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stories - through Feb 2016

Wheeler's lab students

Wheeler's lab students

Wheeler's Lab

The Wheeler lab has had an exciting year with growth in the group, as well as a publication and many presentations. We currently have six members in the lab, Danny Freitas (’17), Zoe Amaris (’17), Sarah Anderson (’16), Lauren Schmitt (’16), Kyle Gerner (’15) and Jasmine Marckwordt (’15). The two newest members, Danny and Zoe, were the first freshman to start in the group. Their first task, before moving on to research projects of their own, was to help create a new lab based upon our research for the general chemistry honors class. We did a pilot run of the new lab a few weeks ago in Lindsay Sperling’s class. The freshman were making and characterizing nanomaterials; all while applying green chemistry principles to the work. It was great fun for my group to share our enthusiasm for research, chemistry, and nanomaterials with students so early in their scientific careers.

Over the past year, the students and I were able to travel a bit to share research progress in presentations both on and off campus. Kyle Gerner (’15) and Sarah Anderson (‘16) presented their research posters as participants at the summer American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco. Both Sarah and Kyle earned funding for their trips to the ACS meeting through internal grants from SCU, with a Clare Booth Luce scholar award and travel grant award respectively. On campus, Kyle also presented his work at various venues, including the Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s annual poster session. Between student presentations, I’ve been able to squeeze in a few invited talks around the country, including Emory University, UCLA, and the Molecular Foundry.

Our results on nanomaterials in biological environments were recently published in Environmental Science: Nano. This paper is a result of combined efforts from undergraduate researchers over the last few years, including contributions from student researchers Erick Castellanos (’13), Meagan Nakamoto (’12), Kyle Gerner (’15) and Alyssa Lampe (’11). The work was even highlighted as a “hot article” and chosen as a cover article by the journal. Lab alumni are also doing well. Last spring Kristian Borofka (’14) graduated and she is now in her first year of medical school at Touro University of California. Other lab alumni have recently started Ph.D. programs in biochemistry, including Rachel Gate (’12) at UC-San Francisco and Meagan Nakamoto (’12) at Colorado University-Boulder. Congratulations! We look forward to hearing more about your next big adventures.

chemistry, lab, research