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Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
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UM Chemistry Students Win Poster Competition

Graduate and undergraduate chemistry students recently took home awards in the poster presentation competition at the Mississippi EPSCoR State Meeting. Graduate students Katelyn Dreux and Samantha Reilly placed 1st and 2nd and undergraduate chemistry majors Ashton Nicholson and Laura Cline place 2nd and 3rd, respectively.


Prof. Hussey Honored with Max Bredig Award

The Electrochemical Society has award Dr. Charles L. Hussey the Max Bredig Award in Molten Salt Chemistry for 2014. This is the highest award given by the Electrochemical Society for contributions to molten salt chemistry.


Apply to REU Program

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry seeks applicants for its 2014 summer REU program. Go to for information and to download the application.


Recent Ph.D. graduate lands job as lab manager

Dr. Kaixuan Bu, a recent graduate of our department, has become the trace element laboratory manager at the prestigious Institute of Marine and Coastal Science at Rutgers University. Dr. Bu graduated in May 2013 and conducted environmental chemistry research under the direction of Dr. James Cizdziel.


Dr. Kerri Scott Wins Advising Award

Dr. Kerri Scott was recently recognized with the Excellence in Advising Award for the University of Mississippi. Dr. Scott will also represent the University of Mississippi for the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Regional and National Awards.


Department Welcomes Newest Professor Jared Delcamp

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ole Miss WELCOMES Dr. Jared Delcamp from Georgia Tech as our newest tenure-track, assistant professor. Dr. Delcamp was heavily involved in research into materials for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky . He completed his Ph.D. studies at the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champagne studying Pd catalyzed organic transformations. When he moved to the Swiss Federal Institute for post-doctoral studies he began making molecules for solar cell applications. After 2 years in Switzerland he moved to Georgia Tech to continue his post-doctoral studies with Professor Seth Marder. He and his research group will be developing key elements for organic-dye based photovoltaics (PVs). PVs, a key component of a sustainable energy future, harvest sunlight and convert it into electricity for use or storage. Students interested in joining his research group may contact the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Student wins Award in Environmental Chemistry

Kaixuan Bu was selected as a winner of one of the American Chemical Society’s Graduate Student Awards in Environmental Chemistry for 2013. He will receive a one-year membership to the Division and a check for $125.


3 African Americans Earn PhDs in Chemistry in 2012

In 2010, the latest year for which complete data is available, only 54 African Americans earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. They made up 2.3 percent of all doctoral recipients in chemistry from U.S. universities that year. But this year, three African Americans earned Ph.D.s in chemistry at the University of Mississippi. The three African American who earned Ph.D.s in chemistry are Kari Copeland of Coldwater, Mississippi, Margo Montgomery of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Jeffrey Veals of Gloster, Mississippi. Click here for an article in JBHE.


Undergraduate forensic major coauthors paper

BS forensic chemistry major Sara Dempsey coauthored a paper on her research titled “Preliminary Evaluation of the Use of Homing Pigeons as Biomonitors of Mercury in Urban Areas of the USA and China” in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.


Undergraduate Receives Award at National Meeting

BS Chemistry Major Ifeoluwa Olayemi placed 2nd in the undergraduate poster competition at the NOBCChE national meeting for her poster entitled "Mercury Species in Rainwater collected from Oxford, Mississippi: Estimating Wet Deposition of Mercury to the Region."


Chemistry Department Awarded NSF REU Site

The Chemistry Department has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site starting in Summer 2013. Ten undergraduate students who have completed at least their freshman year in college but have not yet graduated will be recruited to participatre in the program. For more information, visit the program website at


Back to School Cookout Big Success

A record crowd of students interested in chemistry joined faculty to kick off the semester with a picnic outside Coulter Hall.   The event was sponsored by the Chemistry Department and the Ole Miss section of the American Chemical Society.   


2011-2012 Chemistry Awards Banquet

Students, faculty and ACS members got together for a fun evening at the ACS-sponsored annual award ceremony and banquet. More than twenty students were recognized for outstanding achievements in coursework and research.

