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Univesit of Floid
Deprten of Chmitr
dA note from The Chair
Kudos to Our New Graduates and
The Gator Nation continues to swell with Chemistry graduates. A total
of 133 students completed the BS in 2009-2010 (25 in Summer 2009,
19 in Fall 2009, and 89 in Spring 2010), including 78 with Honors,
High Honors, or Highest Honors. Congratulations to all of our new
Each year, the department chooses one or more outstanding se-
niors for the Colonel Allen R. and Margaret G. Crow Award. Our
2009-2010 winners are Mallory Gerace and Joshua Jackman. Mallory
worked with Prof. Adrian Roitberg for her senior thesis in computa-
tional chemistry. This fall, she will be starting on her Ph.D. in Chem-
istry at Cornell University. Joshua will also be heading north to earn
a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics in the Harvard-
MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He worked in Prof.
David Wei's research group for his senior thesis.
The department also awards several outstanding junior chemistry
majors with funding provided by private donors. The 2010 Howard and
Brenda Sheridan award goes to Joseph Papin. The winner of the Joseph
P. Lafornara award is Andrew Scheuermann. The Gordon M. and Joyce
L. Smith award goes to Rahul Patel. The Chemical Physics scholarship
winners are Francisco Birk, Mohammad Ehsan, and Michael Durante.
Congratulations to these undergraduates as they continue their excel-
lent performances as chemistry majors.
Welcome New Faculty
Dr. Rebecca A. Butcher joined our department on January 31, 2010
as an Assistant Professor in our Biochemistry Division. Her research
interests are focused on identifying novel natural products from bio-
logical systems and studying their biosynthesis and mechanism of ac-
tion. Rebecca received her Ph.D. from Harvard University with Stuart
Schreiber, during which time she was supported by an NSF Graduate
Fellowship. She received further training as a postdoctoral researcher
at Harvard Medical School with Jon Clardy, on an NIH Postdoctoral
Fellowship. She was also awarded a prestigious NIH Pathway to Inde-
pendence award which funded the last year of her postdoctoral studies
and will also provide funding during her first three years as an assistant
professor. She is developing new undergraduate and graduate course-
work in the field of chemical biology, the use of chemical methods to
study biological systems and processes.
Dr. Steven D. Bruner joined our department on December 31, 2009 as
an Associate Professor in our Biochemistry Division. Steven received his
Ph.D. from Harvard University with Prof. Gregory Verdine studying re-
pair of DNA and trained as a post-doctoral associate with Prof. Chris
Walsh at Harvard Medical School examining the biosynthesis of antibiot-
ics. Steve joined Boston College as an Assistant Professor in 2003 and was
promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. His research program incor-
porates an interdisciplinary approach using synthetic organic chemistry,
protein structural biology and mechanistic enzymology to understand
the biosynthesis of antibiotic and anticancer natural products. Steve's
research accomplishments have been acknowledged with the Damon
Runyon Cancer Research Fund Scholar Award, Camille Dreyfus New
Faculty Award and an NSF CAREER award.
In May, I again had the honor of
leading our spring semester gradu-
ates in the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences graduation ceremo-
ny. The event is one that I have
come to look forward to every
year. With all of our majors lined
up waiting our turn (see the cover
photo), I get the chance to chat
with everyone and learn about
their plans and ambitions. New
jobs, graduate school, medical
school, pharmacy, occupational
therapy, even law school; a chem-
istry degree opens many doors,
and our graduates are making the
most of their opportunities.
In three graduation ceremo-
nies this year, we awarded degrees
to nearly 150 majors, a number
that continues to rise. About two
thirds of our majors now choose
our Biochemistry Track, an op-
tion we introduced in the 1990's
that has steadily grown in popu-
This growth more than
justifies our initiative to expand
biochemistry in the Department
of Chemistry. This spring we wel-
come Professors Rebecca Butcher
and Steven Bruner, who are mak-
ing immediate contributions to
our graduate and undergraduate
biochemistry programs. Please
take a moment to read their brief
bios in this issue.
We also are moving forward
Our Wonderful Staff!
In March, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences held a
ceremony and reception in the Keene Faculty Center to
honor staff who have attained between 5 and 30 years of
continuous service to the University of Florida. Seven staff
members from the Department of Chemistry were recog-
nized for having achieved one of these milestones. Dianne
James (10), Oleg Matveev (10), Joanne Jacobucci (15),
Julie Ann Steffens (15), Beth Eddy (20), Diana Davis
(30), and Beth Douglas (30). Congratulations and thank
you for your dedicated service to our department.
with our plan to improve facilities.
The planning process for our new
Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Building is almost complete. See
some great images and keep up
with the plans on our web page at
Daniel R. Talham
CHOICES FOR SUCCESS
WATCH THE ANIMALS
On February 22nd, Dr. Howard Sheridan visited our department and
presented a talk entitled, "Choices for Success-Watch the Animals."
Dr. Sheridan presented his own spectacular photographs of wildlife
behaviors to illustrate choices affecting our professional, personal,
and business life and their impact on our careers. Dr. Sheridan re-
ceived his BS in chemistry at UF in 1965 and graduated from Tulane
University School of Medicine in 1969.
UF |UNIVERSITY of
Department of Chemistry
PO Box 117200
Gainesville FL 32611-7200
The Spring 2009 Cover Story
Brings Back Memories...
I spent many hours working in that Movie Lab preparing the materials for Dr. Baxter's classes.
I had graduated that summer and had a three-month wait to go onto active duty through the
ROTC program. Since my dad (Dr. Woodson C. Tucker, Jr.) and Dr. Baxter split the teaching
of Freshman Chemistry classes for many years, I was well known in Leigh Hall. I had the job
of running the planned experiments under the movie lights so we could get the timing right.
Since the lights drove the counter top up to about 100+ degrees F, it changed the length of
time the experiment took to occur and the chemicals had to have the right strengths if we
wanted a delayed reaction while Dr. Baxter talked about what was to happen. In one case it
took five tries to get the amounts correct. Your picture brought back many memories of those
days. I enjoy reading about the old days at UF
Woodson C. Tucker III, class of58 BS with a group Major Chemistry, Math, and Physics.
O We want to hear from you! Send your update to: Maribel Lisk, PO
Box 117200, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200. Please include your degree
* (BS, MS, PhD, etc.), graduation date, and e-mail address if you have
one. Photos are welcome, too! You can also e-mail your update to
Q) email@example.com. To make online contributions to the
L department, go to https://www.uff.ufl.edu/OnlineGiving/CLAS.asp.
Select "Chemistry 001401" and continue through the prompts.