Spring 2023 Newsletter

Spring 2023 Chemistry Department Newsletter

Department Donors

We wish to extend a special thank-you to alumni and friends of the department who donated to Chemistry Department Western Foundation funds this year! Our Foundation funds support a variety of activities including student scholarships and academic awards, undergraduate summer research stipends, student travel to conferences, department seminars, equipment purchase and repair, and events for department majors and alumni. We appreciate your support! If you would like to make a gift, please visit foundation.wwu.edu or call (360) 650-3027.


WWU Chemistry Department Newsletter #23 was edited by Rob Berger with contributions from staff, faculty, and Western Today.

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Message from the Chair

Prof. Clint Spiegel, Department Chair
Prof. Clint Spiegel, Chemistry Department Chair

Ottomista  Pessimista

Welcome to our Spring 2023 newsletter! As I draft my annual chair message on a rainy spring Saturday in the Pacific Northwest, I’m reminded of the deluge of torrential ‘atmospheric rivers’ that blanketed much of the West Coast throughout the early parts of 2023, causing innumerable floods, mudslides, and power outages. While the immediate impact of such precipitation was tragic for many, the longer enduring effect was a dramatic floral ‘super bloom’ in many parts of the Western US where wildflowers lay dormant for many years. My hope is that our wet spring in the PNW will have the effect of minimizing the late summer wildfire season we’ve now come to expect with global climate change. As with any year, 2022-23 had several bumps along the way, but we have plenty of accomplishments. Our department returned to full in-person operations, and we were able to move our entire general chemistry and biochemistry lab curricula to the new Interdisciplinary Sciences Building. Faculty-directed research groups in our department mentored over 80 paid summer research students, and our highly qualified and engaged staff is back to full capacity (with several new faces).

As the adage claims, ‘the only constant is change’, we have seen aplenty in the Chemistry Department over the past year. We bid farewell to Profs. Erin Duffy and Michael Enright. We will miss their energy, drive, and ingenuity in their teaching and student-focused research endeavors. Jessica Coogan also transitioned to another position on campus as a promotion. We have been fortunate to hire, and are truly excited to welcome, several new members to our staff. Margo Nanneman and Heather Purcell joined the department as program coordinators; it has been a joy to work with them in the office where the buzz of student activity is back in full force. Sarah Robinson joined our department as a fiscal technician. Her timely arrival and quick ability to learn served as an essential glue for maintaining our department grant activities while we had vacancies in several positions. Calvin Murphy joined our department as our stockroom manager and safety coordinator. His careful focus on safety matters throughout the department has made immediate positive impacts that have helped heighten our safety culture. Charles Wandler returned to our department to fill a new position to coordinate many of the instructional labs in our program after working in Scientific Technical Services for over a decade. His organization and foresight have served to improve our departmental laboratory operations on many fronts. Lastly, we welcome the newest addition to our team, Prof. Lauren Dudley. Prof. Dudley joined our faculty this Spring quarter to teach instrumental analysis and advanced inorganic lab. Prof. Dudley’s impact has been immediate and positive, and I look forward to continued work with her in the next academic year.

Every year, it is an honor to be given the responsibility to highlight our department’s many activities, awards, and accomplishments. From Spring 2022 to Winter 2023, our department had 84 graduates, some of whom were our first cohort of our growing B.A. Biochemistry degree. With our students’ growing interest in biochemistry and molecular biology, a new student-initiated Molecular Biosciences Club was started with many great cross-disciplinary activities. I would imagine some of the nascent enthusiasm for this club was inspired by the return of our annual Molecular Biosciences Symposium organized by Prof. Jeanine Amacher. This meeting serves as an opportunity for early career scientists to share their projects with each other and with our students, and some of the presenters were department alumni. Prof. Amacher was also instrumental in renewing our NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant. This fund is dedicated to bringing students to WWU Chemistry from other institutions around the nation to embark in an authentic research experience over the summer. We have run this program as a department since 2011 and supported 8-10 students annually.

