2010 ETSU Chemistry Newsletter
I. CHAIR’S MESSAGE:
We’re back! It’s been a couple of years since our last Departmental Newsletter. Since
the last Newsletter, ETSU has established the Gatton College of Pharmacy and that, along
with a continuing overall enrollment growth has dramatically increased the enrollment in
chemistry, with the attendant increased class sizes and numbers and associated staffing
problems. The net result is that we are an expanded and stronger department, but there hasn’t
been much time to do the “extras”, like publishing a newsletter. We have gotten more
laboratory space, additional state-of-the-art instrumentation, additional graduate teaching
assistantships, and additional teaching faculties to handle these increases.
The current economic situation has also had its effect on the department. We have had
to postpone a couple of faculty searches. Overall, the university’s approach to this crisis was
very careful and responsible, and with the help of stimulus money, department operating
budgets were generally spared, although the future is still uncertain. With the laboratory fees
we collect and the continuing gracious support from our alumni and friends, we have been
able to maintain our teaching and research programs. As described below, we are a new
department in terms of faculty. We published 21 papers last year, submitted 12 grants and
had 2 funded by external granting agencies. We are waiting approval of a new Chemical
Physics Concentration in conjunction with the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Some changes are bitter-sweet. Mrs. Susan Campbell retired this past summer after 33
years as Executive Aide in the department. She was as much a professional in the
department as any one, and one who maintained her sense of humor through all crises. She
was truly a joy to work with, and I wish her the best in her well-earned retirement. We have
found an equally talented replacement, Mrs. Barbara Rasnick, who has quickly mastered the
intricacies of our new Banner software and the many arcane workings of the department, and
who is also our new webmaster. Watch for our new web page, coming soon.
As part of our growth, we now have 17 graduate assistantships, double the number of a
few years ago! These are a very talented group of students who teach many of our
undergraduate laboratory classes and contribute to our research productivity. Eight of the
papers published this year have graduate students as co-authors. We added two awards last
year which recognize these students, one for the
outstanding student with the highest grade point
average, and the other for the outstanding
teaching assistant. These are awarded along
with our undergraduate awards at our annual
Finally, I have announced my intention to
retire at the end of this academic year. It seems
only yesterday (1967) that I began my career at
ETSU. I hope to return to teaching and
research on a post-retirement plan. We are in
the beginning stages of an external search for a new Ms. Campbell at 31 Year Party, 2007
chair, and there are a number of highly qualified candidates. This is a great department, and I
hope to enjoy my association with it in the years to come. Thanks for your continuing
support of the department. Please contact us and let us know of your accomplishments!
II. WELCOME and FAREWELL:
Over the past few years, the Department of Chemistry
has expanded its strength and increased its diversity with
new faces joining the family. We would like to welcome
the following new faculty and staff members.
First congratulation goes to Dr. Scott Kirkby, who was
awarded a tenured position and promoted to Associate
Professor in 2009, due to his excellence in teaching,
research and service.
We are also very fortunate to have new associations
with Dr. Marina Roginska and Dr. Gregory Love. Dr.
Roginska has extensive research experience in academia
and will help teach introductory and higher level courses as
a Lecturer. Dr. Love received his Ph.D. in Analytical
Chemistry from Kansas State University. He worked at
Abbott Laboratories for 21 years before joining us as an Ms. Rasnick at 2009 Mole Day
Adjunct Professor, teaching introductory and general chemistry courses at ETSU Kingsport
campus. He is also an active member of North East Tennessee Section of the American
Three tenure-track faculty positions were filled by Drs. Peng Sun, Aleskey Vasiliev and
Ningfeng Zhao in Summer 2008. Dr. Sun is an analytical chemist with research interest in
the electrochemical characterization of chemical process or
materials in mesoscopic dimension. As an organic chemist, Dr.
Vasiliev studies functionalization of organic-inorganic hybrid
materials and heterogeneous catalysis in petroleum chemistry.
Dr. Zhao was hired as a chemical educator to collaborate with
the ETSU Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science
Education. He is an inorganic chemist with extensive
experience in curriculum development and teacher training.
Ms. Barbara Rasnick has been our new departmental
Executive Aide since July 2009. She is from Kingsport, TN
and worked nearly ten years for intellectual property for
Eastman Chemical Co. She sings in a mixed quartet and in her
church choir, and recently made her dream trip to Alaska.
