Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminars

These seminars are capstone courses for students who are interested in current trends in chemistry, biochemistry or cell biology. The courses begin with a focus on background information in one or two selected topics and then move on to individual student investigations in these areas. Students read current scientific literature and take turns, along with faculty, presenting papers to the group. The courses are designed to allow students to enhance and demonstrate their skills in analyzing and presenting scientific concepts.

In Fall 2008, the Chemistry Seminar topic was transition metal complexes. Complexes containing transition metals are found in organic, inorganic and biological chemistry. Many of these compounds act as catalysts for synthesis reactions. They are also present in enzymes important in biochemical reactions. Some of the scientific papers discussed this semester include:

“Structural Evidence for a Ligand Coordinated Switch in Liver Alcohol Dehydrogenase”

“Entrapment of an Organometallic Complex within a Metal: A Concept for Heterogeneous Catalysis”

“Remote Substituents Influence Both the Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Zinc Binding to Tris-pyridyl Methanol Derivatives”

Learning to read, analyze and present information like these from the current scientific literature is an important skill for students as they go on to graduate school or enter the workforce.