There are several remarkable accomplishments to highlight for members of our community this year. Some of the notable awards for our students, trainees, and alumni are as follows: Elise Tahti (B.S. Biochemistry, class of 2024) was named a Goldwater Scholar, recent graduates Estelle Ronayne and Alex Johnson (both B.S. Biochemistry graduates, class of 2021) were awarded NSF Predoctoral Fellowship awards, and Dr. Kenny Childers (postdoctoral scientist in the Spiegel Group) was named a Judith Graham Pool National Hemophilia Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar. Our department manager, Carrie Annett, received the Outstanding Classified Staff award. Carrie is one of the most knowledgeable and attentive people in the college, and her leadership has been instrumental to keeping our department operating productively over the past many years. I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to receive this award. Lastly, this has been what one would call a ‘banner year’ for Prof. Mark Bussell. This past year, Prof. Bussell received an IMPACT Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and an Outstanding Mentorship Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research. Additionally, he and his spouse (Prof. Kristi Lemm, Psychology) were both named Fulbright Scholars and will travel to Budapest, Hungary, this Fall quarter for their respective scholarly activities. Mark’s long and productive career as a Teacher-Scholar has served as an inspiration for many of us in the department.

We are truly grateful for the continued support our students have received in the form of generous gifts from our community. These financial investments in our students are essential for supporting transformative research experiences and helping them achieve their fullest potential. This year, WWU Give Day is on May 25th. All our designated funds you can find on our Give Day page are used to directly impact students in their growth as learners and scholars.

In the last few years, WWU has seen a decrease in student enrollment campuswide, mostly due to the Covid19 pandemic. While Chemistry has seen a decrease in enrollment in some of our general and organic chemistry courses, our major enrollments over that time have been steady and encouraging. In fact, for the last few years we have evolved our enrollment process for the second half of our major to ensure equitable access to the seats in our major during a period where demand outpaces our sustainable capacity. As part of our enrollment process, we ask our students to respond to several prompts in essay form. From these, we have learned plenty about the various ways in which our students struggle outside of the classroom, which represent barriers to their success inside the classroom. Our students self-report that many of them struggle with mental health, learning disabilities, financial insecurity, and traumatic family or personal life events to name a few. While alarming to reflect on the numerous threats our students face that prevent them from succeeding in a learning environment, I think this process can also be viewed with some optimism. As we learn more about our students from a holistic, human point-of-view, the more we will be attuned to what they need as their educators and mentors. I, for one, will continue to listen intently to their voices and think creatively about how I can assist them in reaching their goals.

Clint's signature



Department Graduates

Congratulations to all 84 of our graduates from Spring 2022 to Winter 2023!

B.S. Chemistry

  • Jannick Abullarade
  • Jill Addington
  • Jacob Albert-Sonneman
  • Joseph Almanza
  • Mary-Therese Anunobi
  • Eulogia Baader
  • Jane Cho
  • Michael Edwin
  • Flynn Forest-Angelos
  • Romane Frevol
  • Kasey Green
  • Wesley Hager
  • Shelbie Hansen
  • Keegan Hood
  • Hayden Houck
  • Tee Ing
  • Bailey Klinger
  • Aven Lantz
  • Riley Martin
  • Melvin Martinezcampos
  • Eden Ojala
  • Christian Phillips
  • Tyler Roberts
  • Aidan Sanchez
  • Franklin Saylor Price
  • Txell Smith-Aguirre
  • Cierra Leone Soumis
  • Allison Teigen

B.A. Chemistry

  • Ryan Bozick
  • Keith Echague
  • Kaitlyn Flynn
  • Cody Jennings
  • Madison Kiel
  • Conner Klingler
  • Kaliya Moen
  • Giselle Moreno
  • Lydia Partridge

