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Chemical Bond -September 2016

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Vol. 67, No. 6, September 2016

2016 STLACS Annual Picnic

Faithful members of ACS-St. Louis Section gathered on Saturday, June 25 for the Annual Picnic. It was a very memorable get-together, enhanced by the appearance of Ben and Pat Outlaw. As some will know, Ben was severely injured earlier in the year when a large tree fell on him as he and his volunteer group were cleaning up a park in West County. Ben sustained very severe injuries to his neck, back and his eyes. It was wonderful to see him and talk with him about his recovery, which has been truly miraculous, and with great thanks to his loving wife Pat for taking such good care of Benjy.

Though it was an extremely hot day, with temperatures hovering in high 90’s, everyone was quite comfortable as the picnic was hosted at the home of Joe & Brenda Ackerman and everyone could stay inside and enjoy the comfort of that modern convenience, air-conditioning. Going out on the back deck for a group photo was the only “not comfortable minute”. Thanks to Vic Lewchenko for setting up the great photo.

STLACS 2016 Annual Picnic Photo

STLACS 2016 Annual Picnic Photo

All enjoyed an indoor picnic of chicken wings, grilled brats from St. Louis’ own G&W Sausage Company, and other picnic fare, plus the added attraction of Joe’s magical gin & tonics, made with analytical precision employing a special tonic syrup and gin from Pinckney Bend Distillery in New Haven, MO, on the bank of the Missouri River. Chemistry can be a wonderful thing! BSA & JJHA

Liviu Mirica snags 2016 Saint Louis Award

portrait, Liviu Mirica

Liviu Mirica, 2016 Saint Louis Award winner

Pegah Jalili, past chair of the St Louis Section–ACS and chair of the Saint Louis Award jury, has announced the winner of the 2016 Saint Louis Award.

Dr Liviu Mirica obtained his BS from Caltech in 1999, where he carried out undergraduate research with Harry Gray. He earned his PhD from Stanford in 2005, working for Dan Stack on oxygen activation by small molecule mimics of copper enzymes. After an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship with Judith Klinman on mechanistic studies of non-heme enzymes at Berkeley, he joined the Department of Chemistry at Washington University in 2008. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013, and full Professor in 2016. He has received numerous awards and fellowships in recognition of his work, such as the Alfred P Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in 2012, the NSF Career Award in 2013, and most recently, the Saltman Lectureship “Metals in Biology” Gordon Research Conference and an Organometallics Young Investigator Fellowship in 2014. He has also been recognized for outstanding teaching with a Sony Electronics Scholarship Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011 and an Undergraduate and a Research Mentor of the Year Award from Washington University in 2012.

Dr Mirica has broad research interests that span organometallic chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry. He has made important contributions to the development of new catalysts of relevance to renewable energy by developing ligands that can stabilize transition metals such as palladium and nickel in unusual oxidation states. He was the first to isolate a mononuclear complex of Pd+3. He has also shown that these higher valent metal complexes can lead to carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond formation, with direct implications for the development of catalysts for the activation of methane and reduction of carbon dioxide. The work is described in a series of impactful publications in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Organometallics, and Chemical Communications. In the area of bioinorganic chemistry, Dr Mirica has been studying the role of metal ions in the oligomerization of Aβ peptides implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and the development of therapeutics and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agents for this degenerative disease. His work in this area has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society as well as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. His work has also attracted major funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.

Dr Mirica was born and grew up in Romania, before coming to the US to attend college. His wife, Liudmila, is a financial manager at Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine. They are the proud parents of a four-year-old son, Max, who keeps them deeply involved in the world of LEGOs.

The Saint Louis Award, sponsored by the Monsanto Company and administered by the Saint Louis Section–ACS, is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of chemistry and demonstrated potential to further the advancement of the chemical profession. The award, consisting of a $1,500 honorarium and a plaque, is presented at the Saint Louis Award Banquet that will be held Saturday Oct. 15, 2016 (reservations required). The program for the St Louis Award Symposium, prior to the banquet, are set.

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Saint Louis Award Symposium 2016 program

The broad array of speakers for the Saint Louis Award Symposium, Saturday, October 15th, reflects the award winner’s wide-ranging research interests. Come for the science; come back for the banquet.

Metals for Green Chemistry and Medicine

honoring Liviu Mirica
Department of Chemistry, Washington University
2016 Saint Louis Award winner

Louderman Hall 458, Washington University Danforth Campus
(see venue information below)

1:15pm — Dr Joseph Ackerman, Washington University (Chair, Saint Louis Section–ACS)
Welcome and general introductions

1:20pm — Dr William E Buhro, Chair, Department of Chemistry, Washington University (Symposium Chair)
Introduction and Salute to Dr Mirica

1:25pm — Dr Liviu Mirica, Department of Chemistry, Washington University (Saint Louis awardee)
High-valent Transition Metal Catalysis

2:15pm — Dr Dan Stack, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University
Biological Relevance of Cu(III)

3:05pm — Refreshment break

3:25pm — Dr Wesley Bernskoetter, Department of Chemistry, University of Missouri–Columbia
Conversions of Carbon Dioxide to Useful Chemicals with Inexpensive Metals

4:15pm — Dr Buck Rogers, Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University–Saint Louis
Development of Radiometal-labeled PET Imaging Agents

5:05pm — Dr William E Buhro
Concluding remarks

Reception immediately following in Louderman 461

Venue information: Enter parking structure via Throop Drive from Forest Park Pkwy on north edge of campus or Snow Way Drive from Big Bend on the west end (map). Download the parking permit and display it on your dashboard. Follow path marked on map to Louderman Hall.

