Student & Alumni News Fall 2014

Author: Rebecca Hicks

Student and Alumni Awards

We are excited to announce the establishment of the Distinguished Graduate Alumnus Award. This award is intended to recognize those who personify Notre Dame’s tradition of excellence through personal achievement, professional accomplishment, or community service. Alumni having graduated with an M.S. or Ph.D. five (5) years prior to nomination are eligible. More information is available here.

Sonja Braun-Sand (Ph.D. 2003) was the recipient of a 2013 University of Colorado President’s Diversity Award. This award “recognizes significant achievements of faculty, staff, students and academic or administrative units in developing a culturally diverse, compassionate community reflective of inclusive excellence”. Dr. Braun-Sand completed her Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Olaf Wiest and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.


Doug Rice (graduate student of Brad Smith) was selected to attend the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. This event brings together Nobel Laureates and young scientists to “educate, inspire, and connect”.

Felix Vietmeyer (graduate student of Ken Kuno) was the winner of the 2013-2014 Rohm and Haas Outstanding Graduate Student Award.


Karen Antonio (Schultz), Cory Ayres (Baker and Corcelli), Kasey Clear (Smith), Ashley Gans (Kandel), Michelle Pillers (Lieberman), and Laura Woods (Taylor), were selected as the 2015 Spring American Chemical Society Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee (ACS GSSPC). They will organize a day-long symposium entitled “Biocatalysis: Creating a Sustainable Future”.

Nicholas Myers (graduate student of Marya Lieberman) received a $30,000 United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Global Fellowship for his work on detecting counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Nicholas is one of only three recipients chosen in this international competition.

Graduate students Bonnie Huge (Dovichi), Elizabeth Loughran (Stack), Triet Nguyen (Parkhill), and Carolyn Shirey (Stahelin) were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

Olivia Cox (student of Paul Huber) won the 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Photo Competition sponsored by Xenopus 1 for images taken during the CSHL Xenopus Course.

Ellie Norby (biochemistry major) was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. Established by congress in 1986, this award provides support to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Ellie is an undergraduate researcher in Holly Goodson’s lab who uses computer simulations to study the chemical rules governing cell machinery.


Bachelor’s Degrees


Bachelor of science degrees were conferred on 13 chemists and 18 biochemists in May. The newest alumni are:


  • Kaitlynn Ann Conley, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Seung-Eun (Katherine) Chong, Seoul, South Korea

  • Kelsey Viola Fink, Granger, IN

  • Andrew Nicolas Hamilton, Tampa, FL

  • Eliza Jane Herrero, Scarsdale, NY

  • Carolyn Ann Keefe, cum laude, Bear, DE

  • Maureen Elizabeth Martin, Council Bluffs, IA

  • Jennifer Marie Martynowicz*, Naperville, IL

  • Ansel Peter Nalen*, summa cum laude, Carmel, IN

  • Emily Rose Punzalan, Sparks, NV

  • John Markus Rieth*, magna cum laude, Oakdale, MN

  • Hollyn Spencer Trudell, cum laude, Rocky River, OH

  • Amelia Rose Vojt, Mendon, NY

* Chemistry honors program


  • Andrew John Gasparrini, Ridgefield, CT

  • Anna Siobhan Heffron*, cum laude, Omaha, NE

  • Brendan Thomas Heidan*, summa cum laude, Grand Rapids, MI

  • Hoang Nun Ho-Pham, Gretna, LA

  • Cameron Mackenzie Houk, Grove City, OH

  • Mary Clare Kathleen Houlihan, Clarkston, MI

  • Kevin Andrew Kho, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

  • Zacory Thomas Kobylarz, Hollis, NH

  • Thomas Gregory Lienhoop, magna cum laude, La Porte, IN

  • Mark Philip Metzinger, summa cum laude, Katy, TX

  • Kevin John Nguyen*, Carol Stream, IL

  • Elizabeth Kristina Nuter, Benton Harbor, MI

  • Andrea Marie Rosado, Brentwood, NY

  • Emily Anne Siebert, summa cum laude, St. Louis, MO

  • Melissa Ann Stahl, Vienna, VA

  • Nimmy Josephine Thomas, Plano, TX

  • Jasen Philip Tjahjadi, Shanghai, China

  • Sylvia Seokhee Yong*, Gainesville, FL

* Biochemistry honors program

Graduate Degrees

Since last year’s newsletter, the department has awarded 5 M.S. and 19 Ph.D. degrees.