B.A.E. Chemistry/Education

  • Foster John
  • Rueben Quick
  • Samuel Wilder


B.S. Biochemistry

  • Hannah Ambrose
  • Abigail Andersen
  • Alyssa Atchison
  • Nathan Avery
  • Jessica Blair
  • Jadon Blount
  • Alexander Bullock
  • Mathias Caldwell
  • Dylen Cherry
  • Josue Claros
  • Ashley Crane
  • Kayla Croney
  • David Cummins
  • Aliyah Dawkins
  • Nickolas Gaither
  • Addison Heimann
  • Carolynne Holbrook
  • Nickolaus Kang
  • Allison Keller
  • Micah Lund
  • Alex MacNeil
  • Irene Maye
  • Kate McConnell
  • Nathan McCutcheon
  • Emma Nusbaum
  • Sam Patrick
  • Ian Penner
  • Liam Quille
  • Venecia Ramirez
  • Morgan Sweet
  • Quentin Wilkins

B.A. Biochemistry

  • Charlie DeFreest
  • Adam Garrison
  • Isabelle Kim
  • Jennifer Switalski
  • Zoe Wuester

M.S. Chemistry

  • Tara Chin
  • Hannah Hennig
  • Derek McCaffery
  • Corbin Mitchell
  • Melissa Oueld es cheikh
  • Matt Smiley
  • Jem Talusig
  • Johanna Urbach

New Faculty and Staff

Lauren Dudley

Lauren Dudley, Instructor

Lauren Dudley joined the Chemistry and SMATE Departments in the spring of 2023. After she earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Chapman University, and an M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California - Irvine, Dr. Dudley worked in industry as a chemist and lab manager for four years. She soon realized her passion was science education. Having now taught in higher education chemistry for 11 years, she completed her Ph.D. in Science Education in March 2023. Dr. Dudley's research revolves around mitigating misconceptions in foundational chemistry knowledge, enhancing student self-efficacy and STEM identity, and identifying inequities in discourses embedded in chemistry texts. Originally from Orange, California, she and her partner, Robert, fell in love with Bellingham in 2012 when they visited his family. Along with their son, the Dudleys are happy to finally call Bellingham their home. Dr. Dudley loves hiking, camping, and painting in her free time.

Calvin Murphy, Stockroom Manager

Calvin Murphy graduated from WWU in 2005 with a B.S. in Biochemistry, and then worked in Prof. David Patrick's research lab. He later worked at the Shell refinery for 15 years, and is happy to be returning to his roots at WWU.

Margo Nanneman

Margo Nanneman, Program Coordinator

Margo Nanneman (they/she) joined the Chemistry Department as a Program Coordinator in the fall of 2022 after working as a Neurofeedback Technician. They hold a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from WWU and conducted research on neurological disorders and mindfulness meditation. They are excited to support students' educational journeys and goals. Out of the office, they enjoy instructing yoga, partner dancing, medicinal plant foraging, nutrient-dense cooking, and exploring beautiful Bellingham.

Heather Purcell

Heather Purcell, Program Coordinator

Originally from Pittsburgh, Heather Purcell has called the Pacific Northwest home since 2008. She has a degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an eclectic background. Ms. Purcell started her career in higher education at the University of Pittsburgh and is glad to have found a home in the Chemistry Department at WWU.

Sarah Robinson, Stockroom Fiscal Technician

Sarah Robinson joined the department in the spring of 2022 as the Stockroom Fiscal Technician. She has been working off and on for Western for about the last 10 years. Ms. Robinson is staying busy placing orders for research labs, tracking back-orders, and reconciling all the purchases every month. She has lived in Bellingham most of her life, and met her husband here. She has two very active and energetic boys, ages 8 and 11, who keep her very busy volunteering at their school and chauffeuring them to all their activities. In their free time, she and her family love to go on RV camping trips. Ms. Robinson also really enjoys working on DIY house projects with her husband. To her husband’s dismay, she already has a summer project list going!

