NSF funding awarded to John Goldstone & startup company

Congratulations to John Goldstone (BS Chemistry, Winter 2018)  for receiving a $225,000 NSF grant to support his startup company, Boydston Chemical Innovations, Inc. (BCI).  BCI uses patent-pending technology discovered in the UW Department of Chemistry Boydston Research Group to utilize a metal-free approach to making high performance resins and polymers. The company hopes they will be able to provide efficient routes to producing lightweight high-toughness production parts that could be used in vehicles to increase fuel efficiency, agricultural equipment, wind energy turbine blades, medical implants, and bullet-proof plastic composites.

John’s educational background (BA in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, BS Chemistry) and rich experience as the Director of Commercialization and Licensing at Weyerhaeuser have been instrumental to propelling the startup company forward.  Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships states “The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have potential to become great commercial success and make huge societal impacts.  We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”


Three students win Washington Research Scholarships

Congratulations to Sedona Ewbank, Julia Joo, and Briana Lee for winning  Washington Research Scholarships!

Sedona is currently a senior majoring in Neurobiology and Biochemistry at the University of Washington. Most recently, Sedona’s interest in the relationship between the central nervous system and the gut microbiota has led her to join the Palmiter Laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry. In the Palmiter Laboratory, she is investigating whether a group of neurons in the hypothalamus which are known to drive feeding behavior, AgRP neurons, may also have a role in shaping the composition of the gut microbiota to promote energy homeostasis. This research project could provide insight into how humans regulate the microbiome in health and in disease. Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree, Sedona plans to attend graduate school in order to earn a Ph.D. and pursue a career in academic research.

Julia is a senior studying Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She is exploring the mutator phenotype of cancer, which theorizes that mutation rates are elevated in cancer cells and thus lead to the accumulation of mutations that accelerate tumorigenesis. She is interested in identifying mutations in genes that can modulate mutation rates, as understanding their functions may contribute to novel approaches for cancer treatments by targeting the mutator phenotype. She is specifically investigating the methods by which Chromosome Transmission Factor (Ctf18) suppresses mutation rates in yeast deficient in DNA polymerase epsilon proofreading, potentially via novel mechanisms involving direct interaction with the polymerase.

Briana Lee is a senior undergraduate student majoring in both neurobiology and biochemistry. Briana is interested in how physics and chemistry can be applied to explain biological phenomenon. She has a passion for interdisciplinary studies and her current research involves processing neuroimaging data to analyze functional connectivity networks in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Functional networks are clusters of neurons within the brain that activate together when completing a certain task. These networks are not well characterized or understood and Briana is interested in quantifying how a specific functional network called the default mode network (DMN) changes during AD progression. She is also interested in how the DMN behaves differently across individuals, potentially providing insight to how environmental or demographic characteristics can affect an individual’s network capabilities.  After graduating from UW, she hopes to attend medical school, while continuing research in a neurobiology-related field.

Three students receive Levinson Emerging Scholar Awards

Congratulations to Hyeon-Jin Kim, Jie Yin and Kyle Curtis who have received the Levinson Emerging Scholar Award!

Hyeon-Jin Kim is a senior majoring in Applied Computational Mathematical Science – Biological and Life Sciences, biochemistry, and chemistry. In the spring quarter of his freshman year, he joined the Vaughan Group from Department of Chemistry to help enhance super resolution techniques for bioimaging. Hyeon-Jin is now working on a new collaboration between the Vaughan Group and the Kueh Group in the Department of Bioengineering. In this collaboration work, he hopes to develop a higher resolution epigenetic profiling method and use this method to study cell fate decisions in hematopoiesis. After he finishes his studies at UW, he plans to attend graduate school to pursue a doctorate in quantitative biology or related discipline.

Jie Yin is currently a senior at the University of Washington studying Biochemistry and Microbiology with Departmental Honors. Her curiosity about cancer biology motivated her to join the Lagunoff lab in her sophomore year. Intrigued by viral oncogenesis, Jie studies how Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) alters endothelial cells’ metabolism to maintain viral latency. After graduation, Jie plans to do translational research that focuses on cancer treatments prior to attending medical school.

