Research News

2021 Tarrant Summer Graduate Research Fellowship recipients Announced

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Tarrant Summer Graduate Research Fellowship. The endowment honors Prof. Paul Tarrant, a member of our department from 1946 to 1981, and this award promotes outstanding research for graduate students working in the division of Organic Chemistry.

This year’s recipients are Amanda Franceschini Ghilardi, Shengkang Yin, and Jo-Chi Yu.

Amanda, who received her bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from The University of Campinas, is a member of Prof. Ronald K. Castellano’s research group and is working on the synthesis and structure-reactivity investigation of small molecules active against HER family overexpressing breast cancer cells.

Shengkang, who received his M.S. degree in chemistry from University of Alberta, is a member of Prof. Aaron Aponick’s research group and is working on the synthesis of axially chiral imidazoles and related imidazole-based catalysts development. 

Jo-Chi, who received her M.S. degree in chemistry from National Taiwan University, is a member of Prof. Lisa McElwee-White’s research group and is working on the design and synthesis of organometallic ruthenium precursors for focused electron beam-induced deposition (FEBID) and focused ion beam-induced deposition (FIBID).


Professor Rick Yost has been awarded the 2021 Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award. Dr. Yost is University Professor and Head of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Florida and directs the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics and the NIH National Metabolomics Consortium. He has received the ASMS Award for Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry, the MSACL Award for Distinguished Contribution to Clinical Mass Spectrometry, and the Florida Academy of Sciences Medal.

This prestigious award was established by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh to recognize a scientist’s significant contributions to the field of Analytical Chemistry including the introduction of a significant technique, theory or instrument and providing exceptional training or a fertile environment for progress in Analytical Chemistry. The award, along with an honorarium and a plaque, was presented at the 2021 Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) during a symposium held in his honor on March 11.

Professor Yost is widely recognized as a world leader in the field of mass spectrometry and analytical chemistry, most notably for his invention of the triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, which has revolutionized important measurements impacting human health and well-being in the fields of drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, environmental studies, and biological analyses. He has also pioneered the development of other instruments now widely used in commercial systems, including the ion trap, laser microprobe, and ion mobility tandem mass spectrometer. For these seminal and groundbreaking contributions, the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh is proud to confer this award.

At UF, Professors Herb Laitinen, Jim Winefordner, and Weihong Tan have previously received this award.

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Ken Wagener Awarded 2021 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Ken Wagener was awarded the 2021 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry for his significant contributions in both industry and academia, including pioneering the acyclic diene metathesis polymerization, which launched an entirely new field of synthetic polymer chemistry (Chemical & Engineering News, January 4, 2021). 

At UF, Prof. George Butler (founder of the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory) previously received this award. Other notable recipients of the award from the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory are UF Chemistry graduate and Nobel Laureate Bob Grubbs (1995) and Kris Matyjaszewski (2002), who was a former polymer postdoc with Dr. Butler.

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Prof. George Christou selected for a Mentor Award by the NHMFL

UF Distinguished Professor and Drago Chair of Chemistry George Christou has been selected for the 2021 Mentor in a Leadership Position award by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), with which he is affiliated. He was nominated by his graduate student Ashlyn Hale on behalf of his present and past group members. This is one of three mentor awards given annually to people associated with the MagLab at any of their system-wide sites (Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Los Alamos). The categories are: mentors in leadership positions (full professors, directors, deputy and assistant directors); mentors in faculty/staff positions (other faculty and staff); and mentors early in their career (graduate students, postdocs, and Research 1 faculty).

Prof. Christou’s research is in synthetic and physical-inorganic chemistry of the transition metals and lanthanides, and spans molecular nanomagnetism, coordination cluster chemistry, and bioinorganic and supramolecular chemistry.

2020 Keaffaber Scholar Award

The Keaffaber Scholar Award recognizes the overall excellence in research and academic scholarship of one of our senior chemistry majors.  To be eligible for the award, the undergraduate must be research active within the Department of Chemistry and committed to pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry. 

This year, the recipient of the Keaffaber Scholar Award is Caroline Coxwell. Caroline is a senior chemistry major with a minor in communications studies. Caroline decided she wanted a career in chemistry after taking organic chemistry in her sophomore year of college. In the fall of her junior year, Caroline joined Dr. Stephen A. Miller’s research group in polymer chemistry. Her specific project studies the effects of acetalization of polyvinyl alcohol with ketones and aldehydes to increase the functionality and thermal properties of the polymer. Caroline was accepted into the UF’s international REU in France for the summer of 2020 but could not attend due to COVID-19. Beyond academics, Caroline enjoys running stadiums, watching movies, and hanging out with her research group. After she graduates, Caroline plans to pursue a Ph.D in Chemistry with an emphasis on polymer chemistry.

Robin Kemperman Named the 2020 Sheridan Fellow

The UF Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Mr. Robin H.J. Kemperman is named the Howard and Brenda Sheridan Fellow of 2020. Robin is a graduate of the HAN University of Applied Sciences and is currently finishing up his Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Yost. His dissertation research focuses on the fields of mass spectrometry and ion mobility; in particular, enhancing the confidence in metabolite identification and performing isomer separations on a millisecond time scale. 

Congratulations Robin! 

2020 Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Scholarship

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Brewer has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Scholarship, which is one of the AVS National Student Awards.  This award is to recognize and encourage excellence in graduate studies in science that is of interest to AVS.  Christopher Brewer received his BS degree from Florida State University and is a current graduate student in Dr. Lisa McElwee-White’s group.  He studies the photochemistry of organometallic Ru precursors to be used for photoassisted chemical vapor deposition, in collaboration with Dr. Amy Walker at UT-Dallas.  He also studies the application of Ru precursors for focused electron beam induced deposition and has collaborated with Dr. Ivo Utke at EMPA and Dr. Petra Swiderek at University of Bremen.

As a student awardee, Christopher Brewer will be presenting his research during the AVS 67 Virtual Showcase held October 27 – 29, 2020.  His talk titled: “Ru precursors for photoassisted chemical vapor deposition: comparison of allyl and diene complexes” will be at 11:05 am on Tuesday, October 27th and registration is free.

Congratulations Chris!

2020 James and Laura Winefordner Summer Graduate Scholarship

The Analytical Chemistry Division is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 James and Laura Winefordner Summer Graduate Scholarship, Taylor Domenick. Taylor is a graduate of the College of Charleston and a member of Professor Rick Yost’s research group. Her dissertation research focuses on the development of ambient ionization techniques to investigate the metabolome of live microglial cells, as well as methodology to increase the confidence of metabolite and lipid structural identification, by ion mobility-mass spectrometry.

Congratulations Taylor!