Chemistry and Biochemistry Departmental News


Dr. Jacqueline Bennett Awarded Second Patent

Dr. Jacqueline Bennett of SUNY Oneonta’s Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and collaborator Dr. Eric Helms of SUNY Geneseo have been awarded a patent in the field of green chemistry. The patent covers innovative methods of using green solvents to synthesize an array of imines, imine-related and imine-derived compounds, a class of nitrogen-containing compounds used extensively in industry. The compounds can now be synthesized in an efficient and eco-friendly manner thereby satisfying green chemistry requirements.


Ryan Baker Presents at APS in Whistler, British Columbia

Ryan Baker and Dr. Blanc

During summer 2022, Ryan Baker, one of our undergraduate researchers, was among the first in the world to achieve by chemical means the synthesis of several antiviral peptides. Furthermore, Ryan Baker and Dr Blanc attended and presented their work at the 27th American Peptide Symposium, an international weeklong conference in Whistler (BC, Canada). The conference encompassed a wide selection of cutting-edge topics about chemical, structural, materials, biological, pharmaceutical, and medical peptide sciences. A peptide corresponds to a very short protein made in general of less than twenty amino acid monomers connected by amide bonds. Peptides are naturally occurring and have many functions. They include many antibiotics, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, hormones, and other substances involve in the biological functions of living beings. Ryan presented his research results about his chemical synthesis of novel antiviral peptides against the flu to two hundred international academic and industrial researchers, as well as graduate students. Ryan built his professional network, learned about graduate school and research firsthand from professors at international universities and graduate students. In addition, Ryan enjoyed the exposure to current research on peptides structures, functions, synthesis, and therapeutics applications. For example, Dr Melissa Moore presented her leading work at Moderna that lead to the discovery and development of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Ryan Baker with Whistler, BC skyline in the background

To conclude the experience, Ryan took the opportunity to discover the great pacific Northwest by visiting Vancouver (BC, Canada), the University of British Columbia and the Coastal Mountains of Whistler (BC, Canada).

Ryan Baker is a native of the Albany, NY area. He took advantage of a summer internal scholarship to start his research project during the summer of 2021 at the end of his sophomore year. He pursued his research each semester from 2021 to 2023, including summer 2022. He has been accepted to the PhD program of high-ranking research universities will start graduate school in Fall of 2023.

Archived News Stories

Recordings of Department Seminars Available on YouTube

Seminar presentations from the Spring 2021 semester have been recorded and are available on the department's YouTube playlist.

Dr. Kelly Gallagher and Dr. Jill Fielhaber Explain Covid-19 Vaccine Development

On March 11, Dr. Kelly Gallagher (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Dr. Jill Fielhaber (Biology) delivered the presentation, "Vaccines--Worth a Shot!" as part of the AJ Read Science Discovery Center's OutSMARTing COVID-19 Webinar Series. View a recording of the presentation.

Senior Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors Deliver Their Capstone Presentations

On Friday, December 4th and Saturday, December 5th, the students in our Senior Undergraduate Seminar course will be presenting current research articles. The schedule of presentations is as follows:

Friday, December 4
Time Student Presenter Title of Presentation
3:00 PM Connor Murch Antimicrobial Activity and Cytotoxicity of Ag(I) and Au(I) Pillarplexes
3:30 PM Arely Cazarin Reverse-Transcription Recombinase-Aided Amplification Assay for Rapid Detection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
4:00 PM Emily Hogan Synthesis, Characterization, and Evaluation of CAM Ligands for Ga-68 PET Imaging
4:30 PM Jenna Conklin Povidone–Iodine-Based Polymeric Nanoparticles for Antibacterial Applications
5:00 PM Maggie Guinto Role of the Freight Sector in Future Climate Change Mitigation Scenarios
Saturday, December 5
Time Student Presenter Title of Presentation
11:00 AM Samantha Mulkeen Insulin and β-adrenergic receptors mediate lipolytic and anti-lipolytic signaling that is not altered by type 2 diabetes in human adipocytes
11:30 AM Coye Johnson Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish as Indicator of Water Pollution
12:00 PM Brendan Sweeney Synthesis of Alpha Amino Ketones via Electrochemical Oxidation catalyzed by NH4I
12:30 PM Ian Walsh Improving Sonochemiluminescence Capabilities & Applications In The Field Of Science

iGEM Team Earns a Silver Medal at This Year's Competition

SUNY Oneonta’s inaugural International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team earned a Silver Medal for their project, "Ca2LF: Confirming A2 Alleles using Luminescence in the Field." In this multidisciplinary competition, team members work together to create a solution to an everyday problem using the tools of synthetic biology. Teams design, build, test, and measure a system of their own creation using interchangeable biological parts and standard molecular biology techniques. They must also consider the human and environmental aspects of their work and produce a promotional video for their project. Students of any major can become a member of the SUNY Oneonta team. This year's team included Biochemistry majors Ashley Germosen Rosa (Team Captain), Madalyn Hammes, and Helen Sanchez. The team mentors are Dr. Jill Fielhaber (Department of Biology) and Dr. Kelly Gallagher (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry).

More details about synthetic biology, iGEM, and the SUNY Oneonta team can be found on the campus iGEM website. The team's project can be viewed on their 2020 iGEM competition wiki page. Here are a few fun statistics about this year's iGEM competition:

  • 256 teams from across the globe participated in the competition
  • 36 different countries competed
  • Every continent but Antarctica was represented
  • Our team was judged by a panel of 5 experts who hailed from France, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
  • SUNY Oneonta was the only public liberal arts university in the competition. Most teams are from larger research institutions.
  • Team members represented the following majors: Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biology, Biology/Business, Computer Science/Criminal Justice, Dietetics, Environmental Sustainability and Geography, and Music Industry.

