a difference. Please check out our giving page and consider making a gift today.

What's new in the Department of Chemistry

We've had some changes in the Department of Chemistry over the past six months. We are pleased to welcome Renee Frontiera, James Johns, and Ian Tonks to the department as assistant professors. Our Joint Safety Team is making great strides to improve the culture of safety in our department thanks to the outstanding leadership of our graduate students and post doctorates and a partnership with Dow Chemical Company. Check out these stories and other Department of Chemistry news on our website. View all news articles.

Timothy Lodge named Regents Professor
Timothy P. Lodge has been named a Regents Professor by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. This designation is the highest level of recognition given to university faculty members. Read More

Alumni news

The Department of Chemistry is proud of its graduates and the work that they do in the world. Alumni Arthur Coury and Darrel Untereker received the university's Outstanding Achievement Award this year. Alumnus Andrew Aspaas, a chemistry instructor, received the Educator of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Please send us news about your accomplishments and awards! Information can be sent to Communications Coordinator Eileen Harvala at Read more about our alumni.

Student honors, awards, and accolades

Our undergraduate and graduate students received a number of honors and awards in 2012-13, testifying to the quality of education, teaching, and research in the Department of Chemistry. Read about our department, college and national fellowship award honorees, our top student researchers, and other scholarship and award recipients. We also have information on our 2012-13 bachelor's and doctorate degree recipients. In addition, photos from our undergraduate and graduate graduation receptions are available on our Facebook page. View all award articles for students, faculty, and staff.

Alumnus Andrew Aspaas receives Educator of the Year award
Alumnus Andrew Aspaas, a chemistry instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, has received an Educator of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Read More


Faculty & Staff awards

Our faculty and staff members have received many prestigious awards and grants, including the announcement of Timothy Lodge as the Department's third Regents Professor, the top faculty honor at the U. Our faculty and students regularly publish their research in top journals, and have been noted for their distinguished service and research. Department of Chemistry faculty and staff members continue to be some of the most distinguished teachers and researchers at the University of Minnesota View all award articles for students, faculty, and staff. .

Arriaga receives university grant for mass cytometer
Professor Edgar Arriaga has received a university grant to purchase a mass cytometer to be housed in the Department of Chemistry's Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. Read More

Professor Truhlar's 1,000th journal article published
Regents Professor Donald Truhlar's 1,000th journal article has been published. The article, Adsorption on Fe-MOF-74 for C1-C3 Hydrocarbon Separation, was co-authored Pragya Verma and Xuefei Xu. Read More


Our scientists continue as pioneers in breakthrough research in a number of areas, ranging from reaching the reactivity potential of metal-organic frameworks to discovering a close bond of iron and chromium, connecting protein dynamics with enzyme catalysis, and designing biofuel systems that burn more efficiently and effectively. Some of the research has been published in prestigious science journals. Read more about our research.

Reactivity potential of metal-organic frameworks
Research from Nanoporous Materials Genome Center focused on the reactivity potential of metal-organic frameworks has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Read More

Connecting Protein Dynamics with Enzyme Catalysis
Published research from Professor Jiali Gao's group looks at connecting protein dynamics with enzyme catalysis—a central question in current enzymology. Read More



Outreach to young people, engaging them in chemistry through hands-on experiments, demonstrations, and interaction with professors and graduate students, is a priority for the Department of Chemistry. We offer a range of outreach activities such as demonstrations at area schools, special workshops, chemistry camps for middle school girls, and the popular Energy and U shows that literally exploded with 9,000 students coming to campus in 2012-13. Read more about our outreach efforts. Photos of this year's outreach activities are available on our Facebook page.

May Energy and U brings 4,500 young people to campus
With screaming gummy bears, flames and rock music, the popular Energy and U program will aim to ignite young people's interest in science, May 20-24. More than 4,500 students are expected to attend. Another 350 people are expected at a sold out public show, Thursday, May 23. Read More


Volunteer opportunities

There are many ways for Department of Chemistry alumni to stay involved and help with programs that benefit students, ranging from becoming a mentor to supporting outreach efforts. We have additional information on our volunteer page.