The following students received awards at the 2012 ACS Banquet:
General Chemistry: Anna Craig, Ryan Sessums, Jonathan Redding, Charles (Trey) Moore, and James Bryan Crenshaw
Organic Chemistry: Cara Thorne, Katlyn Carpenter, and Gabe Labonia
Analytical Chemistry: Danielle Dykes and Maggie Morgan
Physical Chemistry: Annie McClellan
Biochemistry: Andrew Matrick, Emily Caldwell, Logan Fair, and Jonathon Troy Jackson
Forensic Chemistry: Jordan Kennedy
Inorganic Chemistry: Rachel Williams
Undergraduate Research: Kristina Cuellar and Sara Dempsey Graduate Research: Xiaofei Zhang, Kaixuan Bu, Kari Copeland, and Gang Fu


Chemistry Students Win Poster Competition

BS Chemistry Majors Nikki Reinemann and Annie McClellan won 1st and 3rd place, respectively, at the 2012 Mississippi EPSCoR State Meeting undergraduate poster competition. Graduate student Praneeth Nimmala won 3rd place in the graduate student poster competition.


Kaixuan Bu wins poster competition

Kaixuan Bu won best poster in basic sciences at the 2012 UM graduate student research symposium. His poster was titled “Determination of Plutonium Activities and Atom Ratios in Environmental and Biological Samples Collected from Amchitka Island, Alaska”.


Chemistry Major Named Goldwater Scholar

BS Chemistry major Nikki Reinemann was recently named the 13th Goldwater Scholar for Ole Miss. Her undergraduate research project involves the spectroscopic and computational study of dative bonded systems with Profs. Nathan Hammer and Gregory Tschumper. This represents the second Goldwater scholar for the department in the last three years.


High School Chemistry Olympiad Competition at UM

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the Ole Miss Section of the American Chemical Society will host a qualifying exam for the International Chemistry Olympiad on Saturday March 24 at 10 am until Noon in Coulter Hall. More information about the Competition Process, Rules and links to Past Exams are online at:

Teachers can register your students for the competion here.


Cizdziel paper graces cover of Analytical Methods

Assistant Professor James Cizdziel and graduate student Kaixuan Bu had their work chosen for the cover of the February 2012 issue of the journal Analytical Methods. Their work examined a new approach for quantifying (in-situ) the distribution of many elements in plant leaves. The researchers utilized laser ablation ICP-MS, an instrument Cizdziel obtained through an earlier NSF grant.


Chemistry Personnel Elected to Local ACS Section

The 2012 election results for the Ole Miss section of the American Chemical Society are in. Congratulations to Prof. James Cizdziel (Chair), Shane Kesler (Chair-Elect), Prof. Jason Ritchie (Councilor), Prof. Walter Cleland (Alternate Councilor), Ed Movitz (Treasurer), and undergraduate BA Biochem major Talyr Hall (Secretary). Thanks to all who ran for office.


Graduate student Garry Brown receives GSC Award

Mr. Garry Brown received a 2011-2012 Graduate Student Council Research Award. The award provides funding to graduate students whose research projects demonstrate exceptional promise.


Freshman Forensic Chemistry Major in USA Today

Freshman Forensic Chemistry Major Sara Wingate was recently featured in the Life Section of USA Today (August 2nd, 2011 issue). Sara plans to attend medical school after graduating with her chemistry degree. Click here for a copy of the article.


Nobel Prize winning chemist to visit department

Prof. Roald Hoffmann (1981 Nobel Prize in chemistry) will be visiting the University of Mississippi campus on the 19th and 20th of September, 2011 as part of the annual Fall Research Forum for the NSF sponsored Mississippi EPSCoR program. Several events are free and open to the public.

