What better way to kick off the electronic version of the alumni newsletter than to acknowledge our newly minted alum. On May 20 of this year, chair Ken Henderson presided over a departmental diploma ceremony for the Class of 2012 and awarded bachelor of science degrees to 19 chemists and 20 biochemists. Notre Dame’s newest group of chemists are:


Richard Connell, East Lyme, CT

Brian Conway, Southampton, PA

Meghan Courbanou^, Huntington, NY

Eric DeLeon, Mishawaka, IN

Nicholas Eastman, Westerville, OH

Theresa Gaines, Columbus, GA

Mitchell Hemann, Kasson, MN

Daniel Honigfort, Eureka, MO

Dana Hulke, Richland, WA

Mary Mahon, Granger, IN

Rick Morasse, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada

Samantha Reich, Harwood Heights, IL

Jonathan Repine, Englewood, CO

Sarah Schubert^, Elkhart, IN

Kevin Shepherd, Maineville, OH

Claire Sokas, Highlands Ranch, CO

Michael Stecyk, Niles, OH

Michael Vega, Oradell, NJ

Patrick Walsh, Arlington Heights, IL


Those who graduated with a degree in biochemistry are:

Michael Attanasi, Mount Pleasant, SC

Rene Bermea, Del Rio, TX

Erin Bolte, New Lenox, IL

Luke Domalewski, Aurora, CO

Kathleen Drexler^, Pearland, TX

Mana Espahbodi, Williamsburg, VA

Peter Feist, Burlington, KY

Ethan Ferguson*^, New Castle, IN

Mark Fraser, Granger, IN

Marcel Frenkel, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Frances Mei Hardin*, River Forest, IL

Miles Kaltenbach, Butler, PA

Jason Kopec^, Hopkinton, MA

Paul Lambert*, Federal Way, WA

Elizabeth Loughran, Granger, IN

Colleen McKenna, Ellicott City, MD

Helen Padden, Chicago, IL

Theresa Relation, Whitehouse Station, NJ

Blake Sutton^, Everett, WA

Laura Thelen, Ann Arbor, MI


* Honors in Biochemistry

summa cum laude

magna cum laude

^ cum laude


Sincere congratulations to all—our undergraduate programs are widely acknowledged for their rigor and, as such, our graduates richly deserve every accolade. Almost half of our baccalaureates will be attending medical school, with the rest evenly divided between entering the work force and going on graduate school. May your degrees serve you well as you aspire to—and achieve—great things!  Please keep us apprised of your accomplishments.



In the graduate vein, the department is happy to report that 2012 brought the conferral 19 doctoral degrees and eight master’s degrees. Those attaining a Ph.D., along with their thesis titles and advisors, are:


Pius Adelani, "Syntheses, Structure Elucidation, and Properties of Novel Actinide Diphosphonates and Carboxyphosphonates" (Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt)


Jeffrey Bertke, “Synthesis and Characterization of Coordination Polymers and Studies for CO2 Capture” (Ken Henderson)


Beatric Blanc, "Relationship between Active Site Structure and Chemistry in Dioxygen Producing Chlorite Dismutases" (Jennifer DuBois)


Barret Duan, “Studies of Metal/Gallium Nitride Gas Sensors:  Sensing Response, Morphology and Sensing Applications” (Paul Bohn)


Rosanne Frederick, "Flavin-Dependent Monooxygenases Involved in Biosynthetic Pathways" (Jennifer DuBois)


Brian Gloor, “Understanding the Local Backbone Dynamics of the PMHC and Kinetics of the TCR/PMHC Binding Interaction” (Brian Baker)


Valerie Goss, “Adsorbing, Desorbing, Jamming, and Burning DNA Origami” (Marya Lieberman)


Raul Juarez Hernandez, “A Convergent Approach for the Syntheses of  Sideromycins:  Mycobactin T an Gallioxamine  B Conjugates” (Marvin Miller)


Kyoung Nan Kim, "Self-Aligned DNA Oligomer and the Deposition of DNA Oligomers on EBL” (Marya Lieberman)


Ian Lightcap, "Excited State Interactions in Graphene Oxide-Semiconductor/Metal Nanoparticle Architectures for Sensing and Energy Conversion" (Prashant Kamat)


Vince Lombardo, "The Total Synthesis of 20-Deoxyapoptolidinone" (Rich Taylor)


Annette Raigoza, "Scanning Tunneling Microscopy studies of Mixed Self-Assembled Monolayers" (Alex Kandel)


