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April 2018

Department Head Martin Gruebele sitting at his desk 
Martin Gruebele 

Greetings from the Department Head

Time flies – when you read this, our incoming PhD class of 2018 will be making their final choice of graduate school, and it won’t be long until our commencement in May. Our speaker this year is none other than the president of the ACS himself, Peter Dorhout (BS, ’85).

In the meantime, it’s been a busy semester for us, with the inauguration of our new Center for Theoretical Chemistry in Noyes Lab and many other activities.

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 photo of Wilfred van der Donk drawing on white board smiling for camera

Study yields more than a million new cyclic compounds

Research by Professor Wilfred van der Donk yields more than a million new cyclic compounds, some with pharmaceutical potential.

The study, reported in Nature Chemical Biology, also revealed that one of the newly generated compounds interferes with the binding of an HIV protein to a human protein, an interaction vital to the virus’s life cycle.

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 4 people standing in front of a blue wall with "Center for Theoretical Chemistry" written on it, cutting an orange ribbon

Ribbon cutting for Center for Theoretical Chemistry

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on March 29, 2018 to commemorate the new state-of-the-art Center for Theoretical Chemistry.


 Head shot of Kali Serrano

Developing safety leaders at Illinois

Kali Serrano is the Joint Safety Team representative for Professor Paul Braun’s research group and currently serves as the only graduate student on the ACS National Committee on Chemical Safety—a prestigious role that comes with partial support to attend all ACS national meetings.

Here she discusses her recent work related to lab safety and student safety programs.

 Head shot of Professor M. Christina White

Research spotlight: M. Christina White

Professor M. Christina White joined the Illinois faculty in 2005.

In this 4-minute video, she gives a glimpse into her team’s research involving organic synthesis, describing herself and her students as molecular surgeons.



 black and white headshot of Sylvia Stoesser

Women's History Month: Yulan Tong and the Sylvia Stoesser Lecture

When Yulan Tong (MS, '58; PhD, '61) studied organic chemistry at Illinois in the late 1950s, she was the only woman in that division.

Forty years later, she decided to give back to the university, launching the first Sylvia M. Stoesser Lecture in Chemistry in 2000, and endowing the series in 2015 to ensure its continuation in perpetuity.

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 Ron Archer playing the clarinet outside

A retired chemist's musical activities

Ronald D. Archer (PhD, '59, Bailar) spent most of his career as a professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he was also department head for six years.

Here he shares about some of the activities he has enjoyed since his retirement in 1999.

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Upcoming events


With Illinois Campaign Celebration Events
April 18, 2018 (Washington, DC)
April 28, 2018 (Silicon Valley)


feat. Dr. Peter Dorhout (BS, ’85), ACS president
May 13, 2018 (Urbana, IL)

ACS Alumni Reception
August 19, 2018 (Boston, MA)


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