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Ritesh Uppuluri ‘14 Leadership Lived

 Learn more about Ritesh and his research here

Ritesh Uppuluri undergraduate research student in chemistry

UIS Graduate Mark Frakes ’12 Named James Scholar Fall 2013


Mark Frakes, a 2012 graduate in Chemistry from UIS, has been named as a James Scholar at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.  This is an honors research program for outstanding students to expand their intellectual curiosity and pursue a research project in medicine.  Scholars are required to meet stringent application criteria and demonstrate increased academic rigor.  Completion of the James Scholar program is a significant achievement that is recognized at graduation.

Mark’s research project will attempt to further understand the properties and mechanisms of a novel anti-cancer compound, T-oligo. Previous in vitro and in vivo studies have shown t-oligo to be an effective anti-cancer compound against malignant melanoma cell lines. Currently, faculty and students with in the Medical Biotechnology(MBT) department at the Rockford campus are looking into the structure of t-oligo as well as peptides that can be used to stabilize the molecule in vivo. He will collaborate with the MBT faculty and students, including UIS Chemistry alumnus Luke Wojdyla, to further the understanding of t-oligo and its use an anti-cancer agent.

2013 ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis

2013 Dungey Uppuluri Tiburzi poster Klingshirn and Kramer poster UIS Chemistry students and faculty at ACS


3 UIS Chemistry majors presented their research at the 246th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis September 2013.  Ritesh Uppuluri presented a poster with Dr. Dungey titled Enhancing bacterial denitrification rates by using zero valent iron nanoparticles(nZVI).  Dyllan Tiburzi discusses his poster Greening the Wittig and other reactions for the undergraduate organic teaching laboratory of research he conducted with Dr. Morsch.  Troy Kramer presented work with Dr. Klinhshirn titled Greener analogs of the bis-(pyridine)iodine(I) nitrate salt.

2012 Outstanding Student Research Thesis Award for Hillary Rikli ’12

In 2012, senior chemistry major Hillary G. Rikli received the inaugural Outstanding Student Research Thesis Award for her work with Dr. Stephen R. Johnson, a neuropharmacologist. Gifts to chemistry helped fund this award.

Hillary first contacted Dr. Johnson in the summer after her junior year. She knew from a previous class that his research involved venom and their potential for therapeutic drug development.

“He talked about his research often,” Hillary says. “He was very, very passionate about it, so I knew I wanted to work with him. Now I’m so glad I did.”

Dr. Johnson decided to involve Hillary on his bullet ant research. The notorious bullet ant’s painful sting causes pain comparable to being shot.  According to the Schmidt Pain Index, the bullet ant’s sting ranks as the most painful in the insect world. Hillary also worked with the venom from wasps, scorpions, and spiders.

Hillary’s work in research has sparked her to continue her education in graduate school as she hopes to further develop her skills and knowledge for pharmaceutical development.

More than a job, however, Hillary’s research with Dr. Johnson elevated her ability to lead.  “Every student has responsibilities,” she says, “but they fulfill those to reach their personal goals. Doing undergraduate research, I had to be responsible for Dr. Johnson. This was his research, and I had to be independent and responsible for his sake.  I’m a better leader because of that.”


Dyllan Tiburzi ’14 and Dr. Morsch presentation at BCCE 2012

Dyllan Tiburzi and Layne Morsch BCCE 2012

Dyllan Tiburzi, a junior in the chemistry department presented the results of his research project, “Using Aqueous Wittig Reactions to Teach Green Organic Chemistry ” at the 22nd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at Penn State University July 30, 2012 with Dr. Layne Morsch. His coauthors included past chemistry majors Brittney Meyer (’12) and Harrison Schuster (’12) as well as current junior Leanne Deak. Dr. Morsch is an assistant professor of organic chemistry.

Aubrey Watson presentation at ACS 2012

Watson ACS presentation

Senior chemistry major Aubrey Watson presented the results of her research project, “Zero Valent Iron Nanoparticle (nZVI) Preparation by a Sustainable Method and Application in Bacterial Denitrification” at the 243rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego on March 27. Her coauthors included chemistry senior James R. Johnson, and alumni Stephanie Gorsuch (’10) and Nicole Vanderpool (’10) . Ms. Watson and Mr. Johnson also presented their results at UIS StARS on April 13. Their faculty mentor is Dr. Keenan E. Dungey, associate professor and chair of chemistry.



Congratulations to the 2011 Chemistry Graduates!

2011 UIS Chemistry Graduates 2011 UIS Chemistry Commencement



Kimberly Bartosiak, a senior majoring in chemistry at UIS, has received the Student Laureate Award for 2010 from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.


The Lincoln Academy’s Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the four-year, degree granting colleges and universities in Illinois.

“These students have exhibited a personal commitment to excel as seen by their remarkable academic accomplishments,” said Thomas S. Johnson, Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy, who added, “They serve as role models to other Illinois students. With hard-working and dedicated young leaders such as these, Illinois and the rest of the nation can look forward to a bright future.”

Kimberly was one of 48 students to be honored in a ceremony in the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield on Nov 6. Each winner received a Student Laureate Medallion, an honorarium and a certificate of achievement. The event marked the 36th year that students have been honored by the academy.

Kimberly got involved in research as a Merck Scholar working on a collaborative project with biology and chemistry at the Emiquon Field Station and various other lakes throughout central Illinois. She presented this work at the AAAS conference and UIS Science Symposium in 2009.  Since then, she has continued in research in a Neuropharmacology lab at the Southern Illinois University Medical School, working on determining the composition of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors within a specific nucleus of the brain.  She received the Hemal Vakharia Memorial Award for this work.  She is currently focusing on determining the morphology of neurons in a region of the brainstem.

Kimberly was a two time recipient of the Avery Brundage student athlete scholarship, while she played volleyball at UIS.   Kimberly has also been involved with community service.  While at UIS she has spent time serving at St. John’s Breadline and mentored underprivileged junior-high and high school girls.  She currently volunteers regularly as a Samaritan at St. John’s Hospital.

Ms. Bartosiak is currently applying to medical schools and plans to specialize in either neurology or neurosurgery.


The UIS chemistry department offers many opportunities for its students – academically, professionally, and socially.

Students who wish to receive more individualized advice regarding their education and future career path are encouraged to speak with a faculty advisor.

All students work actively with instructors to ensure that their coursework and other pre-professional activities will increase their chances of success after graduation.

Chemistry students are also encouraged to participate in fun and active social organizations, like the UIS Chemistry Club.