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Department News

25th Annual SERMACS at Georgia State University

SERMACS will be returning to Georgia State University in 2013, back to where our own Doctor W. David Wilson began it 25 years ago. The Frontiers in Nucleic Acid Chemistry symposium will be hosted at the Loews Hotel's Piedmont Room, November 13-14. Please contact organizer Dr. Markus W. Germann for further information.

Atlanta Biacore / MicroCal User's Day

Doctors W. David Wilson and Markus W. Germann will be hosting the GE Healthcare Life Sciences Biacore and MicroCal User's Day this year, 2p-4p November 12th in Petit Science Center Room 124. Please join them for refreshments and presentations by Georgia State University, University of Georgia, and GE Healthcare Life Sciences representatives. Additional information can be found in the brochure linked here: Biacore and MicroCal User's Day Flyer.

48th Annual Southeast Regional ACS Undergraduate Research Conference

Georgia State University’s Department of Chemistry is delighted to be the host site of the 2016 48th Southeast Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC). The conference will be held in early November, 2016. The mission of SURC is to promote undergraduate research scholarship and activity done in partnership with faculty and other research mentors and is an outstanding forum for students to showcase their undergraduate research through oral or poster presentations, develop skills in presenting and discussing scientific advances, exchange ideas with undergraduate scholars from other universities, and discuss graduate school opportunities with participating colleges and universities. Georgia State is in the heart of a stimulating intellectual community and anticipates more than 500 participants from local and regional colleges and universities. Regional graduate schools will be onsite to provide program and admissions information. For more information please contact Dr. Maged Henary at mhenary1@gsu or Rita Bennett at

Chemistry professor’s work described in a prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) publication

When two proteins differ just by one electron, what would be the structural consequence? Recently, a graduate student, Ms. Fange (Katherine) Liu, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, has provided a remarkable answer. The human nuclear iron protein Pirin is present in all tissues but its biological function was unknown until a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) describing Ms. Liu's work. In its resting ferrous (Fe2+) state, Pirin is predictably inactive. Upon stimulation and oxidative stress, however, the oxidized ferric (Fe3+) Pirin changes its structure and binds to the transcriptional factor NF-κB proteins. The resulting protein complex binds and activates specific stress-related genes to initiate anti-oxidative signaling cascades. The ferric Pirin has just one more electron than the ferrous Pirin, yet over 22% of the total 290 amino acids change conformations at one side of the protein and thus Pirin becomes activated in signaling transduction. The function of Pirin is not only illuminated by the dissertation work of Ms. Liu and her fellow colleagues in Dr. Aimin Liu's laboratory, the regulation mechanism to the primary signal transduction signaling is also revealed, and yet, it is surprisingly simple, elegant, and efficient.
Ms. Liu is a graduate fellow of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics (CDT). The Liu Lab in the Department of Chemistry and CDT has recently made a few strides in the metalloprotein and free radical research field (, resulting in three consecutive publications in the National Academy of Sciences' journal known as PNAS this spring through direct submissions. The story highlighted above is one of them and it has the promise to fuel future breakthroughs in the fields of metalloprotein-based sensors and signal transduction regulations.

Two New Lecturers Join Chemistry Team

Two new Lecturers have been hired starting Fall Semester, 2013. They are Dr. Nilmi Fernando and Dr. Elina Stroeva. Dr. Fernando earned her PhD from Georgia State University under the supervision of Chemistry Professor Lucjan Strekowski (now retired) in 2011. Since then, she has served the Chemistry Department as Visiting Lecturer (Spring Semester 2012) and Organic Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator (FY 2013). However, Nilmi’s primary interest is teaching and that has led to her to the position of Lecturer. The other new Lecturer is Dr. Elina Stroeva who earned her PhD in Chemistry in 2004 from the Russian Chemical-Technology University. She held faculty positions in Russia before coming to the United States in 2009. She has worked at ABC Compounding Co. as a Chemist since 2009 and has also served as a Part Time Instructor of Chemistry a Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody Campus, since 2011. Like Dr. Fernando, Dr. Stroeva is deeply committed to a career in teaching chemistry at the college level. We welcome these two enthusiastic Lecturers to the Department and look forward to the future.

