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Archived News

December 11, 2018   Professor Craig Lindsley Announced as a 2018 National Academy of Inventors Fellow Read full article here.

December 4, 2018    Assistant Professor Steven Townsend Receives Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

October 29, 2018   Associate Professor Renã Robinson Named As One of Indiana University Bloomington’s “20 Under 40” Alumni Read full article here.

October 4, 2018   Professor Brian Bachmann's Article Featured in The Conversation  Read full article here.

October 3, 2018   Tenured Faculty Position Opening, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry  See full description here.

September 25, 2018   Professors Michael Stone and Carmelo Rizzo Awarded NIH Funding to Study Chemical Biology of Guanine Alkylation  The National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a Program Project grant to Profs. Stone and Rizzo to delineate both chemistry and biology arising from the alkylation of guanine. Additionally, Prof. Martin Egli (Vanderbilt University, Department of Biochemistry), Profs. Stephen Lloyd and Amanda McCullough (Oregon Health & Science University), and Prof. Robert Turesky (University of Minnesota), will participate in this research team. DNA alkylating agents, particularly nitrogen mustards (NM), remain a mainstay in the treatment of many cancers. N7-dG alkylation products undergo transformations forming complex and largely uncharacterized DNA damage. These unmask chemical functionalities with the potential to modulate DNA repair or replication or to serve as obligate chemical intermediates in the formation of interstrand DNA cross-links. Profs. Stone and Rizzo will focus upon the chemistry and biology by which complex damage arising from N7-dG alkylation, including alkyl-Fapy-dG lesions and AP sites resulting from depurination of N7-dG adducts, is converted into cytotoxic damage. Ultimately, this may be leveraged to increase the cytotoxicity of adjuvant therapies and to suggest new treatment modalities.

August 23, 2018   Assistant Professor Steven Townsend Receives Chancellor's Award for Research  The Chancellor's Awards for Research recognize excellence on the part of faculty for published research, scholarship, or creative expression. Congratulations! Read full article here.

townsend chancellor award

August 10, 2018   2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Awardees and Honorable Mentions Chemistry’s graduate students at Vanderbilt are highly competitive for NSF pre-doctoral fellowships.

Kelsey R. Webb
Vanderbilt Advisors: Bucannan
Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia's College at Wise
Awarding NSF Program: Chemistry - Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanism

Megan E. van der Horst
Vanderbilt Advisors: Wright
Undergraduate Institution: Hartwick College
Awarding NSF Program: Chemistry - Chemical Measurement and Imaging

Jessica Peredes
Undergraduate Institution: New College of Florida
Awarding NSF Program: Chemistry - Chemistry of Life Processes

Marissa Jones
Vanderbilt Advisors: Caprioli
Undergraduate Institution: Southwest Baptist University
Awarding NSF Program: Chemistry - Chemical Measurement and Imaging

Breyinn N. Loftin
Vanderbilt Advisors: Harth
Undergraduate Institution: Hampton University 
Awarding NSF Program: Chemistry - Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry

August 6, 2018   Chemistry Department's REU Student Featured in VUMC Reporter Read the full article here.

August 1, 2018   Assistant Professor Steven Townsend Selected as the Recipient of the 2018 Ruth A. Lawrence Investigator Award for Research in Human Milk Science

July 12, 2018   Tommy Howe, Longtime Scientific Glassblower for Chemistry Department, Passes Away  Read the full article here.

July 11, 2018   Assistant Professor Steven Townsend's Research on Breast Milk on the Cover of Chemical & Engineering News  Read the full article here.

townsend research

June 18, 2018   Professor Michael Stone Awarded NIH Funding to Study DNA Adduct-Induced Mutagenesis The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a grant to Prof. Stone to delineate both chemistry and biology arising from dietary exposures to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). This mycotoxin contributes to the etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a major cause of mortality worldwide. The etiology of HCC is complex, including infection by hepatitis B virus (HBV) and chronic dietary exposures to AFB1. AFB1 DNA adducts undergo chemical transformations once formed, e.g., unmasking new chemical functionality that may differentially modulate DNA repair and replication. Understanding structure-activity relationships delineating the chemistry of these lesions, their structural alterations to DNA, and interactions with DNA processing enzymes will translate into an understanding as to how their chemistry modulates biological processing; which may drive characteristic mutagenic signatures in HCC. Prof. Stone's work may also facilitate the identification of biomarkers for dietary exposures to AFB1 and identify targets for chemotherapeutic intervention in cancer.

June 1, 2018   Professor Prasad Polavarapu Releases New Book, Chiral Analysis Dr. Polavarapu releases new book, Chiral Analysis: Advances in Spectroscopy, Chromatography and Emerging Methods. Buy the book here.