Charles Wandler

Charles Wandler, Laboratory Coordinator

[Editor's note: Charles Wandler is back in our department for a second time! You can check out the 1999 department newsletter (page 9 of the link) to see that the style of his introductions hasn't changed much. 😀]

Hello! Yep, it’s me, Charles, back for my second stint in the Chemistry Department. My first lasted 16 years: 1996-1997 as lecturer, 1997-2003 as science technician, and finally 2003-2012 as organic lab coordinator.

In the summer of 2012, I transferred to the wonderful department of Scientific Technical Services to work on instrumentation with great folks like Clint Burgess, David Patrick, Caileen Brison, Steven Emory, Erin Macri, and others.

So Charles, if you were having such a great time in SciTech, why go return to the chaos of Chemistry??

Well, just like in the summer of 2003 when the organic lab coordinator position was created, in the summer of 2022 a new lab coordinator position was created. Meghan Blogdett-Carrillo (our general chemistry lab coordinator) moved to the new Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, necessitating a need for a technician in Morse Hall to coordinate the honors, analytical, instrumental, and physical/inorganic labs. In addition to my lab coordination duties, I also support our new stockroom manager Calvin Murphy and instrument specialist Mark Lorenz. Oh, did I mention I received a pay increase and that due to my advanced age, I’m now retirement eligible? I could depart for Arizona at any time! Nah, having too much fun...

For my non-chemistry activities, I retired from coaching long distance runners, but am still trying to stay active by going to the gym (this picture shows me completing the recent Anytime Fitness 100 workout challenge). I try to travel to Canada and the greater Vancouver area as much as possible via Amtrak, and will try to get back to Arizona and the Mesa area for 10-14 days this upcoming December. (Hopefully Prof. Spiegel will approve my leave request!)

I was honored by the university for 25 years of service this spring (along with Profs. Vyvyan and Anthony-Cahill), so how many years do I have left?? Not sure, but definitely less than 10!

Hope all is well wherever you are. Drop me a line and give me your life updates if you so desire.

Cheers, cfw

2022-23 Student Awards

CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award - Raymond Stevens

Outstanding Honors Chemistry Student - Serenity McAlister

Outstanding Organic Student - Gabriel Black

Senior Organic Chemistry Student Award - Aimee Long

Outstanding Analytical Student - Sarah Maffett

Outstanding Inorganic Student - Catie Bodinger

Outstanding Computational Student - Henry Thornes

Outstanding Physical Chemistry Student - Cyprus Harper

Advancing Chemistry Through Service (ACTS) Award - Davi Henry and Sarah Maffett

Sea Bong Chang Memorial Biochemistry Award - Lola Lang

Outstanding Biochemistry and Chemical Biology Student - Noah Goodwin-Rice

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant - Jess Blair

Outstanding B.S. Biochemistry Graduate - Elise Tahti

Outstanding B.A. Biochemistry Graduate - Anna Byquist

Outstanding B.S. Chemistry Graduate - Adelle Koenig

Outstanding B.A. Chemistry Graduate - Melissa D'Haene

Outstanding M.S. Chemistry Graduate - Kayla Croney

2023-24 Student Fellowships and Scholarships

WWU Chemistry Scholarships - Davi Henry, Benjamin Steinberg, and Ava Horton

Larry Heimark Chemistry Scholarship - Emmy Yanchuk

Hach Land Grant Scholarships - Willow Moss and My Huynh

Catalyst Research Fellowship - Gabriel Black

Verna Alexander Price Chemistry Scholarship - Andie Jennings

Jerry Price and Nancy Scherer Scholarship - Konneytha Touch

Sal and Judy Russo Fellowship - Denali Evers

Barbara French Duzan Scholarships - Kaylee Lane, Peyton Schuldheiss, Monique Poulson, and Elizabeth Crane