6:30pm — Saint Louis Award Banquet, Glen Echo Country Club, 3401 Lucas and Hunt Rd, Normandy, MO
Reservations required

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The fun doesn’t quit: reserve for 2016 Saint Louis Award Banquet

Saturday, October 15th, directly after the Saint Louis Award Symposium
Glen Echo Country Club*, 3401 Lucas & Hunt Road, Saint Louis, MO 63121

6:30 pm cocktails (open bar), hors d’oeuvres
7:00 pm banquet (menu to be determined)

8:00 pm program

  • Dr Joseph Ackerman, Professor of Chemistry, Washington University–Saint Louis and Chair, St. Louis Section–ACS
    Opening Remarks and Award Presentation
  • Dr William E Buhro, Chair, Department of Chemistry, Washington University–Saint Louis
    Introduction of the Awardee
  • Dr Liviu Mirica, 2016 Saint Louis Awardee
    Awardee Address

Please send reservations, including check, by October 12th to:

Lawrence Barton, Professor Emeritus
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
315 Benton Hall (MC 27)
University of Missouri–St Louis
Saint Louis, MO 63121
office phone 314.516.5334; cell 314-698-9748; fax 314.516.5342

Make checks payable to Saint Louis Section–ACS and note any special dietary limitations. Please send an email confirmation to Dr Barton, with the following information:

Name(s) _______________________________________________________

Number attending _____ × $60.00 each = amount remitted $_______________

Special dietary limitations, if any ______________________________________


*Venue directions:
Glen Echo Country Club is in Normandy, in the southwest sector of the intersection of Natural Bridge Road and Lucas & Hunt Road. Use either entrance:
(1) main entrance drive: turn west off Lucas & Hunt Road; Edison Avenue will be on the opposite side of the road almost adjacent to the entrance drive. Continue on the winding drive, and the parking lot will be on your right adjacent to the clubhouse.
(2) back entrance: turn south off Natural Bridge Road onto St Marys Lane, just east of the post office. Continue through the gate, veer right, and park in front of the clubhouse.

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The amazing First Annual WUCT

Some of the organizing committee, including faculty member Megan Daschbach

Some of the organizing committee, including faculty member Megan Daschbach

On April 2nd, 174 high school students from Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois attended the Washington University in St. Louis Chemistry Tournament (WUCT). WUCT aimed to expose students to creative thinking and intellectual flexibility, increase the number of STEM-based opportunities for high school students, and create a platform for college students to contribute to STEM education, eventually expanding its scope nation-wide.

Students tested their chemistry knowledge in three individual exams, a team round, and a fast-paced relay round. Top-scorers in each round and overall received awards at the award ceremony at the end of the day.

Intensity in the cooperative round (at least we hope so)

Intensity in the cooperative round (at least we hope so)

Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) and Park Tudor School (Indianapolis, IN) placed at the top of the competition, shining in all three rounds; students from the Mosaic team (IN), John Burroughs High School (St. Louis, MO), Clayton High School (Clayton, MO), Zionsville Community High School (Zionsville, IN), and St. Louis University High School (St. Louis, MO) all placed in the top 10 for at least one individual exam; Libertyville High School (Libertyville, IL) and Parkway Central High School (Chesterfield, MO) placed in the relay round; John Burroughs High School, Clayton High School, and Kirkwood High School (Kirkwood, MO) placed in the team round.

The overall winners (a calculated evaluation across all five events) placed Carmel High School Team 1 in first place, Park Tudor School in second place, Carmel High School Team 2 in third place, Clayton High School in fourth place, and Libertyville High School Team 2 in fifth place.

Libertyville HS team and coach pretty pleased with 5th place overall

Libertyville HS team and coach pretty pleased with 5th place overall

Outside the competition, students explored the Washington University campus, socialized with their peers, and engaged in a student-teacher panel featuring Dr. Megan Daschbach (Chemistry), Dr. Kater Murch (Physics), Dr. Mitchell Kundel (Biology), and Dean Joy Kiefer (College of Arts & Sciences). Sponsors for this year’s competition included PLZ Aeroscience, the St. Louis Section of the American Chemical Society, Elysium Health Inc., the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, and the Wash U Chemistry Department.

The tournament was organized by a group of 26 undergraduate students working in committees throughout the school year. Abhishek Sethi and Harshath Gupta were the co-directors. On competition day, there were approximately 100 volunteers that proctored exam rooms, set up breakfast and lunch, graded exams, guided teams, and helped out in any way they could.

