S. Dexter Squibb Distinguished Lecture Series

The 21st Annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture Series in Chemistry took place October 1-2, 2018.

This year's lecturer was Dr. Dana Boyd Barr, Research Professor of Environmental Health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. 

October 2, Rhoades-Robinson Hall, Room 125  (11:45am)

"Human Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: A Novel Mass Spectrometric Method"

About our speaker

After a 23-year career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Dana Boyd Barr accepted a full-time faculty appointment at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health in 2010. She us the Director of the Analytic Core/Targeted Research Resource of the NIH-funded Human Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES) and Children's Health Exposure Assessment Resource (CHEAR) which provides analytic support for a variety of exposome-related environmental health studies. She also directs "Project 1: Characterizing Exposures in an Urban Environment (CHERUB)" of Emory's joint School of Nursing and Rollins School of Public Health Center for Children's Health, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolome (C-CHEM2) which seeks to understand unique exposures of concern in an socioeconomically diverse African American birth cohort in Atlanta and their relation with microbiota, endogenous metabolic perturbations and neurodevelopment.  Her other research focuses on understanding prenatal exposures and neurodevelopment in a Southeast Asian birth cohort, the SAWASDEE study, in Thailand.  She is an Associate Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives, Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology and past-president of the International Society of Exposure Science. Dr. Barr was recently recognized as a Thomas Reuters Top Cited Scientist in Environment/Ecology, 2014 and 2015 (for a 10-year span) and was listed in Thomson Reuters World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014, 2015, and 2016.  Her research involves using analytical chemistry to assess exposure to a variety of environmental toxicants, an area called exposure science.  She uses this data to evaluate sources of exposure or risks from exposure with a primary focus on maternal-child health issues. Dr. Barr has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Georgia State University and a B.S. from Brenau University.


The 20th Annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on October 26, 2017.

Our speaker will be Dr. Dwaine Eubanks, Professor of Chemistry Education at Clemson University.  Our Community/Public lecture is free and open to the public. 

Community/Public Lecture - October 26, Rhoades-Robinson Hall, Room 125  (11:45am)

"How do We Know That They Know What We Know They Should Know? - The Challenges of Cognitive Assesment"

About our speaker
Dwaine Eubanks is a Texas native, and did both undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin. UT awarded Dwaine a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1963, at the age of 24. He began his professional career in industry, first accepting a position as a research chemist at the Savannah River Laboratory, which was then operated by DuPont. There he did research on actinide and lanthanide chemistry, culminating in the first-ever production of curium-244 metal in gram quantities.

After four years at Savannah River, and realizing his heart was still in academe, Dr. Eubanks accepted a faculty position at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Through the years, his interests gravitated from understanding the properties of lanthanides to understanding the properties of students who struggled with learning chemistry. While continuing to teach, he also served several years in a series of administrative posts, including Director of General Chemistry, Associate Department Chair, and Director of the University Center for Effective Instruction.

Dr. Eubanks was also active in governance of the American Chemical Society and in its Division of Chemical Education, which he chaired in 1985. In 1988, Eubanks accepted the position of Director of the ACS Examinations Institute, a position he was to hold for the next fifteen years—which was hosted for five years at Oklahoma State and then for ten years at Clemson. Among other things, the Examinations Institute produced standardized chemistry examinations for all undergraduate courses in chemistry, for graduate school admission/placement exams, and for high school chemistry.

In 2003, Dr. Eubanks retired from Clemson University, but he has repeatedly failed retirement. He remains an active member of the American Chemical Society, the Western Carolinas ACS Local Section, the ACS Division of Chemical Education, and the ACS History Division. Dr. Eubanks is both an author and an illustrator of chemistry textbooks, and he continues to produce technical illustrations for American Chemical Society publications. Currently Dr. Eubanks is again employed at Clemson, serving as the Director of Clemson University’s Emeritus College. The almost seven hundred emeritus faculty provide a range of services to Clemson’s students, faculty, and administration.

Dr. Eubanks was the 2015 winner of the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education. This award in chemical education is the oldest, and most prestigious, ACS award that recognizes contributions to chemical education. Dr. Eubanks is also a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and co-recipient (with his wife, Lucy) of the first Outstanding Service Award presented by the ACS Division of Chemical Education.