With more than 30 years of great services to the
Dr. Kopp Retirement Party, 2008 Department, Ms. Susan Campbell, our Executive Aide, and
Professor Richard Kopp retired with honor this past year.
For a long time Ms. Campbell has been recognized as the hinge of the departmental operation
and by her motherly love for students. Professor Kopp, one of the best teachers the
Department has even seen, has dedicated himself to chemical education and public science
The Department of Chemistry is currently in the redesign process of General Chemistry
course to promote learning and class retention rate. As part of this study, we chose a new text
“Chemistry: Matter and its Changes” by Brady and Senese for CHEM 1110/1120,
incorporated with WileyPLUS online learning system. In addition, Dr. Ray Mohseni
developed a new on-line course, “Introduction to General Chemistry” CHEM 1040 to
prepare students with necessary background for success in General Chemistry. The
California Chemistry Diagnostic Test (CCDT) has also been implemented at the beginning of
each Fall semester to assess the preparedness of students for General Chemistry. Students
who scored below a minimum score were strongly encouraged to take the CHEM 1040
The graduate program (Master of Science) at the department has seen dramatic changes
and growth over the past 6 years. The main reasons for the changes are the world-wide
socio-political changes and the establishment of the School of Pharmacy at ETSU.
First we have witnessed a large change in the composition of the national origins of the
graduate students in the department. We used to have graduate students from China mostly
with a few domestic graduates. The rise of China economically resulted in changes in the
interest of fields of studies (to business) and wider choices of universities of young aspiring
Chinese students. Our stipends are no longer competitive and also may not be needed
anymore as a stepping stone by those Chinese who are from affluent families. The efforts of
the past chairman Dr. Huang, when he was a Fulbright scholar at Cameroon, to attract
students to come to ETSU paid off. Thus we experienced the start of an increase of students
from the nations on the African continent. We now have students besides Cameroon, from
Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. We also have had students, aside from India, Nepal, Iran,
Lebanon, and others, in addition to an increase in domestic graduates. So the department now
has a much more diverse source of applicants to the graduate program. The quality of the
applicants remains high as indicated by our graduation rate.
The other important change is the growth of the graduate program. This growth is due to
a large enrollment increase in our courses and the number of students who choose to major in
chemistry. This large influx necessitates more laboratory sections in almost all required
“service” courses for professional programs, especially for pharmacy and medicine. Thus the
frequency of offerings and sections are increased for general chemistry, organic chemistry
and quantitative analysis. This increase in course offerings and frequency means more
teaching assistants are needed to help with the labs. Thus we have a doubling of teaching
assistantships to about 17 currently. Along with students who are holding full time jobs in
industry and education, the graduate program now enrolls about 25 students.
The graduate program also had undergone a
rigorous review process by the American Chemical
Society this past academic year. While we received
high marks in our academic offerings and
achievements, we also suffer the pangs of growth,
that of short of space and personnel. Even though
we have been granted two new positions so that we
now have four faculties in organic and one in
chemistry education, we have due to retirements, 2
positions in other divisions yet to be filled. When
these positions are filled, we would have a much
more rounded choice of master thesis for the
Aaron and Alvis Wedding, 2008 graduate students.
The best indicator of how our program is doing is to see how our graduates are faring in
their career goals after leaving ETSU. The majority of our international student graduates go
on to pursue doctoral degrees and the reputation of the programs they are admitted to is
another indicator of how well our MS program is regarded by other institutions. Here are
some of the recent graduates (before or by the end of summer) and where they are currently
Aaron Apawu (Wayne State, Detroit, MI)
Suzana Hamdan (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA)
Sai Konda (University of Texas, Austin, TX);
John Muchena (University of Georgia, Athens, GA)
Charles Odame-Ankrah (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL)
Suresh Regmi (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA)
Jenifer Ashie (University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY)
William Ghann (University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD)
Laude Bannerman (Miami University, Oxford, OH)
Arrey Enyong (Georgetown University, Washington DC)
Nadine Njoya (Purdue University, Lafayette, IN)
Christian David Essaka (University of Washington, Seattle, WA)
Mahmoud Al-Shaer (University of Washington, Seattle, WA)
Other earlier graduates have also been admitted to other doctoral programs, including:
Purdue University, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins,
University of Florida, University of Tennessee, Louisville University, University of Chicago,
and Brown University.
The majority of the “domestic” graduates prefer to seek employment. For example,
Daniel Dixon (TN) and Sarah Sawyer (VA) are both high school teachers in the areas.
