SPRINGFIELD – Dr. James Chapman will be the keynote speaker at the Fall Merck Science Seminar at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Chapman's presentation, "Nature's Chemical Complexity: A Chemist's Study of Plants," will be from 11 a.m. to noon, Friday, November 30, in Public Affairs Center Conference Room G on the UIS campus. The seminar is free and open to the public.
Chapman is associate professor of chemistry at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri. He is currently part of a group engaged in exploring the chemistry of plants, including the medicinal constituents of prairie plants used by plains Indians; the ecological significance of tannins; characterization of pigments from flower petals; germination agents from burning grasses; and chemical products of fungi. Results from this work help land managers understand the importance of periodic prairie fires; his research is also vital in the search for new antibacterial and antifungal medicines.
The seminar is sponsored by a grant from the Merck Institute of Science Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, part of the Merck/AAAS undergraduate science research program started in 2000. UIS was one of only 11 universities in the nation to receive the three-year award in 2006.
In addition to funding the annual seminar, the grant supports summer research projects for undergraduate students. The students are mentored in collaborative projects by faculty from the science programs at their institutions; at UIS this includes the departments of Chemistry (faculty mentors Keenan Dungey and Gary Trammell), Biology (faculty mentors Michael Lemke, Amy McEuen, and Lucia Vazquez), and Clinical Laboratory Science (faculty mentors Wayne Gade and James Veselenak).For more information, contact Dungey by phone at 217/206-7345 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.