Chemistry Department Seminars

Chemistry Department Seminars will take place online until further notice. In order to attend a department seminar, please contact the chemistry department at to request the Zoom meeting information.

The department strives to offer a diverse and vibrant seminar program. Each year leading researchers from outside the department, as well as faculty and graduate students from Western, present and discuss their cutting-edge research. This is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to actively participate in the scientific community. In addition, many outside seminar speakers are recruiting graduate students for their respective programs and are eager to discuss their program. All are welcome and encouraged to attend! 

Photo Credit Roisin Cowan-Kuist, 2019

Fall Quarter 2020

Current Seminar Schedule 

Seminars will be hosted on Zoom throughout Fall Quarter 2020. If you are interested in attending a seminar, please email to request the seminar zoom attendance information.

Seminars will take place every Friday of the quarter from 3:15-4:15pm

Seminar topics and titles will be posted as we receive additional information from speakers.

Recordings of select seminars will be available on the Chemistry Department Canvas page. If you wish to watch a past, recorded seminar please reach out to


Friday, September 25th 

"The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Graduate School" WWU Chemistry Faculty Panel

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Margaret Scheuermann (WWU Chemistry)

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Amanda Murphy (WWU Chemistry)

"New Covalent Modification Strategies for Silk-Based Biomaterials"

Friday, October 16th, 2020

James Mack (Univ. of Cincinnati) 

Seminar Title: Shaken Not Stirred: Chemistry through High Speed Ball milling

Abstract: Historically solvents have been believed to be an essential part of a chemical reaction; so much so that thought is rarely given to conducting a chemical reaction in the absence of a solvent. Because solvents are a significant amount of the waste generated, developing methods to reduce this waste is essential. Recently solvent-free reactions via mechanochemistry have created a new pathway to conduct traditional organic chemical reactions without a solvent. We have demonstrated various organic reactions can be conducted using this unique methodology.

Bio: James Mack is a professor of chemistry with interests in the development of environmentally benign chemical reactions. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at Middlebury College (1995), he was awarded a New England Board of Higher Education Scholarship and earned his doctoral degree at the University of New Hampshire. While at the University of New Hampshire, he studied the derivations of fullerenes under the supervision of Glen P. Miller. After earning his doctoral degree, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Lawrence T. Scott developing a bench top synthesis of fullerenes and nanotubes using corannulene based building blocks. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati in 2003, was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 2009 and promoted to the rank of Professor in 2016. His research has been featured in the New York Times, Chemical and Engineering News, Chemistry and Industry and National Public Radio (US). In addition to his research accomplishments, he received recognition for his mentorship and service by both graduate and undergraduate students. More recently, he was appointed the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati, overseeing over 300 graduate programs and over 11,000 graduate students.

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

John Antos (WWU Chemistry) 

“Sortase-Mediated Ligations: New Methods and Applications”

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Ming Chen (Univ. of Auburn)

Enantioselective Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation via Unsaturated Organoboron Compounds 

Friday, November 6th, 2020

Nancy Jensen – (ACS PRF)

“Research Grants – Fact and Fallacy”

Friday, November 13th, 2020

Tom Snaddon – (Indiana University)

"Enantioselective Cooperative Catalysis: Design, Development and Application"

Monday, November 16th @ 3:30

Alberto Melchor Bañales - WWU Thesis Defense 

Join Meeting

"Carbodiimides: Templates for Covalent Adaptable Networks and Post Polymerization Modification".

Abstract: The global increase in plastic waste has negatively impacted the environment, human health, and economy. Plastics that lack recyclability such as thermosets are some of the main culprits. To help address this issue, reactive functional groups can be incorporated in macromolecules, enabling straightforward post-polymerization modification (PPM) that can enhance their ability to be recycled. This thesis studied carbodiimides as a reactive functional group for facile PPM with amines through a catalyst-free transformation to N,Nʹ,Nʺ-trisubstituted guanidines. Small molecule studies showed that N,Nʹ,Nʺ-trisubstituted guanidines underwent a reversible thermal exchange reaction without a catalyst. The newly found thermal exchange reaction, termed thermal guanidine metathesis (TGM), was used as the basis for a new type of covalent adaptable network (CAN). At elevated temperatures, the CAN transitioned from thermoset to thermoplastic-like rheological behavior, which allowed the material to be reprocessed.  TGM-based CANs exhibited vitrimer-like behavior such as a relatively constant crosslink density and the Arrhenius scaling of relaxation times. Additionally, differences in activation energy determined by small molecule studies and stress relaxation analysis were consistent with the Semenov-Rubinstein model of thermoreversible highly crosslinked networks. This thesis also studied the transformation of carbodiimides with multifunctional amines for novel polymers using PPM.

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Novella Bates, Ph.D. Candidate, Monica Hinds Lab, Oregon Health & Science University 

“Bioconjugation of a collagen-mimicking peptide to poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels promotes endothelial cell attachment while maintaining hemocompatibility”

NO SEMINAR Friday, November 27th, 2020
Wednesday, December 2nd @ 3:00PM

Justin Doyle Thesis Defense

LSC Fabrication and Design: Bulk Polymerization and Ultrathin Architectures

Join Zoom Meeting

Friday, December 4th, 2020

No seminar 

WWU Chemistry Research Publications