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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Academic Year 2015-16 News

Spring 2016

Conference on the Black Family/School of Science Research Symposium

The 38th annual Conference on the Black Family whose theme this year was "Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead" was hosted by the School of Science. The School's annual research symposium was combined with the conference and Drs. Darby and Waddell served on the steering committee.

The Conference held on March 16-18, 2016 included a STEAM Expo called "Phantastic Voyage" where area elementary schools were invited to learn more about science. Several faculty and undergraduate majors were involved with the activities as shown in the photos on the right.

Along with invited guest speakers and panel sessions, the symposium had several poster sessions and both undergraduates and graduate students were well represented. The sessions give students the opportunity to explain their research to fellow students and interested members of the Hampton University community at-large. Listed below are the posters that serve as excellent examples of the research being done within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Congratulations to all!

  • Translation Regulation of Acquired Therapeutic Resistance in Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Courtney M. Edwards1,2, Myron K. Evans2,3, Gayathri R. Devi2,3,4, 1Hampton University, Hampton, VA, Departments of 2Surgury and 3Pathology and the 4Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC.
  • Semi-Empirical Studies of Donor-Acceptor Pair Substituent Effects on the Nonlinear Optical Properties of a Series of Bis-Azo II Conjugated Systems. David S. Barnes, Dr. Edmund N. Ndip, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) Enhances Testeosterone metabolism Via Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)- Mediated Altered Redox potential in Keratinocytes. Alon Mantel, PhD.1, John McDonald, PhD2, Kennedy Goldsborough1, Alice Pentland, MD3, Mena Katdare, PhD1 , Joannne Chan, PhD1, 1Hampton University Skin of Color Research Institute, Hampton, Va. , 2Hampton University Cancer Research Center, Hampton, VA, 3Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
  • Photo-Switchable Metal Complexes Containing Arylazopyrazole. Janay Little, Jelissa Washington, Dr.Kesete Ghebreyessus, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Nanoparticles for Forensic Analysis. Dr.Peter Njoki, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Chemistry graduate student discussing organic scheme.

    Click to view gallery ▶

    Here are some pictures of the School of Science Research Symposium poster sessions.

  • Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles. Precious Nwokogu1, Dr. Peter Njoki2, 1Hampton High School, 2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Cutaneous Skin Mutational Sectra: Implications for Precision Medicine. Luisel Ricks-Santi, PhD1, John MacDonald, PhD1, Brandy Young Gqamana, PhD2, Putuma Gqamana, PhD2, 1Cancer Research Center, Hampton University, 2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Synthesis and Spectroscopic Studies of Vinylene-Bridges Heterocyclic Organic Semi-Conductors, Dominique Covington, Dr. Michelle Waddell and Dr. Edmund Ndip, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
  • Identification of the Best Method To Prepare tert-Butyl Crotonate. Dr. Godson Nwokogu, Fahad Alharthi, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.

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Department Collaborates with Nigerian Scientists on Water Quality Research

Dr. Urasa pictured with Nigerian Visiting Scientists, conducting research in Hampton lab. Department Collaborates with Nigerian Scientists on Water Quality Research Dr. Urasa pictured with Nigerian Visiting Scientists, conducting research in Hampton lab.

Dr. Urasa pictured with Nigerian Visiting Scientists, conducting research in Hampton lab.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry hosted professors from two Nigerian universities on November 20th, 2015. The visiting professors toured several selected Water Quality Research and Management Laboratories including the Water Quality Research Laboratory located in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Plans are to participate in the preparation of a research paper aimed at spearheading future collaborations in Global Water Resource programs and to collaborate with HU professors on water quality research.

The Water Quality Research Laboratory was established to identify and study contaminants that impact natural water systems in the Hampton Roads area. While supporting research in water quality, the lab also provides training and service learning opportunities for students, and serves as a resource for the immediate Hampton Roads community. Dr. Isai T. Urasa, Chair and Professor of Chemistry, is the Director of Water Quality Research Laboratory.

Annual Chemistry Dinner – December 4, 2015

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry held its annual dinner bringing together faculty, staff, chemistry majors and alumni guests—Dr. Kaiulani Houston (HU Chem Class of '08) and Ms. Reena Blade (HU Chem Class of 2014 and currently @Purdue). Janay Little, a traditional chemistry junior, greeted everyone and reflections were given by a representative from each year group. Dr. Urasa presented awards for outstanding student performance in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. There was lots of food to choose from -- curried chicken, greek salad and many other delicious dishes prepared by faculty and staff. Chemistry majors and graduate students supplied drinks and desserts so there was plenty to go around. Dr. Houston gave an interesting talk on her journey from Hampton to UNC, Chapel Hill and beyond and Ms. Blade spoke about her research at Purdue, having met earlier in the day with majors to offer information on Purdue's graduate program. Several current faculty have Purdue doctorates (Drs. Gqamana, Young-Gqamana and Waddell) so there may have been some reminiscing going on. Thanks to all for making another annual dinner a success!


Faculty Activities and Accomplishments 2015

Dr. Kesete Ghebreyessus was the lead author of a recently published journal article in Inorganica Chimica Acta (Volume 434, 1 August 2015, Pages 239–251).

The article titled "Ruthenium (II)-arene complexes with naphthalimide-tagged N, O- and N, N-chelating ligands: Synthesis and biological evaluation" is available online through Science Direct.

