26 posts categorized "Chemistry"


Alumna Says USciences Prepared Her for a Successful Career in Pharmaceutical Sciences

106Pharmaceutical scientist Stephanie Chillas PhSci'11 encourages undergraduate students at University of the Sciences to use their training and education to make advances in science and healthcare research. Chillas returned to the University as a keynote speaker at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ second annual Student Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 2.

During her time at USciences, Chillas worked on various independent research projects under the guidance of her faculty mentors Drs. Steven Neau and Clyde Ofner, both professors in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

As an undergrad student at USciences, Chillas was exposed to state-of-the-art lab equipment and had the opportunity  to establish a suitable water soluble hydrazide in order to determine the extinction coefficient in p-nitrobenzaldehyde, assess the linear relationship between absorbance and hydrazide concentration, perform p-nitrobenzaldehyde assays with ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, synthesize prodrugs, and complete high performance liquid chromatography analyses.

Chillas said the practical lab experience she gained at USciences undoubtedly set her up to succeed as a graduate student at the University of Toledo—where she completed her MS in pharmaceutical sciences in 2013.

She has since returned to Philadelphia and has worked as a formulator at Lannett Company for the past two years. In this role, she is responsible for formulating generic drugs, overseeing the drug development from concept to FDA submission, and creating suitable formulation for economical manufacturing of pertinent pharmaceutical drugs.

Aside from her lab experience at USciences, Chillas was also involved in clubs and academic organizations, such as the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, Executive Board of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Club, and the Help Hope Humanity Alternate Spring Break—where she served a homeless community in New York City.


Lifestyle Factors Could Put College-Age Women at Higher Risk of Breast Cancer, Says USciences Prof

IMercier_250x350Breast cancer prevention needs to become a shared conversation among women of all ages because it can strike at any age and is generally more aggressive when diagnosed in women under the age of 50, said Isabelle Mercier, PhD, a pharmaceutical sciences professor at University of the Sciences. With hopes to spark that discussion, Dr. Mercier compiled some key prevention awareness tips for young women.

“Unfortunately, college-age women generally do not consider themselves at risk for breast cancer,” said Dr. Mercier. “However, there are several risk factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer that need to be understood early in life to prevent the development of breast cancer down the road.”

By the end of 2015, more than 231,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. Of those cases, approximately 40,000 individuals will not survive, said Dr. Mercier. Women in their early 20s need to become aware of some key risk factors associated with breast cancer:

  • Check your family tree. A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother or sister, can increase the chance for developing breast cancer. Genetic testing is recommended for young women with prevalence of breast cancer in their families.
  • Watch your weight. Obesity is responsible for up to 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths in women. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer by creating a cancer-friendly environment through fat cells.
  • Exercise regularly. Women who strive for at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity – like brisk walking – reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. According to research from Washington University School of Medicine, if a female averages a drink per day, her risk of breast cancer increases by 11 percent. Studies show that alcohol possesses estrogenic activity, thus promoting the growth of breast tumor cells.
  • Annual doc visits. Although mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40, young women should still see their primary care doctors each year for clinical breast exams. They are also encouraged to conduct self-examinations throughout the year.
  • Limit tobacco use. Women who smoke have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if they become smokers early in life. Smokers have increased levels of both estrogen and testosterone that might disrupt the endocrine signaling in women and contribute to the development of these tumors.

An important part of Dr. Mercier's research focuses on cancer prevention. The role of vitamin C intake on breast cancer development, progression, recurrence and response to anti-cancer therapy remains unclear. That’s why Dr. Mercier and her research team at USciences are currently studying the role of dietary supplements on cancer risk, as well as evaluating new biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer. 

Media exposure:

KywOct. 8, 2015
Healthy College Lifestyles Can Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is rare among college-age women, but lifestyle choices made during those years can be life-saving years later.


USciences Community Gathered for Misher College Retiree Celebration on June 2

The University of the Sciences community gathered to recognize three Misher College of Arts and Sciences faculty retirees during a special on-campus reception in the McNeil Science and Technology Atrium on June 2.

The following professors were recognized for their years of service and dedication to students at University of the Sciences:

HofferPETER HOFFER, PhD, came to USciences in 1982 as an assistant professor of German, and was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1996. 

He contributed substantially to the curriculum of the department, the college and the University with his courses in the German language and literature, as well as European and world literature, western civilization, English composition and, especially, intellectual heritage, where his “Power, Democracy and Oppression” course became a beloved staple.

As a scholar, Dr. Hoffer ascended to the top-level of his discipline by virtue of a series of major, influential publications. Nearly a dozen articles in top-rated journals, and five published volumes, now standards in the field, have defined in important ways how Sigmund Freud will be understood for many years to come. 