2013 Chemistry Department Annual Honors Coffee

Georgia State University Chemistry students took a break from studying for their Spring 2013 final exams by attending the Chemistry Department’s Annual Honors Coffee held on April 26th. Faculty and staff were honored to present research, teaching, and service awards to many deserving undergraduate and graduate chemistry students. Selection of this year’s award recipients was a highly competitive process involving input from the Department Chair, the Undergraduate and Graduate Directors, the Awards Committee, and Chemistry Department Faculty and Staff. The Honors Coffee, which was presided over by Profs. Stuart Allison and Kathy Grant, began when the Best Overall University Scholar Award was presented to Ekaterina M. Stroeva. The event culminated with two Chair's Awards, given to Arpana Chaudhary and Dengchao Wang by Prof. Binghe Wang. Dr. Alexander Spring received the Graduate Award for Outstanding Research at the Doctoral Level and Best Overall Chemistry Graduate Student. The recipient of the Best Overall Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award was Cecil Conroy. All awards winners were presented with commemorative certificates designed in-house by Mr. Will Lovett. Ms. Natasha Pike prepared a continental style breakfast buffet and was on hand to take photographs of the event.

Chemistry Department and Center for Diagnostics & Therapeutics Welcome Dr. Jun Yin, Associate Professor

Dr. Jun YinDr. Yin comes to us from the University of Chicago. He received his Bachelor Degree in Chemistry at Peking University, his Master’s Degree in Chemistry at Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California in Berkeley. In 2011 Dr. Yin received the Catalyst Award from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium and Searle Foundation and the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award. In 2006 he received the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award. Dr. Yin has a very strong chemical biology program. His research is focused on developing chemical probes and engineering enzymes to label and image cellular proteins, elucidating signal transduction pathways mediated by ubiquitin modification of cellular proteins, and expanding the substrate scopes of NRPS enzymes for the biosynthesis of natural products with diverse structures. He was recently awarded an NIH R01 grant through NIGMS to continue his research. Dr. Yin is in the process of setting up his Lab and will join us on August 12, 2013.

Dr. Donald Hamelberg Honored with 2012-2013 College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

The Chemistry Department is pleased to announce that Dr. Donald Hamelberg was named Outstanding Junior Faculty member by the Dean and the 2012-2013 College of Arts & Sciences Executive Committee, recognizing his many contributions to our department and university in the few years he has been with us as a professor. The department is pleased to celebrate Dr. Hamelberg's service here at GSU and grateful to the Dean for bestowing these well-deserved honors upon him.

Neil Renfroe Receives 2012-2013 College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Junior Staff Award

Dean Long and the College of Arts and Sciences Staff Executive Comittee recognized Chemistry Grants and Contracts Officer Neil Renfroe for his excellent and tireless work on behalf of the department, college and university at large. Neil was honored at a champagne reception and Honors Night celebration to mark his many contributions to the university community. Please join us in thanking and congratulating Neil for his efforts!

Dr. Jenny Yang Named Distinguished University Professor

Georgia State University Mark. P. Becker and Provost Risa Palm recently designated Dr. Jenny Yang as a Distinguished University Professor in recognition of her exemplary record in research, scholarship and student mentoring. The university created the appointment this year to honor and encourage faculty demonstrating excellence in education significantly above that expected of their rank. The Chemistry department could not be more pleased to count Dr. Jenny Yang as a colleague and joins the President and Provost in thanking her for all her many contributions.

Georgia Science Olympiad

The College of Arts & Sciences at Georgia State University recently hosted the Science Olympiad Tournament. On February 16th about 300 Georgia middle school students from 21 teams competed in a full day competition involving 23 events organized and led by faculty, staff, and students from the science departments at GSU. In addition, about 200 parents, teachers, and coaches were on campus to guide and watch the students competing. This year’s event was extremely successful and a high level of competition was provided for and by the students.
Special thanks goes out to the Science Olympiad organizers: Keith Pascoe, Joan Mutanyatta-Comar, and Angela Navarro-Eisenstein (Chemistry); Brian Thoms and John Evans (Physics &Astronomy); Johhny Truong and Danielle Reid (Student Assistants).