The 19th Annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on September 26-27 2016.

Our speaker will be Heather C. Allen, Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pathology at The Ohio State University

All lectures are free and open to the public

Community Lecture - September 26, Alumni Hall (Highsmith Union Room #159), 7:15pm

Lungs and breathing go together.  Yet, do we ever think about how the molecules in the lung work? How they allow us to breathe?  The microscopic details of breathing will be discussed. Breathing, the lung, and the Earth's atmosphere are also linked.  The lower atmosphere is a complex mixture of thousands of chemical compounds, of which are also filtered in ways that impact lung structure. An atmospheric chemistry overview and how this links to health and climate change will also be presented.

Chemistry Lecture - September 27, Alumni Hall (Highsmith Union Room #159), 11:45am

The air-water interface has been the focus of research in the Allen Lab at Ohio State for more than a decade. We utilize nonlinear and linear optical spectroscopic methods to understand the local intermolecular interactions and organization of water itself with various solutes and monolayers. Motivated by atmospheric aerosol chemistry of marine and urban regions, and biophysical applications related to lung lining and biomembranes, monovalent and divalent cations and anions continue to be investigated by our group using conventional and heterodyne-detection vibrational sum frequency generation (VSFG) spectroscopy. Interest is in the surface propensity and availability for reaction at water surfaces. Ion valency, polarizability, size, shape, and identity of the counterion are critical factors in considering ion organization and subsequent changes in interfacial electric field at the air water interface.  The hydrating water molecules play a key role in the interfacial organization of other species in the solution, and is studied directly as it reveals the details of ion interfacial distributions. Phospholipids and fatty acids are also investigated using both VSFG and Brewster angle microscopy (BAM). Head group differences, especially with regard to hydrogen bonding capability and extent, are discerning factors for surface organization and shape distinction at the water surface.

About our speaker

Professor Allen received her B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1993 and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1997 at the University of California Irvine. Her advisors as an undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate were Nobel Laureate F. S. Rowland, D. Blake, J. C. Hemminger, B. J. Finlayson-Pitts, and G. L. Richmond respectively. As a student and postdoctoral researcher she was awarded several fellowships including Fannie and John Hertz, EPA, an NSF Traineeship, and a NOAA Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Climate and Global Change. At Ohio State since 2001 to present she has been recognized for many research accomplishments: Research Innovation Award from Research Corp., NSF CAREER Award, Beckman Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Ohio State Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award from Germany. Dr. Allen has also been recognized for several mentoring awards over the years including the Ohio State OMA Mentor Award, an Empowered Woman Award from the city of Columbus, and the American Chemical Society National Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. She is a Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Department of Pathology, and her research area is molecular organization at interfaces with specializations in atmospheric aerosol chemistry, lung surfactant, biophysics, and cancer detection medical device development.


Dennis Liotta - Industrial-Academic Partnership in Medicinal Chemistry

The 18th Annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on October 12-13, 2015.

Our speaker was Dennis Liotta, Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD) and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor at Emory University.

All lectures are free and open to the public

Community Lecture - October 12, 7:00pm, Alumni Hall (Highsmith Union Room #159)

A New Model for Drug Development in Academic Institutions

We have created an innovative model model for expediting drug development at
research universities.

The Emory Institute for Drug Discovery (EIDD) was founded in 2009 to discover
therapeutic agents to treat infectious diseases, particularly viral diseases. The
EIDD has the personnel, laboratory space and equipment necessary to conduct
the key preclinical activities required to bring a drug into clinical development.
DRIVE, the “industrial partner” of the EIDD, is organized as a virtual drug
development company with a highly experienced management team.  As a
501(c) (3) entity, it will be able to inSlicense attractive development opportunities
from Emory or elsewhere on commercially favorable terms. Then, either by using
its own seed capital or by raising external funds, it can utilize the EIDD and/or
external vendors to move these opportunities quickly and efficiently down the
development continuum to meet the critical need for new therapeutic agents to
treat emerging infectious disease. DRIVE has been designed to be a self-
sustaining entity, i.e., the company can reinvest its earnings from out-licensing or
sale of assets in new development opportunities as they emerge.