WUCT aims to create an atmosphere that emphasizes modern-day issues in science and focuses on fundamental problem-solving and teamwork skills that are crucial for success in the professional world. Future exam topics will include biological and industrial applications of chemistry. More information about the competition and updates about next year’s competition may be found on the official website: Any questions regarding the tournament may be directed to WUCT co-founders/directors Harshath Gupta and Abhishek Sethi at

Abishek Sethi (l) and Harshath Gupta (r)

Abishek Sethi (l) and Harshath Gupta (r)

Guest authors: Harshath Gupta and Abhishek Sethi

Harshath is from Davie, FL, and studies chemistry and astrophysics at Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2018. He is aspiring to become an oncologist and science communicator. Abhishek is from Naperville, IL, and studies chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2018. He is excited to delve into academic medicine as a career, teaching and specializing in surgery.

We created WUCT in an effort to expose students interested to the types of problem-solving and collaborative skills crucial in careers in STEM. We aim to increase the number of opportunities for students interested in chemistry to apply their skills from the classroom to a new, challenging environment.

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Event Co-Coordinator needed: National Chemistry Week

National Chemistry week is October 16-22, 2016. STLACS is hoping to host a public outreach event in celebration of National Chemistry Week at the Saint Louis Science Center (more details to follow).


An event Co-coordinator needed. Interested volunteers should contact Greg Wall by email: or phone 314-435-6487.

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Pointers for First-time poster presenters

Our very own Professional Activities Committee chair, Brent Znosko (SLU Chemistry) was interviewed by the ACS Reactions blog about poster sessions. He provided six tips for first-time poster presenters. We don’t want to turn this into a listicle, so we’ll just send you to the horse’s mouth, and you can read about it there.

It’s nothing too hard, but suffice it to say, if you’re prepared and you know it, a lot of the anxiety will evaporate, leaving you cooler and (at least seeming) wiser.

ACS National Meeting Highlights

Our intrepid Councilors have returned from the 252nd National Meeting in Philadelphia. Lol Barton was the first to provide the Councilor Talking Points, a summary of Council business that forms the basis for Councilors’ reporting to the Section. You can follow the link for the full document. Below one webmaster’s notion of the highlights.

  • Total attendance at the meeting was 12,800. Which is a lot of chemists, but still down more than 20% from the previous national meeting, perhaps lending support to the hypothesis that spring in San Diego is better than summer in Philadelphia.
  • The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs approved the draft Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct. The document now goes to the full Board of Directors for final approval.
  • National meetings in 2017 will carry a regular member advance registration fee of $445. Those meetings will be the 253rd, April 2–6, in San Francisco, California; and the 254th, August 20–24, in Washington, DC.
  • Best for last: our own Lisa Balbes was elected to a three-year term on the Committee on Nominations and Elections. She was the top vote-getter among 12 candidates. That one really knows how to network!

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Board of Directors

St Louis Section–ACS Board of Directors meets the second Thursday of each month, usually at the Glen Echo Country Club (map and driving directions). Meetings are open to all members, and all are encouraged to attend. Elected officers and chairs of major committees vote on questions put to the Board; others in attendance have voice but no vote.

If you want to attend for dinner, please contact the section Chair at least a week in advance. Usual cost of the dinner is $21.95 ($11 for post-docs and unemployed members). Bar service and dessert are optional extras. Members wishing to become active in section activities are welcomed for their first dinner as guests of the section.

Date: Sept. 8th, 2016
Social hour, cash bar: 5:30 pm
Business meeting: 6:30 pm (suspended for dinner when served)
Future meetings: Oct. 13th, Nov. 10th

Saint Louis University

Seminars are generally on Fridays at 12 noon in Carlo Auditorium, Tegeler Hall, unless noted otherwise. Refreshments follow. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the department’s seminar page or contact Brent Znosko,

University of Missouri–St Louis

Mondays at 4 pm in 451 Benton Hall, unless otherwise specified. Refreshments 15 minutes prior to seminar time. For timely information on visiting seminar speakers, contact the Chemistry Department, 314.516.5311, or visit the seminar schedule. The department has additional seminar series which are also accessible from this page.

Washington University

Seminars are in McMillen 311 at 4 pm unless otherwise noted. For information, consult the departmental events page. Related seminars, including endowed seminar series and the WU med school biochemistry series, are linked here as well.

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about the Chemical Bond

The Chemical Bond is published at January through May and September through December by the St Louis Section–American Chemical Society. If you would like to receive email notification when each issue is posted, you can subscribe to our email list and join the “Chemical Bond reminders” group.

Correspondence, letters to the editor, etc., should be emailed to
or mailed ℅ St Louis Section–ACS, PO Box 410192, Saint Louis, MO 63141-0192

Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society and the St Louis Section–ACS

Editor Margaret Allen
Associate Editor Eric Ressner 314.962.6415
Assistant Editor &
Advertising Manager
Keith Stine 314.516.5346
Business Manager Donna Friedman 314.513.4388