Ghio Scholarship - Peyton Schuldheiss 

Knapman Chemistry Scholarships - Gabriel Black and Caroline Cerevolo

Denice (Ambrose) Hougen Scholarships - Sarah Maffett and Isabelle Young

Shaun Murphy Memorial Scholarship - Ava DeKokkoek

Karen & Joseph Morse Fellowships - Griffin Cooper and Konneytha Touch

Student/Alumni Highlights and Accomplishments

  • Current B.S. Biochemistry junior Elise Tahti was recently awarded a prestigious Goldwater scholarship for her senior year. She also recently published her first first-author paper with her research advisor, Prof. Jeanine Amacher, in the journal Protein Science. Within the department, Elise is involved with the Chem Club and was the department's internal REU student in the summer of 2023. She also works at the university Tutoring Center. She will be doing research in the Amgen REU program at UCLA this summer, before returning to Bellingham for her senior year. Elise plans to pursue a Ph.D. after graduating from WWU. According to Elise, "When I first visited Western 3 years ago, I was immediately impressed with the Chemistry Department and its focus on undergraduate research, which is why I decided to come here as an out-of-state student. That first impression certainly was true: I have done so much more research as an undergrad than I ever thought was possible, and receiving the Goldwater scholarship really goes to show it. I am so excited for the opportunities this presents me with both here at Western, and for graduate school and beyond!"
  • Hannah Halstead presenting her research at the 2022 Murdock College Science Research Conference.
    Senior B.S. Chemistry major Hannah Halstead gave an oral presentation at the 2022 Murdock College Science Research Conference, showcasing her research in Prof. Mark Bussell's group (see photo at right). Hannah's presentation was titled "Nickel-palladium phosphide catalysts for selective hydrogenation reactions".
  • Recent department graduate Estelle Ronayne (B.S. Biochemistry, 2021) was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation. Estelle did research with Prof. Clint Spiegel while at Western, and is currently in the Biophysics Ph.D. program at UC San Francisco working with Profs. Yifan Cheng and John Gross.
  • Chemistry master's student Haley Holliday was featured in a news item highlighting the value of collaboration in research.
  • Students and faculty on a group hike at the 2023 Volcano Conference in chemical biology.
    A contingent of about 20 WWU students and faculty attended the 2023 Volcano Conference in chemical biology in Pack Forest, WA in February. We're told they were mostly hard at work presenting and learning about research, but the picture at right suggests they also had time for a pretty spectacular group hike.
  • Biology master's student Jeremy Johnson, whose research is partly in Prof. Karin Lemkau's group in Chemistry, received a Graduate Research and Creative Opportunities Grant from WWU to support his work on the chemicals produced by phytoplankton in the Salish Sea.

WWU Chem Club

Highlights from the Chem Club's 2022-23 activities

This year really felt like the return to "normal" with the Chem Club being able to host many of its traditional in-person events again. Social events this year ranged from tie-dyeing of t-shirts and lab coats, the 2nd Annual Bake-Off, movie nights to relax before finals, a game night in the SMATE library, and most recently, Costume Bowling. This year also saw the return of demo shows and community outreach in the winter and spring, including our largest ever Wizards at Western show entertaining an audience of ~200 before we set off the fire alarm. Fortunately, we were able to do the last demo outside for the folks that stuck around to see the fire department arrive to confirm there was not actually a fire. 

You can follow the club’s activities through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wwuchem). If you are interested in sharing your career path with current students, we are always looking for alumni to be panelists at the College to Career event near the start of spring quarter. Alumni and friends of the department are also welcome at the annual picnic, Saturday May 27th, 11am-3pm at the picnic shelter in Whatcom Falls Park.

Faculty Promotions and New Roles

In the fall of 2022, Profs. Jeanine Amacher and Ying Bao were promoted to Associate Professor, and Prof. David Rider was promoted to Full Professor!