New Faculty Member Kim Cossey Joins the Department in Fall 2020

Dr. Kimberly Cossey earned a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. Since then, she has been spreading her love of Organic Chemistry to students in both Georgia and Indiana. Developing teaching materials that engage students and help them through challenging courses is her passion. She will join the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SUNY Oneonta in the Fall of 2020.

Dr. Cossey's research interests center around using chemistry to serve society. Projects include designing and optimizing chemical reactions for future lab courses, and community-based research projects. While new community-based projects will be tied to the areas around Oneonta, previous community projects have included: determining the amount of caffeine in coffee for a local coffee shop and checking well water for heavy metals for communities with known arsenic problems.

Dr. Cossey is excited to be joining the Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty and staff at SUNY Oneonta and is excited to start contributing to the success of our students. She will be making the move to New York with her husband, Luke, and two young daughters. In her free time, she enjoys music (especially singing), playing video games, reading novels, watching movies, and game nights.

Dr. Joseph Chiang Retires

Please join us in thanking Dr. Joseph Chiang for more than 50 years of service to the campus of SUNY Oneonta!

Dr. Chiang’s career with SUNY Oneonta began in the Fall of 1968 as an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department. He has had an illustrious career which has included visiting professorships in Chicago, Peking, Tsinghua, Shanghai and Beijing Universities among others and more than 49 authored publications.

New Biochemistry Major Program Approved by SUNY

A new Biochemistry major program has been accepted by the SUNY system. This program significantly upgrades our biochemistry offerings in comparison with our previous biochemistry track. Incoming students in fall 2016 were the first to have this program available for a full four-year term and current students had the option to switch to this major.

Dr. Larry Armstrong Retires

After a career of teaching 50 years, 49 years at SUNY Oneonta, Dr. Armstrong has retired. Larry taught thousands of student's organic chemistry over these decades. He also led the department for many years as department chair and was a leader on campus as a long-standing member of the Tenure and Promotion Committee. Especially rewarding has been his work as a Health Professions Advisor, where his advisees have entered and been successful in every aspect of the healthcare field. We wish Larry and his wife, Suzanne, a happy and rewarding retirement.

Faculty and students present at the National American Chemical Society Meeting

Faculty Presentations

Dr. Kelly Gallagher
Characterization of the C-terminal domain of CGI-112, a protein involved in the ER-associated degradation pathway

Introduction to the professional quote format and compound screening to project-based experiments in the biochemistry laboratory

Jacqueline Bennett, Danielle Dragotta, Erika Stopler
Greener synthesis of photochromic, fluorescent, and industrially important organic compounds for one- and two-semester organic chemistry laboratories

Student Presentations

Erin Avery, Alexander Haruk, Jeffrey Mativetsky
Solution-processed templated organic semiconductor nanowires

Danielle Dragotta, Kevin Flessa, Jaqueline Bennett
Greener synthesis of thiosemicarbazones

Neil Rosenfeld, Jacqueline Bennett
Greener synthesis of electroluminescent compounds

Erika Stopler, Jaqueline Bennett
Development of a simple, qualitative tyrosinase inhibition assay for organic chemistry laboratory

Nicholas Vecchio, Maurice Odago
Synthesis and luminescence studies of rhenium(I) tricarbonyl complexes using LabQuest 2

Dr. Jacqueline Bennett Awarded Patent

Jacqueline Bennett was awarded a patent (Ethyl lactate as a tunable solvent for the green synthesis of imines) for developing a green-synthesis method of synthesizing imines, a class of nitrogen-containing compounds used extensively in industry. Her invention allows these compounds to be synthesized without the use of toxic, expensive solvents.

Dr. Allan Green Publishes Two Papers

Dr. Allan Green has published two research articles on his work related to diabetes:
Rumberger JM, Arch JRS, and Green A. (2014), Butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids increase the rate of lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. PeerJ 2:e611; DOI 10.7717/peerj.611
Green A, Krause JA, and Rumberger JM. (2014), Curcumin is a direct inhibitor of glucose transport in adipocytes. Phytomedicine. 21:118-122.

Dr. Bill Vining Receives SUNY Award

Dr. Bill Vining was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Drs. Bennett and Odago Receive NSF-TUES Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $199,777 Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM Program grant to the Research Foundation of SUNY on behalf of SUNY Oneonta in support of “CLICK: Color and Light to Improve Chemical Knowledge.” The project will be directed by Dr. Jacqueline Bennett (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Maurice Odago (Co-Principal Investigator) of SUNY Oneonta’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, and Dr. John Dudek (Co-Principal Investigator) of Hartwick College. The project will create a series of discovery-based laboratory activities that link light, chemical activity and real-world applications.

Dr. Schaumloffel, Dr. Withington (Biology) and Dr. Smolinski (Physics and Astronomy) Receive NSF S-STEM Award

SUNY Oneonta has received a $612,515 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Critical MaSS: Math and Science Scholars,” a scholarship program aimed at enabling students who would otherwise face significant barriers to graduate and enter careers or advanced degree programs in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The five-year grant, which was awarded through the NSF’s S-STEM Program, will support 24 SUNY Oneonta students in the fields of Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science & Statistics, Physics & Astronomy, or Environmental Science with scholarships of up to $5,400 per year.

Incoming freshmen who meet the program’s academic requirements and demonstrate substantial financial need will be recruited to begin the program this fall. The goal is to have at least half of the scholars come from the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

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