May 23, 2018   Professor Brian Bachmann Develops New Process to Identify Personalized Cancer Drugs Derived from Nature  Read the full article here.

May 17, 2018   Professor John McLean and Associate Professor Renã Robinson Named as SEC Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows for 2018-19 Read the full article here.

May 14, 2018   2017-18 Joesten Science Volunteer Award Winners Announced Congratulations to Samantha Chiang, Nicholas Hyman, and Daniel Shaykevich for winning the 2017-18 Joesten Science Volunteer Award. This award recognizes the highest level of dedication to K-12 Science Outreach activities.

May 11, 2018   Congratulations to All Our of Graduating Chemistry Students Congratulations to our 2018 Undergraduate and Graduate Students. We wish you good luck in your future endeavours! Full list of graduating students below:

Undergraduate Students:
Marie Armbruster (ChBE)
Justin Badgett
John Cliburn
Linda Cui
Franklin Gong (ChBE)
Elsabet Haile
Nicholas Hyman (ChBE)
Collin Hong
Ryan Hunt
Nicole Jenkinson (ChBE)
Choong-Won Jin
Ying Jin (Fall Grad)
Shannon Malone (Pbdy)
Muhammad Mahmood (Suhaib)
Hope Pan (Fall Grad)
Matthew Park (Pbdy)
Hamza Patel
Thomas Plaxco (Pbdy)
J. Alex Pulliam
Saquib Rahman
Syed Raza
Hanna Roenfanz
Grant Steelman
Gregory White

Graduates Students:
Dorothy Ackerman
Suzanne Batiste
Robert Davis
James Dodds
Amanda Duran
Darwin Fu
Michael Goodman
Bian Li
Christine Markwalter

April 30, 2018   The Beckman Scholars Program Announces Their 2018-2019 Scholars 

berg and townsend            powers and hiller
       Lawrence Berg and his mentor, Dr. Steven Townsend                                     Carter Powers and his mentor, Dr. Julián Hillyer

The Beckman Scholars Program at Vanderbilt is pleased to name our 2018-2019 Scholars.

Lawrence Berg is a rising senior from Flowood, Mississippi who is triple majoring in Chemistry, Engineering Science, and Political Science with a minor in Environmental Engineering. Lawrence will be mentored by Dr. Steven Townsend, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Townsend has been on the faculty at Vanderbilt since 2014 and has developed an interdisciplinary program in glycobiology and organic synthesis.

Carter Powers is a rising junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. Carter will be mentored by Dr. Julián Hillyer, Chancellor's Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Dr. Hillyer is an expert in the biology of pathogens in the mosquito hemocoel, and he has established a program that examines aspects of immunology and circulatory physiology that limit systemic infections.

Lawrence and Carter were selected by the 2018 VU BSP Selection Committee which evaluated each applicant's academic accomplishment, a short research proposal and public presentation, and an interview. Awardees are selected based on their future promise as undergraduate researchers, and the role that training in research will play in their long-term career plans.

April 27, 2018   Department Chair, David Cliffel, Endowed as Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair  Congratulations to David Cliffel who was endowed at an April 25th ceremony. Read the full article here.

April 24, 2018   2018 Undergraduate Awards in Chemistry Winners Announced Congratulations to the following winners:
-Excellence in Teaching Award: Dr. Lauren Buchanan
-Donald E. Pearson Award: Grant William Steelman
-Outstanding Chemistry Research Award: Marie Elizabeth Armbruster
-Organic Chemistry Award: Linda Leyi Cui
-Thomas W. Martin Award: Nicholas James Hyman
-Robert V. Dilts Award: Saquib Rahman
-Mark M. Jones Award: Nicole Marie Jenkinson
-Merck Index Award: Hope Pan
-2018 Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry: Kathryn Segner

April 18, 2018     Professor Jens Meiler's Paper on the Crystal Structure for Neuropeptide Y Receptor Published in Nature Journal Jens Meiler’s team determined the first crystal structure for a neuropeptide Y receptor, deciphering the thousands of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other atoms involved with it and how they bind to one another. Read the full article here.

April 17, 2018   Assistant Professor Steven Townsend Selected to Present His Research at ACS's 2018 Academic Young Investigator's Symposium in Boston Congratulations to Steven Townsend for being selected to present his research at the American Chemical Society's 2018 Academic Young Investigator's Symposium in Boston. Thanks to Carmelo Rizzo for nominating him for this opportunity.

April 4, 2018   VSVS Receives Best Collaborative Program Award from the Vanderbilt Awards for Leadership Excellence The Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science received the award for fostering great partnerships with Head Magnet Middle School to stimulate interest in science within the Nashville community and for co-organizing the Head Magnet Science Carnival to inspire its students to view science in new ways. More information here.