Staff/Faculty Awards and Honors

  • Carrie Annett, 2023 Outstanding Classified Staff awardee
    Chemistry Department Manager Carrie Annett earned the 2023 Outstanding Classified Staff Award. In her almost 30 years at Western, Carrie has worked in several roles across campus, and has been our Department Manager since 2013. She is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and has worked tirelessly to keep things running smoothly, particularly during the past few years of remote operations and unprecedented changes in our staff team. We are truly grateful to have Carrie in our department!
  • Prof. Mark Bussell earned several awards this year, recognizing his record of impactful research and mentoring during his decades at Western. These include a Fulbright Award, an IMPACT Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and an Outstanding Mentorship Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research. For the Fulbright Award, Dr. Bussell will spend four months in Budapest and conduct research at the Institute for Materials and Environmental Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Grant Funding and Research Highlights

  • Prof. Jeanine Amacher led the successful renewal of the Chemistry Department's REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) grant from the National Science Foundation. This is the third successful renewal of this program, which started in 2011, and will allow our department to host eight students from community colleges and four-year institutions with limited research opportunities in each of the next three summers (2023-25). Prof. Amacher is taking over director duties of the REU program from Prof. Amanda Murphy. Prof. Murphy was a co-PI on this grant, and did an outstanding job leading the program during the last cycle (see details in the next section), especially given the challenges of the Covid pandemic.
  • Prof. Norda Stephenson was awarded a grant by the WWU Social Justice and Equity Committee to support her project titled, “Exploring the participation and persistence of underrepresented women in chemistry”. The project focuses on capturing the experiences of underrepresented women as they navigate chemistry. The stories of these women can help communities at Western better understand these women students’ lived experiences, and may provide insight into how they can be better served and supported for success.
  • Profs. Ying Bao, Michael Enright, David Rider, Amanda Murphy, and Manuel Montaño (Environmental Sciences) were awarded a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant ($121,438) from the National Science Foundation to purchase a Zetasizer to support multidisciplinary research and education at Western. The Zetasizer measures the size and surface charge of particles suspended in liquids, and provides information about how they are aggregated. The instrument will be used by a variety of research groups and multiple lab courses, and will be available for use by local industries.
  • Prof. Greg O'Neil was featured in a news item highlighting his group's collaborative work toward finding a practical use for alga-derived alkenones in cosmetics.

REU Program

The 2022 REU students presenting their research at the end-of-summer symposium.

In the summer of 2022, our department's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program hosted six students: Damaris Allen (Beloit College), Clarissa Huisman (Simpson College), Elijah Pellerin (Whatcom Community College), Jenai Simons (Diablo Valley College), Joseph Sulaica (University of the Incarnate Word), and Elise Tahti (WWU). At the end-of-summer symposium, these students gave poster presentations of their research (see picture at right). The symposium also featured three external speakers: Dr. Laura Nocka (postdoc at Stanford University), Prof. Paige Hall (University of Portland), and Sean Severt (research associate at Moderna and alum of our department). With the recent successful renewal of our REU Program through a grant from the National Science Foundation, we look forward to continuing to host research students from around the country for the next three summers!

Molecular Biosciences Symposium

Prof. Janet Iwasa (University of Utah) presenting her work at the Molecular Biosciences Symposium

The second Molecular Biosciences Symposium was held on October 21, 2022. During this all-day event, nine current Ph.D. students and two postdoctoral scholars from the Seattle area gave exciting research talks. The speakers included two Chemistry Department alumni, Douglas Baumgardner (Gilbertson lab) and Brianne King (O'Neil lab). The keynote speaker, Dr. Janet Iwasa (University of Utah), was funded by a Fraser Lecture Series grant (Provost's Office), and gave an excellent seminar on her work in molecular visualization! Over 100 students and faculty attended various events throughout the day, which included professional development roundtables at lunch and a session on how to get into graduate school (including a Ph.D. student panel) led by Dr. Bill Mahoney, Associate Dean of Student and Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Washington graduate school. In addition to the Fraser Lecture Series grant, the symposium was funded by NSF CAREER and Cottrell Scholar awards to Prof. Jeanine Amacher.

