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Chemistry and Biochemistry News

Four new elements, discovered in recent years, have now been named, pending final approval.  IUPAC, The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, allows the people who discover elements to name them, provided they name the elements in one of the following categories:  mythological concepts, minerals, a place or country, a property or a scientist.

Nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element 113:  Nihon is Japanese for Japan, the place where the it was discovered.  This is the first element discovered and named after an Asian country.

Moscovium and symbol Mc, for the element 115 is for Moscow, the home of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research.

Tennessine and symbol Ts, for the element 117 is for Tennessee, in recognition of this region's contribution to superheavy element research.

Oganesson and symbol Og, for the element 118 is for Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian.

The new names are now being reviewed by the public and formal approval by the IUPAC Council will be announced in early November.

Dr. Tim Dwyer and Dr. Jeremy Burkett took a short break from class preparations to compete in the 2nd Annual Druid Hill "Ace Race" disc golf tournament this past weekend.  The tournament tests a player's accuracy by only allowing everyone to throw a single shot per hole!  Points are earned either by scoring a hole-in-one ("ace") or by hitting different parts of the basket.  Out of a field of 28 players, Dr. Dwyer and Dr. Burkett scored high enough to finish in 14th and 12th place, respectively!

Chemistry Lab Manager, Brandon Smith (BS CHEM '13, MS Forensic Sciences, '14), is excited about our new building.  He loves that there is a lot of space, especially in our very large chemistry/biochemistry research lab.  He reports that he's still learning his way around, but is excited for the semester to start to see how smoothly the lab courses will run.  He knows our students will love all our new and beautiful space!

Biochemistry junior, Meghann Hefner, is working with Dr. Tim Dwyer as part of the Summer Science Scholars Research Program (S3RP).  She is expressing and purifying isoforms of malate dehydrogenase to test inhibitors to help with chemotherapeutic agents.  Meghann is really enjoying her summer experience.  She loves being in our new building, learning new techniques, using new equipment and learning a lot of biochemistry! 

This summer, chemistry senior Craig Winters is completing his capstone research project at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Coop. He is researching nicotinic receptors and synthesizing compounds that antagonize those receptors.  The goal of the research is to develop compounds that can be injected into people who have overdosed on nicotine and other drugs so that the effect of the overdoses are negated. This research ties in with Craig's career goal of becoming a pharmaceutical chemist.  Craig is enjoying his capstone experience very much: "I enjoy doing this because it saves lives of those that do not know the harmful effects of nicotine and other harmful drugs that still have to be tested."

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