GinaGINA KAISER, MS, joined the Department of Information Science in the fall of 1997 as an instructor, and was promoted to assistant professor in 2001. She researched and then migrated the library catalog to the Voyager integrated library system. She implemented the University's Journal List, more recently our journal/e-books list, into a more efficient way to access our electronic journal and e-book holdings, and continued to update the entries as needed.  

Gina has already begun volunteering her time at the Library for the Blind narrating books on tape.  She looks forward to playing her flute, cooking at a more relaxed pace, reading, and traveling and fly fishing with her husband.

BOB MANBECK, PhD, came to USciences in 1980. Throughout his career at USciences, Bob taught a 4-4 load, and his expertise was obvious in the variety of courses he taught. Classes in writing proficiency, freshman composition, public speaking, as well as surveys of literature, and—two of the mainstays of the curriculum—Belief and Thought and the Short Story. His commitment to his students was reflected in the awards he has won, including the Homiller Award for Excellence in Teaching and, notably, his promotion from assistant to distinguished assistant professor rank.

Bob’s resume is a testament to his intense involvement with curricular, administrative, and faculty concerns. He served on nearly 30 committees, many of them for a number of years; hardly a spot in the administrative life of the University has been unaffected by his good sense and balanced judgment.


Recent Grad Applies Her USciences Education to New Job as Pharmaceutical Scientist

Cheyanne kocherArmed with her hard-earned bachelor’s degree, Cheyanne Kocher PhSci’15 recently started her career as a pharmaceutical scientist at Lannett Company, Inc., a Philadelphia-based company that develops, manufactures, and distributes generic prescription pharmaceutical products.

“I transferred to USciences as a second-year student and, as it turns out, that was the best decision I could have made for myself,” said Kocher. “The quality of education I received at USciences prepared me for my future and helped me secure a job in my field as soon as I graduated.”

Kocher said she particularly values the faculty mentorships and research opportunities she was given during her time at USciences. She worked closely with Anil D'mello, PhD, director of the undergraduate program in pharmaceutical science, on various research projects and presented three projects at the University’s annual Research Day in April.

One of Kocher’s most memorable experiences at USciences came last summer, when she was selected to be part of a research team that explored the effects of protein restriction in the offspring of animals.

“My long list of responsibilities that summer included animal handling, such as breeding rats, cross-fostering offspring, recording body weight measurements, food consumption, and loco-motor activity, as well as observing the dissection and processing of tissues,” she said.

Some of her favorite USciences courses were Controlled Release Dosage Forms, Manufacturing Pharmacy, Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, Research Methods in Pharmaceutics, and Cosmetic Science.

As for now, Kocher said she looks forward to starting her career as a pharmaceutical scientist and applying the skills she gained at USciences to her new role at Lannett.


Chemistry Prof Earns Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science

MadhuMadhu Mahalingam, PhD, assistant chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of the Sciences, has been named the recipient of the Philadelphia Local Section of the American Chemical Society's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science. She will accept her award during a ceremony held at the University on Thursday, May 21.

“My main goal as an educator is to improve my students’ understanding of chemistry, as well as expand their ability to apply their lessons to new situations and enhance their critical thinking and problem solving skills,” said Dr. Mahalingam.

This distinct honor recognizes Dr. Mahalingam’s excellence in undergraduate teaching in chemical science at USciences, where she instructs a large general chemistry course to students in the pharmacy, physical therapy, and biology programs. She is the first professor from USciences to receive this award, which was established in 2003.

To be eligible to receive the award, a professor must teach at an academic institution within the geographical boundaries of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Chemical Society—which includes the counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware and Bucks in Pennsylvania and Burlington and Camden in New Jersey.


Honors Students Team Up with Habitat for Humanity Over Spring Break

HabitatStudents in the Honors Program at University of the Sciences teamed up with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County during their spring break earlier this month to renovate the interiors of three town-homes in Wilmington, Delaware. 

"Although we battled a winter storm during the week, we had the opportunity to make an impact with a group and community very close to our University's home town," said Stephen Moelter, PhD, director of the Honors Program at USciences.

A generous donation to the Honors Program allowed 11 students and two faculty members to participate in this annual Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Collegiate Challenge, which was held Monday, March 2, to Saturday, March 7.

Check out photos here: Honors Program: Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Trip


USciences to Host Philly Younger Chemists Committee's Annual Poster Session

YccUniversity of the Sciences will again host the Philadelphia Younger Chemists Committee's 15th annual Student Poster Session on Tuesday, March 31, from 6-9 p.m., in the Bobby Morgan Arena at the Athletic/Recreation Center (43rd St. at Woodland Ave.).