Danessa Sexton, Randy Jasmine Sluss, Teresa Lloyd, T. Annette Lockhart, and Enni
Fomumbod, are graduates who are employed by the local (TN, VA) industries. Many other
earlier graduates (those from China especially) are working elsewhere, particularly in
pharmaceutical companies in the east coast such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
A few graduates decided to change to chemistry related career. Recent graduate Mark
Henry Kamga is now enrolled in the chemical engineering program at University of
Connecticut. Christian Muenyi, who is now working as a research technician at the Quillen
School of Medicine at ETSU, has decided to pursue pharmacy program. Abisake Feleki,
who is working in the DC area is also considering going into pharmacy.
Our graduate program has been expanding and getting to be recognized as exemplified by
the number of applications for admission we have received and also by the success of our
graduates, current and past. The rigorous courses and independent research requirements
coupled with helpful, congenial, and cooperative atmosphere of the department have been
conducive to the success and our growing reputation.
Over the past few years, the Department of Chemistry has been active and fruitful in
academic research. Below are some selected publications and invited presentations.
Jiang, Y.L., “Design, synthesis and spectroscopic studies of resveratrol aliphatic acid
ligands of human serum albumin” Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry, 2008, 16(12), 6406.
Chen, L.; Sun, X.; Li, H.; Zhao, B.; Zhang, Y.; Javer, A.; Zhang, X.; Jiang, Y.L.; Yin,
D., “Synthetic Resveratrol Aliphatic Acid Inhibits TLR2-mediated Apoptosis and An
Involvement of Akt/GSK3- Pathway” Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry, 2009, 17, 4378.
Xiao, M.; Zhu, B.-K; Jiang, Y.L., “Inhibition of human melonoma cell proliferation
using small molecule uracil-DNA glycosylase inhibitors” Letters in Drug Design &
Discovery, 2008, 5, 108.
Xiao, M.; Yang, H.; Klein, S.M.; Muenyi, C.M.; Stone, W.L.; Jiang, Y.L., “ Facile
synthesis of anticancer drug NCX 4040 in mild conditions” Letters in Organic Chemistry,
2008, 5, 510.
Klein, S.M.; Zhang, C.; Jiang, Y.L., “Simple synthesis of fresh alkyl iodides using
alcohols and hydriodic acid” Tetrahedron Letters, 2008, 49, 2638.
Lamale, B.; Henry, W.P.; Daniels, L.M.; Zhang, C.; Klein, S.M.; Jiang, Y.L.,
“Synthesis and crystal structures of fluorescent receptors for 9-butyladenine” Tetrahedron,
2009, 65, 62.
Jiang, Y.L.; Liu, Y.S., “Simple and convenient determination of perylene preserved in the
late Neogene wood from Northeastern Tennessee using fluorescence spectroscopy” Organic
Geochemistry, 2008, 39, 1462.
Daniel P. Sheng, Ismail O. Kady, “Catalysis by supported Lewis acids: An efficient
method for transesterification of phosphotriesters” Applied Catalysis A: General, 2009, 365,
Ismail O. Kady, “Transesterification of Phosphotriesters Paraoxon Catalyzed by
ZnCl2/SiO2” Chem. Lett. 2008, 37, 744.
E. Collnot, C. Baldes, M. Wempe, R. Kappl, J. Huttermann, John A. Hyatt, K. Edgar, U.
Schafer, and C. Lehr, "Mechanism of Inhibition of P-Glycoprotein Mediated Efflux by
Vitamin E TPGS: Influence on ATPase Activity and Membrane Fulidity" Molecular
Pharmaceutics, 2007, 4(3), 465.
E. Couladouros, V. Moutsos, M. Lampropoulou, J. Little, and John A. Hyatt, "A Short
and Convenient Chemical Route to Optically Pure 2-Methyl Chromanmethanols. Total
Asymmetric Synthesis of beta-, gamma-, and delta-Tocotrienols” Journal of Organic
Chemistry, 2007, 72, 6735.
John A. Hyatt, "Convenient Preparation of 2,7,8-Trimethyl-6-hydroxychroman-2-
carboxylic Acid (gamma-Trolox)" Synthetic Communications, 2008, 38, 8.
Chenxi Yang, Peng Sun, “Fabrication and characterization of dual submicrometer-sized
electrode” Anal. Chem. 2009, 81, 7496.
Zhao, N., “WileyPLUS with CATALYST”, J. Chem. Educ. 2009, 86, 692.
