Accomplishments: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

November 24, 2020
The office of undergraduate research (OUR) recently held its Fall 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium and the College of Sciences brought home several honors, including: The School of Life Sciences earned the Champions of Undergraduate Research Award for its commitment to excellence in research education. The school's leadership and faculty were commended for their contributions to elevating the role of experiential and discovery learning at UNLV and to advancing OUR’s mission. The College...
August 13, 2020
Sarah York and MaryKay Orgill (Chemistry & Biochemistry) published an article, "ChEMIST Table: A Tool for Designing or Modifying Instruction for a Systems Thinking Approach in Chemistry Education," in the Journal of Chemical Education. 
August 11, 2020
MaryKay Orgill (Chemistry and Biochemistry) recently was selected as a fellow of the American Chemical Society. She is one of 53 people named fellow for 2020.  Orgill was recognized for contributions to biochemistry education research, for making theoretical frameworks accessible to the chemistry education research community. She also was recognized for leadership in the Division of Chemical Education, as chair and long-term member of its Program and Biennial Conference Committees, and for...
July 13, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) recently co-authored "From the George Floyd Moment to a Black Lives Matter Movement, in Tweets" with Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution. They analyzed protest-related tweets between May 27 and June 4 to display the development of the Black Lives Matter movement. Blankenship is pursuing a double major in chemistry and economics, and recently completed a minor in Brookings public policy.
July 8, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) co-authored "How Misinformation Spreads on Twitter" with Carol Graham, Brookings Institution Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow. The pair discuss that while social media has many advantages, information pollution is prevalent and in some cases "generate[s] more engagement than factually reliable news." To illustrate this, Blankenship and Graham refer to their Twitter research on mass shootings where they extract data, such as hashtags and emojis, and analyze...
June 25, 2020
Cory Rusinek (Chemistry) has received an award from the U.S. Department of Energy in response to the 2020 Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research Program: Understanding the Structure and Speciation of Molten Salt at the Atomic and Molecular Scale. His proposal, titled "Single- and Polycrystalline Diamond Electrodes for Spectroelectrochemical Characterization of Various Molten Salts," was awarded for three years and will begin Oct 1. Rusinek joined UNLV in July 2019 in the department of...
June 23, 2020
Paula Cordero (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received a 2020 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program award from Nevada INBRE to complete a fall research project at UNLV. She will be doing her research in the lab of assistant professor Cory Rusinek.
June 16, 2020
Vanessa Booth (Political Science),  Peter Grema (Economics), and Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) each received the Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Undergraduate Research Funding Scholarship for Summer 2020. With this funding, these students can continue their research on important public policy issues and scientific studies. 
June 16, 2020
Mary Blankenship (Chemistry and Economics) recently had an Op-Ed published in the Las Vegas Sun titled, "In an age of misinformation, fact-checking must be encouraged." In her piece, Blankenship discusses how "the pervasiveness of misinformation on social media makes it one of the great challenges of the 21st century." Blankenship is pursuing a double major in chemistry and economics, and recently completed a minor in Brookings public policy.
June 15, 2020
James Louis-Jean (Chemistry) recently was awarded first place in the 2020 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards - Materials and Recovery Section sponsored by the Department of Energy's office of nuclear energy. His winning paper, "Preparation and Characterization of Benzotriazolium Perrhenate," was published in Inorganica Chimica Acta in 2019 and will be presented at the Innovations Awards session of the ANS winter meeting in Chicago in November. A radiochemistry Ph.D. student, Louis...
May 19, 2020
Jun Yong Kang and Paul Foster (both Chemistry and Biochemistry) have been awarded a patent (10,633,403) granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the invention “N-Heterocyclic Phosphines." The chemical reagents, N-Heterocyclic Phosphines, enable a rapid synthesis of potential bioactive phosphorus-containing compounds and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) under toxic metal-free conditions. This invention also describes efficient, mild, toxic metal-free synthetic methods of...
April 27, 2020
Cassara Higgins (Chemistry and Biochemistry) was recognized for a paper that she presented at the International Youth Nuclear Conference in Sydney, Australia, in March. A third-year student in the radiochemistry PhD program, Higgins wrote about "The Reduction of Uranium Hexafluoride with a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid (1-methyl-1-propylpiperidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide)." The paper was selected as being among the best at the conference and will be published in the Journal of...