Chemistry Lecture - October 13, 11:45am, Alumni Hall (Highsmith Union Room #159)

The Role of CXCR4 Modulators in Controlling HIV Entry, Stem Cell Mobilization and Certain Types of Cancer

The chemokine receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, are the primary co-receptors responsible for mediating HIV-1 cell entry. Small molecules that modulate these receptors utilize a fundamentally different approach for controlling viral replication than most other classes of antiretroviral agents in that they act on host factors, rather than viral enzymes. While CCR5 entry inhibitors that demonstrate clinical efficacy against HIV have now become available (Maraviroc), the development of CXCR4 entry inhibitors is currently at a more nascent stage. Due to the ability of HIV to switch between CCR5 and CXCR4 entry co-receptors, the availability of a CXCR4 entry inhibitor that could be used in combination with Maraviroc or other ARVs could prove to be important in prolonging the effectiveness of HIV therapies in patients. Unfortunately, the complexities associated with the multiple CXCR4 signaling pathways (which include, inter alia, expression of survival and proliferation genes, as well as induction of chemotaxis) create a major challenge for identifying efficacious compounds that also possess a safety profile suitable for dosing every day of a patient’s life. Alternatively, exploitation of selective aspects of the CXCR4 signaling pathways can be used for other important medical applications, such as hematopoetic stem cell mobilization.

My lab has discovered two series of CXCR4 modulators that, depending on their substitution patterns, exhibit either potent antagonism, suitable for hematopoetic stem cell mobilization or anti-HIV activity with little competitive CXCR4 signaling. In this presentation I will discuss some of the issues and challenges associated with these development opportunities.


Bassam Shakhishiri: Communicating Chemistry to All Citizens on Planet Earth


The seventeenth annual S. Dexter Squibb Distinguished Lecture Series took place on Monday, September 29 and Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Professor of Chemistry and first William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and 2012 President of the American Chemical Society, will be our guest speaker. He is known internationally for promoting excellence in science education at all levels and for his development and use of demonstrations in the teaching of chemistry in classrooms and in the community. He also promotes and explores the links between science, arts, the humanities and societal issues. As Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the late 1980's, he championed NSF's efforts in rebuilding science education programs. Professor Shakhashiri has received multiple national awards for public service for his work.

Community Lecture: Science is Fun and the Joy of Learning

Monday September 29, 2014, 7:00 p.m., Highsmith Union Alumni Hall (Room 159)

This public talk will include demonstrations to show how science can be communicated to all segments of our society. Come learn about combustion, liquids that glow in the dark, polymers, and other spectacular scientific phenomena. You will sit at the edge of your seat and will see science in action.

General Chemistry Lecture: Science and Society: Our Opportunities and Responsibilities

Tuesday,  September 30, 2014, 12:30pm, Alumni Hall (Highsmith room 159)

We live in the most advanced scientific and technological society in history. New discoveries have led to personal and societal enlightenment, to improvements and benefits in our daily lives, but also to new societal problems. Education is the key to societal progress. In one part of my talk I shall discuss the rationale for enhancing the learning experiences of students and I will offer specific suggestions for consideration as we all contemplate ways to improve both our technical skills and judgment. We must showcase science at its best in addressing human needs locally and worldwide. We must aim to promote science literacy. Science literacy is necessary for the democratic process to work. By science literacy I mean an appreciation of science, an understanding of the benefits of technology and the potential rewards and risks associated with advances in both, as well as a recognition of what science is capable of achieving and what it cannot accomplish. Science literacy enlightens and enables people to make informed choices; to be skeptical; to reject shams, quackery, and unproven conjecture; and to avoid being bamboozled into making foolish decisions where matters of science and technology are concerned. Science literacy is for everyone--chemists, artists, humanists, all professionals, the general public, youth and adults alike. The level of science literacy in any society is a measure of what it values and its resolve to put these values into practice.


