Seminars & Events

Throughout the academic year, the department hosts several seminars whose presenters range from department graduate students to internationally renowned professors and scientists. The calendar below includes all of our department seminars and events. It is updated frequently with titles and abstracts — you can subscribe using Google Calendar by clicking the "+GoogleCalendar" button in the lower right. 


Friday Colloquium Series

Faculty members and graduate students invite professors from other institutions throughout the country and the world to speak at Brown on a Friday afternoon. Friday colloquiua topics span the various fields of chemistry represented by the department. Sometimes, a colloquium seminar is hosted jointly with another department or institute, such as IMNI, the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation. Friday afternoons, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, MacMillan Hall 115. Refreshments served at 3:45pm.

Organic Chemistry Seminars

Organic chemistry graduate students are required to give at least two seminars. The first is a literature seminar on a topic of recent interest, and the second is the candidate's thesis research. Invited guests frequently present their research at Organic Seminars as well. Tuesday afternoons, 12:00pm - 1:00pm.

Inorganic Chemistry Seminars

Inorganic chemistry graduate students are expected to present one seminar per year on their own research or on another topic of current interest in inorganic chemistry. Research associates, faculty and invited guests often present inorganic seminars as well. Thursday afternoons, 12:00pm - 1:00pm.

Physical Chemistry Tea Sessions

Physical chemistry graduate students are expected to present one seminar per year. Topics covered include the graduate students' topics of interest with regard to current research, as well as their own research. Thursday afternoons, 3:00pm - 4:00pm.

A recap of 2019-2020 Chemistry Department events!

Upcoming Events

  • Abstract:The recent surprising discovery of the salutary effects of low doses (50-200 ppm) of carbon monoxide (CO) in diseases like pulmonary arterial hypertension, COPD, and arterial wall lesions from balloon angioplasty has initiated intense research effort toward exploration of the therapeutic benefits of this so-called toxic gas. Results of such studies have also indicated that moderate doses (>250 ppm) of CO causes rapid reduction of cancer cells (but not normal cell) through cell apoptosis via disruption of mitochondrial function. In addition, CO dramatically sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy and imparts antiproliferative effect toward colon, breast, ovary, pancreas, and other cancers. Because of its toxic nature, it is however difficult to employ gaseous CO in hospital settings. We have recently shown that photoactive and biocompatible metal carbonyl complexes with designed ligands can deliver suitable doses of CO to cellular targets under the total control of light. In addition we have shown that these photosensitive CO-releasing molecules (photoCORMs) can be conveniently used to kill human breast and colon cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner through light-induced CO release. Recently we have been successful in incorporating several fluorescent photoCORMs within the pores of silica nanoparticles (SNPs) and have demonstrated (a) their accumulation within cancer cells, (b) fluorescence tracking of the process of CO delivery within the cancer cells, and (c) their eradication by a dose-dependent CO photo delivery. Results from these experiments as well their promise in translation to animal models will be discussed.

    More >
  • Abstract: 

    Research and teaching are interconnected. Research informs innovative pedagogy and teaching can stimulate new research ideas. Creativity and critical thinking are the common threads in both research and teaching. In this talk, I will focus on using my research experience to create novel undergraduate laboratory experiments and translating my research results into the classroom. For example, my prior research on PEM fuel cell and Li ion batteries at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helped me develop an engaging and impactful undergraduate hydrogen fuel cell lab that has been published in the J. Chem. Educ. and has been adapted by other universities. Recent undergraduate research in my lab on the chemistry of pigment and ceramic glazes has led to the creation of unique hands-on activities and a research project for an interdisciplinary Chemistry and Art course that explores different chemical concepts and techniques through the lenses of art and art history. Creativity and critical thinking have been emphasized and exercised for students through inquiry and case-study-based lectures and discussions, hands-on activities, reading and writing assignments, research projects, and final papers/presentations in the newly-created Chemistry and Art course, that was offered in the Fall semester of 2019 with excellent student feedbacks.

    More >
  • Neisseria meningitidis is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis worldwide. There are six-disease causing serogroups each characterized by the capsular polysaccharides surrounding the pathogen. Capsule polymerases are responsible for synthesizing these sugars. Our current focus is the N. meningitidis serogroup W capsule polymerase which synthesizes a polysaccharide containing repeating units of sialic acid and galactose. There has been limited study of the kinetics and mechanism of this enzyme. An increased understanding of the serogroup W capsule polymerase can lead to its use as a tool to improve the enzymatic synthesis of carbohydrate structures. Our group uses interdisciplinary approaches to investigate
    activity of the Neisseria serogroup W capsule polymerase. The overall goal is to modulate biosynthetic activity of this enzyme to create size-controlled carbohydrates for applications in glycoconjugate vaccines and bioremediation of heavy metal cations. This presentation will describe our progress thus far.

    More >
  • Abstract: Biosensors that can report the distribution and flux of cellular signaling molecules are important tools. Although powerful, current chemical or genetically encoded fluorescent sensors are still challenging for detecting many cellular targets of interest. Based on emerging genetically encoded fluorescent RNA molecules, I will first introduce an advanced sensor platform for the quantitative, sensitive and selective detection of a large range of cellular targets. In the second half of this talk, I will describe some DNA-based tools for imaging previous undetectable biophysical events in live cell membranes, including intercellular mechanical forces and dynamic lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions. Our goal is to develop next-generation platforms to study cell biology and disease, based on the building block of life – nucleic acids.

    More >