Doctoral Graduates

  • Steven Asiala (Zac Schultz) “Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for Characterization of Particles in Solution” May 2014

  • Kerry Bauer (Amanda Hummon) “Using Quantitative Transcriptomic and Proteomic Methodologies to Interrogate Biomarkers in Colon Cancer” May 2014

  • Michelle Bertke (Paul Huber) “The Role of Sumoylation in Early Development of Xenopus Laevis and Regulation of 5S Ribosomal RNA Genes” May 2014

  • Esther Braselmann (Patricia Clark) “Investigating the Secretion and Folding Mechanism of a beta-Sheet Rich Virulence Protein” May 2014

  • Katherine Byrd (Paul Helquist) “Design, Synthesis and Application of Cholesterol-Based Molecular Probes as Biochemical Tools for the Study of Cholesterol Trafficking” May 2014

  • Carleton Collins (Brad Smith) “Advanced Studies of Anthracene Containing Squarine Rotaxanes” May 2014

  • Brandon Haines (Olaf Wiest) “Computational Studies on the Mechanism of HMG-COA Reductase and the Grignard SRN1 Reaction” May 2014

  • Maria Jobbins (Marv Miller) “Syntheses of Hydroxamic Acid-Containing Bicyclic beta-Lactam Cores” August 2014

  • Matthew Jobbins (Alex Kandel) “Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Investigations of Reactions Between Thiolate Coated Gold Surfaces and Gas-Phase Radicals” January 2014

  • Sachidananda Krishnamurthy (Prashant Kamat) “Graphene Based Assemblies: Electron Transfer Processes and Energy Conversion Applications” May 2014

  • Joshua Lee (Paul Helquist and Olaf Wiest) “Computational Studies on the Mechanism and Stereochemistry of Lewis Acid-Catalyzed Aldol Condensations and Other Molecular Modeling Studies” May 2014

  • Daniel Miller (Sharon Stack) “Comprehensive Profiling of microRNA in Human Papillomavirus-Associated Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck” May 2014

  • Adam Plaunt (Brad Smith) “Modified Zinc(II)-Bis(Dipicolylamine) Coordination Complexes for Enhanced Recognition of Phosphatidylserine” May 2014

  • Jordan Scott (Rob Stahelin) “A Biochemical Investigation of Mechanisms of Peripheral Phosphoinositide-Binding Proteins” May 2014

  • Kelsey Stocker (Dan Gezelter) “Development and Application of Non-Periodic and Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics Simulation Methods” August 2014

  • Zachary Terranova (Steve Corcelli)  “Exploring the Structure and Dynamics of Ionic Liquids Using Molecular Dynamics” May 2014

  • Felix Vietmeyer (Ken Kuno) “Optical Properties of CdSe Nanowires - Experiment and Theory” May 2014

  • Katherine Ward (Rob Stahelin) “Cytosolic Phospholipase A2: A Mechanistic Study of Lipid Binding and Its Effects on Membrane Morphology” May 2014

  • Natalie Wasio (Alex Kandel) “Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Organometallic Molecules on Au(111): Mixed Valence States and Quasicrystlline Ordering” May 2014

Master’s Graduates

  • Leila Ranis (Seth Brown) “Synthesis and Characterization of Group VI Metal Complexes for Non-Classical Oxygenation Reactions” May 2014

  • Hannah Babbini (non-thesis) January 2014

  • Akram Hazeen (non-thesis) January 2014

  • Lawrence Itela (non-thesis) May 2014

  • Min Yu (non-thesis) January 2014


Congratulations! May your degrees and time at Notre Dame serve you well and inspire you to accomplish great things.