HUDSON-BERGEN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
2009 ANNUAL REPORT
Dr. Ish Kumar
HBCS OFFICERS 2009:
Chair, Dr. Ish Kumar, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Chair-elect 2010, Dr. Ze He, New Jersey
Immediate Past-Chair, Mr. Sorin Diaconesc, Labcorp.
Secretary, Dr. Mihaela Leonida
Treasurer, Dr. Stephen Anderson
Board of Directors
Dr. Robert Mentore
Dr. Kenneth Yamaguchi
Dr. Grace Borowitz
Dr. Irving Borowitz
Dr. Jay Carreon
2009 was a year rich in activities at the HBCS. We had four
meetings featuring social hour, dinner and lectures by invited speakers.
Topics varied, trying to attract a broad spectrum of participants from
our area: students, chemists from companies and academia and chemical engineers.
As a new approach interdisciplinary topics and contacts with scientists
from other fields were sought.
The members of the section participated in a series of lectures,
and presented their research at different local and national conferences.
In April the 11th edition of the Student Award Night and
Undergraduate Research Symposium was organized with an invited speaker
and high student participation.
A Preprofessional and Career Fair was organized in
February with participation from professional and graduate programs and
companies hiring science graduates.
The subsection continued its cooperation with the Sigma
Xi chapter of Ramapo College and the chemistry clubs of member colleges
(Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus, Ramapo College,
New Jersey City University).
A planning meeting of the Executive Board and the Board of
Directors was organized in November, 2009.
HBCS also brings chemistry and community together by organizing
events (in March and November) where high schools from the area
are invited and their students are introduced to chemistry and life beyond
high school. In honor of National Chemistry Week they were invited at FDU
they were told about careers in chemistry and other sciences and hands-on
activities were organized as well.
Along the same lines, education of the public about chemistry,
HBCS organized two sessions of "The Magic of Chemistry". They were
attended by over 600 high school students.
Student members of the subsection participated in the section's
activities and in research related activities. The students' academic achievements
and research were acknowledged at the Student Achievement Award Night,
in April. Students involved in research presented their results
in an Undergraduate Research Symposium held the same day. Some of
the students involved in research presented their results at the Undergraduate
Research Symposium organized by the ACS-NY section at Pace University.
Members of the section involved in research presented papers
at regional meetings and at the ACS National Meeting and international
meetings, some of them having students involved in that as well.
ACTIVITIES FOR 2009 >>>>>>>>>>
1. A Career and Pre-Professional Fair
for undergraduate students was organized on February 13, 2009, at Fairleigh
Dickinson University. Participants: professional and graduate schools
and prospective employers for science majors. Attendance: 60 students.
High school students from the area attended too. Before the fair,
80 high school students conducted hands-on activities in the chemistry
laboratories. A “How to write a resume” workshop was offered to the participants
2. A meeting, jointly with the
Sigma Xi chapter of Ramapo College, was held at Ramapo College of New Jersey
on April 23, 2009. Professor Alan Robock
delivered a talk entitled “Global warming is real
and what you can do about it”. Alan Robock is a professor
of climatology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University
and the Associate Director of its Center for Environmental Prediction.
Prof. Robock has been a researcher in the area of climate change for more
than 30 years. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison,
in 1970 with a B.A. in Meteorology, and from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology with an S.M. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1977 in Meteorology. From
1977 until the end of 1997, he was on the faculty of the Department of
Meteorology of the University of Maryland, where he was a Professor and
the State Climatologist of Maryland (1991-1997). He moved to Rutgers
University in January, 1998, where he is the Director of the Meteorology
Undergraduate Program and a member of the Graduate Program in Atmospheric
Science. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and
President of the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical
Union. Dr. Robock is a Professor II at Rutgers, equivalent to Distinguished
Professor at other institutions. Prof. Robock's research involves many
aspects of climate change, using analysis of observations and climate model
simulations. He has published more than 250 articles on his research, including
more than 145 peer-reviewed papers. He served as Editor of the Journal
of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 2000-2005, and of the Journal of
Climate and Applied Meteorology, 1985-1987. He was Associate Editor
of Reviews of Geophysics, 1994-2000, and is once again serving since 2006.
