College of Science & Engineering


Seminar Schedule

Seminars are usually held on Friday afternoon in room SL SL 130 at 3:15 pm, unless otherwise noted.  Graduate student seminars are on Fridays in SL 130 or SL 110 at 3:15 pm, unless otherwise noted.  Seminar speakers are available from 2:30 pm until 3:00 pm in CB275 for discussion.  Refreshments are provided 15 minutes prior to the seminar in CB275.

The department strives to offer a diverse and vibrant seminar program. Each year leading researchers from outside the department, as well as faculty and graduate students from Western, present and discuss their cutting-edge research. This is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to actively participate in the scientific community. In addition, many outside seminar speakers are recruiting graduate students for their respective programs and are eager to discuss their program. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!  

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Spring Quarter 2019

April 5th @ 3:15 in SL 130
"College-toCareer Discussion Panel"
April 12th @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Chemical biology tools to perceive and perturb carbohydrates in living systems."
Dr. David Vocadlo​
Department of Chemistry
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Co-Director of the Centre for High Throughput Chemical Biology (HTCB)
Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology
Simon Fraser University
April 19th @ 3:15 in SL 130
“Synthetic Studies on Guaipyridine Alkaloids”
Dr. James Vyvyan
Department of Chemistry
Western Washington University
Guaipyridines are a small family of natural products with a seven-membered carbocycle fused to a 6-methylpyridine core.  One member of the family, cananodine, is reported to have activity against liver cancer.  Our group has developed two synthetic approaches to the guaipyridine skeleton. The first strategy used an epoxide opening reaction to form the seven membered ring. The current approach uses an intramolecular Heck reaction to form the ring.  Syntheses of cananodine, rupestine G and rupestine D will be presented.
April 26th @ 3:15 in SL 130
“Natural and engineered tandem repeat proteins: structure, mechanism and applications”
Dr. Barry Stoddard
Structural Biologist
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
May 3rd @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Complex order in self-assembled nanocrystal superlattices"
Dr. Michael Grünwald
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Utah
Self-assembly of nanocrystals into functional materials requires precise control over nanoparticle interactions in solution, which are dominated by organic ligands that densely cover the surface of nanocrystals. Recent experiments have demonstrated that small nanocrystals can self-assemble into a range of superstructures with different translational and orientational order of nanocrystals. The origin of this structural diversity remains unclear. In this seminar, I will discuss our recent efforts to understand the self-assembly of these nanocrystals over a broad range of ligand lengths and solvent conditions using molecular dynamics computer simulations. Our model, which is based on a coarse-grained description of ligands and solvent effects, reproduces the experimentally observed superstructures, including recently observed superlattices with partial and short-ranged orientational alignment of nanocrystals. We show that small differences in nanoparticle shape, ligand length and coverage, and solvent conditions can lead to markedly different self-assembled superstructures due to subtle changes in the free energetics of ligand interactions. Our results rationalize the large variety of different reported superlattices self-assembled from seemingly similar particles and can serve as a guide for the targeted self-assembly of nanocrystal superstructures.
May 10th @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Surface-functionalized inorganic clusters as redox-noninnocent ligands for transition metals: Synthesis, characterization and reactivity studies"
Dr. Alexandra Velian
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Washington
May 13th @ 3:00 in SL 110
"Synthesis of stimulus response phosphine ligand and metal binding studies"
Gabriel Bourne
Master's Thesis Defense
Chemistry Department
Western Washington University
May 17th @ 2:00 in BI 234
Scholar's Week Chemistry Honors Oral Presentations
May 17th @ 3:45 in BI 234
“Single-Atom Alloy Catalysts: Born in a Vacuum, Tested in Reactors, and Understood in Silico”​
Scholar's Week Chemistry Keynote Speaker
Dr. Charles Sykes
Department of Chemistry
Tufts University
In this talk I will discuss a new class of metallic alloy catalysts called Single Atom Alloys in which precious, reactive metals are utilized at the ultimate limit of efficiency.1-5 These catalysts were discovered by combining atomic-scale scanning probes with more traditional approaches to study surface-catalyzed chemical reactions. This research provided links between the atomic scale surface structure and reactivity which are key to understanding and ultimately controlling important catalytic processes. Over the last five years the concepts derived from our surface science and theoretical calculations have been used to design Single Atom Alloy nanoparticle catalysts that can perform industrially relevant reactions at realistic reaction conditions. For example, alloying elements like platinum and palladium with cheaper, less reactive host metals like copper enables 1) dramatic cost savings in catalyst manufacture, 2) more selective chemical reactions, 3) reduced susceptibility to CO poisoning, and 4) higher resistance to deactivation by coking. I go on to describe very recent theory work by collaborators Stamatakis and Michaelides at UCL that predicts reactivity trends of 16 different Single Atom Alloy combinations for important reaction steps like activation of H-H, C-H, N-H, O-H and C=O bonds. This project illustrates that the field of surface science is now at the point where it plays a critical role in the design of new heterogeneous catalysts.  
[1] Kyriakou et al. Science 335, 1209 (2012).
[2] Marcinkowski et al. Nature Materials 12, 523 (2013).
[3] Lucci et al. Nature Communications 6, 8550 (2015).
[4] Liu et al.  JACS 138, 6396 (2016).
[5] Marcinkowski et al. Nature Chemistry 10, 325 (2018).
May 20th @ 3:00 in SL 110
“Synthesis of Archazolid-Based Enzyme Inhibitors”
Cooper Vincent
Master's Thesis Defense
Chemistry Department
Western Washington University
May 23rd @ 3:30 in SL 130
"Multifunctional Microgels for Nanoparticle-Based Detection Methodologies"
Alyson Silva
Master's Thesis Defense
Chemistry Department
Western Washington University
May 24th @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Reevaluating the functional role of Axin as a scaffold for kinase signaling in the Wnt pathway"
Dr. Jesse Zalatan
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Washington
May 31st @ 3:15 in SL 130
"Cepheid: Molecular Diagnostics and the Chemistry That Drives It"
Christian L. Holst
Manufacturing Chemist
Cepheid is a leading North American molecular diagnostics company that develops, manufactures and markets integrated systems for testing in clinical markets.  The GeneXpert system is a platform used by doctors and clinicians worldwide for the rapid, accurate detection of a variety human illnesses. GeneXpert systems can accurately and quickly detect many known and emerging human illnesses.  This is largely possible due to the chemistry tools invented, developed and manufactured by  our chemistry team.  At our Bothell, WA location we focus on the research, development and manufacturing of novel, non-naturally occurring modified bases and dyes.  These bases and dyes are the building blocks that continue to drive the high performance of our diagnostics and gives us our competitive edge.  Some examples of these modified bases and dyes and the methods used for their synthesis will be demonstrated.
June 7th @ 3:00 in SL 150
Chemistry Department Scholarship and Awards Ceremony


Click here to access the Seminar Archive.

Click here to access WWU Chemistry Research Publication Collections (including graduate thesis collection).