Visiting Scholars from Around the World

Asnake Haile and Tim Kowalczyk

Prof. Tim Kowalczyk hosted international visiting scholar Dr. Asnake Haile from Assosa University, Ethiopia in June 2022 as part of the US-Africa Electronic Structure Initiative sponsored by the American Institute of Physics. Electronic structure encompasses the theory and methods behind quantum mechanical modeling in chemistry, condensed matter physics, and materials science.

Through the Initiative, African early-career academics joined US colleagues for a virtual conference in 2021. One year later, the program sponsored the African scholars to travel to the US to present at a pair of topical conferences hosted in-person at Columbia University. Following the conferences, the African scholars dispersed to host institutions in the US for a visiting research stint before returning to their home countries.

Dr. Haile visited Dr. Kowalczyk's group for two weeks in June 2022 to launch a collaboration examining excited-state properties of nitrogen-doped nanocarbon materials. The study pairs Dr. Haile's expertise in DFT modeling of heterogeneous catalyst systems with computationally efficient excited-state methods developed in the Kowalczyk group. Despite disruptions due to Covid and summer electrical maintenance, the team completed a round of proof-of-concept calculations and established a roadmap for continued collaboration, with time to spare for a hike (pictured) and a lunch social with Dr. Takele Seda (WWU Physics and Astronomy). Dr. Kowalczyk's Cottrell Scholar Award helped with local hosting support for Dr. Haile's visit.

Carlos Linares

Prof. Mark Bussell is hosting Fulbright Visiting Scholar Dr. Carlos Linares during 2022-23. Dr. Linares is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela, where he teaches a range of chemistry courses and does research in the area of heterogeneous catalysis. Dr. Linares and his wife Gilma arrived in Bellingham in October 2022, will stay until September 2023, and are enjoying the opportunity to explore life in the northwest. Dr. Linares quickly settled into the Bussell lab and he is one of the key researchers on a project to develop indium oxide-based catalysts for photothermal conversion of carbon dioxide to solar fuels. Specifically, Dr. Linares is investigating the synthesis and catalytic properties of amorphous metal-boron alloys (e.g., Ni-B) prepared on nanostructured indium oxide support materials. Bussell lab members are benefitting greatly by having Dr. Linares in the group because of his catalysis expertise and also for sharing his international perspective of living and working in Venezuela. To read more about Dr. Linares's experiences in Bellingham and at Western, see this profile.


In the past academic year, research groups in our department published 20 peer-reviewed articles, which include as co-authors 40 WWU undergraduate students (*), 12 WWU graduate students (†), 1 WWU REU student (#), 1 WWU postdoc (^), and 2 visiting scholars (&).

*Tahti, EF; *Blount, JM; Jackson, SN; *Gao, M; *Gill, NP; Smith, SN; *Pederson, NJ; #Rumph, SN; Struyvenberg, SA; *Mackley, IGP; Madden, DR; Amacher, JF. "Additive energetic contributions of multiple peptide positions determine the relative promiscuity of viral and human sequences for PDZ domain targets". Protein Sci. 2023, e4611.

Hobbs; HT; Shah, NH; Shoemaker, SR; Amacher, JF; Marqusee, S; Kuriyan, J. "Saturation mutagenesis of a predicted ancestral Syk-family kinase". Protein Sci. 2022, 31, e4411.

*Johnson, DA; *Piper, IM; Vogel, BA; Jackson, SN; *Svendsen, JE; *Kodama, HM; *Lee, DE; *Lindblom, KM; McCarty, J; Antos, JM; Amacher, JF. "Structures of Streptococcus pyogenes class A sortase in complex with substrate and product mimics provide key details of target recognition". J. Biol. Chem. 2022, 298, 102446.

*Valgardson, JD; Struyvenberg, SA; Sailer, ZR; *Piper, IM; *Svendsen, JE; *Johnson, DA; Vogel, BA; Antos, JM; Harms, MJ; Amacher, JF. "Comparative analysis and ancestral sequence reconstruction of bacterial sortase family proteins generates functional ancestral mutants with different sequence specificities". Bacteria 2022, 1, 121-135.