Hamid S. Kasmai, Xiaodong Wanga, Hanh-Nhon Doan, Josef F. Femia, Thad M.
Yablonsky, Mary E. Read, and David T. Dotten, “The Adverse Effect of Benzannelation on
the Aromaticity of Oxocinyl Anion; a Combined Experimental and Theoretical Study”
Helvetica Chimica Acta (in press).
Ismail O. Kady, “Hydrolysis of Phosphoesters by Supported Lewis Acids” The 60th ACS
Southeast Regional Meeting. Nashville, TN. November 2008.
Ismail O. Kady, “ZnCl2/SiO2 as a Catalyst for Transestrification of Organophosphates”
The 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Philadelphia, PA. August
John A. Hyatt, "Synthesis of Optical Molecular Probes for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
and Colorectal Cancer" Symposium of “Fluorescent Conjugates in Cancer Diagnosis”, Univ.
of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus. October 2008.
C. Constantinou, John A. Hyatt, P. Vraka, V. Hadjivassiloi, A. Papas, C. Neophytou, and
A. Constantinou, "Evaluation of the Pro-apoptotic Properties of Vitamin E Isomers and
Novel Derivatives in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines" Symposium of "Molecular Targets for
Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment”, Limassol, Cyprus. October 2007.
V. Srinivasan, John A. Hyatt, and M. Whitnall, "Delta Tocotrienol as a Countermeasure
Agent against Ionizing Radiation" The 54th meeting of the Radiation Research Society.
Boston, MA. September 2008.
Zhao, N., “Achievable Classroom Inquiry” The Tennessee Science Teacher Association
2009 Professional Development Institute and Conference. Franklin, TN. November 2009.
V. SOCIAL EVENTS
Mrs. Bettylene Franzus, wife of the late Dr. Boris
Franzus of the Department of Chemistry, was
honored by ETSU alumni association as a 2009
Alumni Award winner. Mr. Doug Davis, a chemist
working for Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. and one of
the graduates from ETSU chemistry department, was
invited as a guest speaker for the Alumni Return to
the Classroom Program in November 2009.
As now traditions of the Department of Chemistry,
the Mole Day barbeque event and Honors Banquet
are sponsored annually. Integrated with the National
Joshua Whaley, 2009 Boris Franzus Chemistry Week, the Mole Day barbeque on October
Award, with Mrs. Bettylene Franzus 23rd each year allows a good opportunity for
communication between students and chemistry
faculty members. It is aimed to motivate student career path into chemistry and help realize
the importance of science. The 20th Chemistry Department Honors Banquet was also held on
October 23, 2009. It was a good gathering to congratulate the awardees along with their
parents and friends. The award recipients are:
William Carothers, Thomas Whitehead
Award as an outstanding chemistry
major who has completed general
Daniel Armentrout, Clifford C. Boyd
Award as an outstanding chemistry
major who has completed organic
chemistry and quantitative analysis.
Sarah Himmelreich, D. G. Nicholson
Award as an outstanding chemistry
major who has completed physical
2009 Mole Day
Joshua Whaley, Boris Franzus
Memorial Scholarship Award as an outstanding student in undergraduate organic
Ian Ross, Outstanding Student Award as an outstanding senior chemistry major;
NETS-ACS Award, as an outstanding senior by Northeast Tennessee Section of the
American Chemical Society.
Caddy Hobbs, Thomas T. –S. Huang Chemistry Endowed Scholarship as an entering
freshman chemistry major.
Barnabas Otoo, Outstanding Graduate Student Award for most outstanding
Travis Heath, Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for proven to be an
The Department of Chemistry continuously
contributes to the community science learning
by providing services to professional
organizations. Dr. Gregory Love served as
Chair-elect, Chair, and Past Chair in 2007 –
2009 for Northeast Tennessee Section of the
American Chemical Society, respectively. In
2010, he will be serving as Member-At-Large.
On April 22nd, 2009, Drs. Kasmai, Wardeska
and Zhao joined the Girl Scout celebration of
the Earth Day by providing “magic” chemistry
shows. Dr. Zhao was also appointed as the Daniel Armentrout, 2009 Clifford Boyd
coordinator for the US National Chemistry Award, with Dr. Wardeska
Olympiad at Northeast Tennessee Section of the
American Chemical Society. Over 200 high school students from seven local high schools
participated in the competition to promote the learning of chemistry.
Department of Chemistry
P.O. Box 70695
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN 37614