3:00 PM on Monday 9/19: Book signing at Square Books

7:00 PM on Monday 9/19: Readers theatre presentation of Shouldve, a play by Prof. Roald Hoffmann in the Ford Center

9:00 AM on Tuesday 9/20: Lecture on high-pressure chemistry in the Inn at Ole Miss


Department to host 2011 Mid-South ICP-MS Symposium

Researchers from throughout the region who are interested in trace element studies will gather for the first symposium in the Mid-South region on Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) on Tuesday August 9th in Coulter Hall room 200 starting at 8:30 am. Contact Professor Cizdziel for more information.


BioChem major Billy Forrest named ACS Scholar

BioChemistry major Billy Forrest was recently named an ACS Scholar. The prestigious ACS Scholars Program was established in 1994 to attract top undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in the chemical sciences to pursue careers in the field.


Yunfeng Pan Receives Graduate Achievement Award

The Graduate School awards up to a total of eighteen Graduate Achievement Awards each year for recognition on Honors Day. These include a maximum of two per year from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Philosophy and Religions, and Physics and Astronomy combined. This year, Yunfeng Pan received this prestigious award.


2010-2011 Chemistry Awards

The following students received awards at the 2011 ACS Banquet:
General Chemistry: Cara Madeleine Thorne and Lance Ezell
Organic Chemistry: Jonathan Shih
Analytical Chemistry: Rachel Williams
Physical Chemistry: Nikki Reinemann
Biochemistry: Julie Dhossche, Josh Smith, and William Davis
Undergraduate Research: Nikki Reinemann
Outstanding Senior Chemistry Graduate: Coleman Howard


Shana Stoddard wins Poster Competitions

Shana Stoddard was recently awarded 1st place at the UM graduate student poster session in the physical sciences, 2nd place at the Mississippi EPSCoR State Meeting poster competition for her work in Computational Chemistry, and 2nd place at the NOBCChE national meeting poster session in Houston, TX (biophysical chemistry section). Shana is mentored by Prof. Randy Wadkins.


Chemistry Major Nikki Reinemann Honored

Chemistry major Nikki Reinemann received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The purpose of the Award is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.


BioChem major Billy Forrest receives Barksdale Awa

BioChemistry major Billy Forrest recently received the Barksdale Award at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College convocation last week. She was one of two recipients of this award in the campus-wide competition.


Chemistry Students Receive Awards

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently gave out student awards for the fall. Graduate Student Research - Desiree Bates, Teaching Assistant - Samantha Reilly, and Undergraduate Research - Matt McDowell and Asantha Dharmaratne. The awards were sponsored by the Ole Miss Local Section of the American Chemical Society. In addition, Lorlyn Reidy and Ryan Bu recently received the Graduate Student Council Research Awards for 2011. The GSC award includes $500 for research activities.


Chemistry Professors Elected to Local ACS

The election results for the Ole Miss section of the American Chemical Society are in. Congratulations to Nathan Hammer (Chair), James Cizdziel (Chair-Elect), Jason Ritchie (Councilor), Walter Cleland (Alternate Councilor), Ed Movitz (Treasurer), and Debra Scardino (Secretary). Thanks to all who ran for office.


Garry Brown Receives Best Student Poster Award

Mr. Garry Brown won best poster in the student competition at the 2010 Mississippi Water Resources Conference which was held in Bay St. Louis on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. His poster was titled "Concentrations of methylmercury in natural waters in Mississippi using a new automated Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence System."


Cizdziel Edits Special Issue of Analytical Journal

Assistant Professor James Cizdziel has edited a themed issue of The Open Chemical and Biomedical Methods Journal. The "hot-topic" issue on ICP-MS for Environmental Monitoring and Fingerprinting is available free online at the journal’s website. The issue also includes a paper he co-authored with colleagues from UNLV on Laser Ablation ICP-MS of desert varnish.


Ole Miss Chemistry Excels in Number of Graduates

The University of Mississippi Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was highly ranked in a recent report by Chemical & Engineering News (August 23, 2010). Ole Miss graduates more chemistry majors than all of the other schools in Mississippi combined and ranks third versus peer schools in the Southeastern Conference.