He served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow, 1986-1987, and spent
subsequent sabbaticals at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory,
and in Antarctica and at the Laboratoire de Météorologie
Dynamique, Paris, France.
Attendance: 10 faculty and 40 students.
Abstract of the talk:
2005 was the warmest year on the planet in more than 1000
years. The Earth has warmed by almost 1°C during the past 150 years,
and by 0.6°C (1°F) in just the past 30 years. Was this just by
chance or caused by human pollution of the atmosphere, especially by carbon
dioxide? I will explain why the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change report said, "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged
temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed
increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." I will explain
the science behind global warming and describe how global warming will
affect us, including sea level rise, stronger hurricanes, and threats to
water resources and our food supply. Finally, I will discuss policy options
for addressing the problem.
How the climate will change and the impacts of global
warming can be addressed by science. What society chooses to do about this
is a political decision, influenced by different values and interests.
However, clear understanding of the science is a necessary input to these
decisions, and in this talk I will clearly separate the science aspects
from the policy aspects.
3. A meeting, jointly with the School of Natural Sciences
of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and The 11th Annual
Undergraduate Research Symposium and Student Award Night (presented
to the chemistry senior with the highest GPA from each participating colleges),
was held on Friday April 24, 2009, at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Certificates and books were presented to the awardees and all the student
presenters. 30 posters were presented.
Dr. Kathryn Uhrich from Rutegers
University delivered a talk on her research entitled “PolyAspirin:
from Invention to Innovation”.
Dr. Kathryn Uhrich is a Professor of Chemistry at Rutgers
University. She received a B.S. degree (1986) in Chemistry at the
University of North Dakota, and Ph.D. degree (1992) in Organic Chemistry
from Cornell University. Before moving to her present post at Rutgers
in 1995, she held post-doctoral positions at AT&T Bell Laboratories
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research is funded by National
Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Kathryn has received
the Johnson & Johnson Discovery (1996), Hoechst Celanese Innovative
Research (1996 and 1997), and National Science Foundation CAREER (2000)
awards. She is co-founder of Polymerix (2000-08), recipient of the
2003 recipient of New Jersey's "Best Life Sciences/Healthcare Company”.
Recent awards include the Thomas Alva Edison patent award (2003), New Jersey’s
Outstanding Scientist in Biomedical Research (2004), ACS-sponsored Buck-Whitney
award (2005) and the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Award (2007).
Currently, she is co-Director of an NSF IGERT program on “Biointerfaces”
(2004-08) and on “Stem Cells (2008-12). Her research accomplishments have
been recognized and disseminated in hundreds of publications and conference
proceedings along with hundreds of invited presentations at local, national
and international levels. In addition, she currently has over one
hundred US and world-wide patents and applications. Her innovative
research in polymer chemistry and biomaterials at Rutgers has trained nearly
one hundred graduate and undergraduate students.
Abstract of the talk:
Aspirin is a drug that is broadly used by millions of Americans
to treat aching joints, headaches, and prevent heart attacks. The
oldest version of aspirin is the poultice prescribed by Hippocrates in
the fifth century BC obtained from the bark of willow trees and myrtle.
The latest version of aspirin is PolyAspirin, a plastic version of aspirin
that was first synthesized by an undergraduate chemistry student in Uhrich’s
lab at Rutgers University. Since that discovery, several other polymer
(or plastic) versions of drugs have been invented, which led to the formation
of Polymerix Corporation. Polymerix works with pharmaceutical and
medical device companies to enhance their products; for example, PolyAspirin-coated
cardiovascular stents may be more beneficial to patients because the drug
is located exactly where it needs to be ? on the stent ? rather than in
4. In celebration of National Chemistry Week a Discovery
Day was organized at Fairleigh Dickinson University (on November
13). High school students from schools in the area were invited.
They were told about careers in chemistry and natural sciences and performed
5. Also, in celebration of National Chemistry Week, a meeting
was held at Fairleigh Dickinson University on November 13, 2009.
The invited lecture was on an interdisciplinary topic: “Developing
Chemical Tools for Deciphering Unknown Biological Functions of Nek2 Kinase
Using Chemical-Biology Approaches”. The talk was delivered by Dr.
