What=s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #80

February 17, 2000

web address: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/ugradinf.html

[a publication of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University]

written by Dr. John L. Hogg



The National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) offers scholarships to qualified undergraduates who are committed to a career in biomedical research. Scholarships of up to $20,000 per year support tuition, educational and qualified living expenses while students pursue their undergraduate degree. For each year award, scholars will work 10 weeks (with salary and benefits) in the NIH labs in Bethesda, Md. Housing and transportation for the 10-week experiences is provided. After graduation, the students will work 1 year of full-time employment at NIH for each year of scholarship support. Applicants must have a GPR of at least 3.5 or be in the top 5% of their class and be U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are specifically encouraged to apply. For more information about the program check the Internet site: http://ugsp.info.nih.gov


Twenty-four undergraduate chemistry majors are gaining valuable teaching experience, not to mention money, serving as teaching assistants in some of the undergraduate chemistry laboratories this spring. Those serving as TA=s this semester are: Allen Bates, Andrew Bolin, Chad Christian, Peter Duong, Amy Fowler, Charles Hamilton, Jacob Higgins, Reagan Hughes, Timmy Kovoor, Rachel McConnell, Tommy Miller, Denise Muehlbrad, Julie Orf, Josh Osbun, Kyle Plunkett, Shelly Roper, Brad Rowland, Zsila Sadighi, Danny Salinas, Ryan Shaw, Melissa Supak, Elise Waltman, Allan Wilson, and Erin Witt.



Van Johnson, senior chemistry major, has been admitted to UT-Southwestern Medical School.

Seth Horne, senior chemistry major, has been admitted to the graduate chemistry programs at Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Wisconsin and Scripps.

Kyle Plunkett, senior chemistry major, has been admitted to the graduate chemistry program at the University of Illinois.

Julie Orf, senior chemistry major, has been admitted to the graduate chemistry program at UCLA.

Tommy Miller, senior chemistry major, has been admitted to the graduate chemistry programs at Harvard and Yale.


Angie Wacker (B.A. 1999) is now a forensic chemist with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Dallas. She is working at the South Central DEA Lab, one of seven such labs in the United States. They analyze seized suspected controlled substances from New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Arizona. She reports that the lab has state-of-the-art analytical equipment and that she is currently undergoing extensive training. After completing the training, she will be sent to the scene of major drug busts to collect samples for analysis. She is also undergoing training to be come an expert witness in federal court drug cases.

Gabriella Guzzio (B.A. 1997) was in town the last week of January to attend the Fire Training School at Texas A&M University. Gabby works at Nalco-Exxon in Sugarland. Dr. and Mrs. Hogg enjoyed dinner with Gabby one night.

Lesley Kriewald (B.A. 1999) is now a graduate assistant with the Office of University Relations at Texas A&M University while she continues work on her master=s degree in science and technology journalism.


Marylin Warren has become a grandmother for the third time. Her middle daughter, Tonnette, gave birth to a healthy baby boy on February 9. He weighed 6 lb and 13 oz and was 19 inches long. Now if Marylin could only catch a fish that big, she=d be ecstatic.


Texas A&M has joined the TransAtlantic Science Student Exchange Program (TASSEP) which will allow Texas A&M undergraduates to go and spend one or two semesters in an affiliated European University. The students will attend classes at the foreign university and will receive credit for these courses. As part of this program, European students will also be invited to spend one or two semesters in our chemistry department. Detailed information on this program can be obtained from Prof. François Gabbaï (862-2070, François@tamu.edu) or on the Internet at: http://www.unc.edu/depts/chemistry/undergrads/tassep/index.html.

The affiliated European Universities are spread out throughout Europe, giving a wide variety of possible destinations.

The following sections provide a more complete description of the program.

Summary of Program:

The TASSEP exchange program for science students, particularly at the undergraduate level, is a vehicle which permits students to study their chosen discipline at a foreign university. The agreement insures that students receive full credit for courses taken at the foreign university. Students pay tuition and fees at their home institution and thereby receive student status at the foreign university. The exchange program is based on 1:1 reciprocity in which one foreign student replaces a student from the home institution. Each institution retains control of student selection as well as the number of students that participate in the program. The program is limited to students enrolled in the participating universities.