Daniel Scott, "The Influences of Conformational Dynamics in T Cell Receptor Specificity and Cross-Reactivity" (Brian Baker)


Bryan Smith, "In Vivo Optical Imaging of Cell Death Using Fluorescent Synthetic Coordination Complexes" (Brad Smith)


Jill Voreis, "Further Characterization of a Novel Membrane-Microtubule Binding Protein, CLIPR76" (Holly Goodson)


Timothy Wencewicz, "Development of Microbe-Selective Antibacterial Agents:  From Small Molecules to Siderophores" (Marvin Miller)


Alexander White, "Selective Recognition of Bacteria Utilizing Zinc(II)-Dipicolylamine Conjugated Far-Red Fluorescent Probes" (Brad Smith)


Brian Wilson, "Study of the Effects of Acylation Within the Extracellular Domains of BlaR 1" (Jeff Peng)


Li Zeng, "Energy and Charge Transfer of Hyperthermal-Energy Heavy Ions Scattering on Target Surfaces with Low Atomic Mass" (Dennis Jacobs/Brian Baker)


The M.S. recipients and their advisors (names in parentheses) are:


Joanna Askwith, non-research M.S. (Rob Stahelin)


Justin Good, non-research M.S. (Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt)


Haohang Li, non-research M.S. (Amanda Hummon)


Justin Pletzke, non-research M.S. (Basar Bilgicer)


Douglas Rice, non-research M.S. (Brad Smith)


Sarah Sullivan, non-research M.S. (Jennifer DuBois)


Andrew Ward, Research M.S. (Marvin Miller)


Yuan Zhu, non-research M.S. (Franklin Tao)


Sincere congratulations and best wishes to all as your quest for knowledge (and success!) continues. We look forward to hearing of your accomplishments.  

Thomas Totten '87: Actuaries and Startups

Author: Sarah Cate Baker

Totten Tom

On October 5, distinguished actuary, CEO, and Notre Dame alumnus Thomas Totten ’87 gave a talk to undergraduates entitled “Actuaries and Startups.” Intended for students with both actuarial and entrepreneurial futures in mind, the lecture used Totten’s own actuary-based startup to exemplify how the two fields can complement each other, and accomplish amazing things. The talk was in many ways a preview to a new course available next spring, in which undergraduates will receive hands-on experience doing real actuarial work pertinent to Totten’s company.

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Identifying DNA and developing data

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Genomics 250

When it comes to battling disease and maintaining healthy environments, DNA sequencing can be imperative to success. At the University of Notre Dame, the Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility (GBCF) supports research in many areas that increasingly rely on DNA sequencing, including cancer biology, vector-borne diseases, the development of drug and antibiotic resistance, monitoring invasive species, and much more.

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Chemistry alumna, Ann Weber ‘82, inducted into MEDI Hall of Fame

Author: Tammi Freehling

Ann Weber '82

Newly inducted into the MEDI Hall of Fame this year, alumna Ann Weber ’82, graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame with a B.S. in chemistry and earned a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Harvard University. She is currently Senior Vice President – Drug Discovery at Kallyope Inc., a New York City-based biotechnology company focused on harnessing the potential of the gut-brain axis.

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Physicists Beers and Surman elected APS Fellows

Author: Tammi Freehling

Tim Beers And Rebecca Surman

Notre Dame astronomer, Timothy Beers, Ph.D., and nuclear astrophysicist Rebecca Surman, Ph.D., were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS) by the APS Council of Representatives at its September 2016 meeting. The APS is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, and advocacy.

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Collaboration yields new understanding of nano properties needed to build new materials

Author: Gene Stowe

Jon Camden

A collaboration between Jon Camden, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, David Masiello of the University of Washington, and Philip Rack of the University of Tennessee has directly observed hybridized magnetic resonances in plasmonic nanostructures for the first time. The achievement is a critical step toward developing materials that interact with light in unexpected ways and that may someday cloak military equipment throughout the visible spectrum or underlie future PV technology optimized to capture energy from the sun’s infrared rays. Their paper on the work, “STEM/EELS Imaging of Magnetic Hybridization in Symmetric and Symmetry-Broken Plasmon Oligomer Dimers and All-Magnetic Fano Interference,” was published in the American Chemical Society’s Nano Letters.

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Students share Galapagos Islands diversity with area children

Author: Gene Stowe


Days before their Fall Break trip to the Galapagos Islands as part of a course in the Department of Biological Sciences, 14 Notre Dame undergraduates introduced the Darwin-inspiring islands to youngsters at the Robinson Community Learning Center who will be “virtual explorers” with them through the adventure.

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