Sanjai Kumar from Queens College, Flushing, NY.
Dr. Kumar obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in the laboratory
of Prof. Rex F. Pratt at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Subsequently,
he moved on to do his post-doctoral research work in the laboratory of
Prof. Zhong-Yin Zhang and Prof. David S. Lawrence at Albert Einstein College
of Medicine, NY. His research at Einstein involved at the interface of
chemistry and biology. More specifically he designed and synthesized activity-based
probes and inhibitors of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) and protein
kinases (PKs). Currently he is an assistant professor in the department
of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Queens College, CUNY. His current research
interests include designing and synthesizing small molecule ligands (e.g.
biosensors, and inhibitory agents) for use in chemical biology and functional
Total Attendance: 75
Abstract of the talk:
Nek2 is a Ser/Thr centrosomal kinase that tightly regulates
centrosome cohesion and separation so that accurate chromosome segregation
is achieved during mitosis. In animal model, it has been shown that any
abnormal activity of Nek2 kinase may lead to a loss of regulation in precise
chromosome segregation during mitosis. In fact, Nek2 has been found to
be abnormally expressed in many types of cancer cells and is a potential
target for cancer therapy. While biochemical, proteomics and microscopic
data strongly suggest that one of the main biological roles of Nek2 is
to oversee the function of centrosome during the early mitosis and possibly
during the entire cell cycle, a precise mechanism by which this is achieved
at molecular level remains to be unraveled. We intend to develop novel
chemical tools (inhibitors, substrates, and sensors) that will be used
for discovering the unknown biological function of Nek2 kinase in human
biology and cancer.
6. The Executive Board and the Board of Directors of HBCS
meeting was held on November 13, 2009. The 2010 meetings schedule
was discussed. Names were proposed for the 2010 Board and strategies
to attract new members into ACS were outlined. The following members will
serve on the Board for 2010: Dr. Ze He ? Chair, Stephen Anderson ? Treasurer,
Mihaela Leonida ? Secretary and Jay Carreon - Chair-elect for 2011.
Board of Directors: Ish Kumar, Rob Mentore, Kenneth Yamaguchi, Hanae Haouari,
and Sorin Diaconescu.
7. The Chemistry Club of Ramapo College, Sigma Xi, The Scientific
Research Society, and Hudson-Bergen Chemical Society presented “The
Magic of Chemistry” show at Ramapo College, on December 11, 2009.
Two sessions were held for the more than 600 high school students who attended.
Presenter: Dr. Ariel Fenster - McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
8. The December monthly meeting, jointly with the Sigma Xi
chapter of Ramapo College, was held at Ramapo College of New Jersey on
December 11, 2009, in the evening. Topic: “Life is
risky business”. Speaker: Dr. Ariel
Fenster, McGill University, Montreal. Ariel Fenster teaches at McGill
University, where he is a founding member of the Office for Science and
Society, an organization dedicated to disseminating up-to-date information
in the areas of food issues, medications, and the environment and health
topics in general. Dr. Fenster is well known as an outstanding communicator
and an exceptional promoter of science with an extensive program, developed
over nearly three decades. Over that period he has given close to
600 lectures and public presentations in English and in French across North
America and Overseas. He appears regularly on TV and radio to discuss health,
environmental and technology issues and has presented numerous science
segments for children’s television. Recently he was seen in French
on Radio-Canada's popular daily health show "37,5" and in English on the
"Discovery" science show "What's that all about?" His contributions
to teaching, and to the popularization of science, have been recognized
by numerous awards. Among them: the "Award for Excellence in Chemistry
Teaching" by the U.S. Chemical Manufacturers Association and the "McNeil
Medal for the Public Awareness of Science" from the Royal Society of Canada
(inaugural award). Ariel Fenster, who is a native of the wine-growing region
of Bergerac, France, holds a Master's degree from the University of Paris
and a Ph.D. from McGill University.Canada.
9. Also on December 11, the HBCS celebrated the activity
of two members who shaped the subsection into what it is today: Drs. Grace
and Irving Borowitz. For decades they were active in the HBCS and in the
ACS-NY, they held several offices, led by example other chemists, and mentored
generations of students and young chemists.