As scientific activities, both in private industry as well as university and government laboratories, become increasingly international in scope, it is essential that science students become familiar with foreign cultures, languages, and economic systems. One of the most effective vehicles for addressing this problem is through exchange programs in which students spend a year abroad, living much like the students at the foreign university. The goal of the present program is to facilitate these opportunities for science students. Science students face unique problems because of the large number of required courses in the standard four or five year curriculum, and because of the vertical structure of the science curriculum.

The European Community Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The ECTS is based on three ingredients. Each participating institution provides a list of courses with a detailed course content and work load in the form of course credits. Additional information includes a typical four year course program for science majors in the specified field of study. Secondly, the ECTS system is based on a nominal and generally agreed upon full course load at each university, which has been assigned to be 60 credits. This permits each university to assign an ECTS credit rating to its courses. Finally, the ECTS uses a common application form and provides a transcript of student grades with a well defined ECTS grades for each course taken.

Essentially all US universities are based on a full yearly load of 30 credit hours for undergraduate courses. Thus, 1 US credit=2 ECTS credits. Most courses meeting 3 hours per week thus have 6 ECTS credits. However, graduate students generally take just 3 courses per term, rather than the normal 4 or 5 courses for undergraduates. A full load for them is thus 18 hours per year. In general, these graduate level courses require considerably more work than the normal undergraduate courses. Such courses should count for 9-10 ECTS credits. Since in the course catalog of most universities, little distinction is made between graduate and undergraduate courses, European students planning their course load need to inquire about the nature of the course before deciding how many courses they can take.

Advising of Foreign Students:

Students at the foreign university will be advised by the academic program coordinator(s) and the study abroad office.

Course Enrollment:

Each student's course enrollment is decided by prior agreement between the student, his or her advisor, and the foreign university representative or coordinator. This agreement, signed by the three parties, then serves as a guarantee that satisfactory completion of the course work will count toward fulfillment of the home institution graduation requirements. Whether the home institution lists the grades in their transcripts, or uses them in determining the grade point average is up to the home university. Communication between the two universities is essential to insure that the science and non-science courses will be available to the student.

Language Preparation:

It is expected that a student attending a non-English speaking university, will have had at least 2 college years of training in that language. Additional work or experience is desirable. Exceptions to the above stated minimum requirements can be made in consultation with the foreign university advisor. Most of the non-English speaking universities offer intensive language programs during a one or two month period prior to the beginning of the academic year. The sending institution is responsible for certifying the adequacy of the language preparation.

Student Housing:

The host institution will provide help in finding appropriate housing for the foreign student. All housing costs are born by the student.



Texas A&M University is trying to established a new Public Policy Internship Program in Washington, D.C. Additional details about the program are available in Dr. Hogg=s office in Room 104 Chemistry or you may contact Regina Britten at the address below. The key features of the program are highlighted here.

Program Features:


Application Process:

For more information contact :

Ms. Regina Britten

101 Academic Building

(409) 845-1957


http: PPIP.tamu.edu


Applications for the Julia Ball Lee/H.R. Lewis/Howard Gravett Scholarships for students preparing to enter a filed of the health professions are available in Room 514 Blocker, 320 Heldenfels, 104 Chemistry, the Office of Professional School Advising and Room 081 Vet Admin. The deadline for submitting the application is March 31, 2000.

The Gates Millennium Scholars program is aimed at increasing the number of low-income African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanic Americans enrolling in and completing undergraduate and graduate degree programs. If you are qualified (cumulative GPR of 3.0 and enrolled or are accepted for full-time enrollment in a college or university (undergraduate or graduate; have a demonstrated financial need as defined by the federal needs analysis formula; and have demonstrated leadership commitment) and wish to be considered for nomination please contact Dr. Hogg in Room 104 Chemistry as soon as possible. The postmark deadline for the application is March 15, 2000.

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is open to any full-time college student with awards of $20,000 for the best college student inventors and $10,000 awards for their advisors. Download an application packet and get additional information at the following site: www.invent.org or call 1-800-968-4332 ext 6887. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2000.