"We hosted this event last year, and over 130 students from nearby colleges and high schools came and presented their research at USciences," said Voki Pophristic, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemistry at USciences. "Our American Chemical Society Student Chapter is a co-organizer of this event, and we look forward to seeing a variety of research projects on display this year."

This poster session is open to all graduate, undergraduate, and high school students of chemistry, chemical engineering and biochemistry. For more info, visit phillyycc.org.


USciences Named an 'Outstanding ACS Chapter Award' Recipient

AcsUniversity of the Sciences' student chapter of the American Chemical Society received national recognition for its activities during the 2013-14 academic year, as the American Chemical Society named it an Outstanding Chapter.

Of the 400 U.S. student chapters who submitted reports to ACS, only 44 (approximately 10 percent) received Outstanding status; 85 received Commendable and 151 Honorable. The USciences chapter was praised for its activities during National Chemistry Week, which the judges called “exemplars for the rest of the ACS student chapters,” as well as its involvement with the Science Olympiad, which was held on USciences' campus for the first time on Feb. 1, 2014.

Tom Barton, president of the American Chemical Society, praised the club’s members and its chemistry faculty advisors, Dr. Catherine Bentzley and Vanessa Jones.

“Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires. Dr. Bentzley's and Ms. Jones' efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate science education and mentoring around the country,” Barton said. “We extend our warmest congratulations to the students and Dr. Bentzley and Ms. Jones for setting such a fine example for other chapters and being exemplary chemistry ambassadors!”

Last year, this on-campus organization was named Student Organization of the Year at USciences, and was under the leadership of alumnae Megan Mohadjer Beromi C'14, a doctorate student at Yale; and Julie Mercandante BC'14, a medical student the Commonwealth Medical College.

This chapter also won the second place in the 2014 Chemistry Wars, a competition between Delaware Valley chemistry programs, co-sponsored by USciences and Temple University’s ACS Chapters. They also organized the first Philadelphia Local ACS Chapter poster session at USciences, which was attended by more than 130 students from Philadelphia-area.

USciences' student chapter of ACS was invited to accept the award at the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver on March 22, 2015, as well as to present and attend research discussions.



USciences Prez, Students and Faculty Attended Life Sciences Future in Philly

PABioLSF14_-138University of the Sciences President Dr. Helen-Giles Gee, as well as students and faculty from USciences, joined hundreds of life sciences leaders and innovators during the Life Sciences Future Conference on Oct. 13-14 in Philadelphia.

Life Sciences Future was a two-day event designed by Pennsylvania Bio to reflect the rapidly-evolving landscape in healthcare - which includes biopharma, medical device and diagnostics, healthcare IT, contract research organizations, medical research institutions, and the investment community.

The first day of the event kicked off with Life Sciences Future Symposium: Partnerships in Science, which was designed for an exclusive audience of academic researchers, such as USciences students and faculty, to explore best practices for engaging business development representatives at large companies as well as the next steps in developing their technologies. The second day of the conference was jam-packed with speakers, topics and features all related to advancing science and healthcare industries.

Dr. Giles-Gee and students had the opportunity to meet and speak with Michael Sofia, inventor of Sofosbuvir – known by the brand name Sovaldi, a hepatitis C therapy drug approved by the FDA last December.

“The sessions were outstanding and much appreciated by the faculty and students who attended," Dr. Giles-Gee.


USciences Well-Represented at Annual UMBC Research Symposium

Bio research University of the Sciences was well-represented at the 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences held at University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday, Oct. 25.

This annual event – sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health – showcased dozens of mentor-approved contributions from undergraduate students who investigated various aspects of chemistry, biology and biochemistry. 

Ashley Stewart MB'15 and Reecha Pandya BISci'15 joined Drs. Peter B. Berget and Matthew Farber, both professors in the Department of Biological Sciences, as they presented their research.

Stewart’s research, “Blood Sensors: Development of Biosensors for the Measurement of Factor Xa and Thrombin Concentrations in Blood,” aimed to advance diagnostic testing methods by creating a protein-based “detector” that can directly assess clotting measures in a patient’s blood. Dr. Berget, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, served as her research advisor for the project.

Pandya’s research, “Effect of Fermentation Parameters on Protease Activity in Beer” was intended to optimize beer fermentation conditions that minimize potential protease release, ultimately benefiting quality control for home brewers and commercial breweries. She conducted her research under the guidance of Drs. Farber and Berget. Dr. Farber is currently a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Berget specializing in cell biology and protein purification. 

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