March 23, 2018   Susan Verberne-Sutton Receives Mentorship Award This award recognizes the individual VUceptor who demonstrated outstanding mentorship skills with regard to either their partner or their VUceptees over the course of the Fall semester. More information here.

February 20, 2018   Sandra Rosenthal Selected as 2018  Herty  Medalist  Sandra Rosenthal, the Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Chemistry and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, has been named the winner of this year’s Charles H. Herty Medal by the Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society. The award is given to recognize outstanding chemists in the Southeast U.S. who have made significant contributions to their field.
     Rosenthal is being recognized for her development of nanocrystal probes for neuroscience and white-light emitting nanocrystals as well as her contributions to improving STEM education across Tennessee.  Read the full article here.

December 1, 2017    Graduate Student Oanh Vu Receives a Phase-II MolSSI Software Fellowship from the Molecular Sciences Software Institute Congratulations to Oanh Vu on receiving a Phase-II MolSSI Software Fellowship from the Molecular Sciences Software Institute. More information here.

November 17, 2017   The Vanderbilt Chapter of The American Chemical Society Receives Honorable Mention Award Congratulations to the Vanderbilt Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society on receiving an Honorable Mention Award. Thank you to Tara Todd and Alissa Hare for all of your hard work.

September 4, 2017   Graduate Student Stephanie Bamberger Receives First Place Student Presentation Award Stephanie Bamberger, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry, received the first place graduate student presentation award from the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology at the 254th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, recently held in Washington, DC. Stephanie’s presentation, titled "Characterization of the 2,6-Diamino-4-hydroxy-N5-(methyl)-formamidopyrimidine DNA Lesion”, summarized innovative research in which she utilized isotope-edited 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to characterize configurational and conformational equilibria for this complex form of DNA damage. These complex types of DNA damage arise from re-arrangement of initial DNA alkylation products following treatment with cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Stephanie’s work, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, will enable further studies designed to determine how and why DNA alkylating agents introduce unique mutagenic signatures in DNA, and to determine how specific configurational and conformational equilibria modulate their cytotoxicity, as well as DNA damage recognition, repair, and mutagenesis. Stephanie’s co-authors were Hope Pan, Ryan Bowen, Chanchal Kumar Malik, Tracy Johnson-Salyard, Carmelo Rizzo, and Michael P. Stone. 

April 18, 2017   X-Ray Diffractometer and Enchiladas - Janet Macdonald  Janet Macdonald is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Her research group studies the synthesis and surface chemistry of nanocrystals, with the aim of applying this knowledge to new solar energy capture technologies.
After 21 years of experiments, on Friday, April 15, 2017, the Scintag X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) in the chemistry department was shut down for the final time. Surrounded by chemistry graduate students, faculty and staff there was a moment of genuine silence as the whirring fans slowed, the water chiller stopped gurgling and the high voltage cable was disconnected and ceased humming. Read the full article here.

12/09/2016   Prof. Stone's Lab Helps Identify the Role of DNA Polymerase z in Processing DNA Damage Induced by Dietary Exposures to Aflatoxin B1    Aflatoxin B1 is a toxic mutagen produced by fungi in the genus Aspergillus.  Dietary consumption of foods that are contaminated with aflatoxin B1 is a leading cause of environmental carcinogenesis worldwide, especially hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Aflatoxin B1-driven mutagenesis is initiated through metabolic activation of aflatoxin B1 to its epoxide form, which then reacts with N7 guanine in DNA. The resulting AFB1-N7-dG adduct undergoes either spontaneous depurination or imidazole-ring opening yielding formamidopyrimidine AFB1 (AFB1-Fapy-dG). The latter adduct persists in human tissues and contributes to the high frequency G-to-T mutation signature associated with HCC.  Prof. Stone and post-doctoral scientist Dr. Liang Li were part of a research team, also involving scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, which sought to establish the identity of the DNA polymerase(s) involved in processing AFB1-Fapy-dG lesions. Their biochemical analyses demonstrated the ability of polymerase ζ (pol ζ) to incorporate dATP opposite AFB1-Fapy-dG and extend from this mismatch. They challenged mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) deficient in pol ζ (Rev3L-/-) and showed that cellular survival was reduced relative to cells that produced this protein, or cells that were complemented through expression of wild-type human REV3L. Following AFB1 exposure, cell-cycle progression of Rev3L-/- MEFs was arrested in late S/G2 phase. These Rev3L-/- cells showed increased replication-dependent formation of γ-H2AX foci, micronuclei, and chromatid breaks and radials. Collectively, the team's data suggest that pol ζ plays an essential role in humans for processing AFB1-induced DNA adducts and that, in its absence, cells do not have efficient backup polymerases or a repair/tolerance mechanisms. This work was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