ICP-MS Facility Open for Business

Two state-of-the-art Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers have been installed in the department. The instruments, primarily used to quantify trace elements and isotope ratios, were obtained through a NSF MRI grant written by Dr. Cizdziel and co-PIs (Drs. Davidson, Holland, Ochs, and Chen).


Xiaofei Zhang Receives Graduate Achievement Award

The Graduate School awards up to a total of eighteen Graduate Achievement Awards each year for recognition on Honors Day. These include a maximum of two per year from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Philosophy and Religions, and Physics and Astronomy combined. This year, Chemistry's Xiaofei Zhang received this prestigious award.


Hailey and Copeland take 1st and 2nd Place

Five of Mississippi’s brightest students received cash awards for posters presented as part of the 2010 MS EPSCoR Poster Competition held at the Jackson State University E-Center in Jackson, MS on April 15, 2010. Two of these winners came from the Ole Miss Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Each winner will receive a cash award of $200 for first place and $100 for second place. In Computational Chemistry, First Place went to Anna Hailey (working with Prof. Hammer) and Second Place went to Kari Copeland (working with Prof. Tschumper)


Anna Hailey Named UM's 12th Goldwater Scholar

Chemistry major Anna Hailey was recently named Ole Miss's 12th Goldwater Scholar. The scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year to assist with the recipient's tuition, fees, books, and room and board. This year the Goldwater Foundation named 278 scholars from a field of 1,111 applications. Anna is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and is performing her senior research in the labs of Prof. Nathan Hammer in a collaborative project with Prof. Wei-Yin Chen in Chemical Engineering. Her project involves the photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide using newly developed catalysts.


Shana Stoddard Receives Fellowship

Graduate student Shana Stoddard was recently selected to receive a fellowship to attend the Euroscience Open Forum in Torino, Italy. This meeting follows directly after the meeting of Nobel Laureates that she will attend. Of the 77 US students selected to attend the Meeting of the Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, only a select few were selected to receive this honor.


Hammer receives NSF Career Award

Professor Nathan Hammer has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to spectroscopically track the evolution of noncovalent interactions from the single molecule level to the condensed phases. The Career Award is the NSF's most prestigious award and supports the early career-development activities of teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. This is the first Career Award at the University of Mississippi since 1995.


Shana Stoddard selected as Nobel Young Researcher

Graduate student Shana Stoddard has been selected as one of only 98 U.S. students to attend the 2010 Meeting of the Nobel Laureates in Lindau Germany. She joins a total of 698 students from around the world in being selected to attend this meeting. At this meeting, Shana will have the chance to interact with 66+ Nobel Prize Winners (23 in chemistry).


Cizdziel awarded EPA Wetland Grant

Professor Jim Cizdziel has been awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study the distribution and cycling of mercury species in wetlands in Northwest Mississippi. The grant will provide a graduate student with a research assistantship for three years and will help build a state-of-the-art environmental mercury laboratory.


Cizdziel awarded NSF MRI

Professor Jim Cizdziel and his co-PI's have been awarded a National Science Foundation Major Research Infrastructure Award to acquire a new High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (HR-ICP-MS). HR-ICP-MS is the premier method for measuring trace levels of elements and isotopes in environmental and biological samples. Stay tuned to the department webpage for more information and a link to the new Mid-South Center for Trace Element Research website.


Dass Publishes JACS article on Au nanocluster

New assistant professor Amal Dass has taken the world of gold nanoclusters by storm. Just before the first anniversary of his hire the article entitled, "Mass Spectrometric Identification of Au68(SR)34 Molecular Gold Nanoclusters with 34-Electron Shell Closing," has appeared in the world's most prestigious chemistry journal. This new class of gold nanoclusters has been demonstrated to fit a new explanation of gold nanocluster stability.
Read full details at this link


Bill Scott Retires after 30 years

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry William D. Scott retires after 30 years of experimentation as an educator and scientist.
Read this news on Ole Miss website


Tschumper wets the cover of J Phys Chem A

Images of two newly described low energy molecular clusters of water discovered by the Tschumper research group appeared on the cover of the April 16, 2009 issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. A thin layer of water covers the surface of all exposed surfaces. Improving our understanding of these fundamental structures improve our ability to protect surfaces from corrosion, for instance.


