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Chair's Corner

Eric TillmanIn many ways, this past year feels like both a testament to how productive our collection of faculty can be, and also a look-ahead to what we can become as we prepare for larger spaces and improved facilities. Planning for the new Sobrato Campus of Innovation and Discovery, which will see our entire department move into brand new teaching and research spaces, has provided an exciting opportunity for us to envision what we can do with our students in larger, open research spaces and innovative teaching rooms.

Once again, our faculty and students have enjoyed tremendous success as measured by external and internal awards, publications, and off-campus presentations. In 2017-18, several publications in high quality journals, all with undergraduate SCU co-authors, came from the labs of Wheeler, Fuller, Stokes, Tillman, Abbyad, and Hoggard. Journals ranging from Catalysis to Journal of Physical Chemistry to Supramolecular Chemistry to Journal of Chemical Education illustrate the breadth of research currently being explored in the department, and the numerous undergraduate coauthors exemplify the student-centered research programs that have become a hallmark of our department. As we head into the summer, over 30 students will be working alongside faculty mentors and will be supported by active grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Jean Dreyfus Award, and Petroleum Research Fund (in addition to internal support). A cohort of faculty and students attended and presented at the ACS meeting in New Orleans, in sessions ranging from Inorganic Chemistry to Cyclic and Topological Polymers. Also, a group of faculty and students participated in this year’s local ACS meeting held at Mills College.

Without question, a departmental highlight was Paul Abbyad receiving tenure along with promotion and securing a highly prestigious NSF CAREER award within about a week of each other. While neither came as a surprise to his colleagues, they provided well-deserved recognition for the high caliber of research and teaching that Paul has sustained since joining SCU in 2012. Another highlight came when Amelia Fuller was named John Nobili Professor, an endowed professorship that recognizes the productivity of her research lab. The department was also awarded a Jean Dreyfus Lectureship award, which will bring out Christy Haynes from the University of Minnesota in Fall 2019. Ching Pan, a graduating senior majoring in Biochemistry, was awarded the DeNardo Senior Prize based largely on his productivity in the research lab: four publications and counting! He will move from the Tillman lab to the Abbyad lab this summer, and remain as a research technician as he prepares to enter Medical School.

In last year’s Chair’s Corner, it was mentioned that Ian Carter O’Connell joined our department, and he is off to an outstanding start teaching in the biochemistry series. His lab is already up and running, and he will have several students working with him this summer in research that sits at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular, cellular, and systems biology. Megan Tichy finished her first year as Senior Laboratory Instructor, and has made positive changes to the General Chemistry laboratory curriculum. And while we have no “new” faculty joining our department next year, we couldn’t be happier to welcome Korin Wheeler back from her productive, year-long sabbatical at ETH Zurich.

At the end of the school year, we recognized winners of the Michael Sweeney Endowed Award for “student(s) who best exemplify Dr. Sweeney's passion for teaching, curiosity, and humor”, funded by an endowment established by donations from the Sweeney/McSweeney families. This year, similes authored by our majors Ching Pan and Celia Boone were chosen. Other student awardees  include Ching Pan (John C. Gilbert and Stephen Martin Organic Chemistry Award), Jennifer Yin and Celia Boone (Joseph Deck Award), and Kalli Dowell, Damon Rideaux, and Harrison Szeto (Bastiani Summer Research Awards).

My second year as department chair is coming to an end, and it’s been great to be part of so much success in our department. As the University continues to move full speed ahead on a new STEM complex, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a chemist at Santa Clara. I invite you to check out our Facebook page to keep up with what’s happening in our department.

Eric Tillman
Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Faculty Updates
Ian Carter-O'Connell, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Introducing Ian Carter-O'Connell

New Biochemistry Faculty

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Amelia Fuller with her research students

The Fuller Lab 2018

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Korin Wheeler and her research students

The Wheeler Lab 2018 - Breaking News

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Grace Stokes and two of her research students

The Stokes Lab 2018

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Eric Tillman and his research students

The Tillman Lab 2018

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Faculty Grants and Awards:  The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was able to secure significant funding this year to further facilitate our pursuit of improving our various programs and the student experience for our student-centered department. We appreciate the increase in funding that the Lynch Fund provided this year. This fund helps greatly with the resources it provides our student researchers.  Read More »

Chem Club

Chemistry Club collage 2018

Hello to all current and former members of the award-winning SCU Chem Club! We had an anther exciting year filled with events, conferences, and social activities!

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Congratulations to this years award winners!

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Sigma Xi

Student Researchers from Brunauer, Fuller, Stokes and Wheeler research labs presented at the Sigma Xi Poster Session on April 9. Below are photos of some student researchers who presented at the event.

Sigma Xi 2018

Alumni Corner

John MooneyJohn (Jack) Mooney '50 and his wife Sandra visited Santa Clara University in May 2018. Since 1992, Jack and his wife own a sailboat and have traveled to many places on it. This past year, the Bay Area was one of their stops. They wanted to see the changes that have taken place at the university since their last visit. New to them are the Fine Arts Building (Dowd), the Law School Building (Charney), the water fountain, and the main plaza in the middle of the university.

Jack spoke fondly of his days at Santa Clara University, particularly the years he worked with Dr. Joseph Deck. He credited what he learned at Santa Clara University for his many achievements: a successful career, papers in scientific publications, and 16 US and foreign patents. “The professors at the other university taught me chemistry, but Dr. Deck taught me how to be a chemist. I found that science asks what? Philosophy asks if? But at SCU, I learned to ask “what if?”

Robert PfeifferDr. Robert Pfeiffer '53  grew up in Floral Park (Long Island), New York. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He received his PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University in 1958 and went directly to SCU to join the faculty. Dr. Pfeiffer taught organic chemistry, organic synthesis, and natural products chemistry. He served as chair of the department and retired in 1995 with the title of professor emeritus. Dr. Pfeiffer sends greetings to all of his former Santa Clara students!

DeNardo Senior Award Winners were guests and panelists at the Gerald and Sally Denardo Lectureship Alumni Panel and Reception sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences on April 10th.

Greg Stettler '09 - Faculty Mentor, Brian McNelis - Greg finished medical school at Loyola University of Chicago in 2014 and residency in 2018.

Michael Hayes '10 - Faculty Mentor Steven Suljak - Michael finished his final year of residency in internal medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in 2018.

Emily Robinson '13 - Faculty Mentor, David Hess – Emily is currently attending medical school.

Zoe Amaris '17 - Faculty Mentor, Korin Wheeler - Zoe is currently a technical development research assistant in a biotechnology firm.

Ching Pan '18 is a DeNardo Senior Award Winner in 2018.

New Alumni - Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Ayesha Ahmed
Andres Alvarez
Carlo Armijo
Celia Boone
Valerie Bright
Genevieve Clow
Alex Codik
Vivian Dao
Lamberto DeBoni
Sharon Diep
Grace Durenberger
Zachary Ehlinger

Stephanie Eramo
Amanda Fearon
Marta Gil-Antunano
Andres Gonzalez
Grant Gordon
William Gunn
Elena Haight
Samuel Hough
Madeleine Landry
Erik Littau
Caitlynn Lowery
Ching Pan
Nikan Rahmani-Azar
Jacenda Rangel
Erika Sasaki
Madison Schiffman
Lucy Studemeister
Joseph Tagorda
Janelle Tobias
Patrick Turley
Madyson Wanner
Meghan Whiting
Jennifer Yin
Michael Zheng
Alumni: We would love to hear from you! What journeys in your life after graduation have led you to where you are today?  Email Us!

Join the conversation.



Santa Clara University
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408.554.4799

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