Kyle Curtis is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in chemistry and biochemistry with minors in mathematics and physics. He joined Dr. David Mack’s lab at the UW Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in June of 2016. His current project focuses on generating a model enteric nervous system from patient derived stem cells to be able to test different drug treatment methods for the gut motility issues that plague many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After graduation, Kyle intends to pursue medical school and hopes to continue conducting research in the medical field as a physician.


Top Scholars in Chemistry Announced

Each year the Department of Chemistry acknowledges our top students in the Honors Organic Chemistry series and the Physical Chemistry series.

The PC Cross award for the top students in Physical Chemistry has been awarded to Alexander Rachkov and Hyeon-Jin Kim.

The Hyp Dauben award for the top student in Honors Organic Chemistry has been awarded to Ravishankar Madhu.

Congratulations Alexander, Hyeon-Jin, and Ravishankar!


Jude Tunyi chosen as 2017 Commencement Gonfaloniere

Congratulations to Jude Tunyi who has been chosen as a 2017 Commencement Gonfaloniere.

Each year the various schools and colleges select students to lead all the degree candidates during the Commencement procession. These students are called gonfalonieres because they carry the school’s gonfalon, a banner that hangs down from a crosspiece and bears that school’s name and symbol.

The gonfaloniere was a prestigious post in Italian medieval and Renaissance communities. Our gonfalonieres have a record of outstanding achievement at the university.

Jude Tunyi is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. His family immigrated to the U.S. from Cameroon, Africa when he was 10. He came to the University of Washington to gain the best education so that he can go back and improve the health care conditions of his home country. This led him to get involved in research, science and medicine at UW, which led him to his current major, at the intersection of all three areas. One of his highlights while at UW was doing computational research using molecular simulations which allowed him to travel to different conferences in various cities to present his research and engage with professional scientists. His research allowed him to be the recipient of prestigious awards including the Mary Gates Research Scholarship, the Levinson Emerging Scholar, a McNair Scholar, and Department of Chemistry and Biology Awards. Upon graduation, Jude will perform research at National Institutes of Health as part of a post-bac program before heading to medical school to obtain an MD/PhD in Neuroscience. In the future, he hopes to be able to work clinically with disadvantaged populations as well as to be able to do research to advance the field of neuroscience.

2017 Awards for Distinguished Research in Chemistry & Biochemistry

Nineteen graduating seniors have been selected for the 2017 Awards for Distinguished Research in Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Congratulations to:

Nasser Alrashdi (PI: Boydston)

Kyla Berry (PI: Fu)

Athena Bollozos (PI: Davis)

Quynh Do (PI: Luscombe)

Alice Dong (PI: Kimelman)

Ashlee Evans (PI: Brockerhoff)

Zachary Gottschalk (PI: Ruohola-Baker)

Aengela Kim (PI: Ailion)

Ulri Lee (PI: Theberge)

Tongyu Lin (PI: Gu)

Sarah Parkhurst (PI: Vaughn)

Anika Patel (PI: Zalatan)

Alexander Rachkov (PI: Gamelin)

Zachary Ramey (PI: Turecek)

Bobby Shih (PI: Klevit)

Zoha Syed (PI: Goldberg)

Kahtana Tran (PI: Ruohola-Baker)

Po Ki Tse (PI: Schlenker)

Phillip Zhu (PI: Kwon)




Four Chemistry/Biochemistry majors named to Husky 100!

Congratulations to Kyle Curtis, Michelle Ann Wasan, Tim Welsh, and Ernie Tao for being named to the Husky 100!  The Husky 100 honors 100 UW undergraduates and graduate students in all areas of study who actively connect what happens inside and outside of the classroom and apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future. Through their passion, leadership and commitment, these students inspire all of us to shape our own Husky Experience.