Early stage clinical trial of antimalarial drug begins Enrollment has begun in a Phase 1 clinical trial of a new investigational drug invented in the Peyton Lab and designed to treat malaria.
The Department of Chemistry at Portland State University maintains a teaching program of excellence at the undergraduate level and a graduate program emphasizing cutting-edge research.

Research Funding

Professor Dirk Iwata-Reuyl, together with a team of faculty from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology, was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for the purchase of a state-of-the-art LCMS/MS system. The instrument will enhance the Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Center in the Department by providing access to high resolution MS/MS experiments with a range of ionization conditions, including direct surface sampling.

Assistant Professor Theresa McCormick revived funding from the National Science Foundation to develop catalysts for aerobic photo-oxidation reactions. These catalysts will allow oxygen from the air, to be used as an oxidant to reduce both the cost and the amount of waste produced from oxidation reactions. The grant will fund a collaborative project between Portland State University and the University of Buffalo

Marilyn Rampersad Mackiewicz

Research Assistant Professor Marilyn Rampersad Mackiewicz received a grant from the National Science Foundation for research that seeks to improve our understanding of silver nanoparticles. READ MORE. Dr. Mackiewicz also recently received the 2018 Portland State University Adjunct Excellence Award for Research for the high quality of her scholarly research on the applications of nanostructured materials in biology and medicine.

Chinese Bronze Money Tree

Associate Professor Tami Lasseter Clare received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the Pacific Northwestern Consortium for the Science of Cultural Heritage Conservation. The consortium will give five major regional museums in the Northwest access to conservation science for scholarly and educational purposes. READ MORE


Associate Professor Andrea Goforth and Assistant Professor Steve Reichow were both awarded Pilot Project Funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) BUILD EXITO program. Both grants are designed to engage undergraduate researchers at PSU with meaningful and mentored research experiences. The acronym BUILD stands for Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, and EXITO for Enhancing Cross Disciplinary Infrastructure and Training at Oregon.

Steve Reichow

Assistant Professor Steve Reichow received funding from the National Institutes of Health to apply methods in single particle CryoEM to visualize the molecular mechanisms of cell-to-cell communication guided by the gap junctions. Dr Reichow also recently received funding from the Whitehall Foundation to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal plasticity and memory formation.

Departmental News

Drs Dean Atkinson and Theresa McCormick both received the 2018 John Eliot Allen Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in recognition of their outstanding work in the classroom. The award is named for the founder of the Department of Geology, who taught with distinction at PSU for over 35 years.

Drs Tami Lasseter Clare and Steve Reichow have just been named recipients of the 2018 Sigma Xi Outstanding Researcher Awards, Dr Clare in the division of Physical Sciences and Dr Reichow in the division of Biological Sciences. 

Robert Strongin

In recognition of his prolific and high-profile work across a range of scientific problems, from fluorescent molecular probes for biological sensing, to new drug candidates for combating heart arrhythmias, to elucidating the mechanism of toxicant production in e-cigarette use, Dr Robert Strongin received the 2018 Portland State University Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award.

Niles Lehman

The Oregon Academy of Science has selected Dr Niles Lehman as its 2018 Outstanding Oregon Scientist awardee. The Oregon Academy of Science promotes scientific research and education in Oregon; the annual award acknowledges an Oregon scientist who has made outstanding contributions in their field. Professor Lehman is being recognized for his groundbreaking research in molecular evolution and the possible origins of life. READ MORE

Professor Lehman was also recently elected president of The International Society for the Study of the Origins of Life, the oldest and largest society dedicated to elucidating life’s chemical origins. Dr Lehman will hold this office from 2017 to 2020.

More departmental news is available through the University website's news feed; additional items are recorded on our In the News page.

Student & Alumni News

Vimbai Chikwana

Dr. Vimbai Chikwana (Ph.D., 2011) been named the recipient of the  Most Promising Scientist Award by BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year), an organization sponsored by US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine, the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Lockheed Martin. Dr Chikwana will receive the award in February 2019 at the National BEYA STEM Conference in Washington, DC. 

Dr Chikwana was also recently recognized with the Dow Platinum Award, the highest company award for individual achievement at Dow (now Corteva Agriscience). Prior to joining Dow Dr. Chikwana was a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Indiana-Purdue School of Medicine, a position she began following the completion of her Ph.D. at Portland State.

At its 59th Annual Commencement & Awards Ceremony, the Department presented the following student awards: George S. Hammond Award in Organic Chemistry: Sam Rickenback; Larry D. Vockler Scholarships: Trine Parsons and Manh Pham; Analytical Chemistry Award: Mary Lerner; Clyde Johnson Award: Nate Jansen; Outstanding Graduating Senior: Kimberly Dolan; Alfred S. Levinson Award: Lyndsay Kissell; Paul Emmett Award: Matt Eskew; Carl C. Wamser Student Summer Research Scholarships: Lindsay Peterkin and Hamzah Sawab.

Images from the event on the Department of Chemistry's Flickr feed. Students are invited to share their photos with the Department.

Karley Maier

Karley Maier, a graduate student in the Woods Research Group, has been awarded both a Chen Endowed Fellowship in Science and Math Entrepreneurship and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The Chen fellowship goes to doctoral students who are combining an interest in science and business, while the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.

Elena Christopher-Allison was also awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Elena is an LSAMP and McNair Scholar majoring in chemistry and mathematics. Her work with the Gall Research Group focuses on factors that influence indoor air quality. Elena was awarded a Carl C. Wamser Student Summer Research Scholarship from the Department of Chemistry in 2017. She will begin a PhD program in engineering at UT Austin in Fall.

Elizabeth Perez

Junior Biochemistry major and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholar, Elizabeth Perez, was selected for the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP), a program that will match her with a leading HHMI scientist for a summer research experience. READ MORE


Kelly Chacon

Dr. Kelly Chacon (B.S. 2009), is featured in the Research Spotlight section of the January 2018 edition of ASBMB Today, the magazine of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Following the completion of her undergraduate studies at PSU, Dr. Chacon pursued her Ph.D. with Dr. Ninian Blackburn at OHSU, and was subsequently recruited to Reed College where she is currently Assistant Professor of Chemistry.



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