Harry Gray: New Light on Bio-Inorganic Catalsysharry-gray

The sixteeth annual S. Dexter Squibb Distinguished Lecture Series took place on Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Harry Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and the Founding Director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology. In 1961, after graduate work in inorganic chemistry at  Northwestern University and postdoctoral research at the University of Copenhagen, he joined the chemistry faculty at Columbia University,  where he investigated the electronic structures and reactions of inorganic complexes. In 1966, he moved to Caltech, where for over 40 years he has been working on problems in biological inorganic chemistry and inorganic photochemistry. Awards for his work include: the National Medal of Science in 1986; the Priestley Medal in 1991; the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences in 2003; the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2004; and the Welch Award in Chemistry in 2009. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; the Royal Society of Great Britain; and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Community Lecture: The 21st Century Solar Army

Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Highsmith Union Alumni Hall (Room 159)

The sun is a boundless source of clean energy, but it goes down every night. We and many others are trying to design solar-driven molecular machines that could be used on a global scale to store solar energy by splitting water into its elemental components, hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is a clean fuel that could be used directly or combined with carbon dioxide to produce methanol, a liquid fuel. We are investigating the structures and mechanisms of hydrogen evolving catalysts made from Earth abundant elements such as cobalt, iron, nickel, and molybdenum. We also are
employing pulsed laser ablation for synthesis of metaloxide nanoparticles that will be deployed as catalysts on photoanodes such as tungsten oxide. To aid our research, we have recruited hundreds of students to join a Solar Army whose mission is the discovery of mixedmetal oxides for testing on the photoanodes of our solar water splitters.

General Chemistry Lecture: Electron Flow Through Metalloproteins

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 2:45 p.m., Alumni Hall (Highsmith room 159)

Electron transfers in photosynthesis and respiration commonly occur between metal-containing cofactors that are separated by large molecular distances. Understanding the underlying physics and chemistry of these biological electron transfer processes is the goal of much of the work in my laboratory. Employing laser flash-quench triggering methods, we have shown that 2-nm, coupling-limited Fe(II) to Ru(III) and Cu(I) to Ru(III) electron tunneling in Ru-modified cytochromes and blue copper proteins can occur on the microsecond timescale both in solutions and crystals. Redox equivalents can be transferred even longer distances by multistep tunneling (hopping) through intervening tyrosines and tryptophans. In recent work, we have found that 2- to 3-nm hole hopping through one or more intervening tryptophans is several orders of magnitude faster than single-step tunneling in Re-modified mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa azurin. The lessons we have learned about the control of electron tunneling and hopping are now guiding the design and construction of sensitizer-modified redox metalloenzymes and other molecular machines for the production of fuels and oxygenated hydrocarbons from sunlight and water.


R. Graham Cooks: CSI: Chemistry, Spectrometry, Innovation

R. Graham Cooks

The fifteenth annual S. Dexter Squibb Distinguished Lecture Series took place on Monday, November 12 and Tuesday, November 13.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Professor Cooks is a pioneer in mass spectrometry instrumentation development. His research has enabled design of mass spectrometers that do not need elaborate sample preparation or to be contained in a vacuum chamber, and design of portable mass spectrometrts that can bring the analyzing instrument to the sample (rather than the sample to a lab). Application of his mass spectrometry innovations has a wide-ranging societal impact, from forensic analysis to homeland security to medical diagnostics. Cooks is a Henry B. Haas Distinguished Professor at Purdue University.

Community Lecture: Creativity in Art and Science: Examples from the Pre-Raphaelites and from Mass Spectrometry

Monday November 12, 2012, 7:30PM, Highsmith Union Alumni Hall (Room 159)

We live in a virtual chemical soup – natural and artificial. This discussion covers the questions we ask at airports, in the courts, in restaurants and at home regarding the chemicals to which we are exposed. Current methods of answering these questions are too slow, too expensive, too remote. New methods based on mass spectrometers have the potential to provide the information needed in times that matter. The same methodology has application in medical diagnosis, for example in tumor margin detection. Ethical questions in these areas are raised and an argument is made for providing individuals with high powered chemical analysis information that they can themselves acquire. Comments are offered on parallels between artistic and scientific endeavor with illustrations from the work of the Pre-Raphaelites.

General Chemistry Lecture: Chemical Analysis in Situ: Operating Rooms, Crime Scenes, Grocery Stores, and Factory Floors

Tuesday November 13, 2012, 12:30 p.m., Karpen Hall 038

This presentation presents technology being developed at Purdue for rapid molecular analysis. It uses mass spectrometry and is very specific, very sensitive and accurate. There is marvelous math, fascinating physics and cool chemistry in the development of these tools. The underlying science deals with direct, rapid and chemically specific analysis of complex mixtures. The technology is applicable in food safety, public safety, drug discovery, therapeutic monitoring, environmental protection, and many other areas. Examples of these applications and the underlying principles will be given.