The research involved synthesis and characterization of ruthenium-arene complexes and evaluation of their cytotoxic activity in several cell lines. Dr. Ghebreyessus was assisted in this research by then, undergraduate student Ashley Peralta, who is now a graduate student at Virginia Tech and by fellow Hampton University Chemistry faculty member, Dr. Shanthi Paranawithana. Dr. Meena Katdare and Krishnan Prabhakaran from the Hampton University Skin of Color Institute (HUSCRI) performed the cytotoxicity studies. The National Science Foundation CREST center and the Hampton University Faculty Research Fund provided additional support.



Dr. Edmund Ndip attended the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE 15) Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri (July 26 – 30, 2015). Conference activities included workshops, tutorials, research presentations and poster sessions on the applications of high performance computing (HPC). Dr. Ndip was supported by a travel award from the XSEDE Under-represented Community Engagement Program through the EOT Program of SURA. Dr. Ndip, an XSEDE BE Fellow and member of the Minority Research Consortium (MRC) was selected to serve as HU's Campus Champion.

Dr. Ndip also attended a POGIL Physical Chemistry Laboratory (POGIL-PCL) Workshop, held at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (June 18 – 19, 2015). The workshop explored the integration of POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) in laboratory activities in physical chemistry. He plans to implement some of the activities this academic year.

Congratulations to Dr. Edmund Ndip on being elected Secretary of the Chemistry Division of the Virginia Academy of Science for 2015 – 2016.



Dr. Peter Njoki with NanoHU Pioneer students

Dr. Peter Njoki with NanoHU Pioneer students

Dr. Peter Njoki served as a faculty advisor and mentor to two rising 11th graders during the annual Summer High School NanoHU Program. The program, NanoHU Pioneers, trains students to work in the laboratory, perform research and prepare a scientific poster. The students synthesized aqueous gold and silver nanoparticles using conventional heating method and gold@silver and silver@gold nanoparticles via microwave irradiation method. The students presented their research at the NanoHU poster ceremony on July 23rd, 2015.

Dr. Njoki also attended the NSF-sponsored Forensics Workshop held at Williams College, Williamstown, MA in June, 2015. The workshop is an annual program sponsored by the Chemistry Collaborations, Workshops and Community of Scholars program (cCWCS) which supports the Forensic Science Scholars program (FSS). The FSS community is designed for college-level instructors to network and collaborate; and to access, share and develop curriculum materials.



Kecoughtan High School Group Collecting Water Samples
Bethel High School Group in HU Chemistry Lab
Phoebus High School Group in the HU Microbiology Laboratory

Click images to elarge.

A Summer Institute to help local public school teachers develop laboratory science activities and curricula was held June 22-July 3, 2015. The institute was part of a one year pilot project titled "Inquiry-based learning using cultural heritage materials and other locally accessible resources: A professional development program for public school science teachers." The principal investigator of the project is Dr. Isai T. Urasa, Professor and Chair of Chemistry and the co-principal investigators are Dr. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward HU Museum curator, and Mrs. Valinda Carroll, Manager of HU Preservation Department. During the two-week summer institute, local teachers designed and tested inquiry-based laboratory activities, incorporating local resources including materials from the HU Museum and the preservation department; the Chesapeake Bay watershed; and faculty research programs. The development of these activities were guided by the Commonwealth of Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for Science and supported by funds from NSF. Thirteen students and seven teachers participated in the Summer Institute representing three local high schools (Bethel, Kecoughtan and Phoebus)

Dr. Isai Urasa attended the 250th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition, held in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 16 - 20, 2015. As a member of the Global Innovations Imperatives (Gii) program, Dr. Urasa participated in the news briefing and press release for a white paper on the global water challenge. His previous work with wastewater stabilization ponds in Tanzania served as a good example of local response to a water need. For more information on the global water challenge, check out the links below.

Dr. Isai Urasa was also recently selected as one of "10 Forensic Chemistry Professors You Should Know" by Forensics Colleges, an educational publishing website that provides useful content on career outlooks related to forensic science, forensic accounting, and digital forensics.



Dr. Michelle Waddell presented at the 7th annual Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science Careers, held in San Diego, California, May 15-17, 2015. The poster presentation was titled, Integrating a CSI Style Mass Spectrometry Lab Experiment to Improve Student Learning Outcomes in Organic Chemistry Laboratories. Drs. Charles Bump, Godson Nwokogu, and Edmund Ndip were co-authors and acknowledged for their participation and assistance.

Several students working with Dr. Waddell presented their work at the 93rd Virginia Academy of Science meeting held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg VA., May 21-23, 2015.

  • Oral presentation: Formation of iron nanoparticles using green tea extract. M.K. Waddell, J. Griffin and A. Manes, Dept. of Chemistry, Hampton University, Kecoughtan High School; Kings Fork High School International Baccalaureate Program.
  • Poster presentation: Fabrication of magnetic iron nanoparticles by facile microwave process. B. Loftin and M.K. Waddell, Dept. of Chemistry, Hampton University.


Drs. Brandy Young and Putuma Gqamana presented a STEM workshop at Virginia Union University for the Richmond-based non-profit group called Girls for a Change. The program allows young women to participate in a range of activities designed to build confidence, friendships, and memories.

The workshop involved using cell phone apps and spectrophotometers to understand solution chemistry and the science of analysis.

Dr. Young-Gqamana with program participants Dr. Gqamana with program participants

Click images to enlarge.