Wadkins Gets Cover of "Biophysical Journal"

Associate Professor Randy Wadkins and his research team recently had their work chosen for the cover artwork for the March 4, 2009 issue of the Biophysical Journal. Their work entitled, "DNA Hairpins Containing the Cytidine Analog Pyrrolo-dC: Structural, Thermodynamic, and Spectroscopic Studies," has implications for further study of the stability of secondary structure in DNA, which has implications for DNA replication, cancer and the development of anti-cancer drugs.


Tschumper Named Outstanding Freshman Teacher

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Greg Tschumper was awarded the prestigious 2008-09 Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teacher of Freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi during the May 9, 2009 commencement ceremony. He joins other winners of the award from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: inaugural winner, Jon Parcher (1987), Kwang-Sik Yun (1989), William D. Scott (1993), Walter Cleland (1997), and Jason Ritchie (2007). The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has won the award 6 of the 23 times it has been awarded, which is double the closest other department.
Read this news on Ole Miss website


Ole Miss Chemistry breaks into TOP 40

The December 15, 2008 issue of Chemical and Engineering News reported data from 642 undergraduate chemistry degree programs nationwide for 2006 - 2007. The Ole Miss Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry reported the award of 48 undergraduate degrees for that time period. According to Chair Charles L. Hussey this number put the department in the TOP 40 nationwide and second only to the University of Florida (93 graduates) in the SEC. It also was more bachelor's degrees than the other 4 reporting Mississippi universities combined. Other notables in Mississippi were Mississippi College with 23 graduates.
Read this news on Ole Miss website


Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry invites applicants for the Summer 2009 REU class at Ole Miss. The program includes a 10 week research project, group activities and a stipend for support of living expenses and salary. Students will work in state-of-the-art laboratories and collaborate daily with researchers. The program will run June 8 - August 14, 2009. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit materials by March 31, 2009. Application materials may be found by following the REU APPLICATION link or by emailing the department to request an electronic or paper copy ( Applicants from all ethnic and educational backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


Instructional Assistant Professors Appointed

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Safo Aboaku and Dr. Kerri Scott as instructional assistant professors. We welcome Dr. Aboaku from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he completed his Ph.D., and our very own Dr. Kerri Scott who has stepped into this important new role. Instructional assistant professors are primarily engaged in teaching and the research of teaching methods.


NSF Grant Awarded

Professor T. Keith Hollis is the department's latest recipient of an NSF grant award. His project entitled, "Next Generation Ligand Architectures," will focus on developing new structures for application in C-H bond activation, N2 bond activation, C-N, C-C, and C-B bond forming catalysis, and green chemistry. Support began this fall and continues through 2011.
Other current NSF grant recipients in the department include Professors Greg Tschumper, Jason Ritchie and Jon Parcher. An NSF EPSCoR award supports the research of Professors Greg Tschumper, Steven Davis, Jason Ritchie and Randy Wadkins.


Analytical Faculty Welcomed

Professor Amal Dass and Jim Cizdziel arrived in August to start their research programs at Ole Miss. Dr. Dass arrived from a postdoctoral position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Cizdziel arrived from the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he was an associate research professor. Both are developing research programs in analytical chemistry.
Dr. Cizdziel's work is focused on environmental fate of molecules, elements and materials such as mercury and nanotubes. Dr. Dass' work focuses on the synthesis and characterization of new classes of gold nanoparticles and their electrochemistry. See their webpages under Faculty and Research for more information.


Physical Chemist Welcomed

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ole Miss is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Nathan Hammer. Professor Hammer joins us from his most recent appointment as an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Hammer is an expert in single molecule spectroscopy and small clusters.