Dr. Angelica M. Stacy: Materials for Nanotechnology and Chemical Educationangelica-stacy

The fourteenth annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on Monday 17th - Tuesday 18th October, 2012.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Community Lecture: What Gets Measured Is What Gets Learned

Monday October 17, 2011, 7:45 pm, Robinson Hall 125

General Chemistry Lecture: Materials Chemistry: Nanowires for Energy Applications

Tuesday October 18, 2011, 12:30 p.m., Robinson Hall 125

About Dr. Stacy

Angelica Stacy is a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, where she has been teaching and heading research in the fields of materials chemistry and chemistry education since 1983. In addition, Professor Stacy serves the Berkeley campus as Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty. In this role, she is charged with providing advice and guidance to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost on ensuring diversity and equity in hiring, merit increases and promotions for academic personnel. Her passions for science, education and diversity are reflected by her many accolades and accomplishments in these areas. 

Professor Stacy’s research focuses on materials chemistry, with particular emphasis on the synthesis and characterization of nanowire arrays for energy conversion, including conversion of waste heat and solar energy. She also conducts research on student learning of chemistry at the high school and college levels. The latter work has resulted in the development of Living by Chemistry, an inquiry-based high school chemistry curriculum designed to engage all students, and immerse them in a culture of high academic expectations. In addition to research, teaching and developing courses at UC Berkeley, Professor Stacy has helped launch the new charter school collaborative "CAL Prep" serving students who will be the first in their families to attend college.

Professor Stacy received her B.A. from LaSalle College in 1977 and her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1981. She has been honored with numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation’s Distinguished Teacher Scholar Award (2005) and the National Organization of Women, Educational Award (2005) among other distinguished awards.


Dr. Milton L. Brown: Drug Discovery and Design: From Conception to Human Testing

Dr. Milton Brown, 2008 S. Dexter Squibb Lecture Speaker

The eleventh annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on October 30-31, 2008. The speaker was Milton Brown, director of the Drug Discovery Program of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Georgetown University Medical Center.

Read Dr. Brown's biography at the Georgetown University Medical Center site, and see why they call him "Dr. Drug Discovery."

Community Lecture: Drug Discovery & the Evolving Role for Academic Research

Thursday October 30, 2008 - 7:30 p.m., RBH 125

Drug discovery research is emerging as a viable research program in academic research by providing a vehicle to translate basic research into new medical therapies. We will discuss the role of drug discovery programs in the context of amplifying faculty production while maintaining the academic mission. We will provide strategies and new models for integrating drug discovery into academic centers and provide examples of current drug discovery models that benefit several academic communities. Finally we will discuss the impact that drug discovery can have on developing new science, training students, academic partnerships and emerging biotechnology.

General Chemistry Lecture: Targeting Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels as a Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Friday October 31, 2008 - 1:30 p.m., KH 038

Prostate Cancer is the #1 cancer diagnosis for men in the United States, accounting for 29% of all new diagnosis and nearly 30,000 deaths yearly. Current therapies have tremendous side effects (such as hormonal, impotence, and transient incontinence) and there is an urgent need for new therapeutics.

Voltage Gated Sodium Channels (VGSC or Nav), previously known targets in the Central Nervous System, are also present in human prostate cancer, as demonstrated by mRNA expression and immunohistochemistry. In this seminar we will present the design and synthesis of Nav blocker and evaluation against the Nav proteins. We will present studies on the effects of select Nav blockers on human prostate cancer cells and in tumors.

Retrospective studies on the incidence of prostate cancer in epileptic men (these are patients that have been exposed to non-selective Nav blockers) suggest that there is a significant risk reduction. Finally we will present clinical research on the potential use of this target as a biomarker for disease. All these studies point to the potential of Nav proteins as a therapeutic target for treating and detecting prostate cancer.


John C. Kotz


The tenth annual S. Dexter Squibb Lecture series took place on October 22-23, 2007. The speaker was John C. Kotz, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus at SUNY College at Oneonta, and leading author of the popular General Chemistry textbook, Chemistry & Chemical Reactivity. Most recently Dr. Kotz has served as a mentor for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Team sponsored by the American Chemical Society.

Read Dr. Kotz' detailed biography at the SUNY Oneonta website.