Mu, X; Chang, Y; Bao, Y; Cui, A; Zhong, X; *Cooper, GB; *Guo, A; Shan, G. "Core-satellite nanoreactors based on cationic photosensitizer modified hollow CuS nanocage for ROS diffusion enhanced phototherapy of hypoxic tumor". Biomater. Adv. 2023, 145, 213263.

Crockett, JR; Wang, M; Doebler, JE; Pawale, T; Li, X; Bao, Y. "Impact on the formation and catalytic property of Pt-based nanocatalysts by galvanic reaction with co-reduction agents". Chem. Mater. 2022, 34, 9282-9293.

Borda, E; Haskell, T; Boudreaux. "Cross-disciplinary learning: A framework for assessing application of concepts across science disciplines". J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 2022, 52, 83-92.

*Juetten, K; Strecker, AL; Harrison, A; *Landram, Z; De Bruyn, WJ; Clark, CD. "Chromophoric dissolved organic matter and dissolved organic carbon in lakes across an elevational gradient from the mountains to the sea". Earth Space Sci. 2022, 9, e2022EA002503.

Deshaye, MY; *Wrede, AT; Kowalczyk, T. "Electronic transition dipole moments from time-independent excited-state density-functional tight-binding". J. Chem. Phys. 2023, 158, 134104.

Deshaye, MY; *Pollard, ZA; *Banducci, A; *Goodey, A; &Prommin, C; &Kanlayakan, N; Kungwan, N; Kowalczyk, T. "Accessible and efficient modeling of chromophores with time-independent excited-state density functional tight-binding: Concepts and applications". Physical Chemistry Research at Undergraduate Institutions: Innovative and Impactful Approaches 2022, 2, 125-144.

*Ramirez, V; *Van Pelt, EB; *Pooni, RK; Melchor Bañales, AJ; Larsen, MB. "Thermodynamic, kinetic, and mechanistic studies of the thermal guanidine metathesis reaction". Org. Biomol. Chem. 2022, 20, 5861-5868.

*Marquis, CD; *McCarley, LM; *Pollock, AL; *Cutcher, AS; *Cannella, MT; *Smith, TL; Larsen, MB; Peden, BM; Johnson, BL; Leger, JM. "Excitation of 'forbidden' guided-wave plasmon polariton modes via direct reflectance using a low refractive index polymer coupling layer". PLOS One 2022, 17, e0276522.

Reddy, CM et al (including Lemkau, KL). "Synergy of analytical approaches enables a robust assessment of the Brazil mystery oil spill". Energy Fuels 2022, 36, 13688-13704.

*Hausken, KG; *Frevol, RL; *Dowdle, KP; *Young, AN; Talusig, JM; *Holbrook, CC; *Rubin, BK; Murphy, AR. "Quantitative functionalization of the tyrosine residues in silk fibroin through an amino-tyrosine intermediate". Macromol. Chem. Phys. 2022, 223, 2200119.

Najafi, S; McCarty, J; Delaney, KT; Fredrickson, GH; Shea, J-E. "Field-theoretic simulation method to study the liquid-liquid phase separation of polymers". Phase-Separated Biomolecular Condensates 2022, 37-49.

Belofski, G; Ahn, H; Zapata, M; Wilcox, D; Salomon, CE; Spiegel, PC Jr. (2023) "Antimicrobial isoflavans and other metabolites of Dalea jamesii". Planta Medica 2023, online ahead of print.

†Peters, SC; ^Childers, KC; †Mitchell, CE; *Avery, NG; *Reese, SS Jr; *Mitchell, C; †Wo, SW; †Swanson, CD; *Brison, CM; Spiegel PC Jr. "Stable binding to phosphatidylserine-containing membranes requires conserved arginine residues in tandem C domains of blood coagulation factor VIII". Front. Mol. Biosci. 2022, 9, 1040106.

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