ACS-MAC Graduate School Reality Check

 A discussion, tips and strategy session for undergraduates considering graduate school in chemistry. Open to any and all Saturday, Janary 26, 2013 in PSC124 (Petit Science Center 124, on the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No cost to attend, free lunch provided, free parking in the GSU G-Deck (due to construction closures, must enter from Central Avenue). For further details, see attached flyer.

The Department of Chemistry is Greatly Saddened by the Passing Of
Dr. David Downing Hamilton Jr.
July 30,1950 - December 2012

 David Hamilton

    Dr. Hamilton obtained a BA in English from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972. He arrived at GSU as a postbac student in 1984, working as a student assistant and then as a graduate assistant, obtaining his PhD in Chemistry from GSU in 1997, under the direction of Dr. Harry Hopkins.

Since then, David has continued to work in the Department of Chemistry as a Lab Coordinator, Visiting Lecturer & most recently as an Academic Professional. His unexpected passing has left a hole in our program and in our hearts.

We will try to pass along any additional information regarding services etc… as it becomes available.

Professor Phillip Sharp, Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine, to Speak at Georgia State University

     Dr. Sharp, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in the discoveries of split genes, will speak to the public at Georgia State University on May 8th at 10:30 AM in the Urban Life Auditorium.  A world leader in molecular biology and biochemistry, Dr. Sharp is Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His laboratory has now turned its attention to understanding how RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off (RNA interference).  These newly discovered processes have revolutionized cell biology and could potentially generate a new class of therapeutics.  He shared the Nobel Prize with Richard J. Roberts of New England Biolabs.  They were honored for work in split genes RNA splicing.  This event is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Georgia State University, and the Chemistry Collaboration, Workshops & Communities of Scholars program.

EMC Invitation

     It is a great pleasure to announce that Professor Aimin Liu will be giving an invited talk at the 23rd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference, joining a list of world-renowned speakers including many members of the National Academy of Science.  Congratulations!

NSF Funding

    It is a great pleasure to announce that Professor Gadda received a major NSF grant in addition to his NSF CAREER award.  Congratulations!

MBD Research Award Winners

    MDB day was this past Friday, June 17, and we are proud to announce that Mr. Alex Spring (Professor Mark Germann's group) won second place for his oral presentation.  Two of our students also the poster competition:  Ms. Shirlene Jackson Beckford (Professor Dabney Dixon's group) came in first and Mr. Weixuan Chen (Professor Binghe Wang's group) won second place.  Congratualtions to all!

2CI Cluster Hire

    It is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Suri S. Iyer will be joing the Chemistry Department faculty later this year as part of the Second Century Initiative (2CI).  This is excellent news, and more information will be posted soon.

Funding News

    Dr. Maged Henary's ACS-PRF proposal has been well received and is scheduled for  the final recommendation for funding at the September meeting.  This is excellent news!  Please congratulate him!

CDC Position

    It is our pleasure to announce that Ms. Denise Tevis, a recent MS graduate under the direction of Dr. David Wilson, has moved from an ORISE Fellowship to a CDC position.  Please congratulate her!

ACS Undergraduate Scholar Award

    It is our pleasure to announce that Ms. Michelle Womack, an undergraduate Chemistry major in Dr. David Wilson's group, has been named and ACS Undergraduate Scholar in a national competition.  Please congratulate her!

Travel Award

    It is our pleasure to announce that Ms. Crystal Smitherman, a PhD student in Dr. Giovanni Gadda's group, has been awarded a travel award from the organizers to attend the 17th International Symposium on Flavins and Flavoproteins.  Please congratulate her!

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

    It is our pleasure to announce that Ms. You Feng, under the direction of Dr. Yujun George Zheng, has been awarded a one-year American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.  Please congratulate her!

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