The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, a non-profit vision research lab located in north Dallas, has an opening for a summer intern in the Pearson Visual Biochemistry Laboratory. The intern will develop procedures necessary to utilize preparations of DNA isolated from cheek cells of patients with inherited retinal degenerative diseases for gene mutation analysis. Science majors with a demonstrated interest in biomedical research may submit applications to Dr. Dennis Hoffman by fax at 214-363-4538. His e-mail address is: dhoffman@retinafoundation.org. Application information may be obtained at www.retinafoundation.org. The deadline for applications is    March 21, 2000.


The ACS student affiliate chapter at Texas A&M University is trying to raise money to send about twenty-five students to the 219th National ACS Meeting in San Francisco from March 25-28. Donations will be greatly appreciated. Local supporters may contact Erin Witt at 680-1526 to arrange for a team of 2-3 students to do odd jobs in exchange for a donation.

The chapter is also holding a raffle for two American Airline round-trip coach tickets. These tickets are good for 1 year from the April 28 raffle date for destinations in the 48 continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Tickets are $2 each or six for $10. You may contact Marylin Warren at 845-0520 or warren@mail.chem.tamu.edu if you are interested in purchasing tickets.


Melissa Wayland (B.S. 1994) sent the following announcement about positions available where she works..

DuPont Pharmaceutical Research Labs in San Diego, CA has immediate openings for Chemists committed to small molecule drug discovery. The successful candidates will have a B.S. or M.S. in Synthetic Chemistry with experience in one or more of the following areas: medicinal chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, reaction research, automation and robotic synthesis, programming of synthesizers, chemical data management. Proficiency in either combinatorial chemistry or synthesis automation is an advantage. The candidates will work in collaboration with a team of scientists in a multi-disciplinary environment to develop and apply components of an efficient drug discovery process. The successful candidates must possess a demonstrated ability to work well in a team environment and have the flexibility to succeed in a dynamic and rapidly growing workplace. Excellent problem solving, oral and written communication skills are required.

At the DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company we blend diverse talents to create an environment focused on applying world-class science to the discovery and development of novel solutions for major unmet medical needs. We devote an extraordinary amount of resources to research and development because we believe life and health can be made better.

Please send your resumes to:

E-mail: resumes@combichem.com

or mwayland@combichem.com

Fax: 858-625-9293

US mail:

Melissa Wayland

c/o: DuPont Pharmaceuticals Research Labs

4570 Executive Dr, #400

San Diego, CA 92121


The DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company blends diverse talents to create an environment focused on applying world-class science to the discovery and development of novel solutions for major unmet medical needs. Our modern research facilities provide an attractive, collegial work environment. Most importantly, our enthusiastic research teams are engaged in life long learning that will keep us at the cutting edge of drug discovery. We devote an extraordinary amount of resources to research and development because we know that our discoveries will improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world.

Medicinal Chemists

We are seeking highly motivated BS/MS chemists to join our Medicinal Chemistry Project teams at our facilities in Wilmington, DE. These scientists will be responsible for the design, synthesis and purification of compounds of medicinal interest. Experienced individuals will be expected also to intellectually contribute to developing the structure-activity relationships necessary for driving research projects to produce clinical candidates and ultimately ethical pharmaceutical drugs. Qualified individuals will have a strong theoretical background in synthetic organic chemistry. Good organizational, interpersonal and communication skills are also required. Research experience is highly desirable.

Process Chemists

We also have openings at our Process Research facility in Deepwater, N.J. for MS/BS process/synthesis chemists to conduct experiments in synthetic organic chemistry designed to discover and ultimately develop the best process for our drug intermediates and final drug substances. Responsibilities include: searching the literature for applicable chemistry, designing synthetic pathways to target structures, exploring these approaches in the lab with an objective of reducing to practice,

scaling-up to kilo lab/pilot plant, and communicating results to the Chemical Process R&D team. B.S. with experience or M.S. in organic chemistry is required. Industrial experience in process chemistry is desirable. www.dupontpharma.com