10/11/2016  Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) releases website – the CIT is a collaborative analytical facility specializing in a range of cutting edge mass spectrometry and confocal microscopy techniques.  -

8/4/2016:  Congratulations to Suzanne M. Batiste and Vanderbilt University for being awarded one of the 1st Annual WCC Merck Research Awards. This award recognizes excellence in 3rd & 4th year female graduate students with a research focus in one or more of the following - Organic, Medicinal, Analytical, Chemical Biology, Computational or Structural Chemistry and related disciplines.
    Suzanne's winning of this award highlights how effective your department is in preparing the next generation scientists. We are looking forward to additional applicants from Vanderbilt Universityfor the next WCC Merck Research Award application. The applications are due December 1, 2016. Additional information can be found at

6/29/2016: Congratulations to Westley Bauer of the Wright group who won the best poster prize at the 2016 Bioanalytical Sensor Gordon Research Conference. His poster detailed efforts to incorporate sample preparation into point-of-care diagnostics for the detection of malaria.

6/29/2016:  John McLean elected to board of directors of American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

6/02/2016:  Young Scientist showcases high schoolers research at Vanderbilt

5/26/2016:  Prof. McLean appointed associate editor of Nature Molecular Phenomics.

5/26/2016:  Jody May and colleagues receive Thomson Reuters award for 2nd Analytical Chemistry manuscript as top 1% in citations.

5/23/2016:  Thomas Scherr selected to receive a Burroughs Wellcome Fund 2016 Collaborative Research Travel Grant for his project entitled: Mobile phones for objective malaria diagnosis and rapid reporting.

2/3/2016:  Jody May and colleagues receive Thomson Reuters award for Analytical Chemistry manuscript as top 1% in citations

12/16/2015:  Jens Meiler receives Humboldt Foundation award

12/14/2015:  Congratulations to Bian Li of the Meiler group who received a fellowship from the American Heart Association.

11/11/2015:  John McLean invited speaker at R&D 100 Awards and Technology Forum - the "Oscars of invention"

9/8/2015:  Craig Lindsley selected as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher

6/22/2015:  Stacy Sherrod mentioned in FCW article "Organs the size of a smartphone screen"

6/15/2015:  Brian Bachmann and John McLean mentioned in C&EN article "Bacterial Fight Club Produces New Metabolites"

6/1/2015:  Craig Lindsley mentioned in Futurity article "HIV's sweet tooth may be its downfall" 

5/26/2015:  Richard Caprioli receives VUMC Academic Enterprise Faculty Award

5/21/2015:  Jens Meiler noted for his research in "'Redesigned' antibodies may control HIV: study"

5/15/2015:  Jens Meiler mentioned in Reporter article "VU lands $9 million NIH grant to design better flu vaccines"

5/7/2015:  Craig Lindsley mentioned as a leader of the VU group "investigating a possible new approach to treating schizophrenia"

5/5/2015:  Alexis Wong, Joseph Conrad, and David Wright were recently selected as Phase I Finalists for the Follow that Cell Challenge

5/1/2015:  Sandy Rosenthal was selected as the recipient of the Valparaiso University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna Award this year. 

4/27/2015:  Kyle Emmitte mentioned in a C&EN article "Scientists Search For Small Molecules To Treat Autism Spectrum Disorder" 

4/17/2015:  Professor Bachmann describes his cave natural product discovery program as part of an HBO VICE news story on antibiotic resistance

4/15/2015:  Professor Stephen Fesik mentioned in Nature article "Cancer: The Ras renaissance"

4/8/2015:  Alexander Geanes (Meiler Group) and Jade Bing (Johnston Group) selected to receive NSF research grant

2/15/2015:  Professor Meiler, has been elected as a Chancellor Faculty Fellow

12/22/2014:  Mike Turo Awarded DOE Graduate Student Research (SCGSR)

11/26/2014:  Professor David Wright has been elected as an AAAS Fellow

10/21/2014:  Professor Townsend, "Studies the glycobiology of human milk"

10/07/2014:  Vanderbilt Chemistry Alumnus, Samantha Arnett, was featured in C&EN in an article entitled "State Department's Biosecurity Engagement Program manager works to combat bioterrorism"

10/07/2014: Congratulations to Noah Orfield (Rosenthal Group) and Darwin Fu (Meiler Group) for selection to participate in the first Federal STEM Policy and Advocacy Program

09/15/2014:  Research by Prof. Stone and co-Workers Illuminates the Replication Bypass of Aflatoxin Adducts in Mammalian Cells

09/15/2014:  C&EN published an article regarding Professor Lindsleys' research on "Small Molecules Help Reactivate Receptor Linked With Schizophrenia"