UW System Chemistry Faculties Meeting held at UW-Platteville

December 2, 2010

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PLATTEVILLE - The 37th annual University of Wisconsin System Chemistry Faculties Meeting held at UW-Platteville in late October drew more than 50 chemistry faculty members from campuses across the state. Vendors Fisher Scientific, Dionex, PerkinElmer, McGraw Hill and CEM helped to sponsor the two-day event.

The schedule included three speakers, poster research presentations and breakout sessions addressing best practices for chemistry sub-disciplines including analytical, biochemistry, general, inorganic, organic and physical. An additional set of breakout sessions held in the afternoon addressed future plans and the incorporation of new technology.

Dr. Charles Cornett, UW-Platteville professor of chemistry and engineering physics, organized the event, which he said is intended to establish partnerships across the UW System campuses and share best practices.

"We continually nurture and put effort toward those relationships," added Dr. Tim Zauche, professor and chair of the UW-Platteville Department of Chemistry and Engineering Physics. "If we didn't get together once a year, we would be too isolated."

Presenters, whom Cornett helped to identify, included Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, director of the Science Education Initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md., and governor for the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research; Dr. Paul Bloom, director of chemical technology strategy at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company in Decatur, Ill.; and Dr. Edwin Sibert III, chair of general chemistry at UW-Madison.

"We've been among the leaders in the state for undergraduate research, and Dr. Jordan's talk reaffirmed our feelings that students who are involved in undergraduate research are more likely to be retained and reach their potential," said Cornett.

Zauche added that Dr. Bloom's talk addressed the manufacture of traditionally oil-based products using plant-based substances instead. "Before oil was discovered, most chemicals were made from paper products and now, nearly everything in society is based on oil," he said. "Dr. Bloom is looking at breaking down plant materials with bacteria or chemicals and then building them back up into plastic or paint."

Dr. Sibert addressed new teaching strategies and assessments that have been performed at UW-Madison to identify solutions for gaps in achievement in chemistry courses. "It's a question we all have," said Cornett, "and we're all still looking for the answer."

In addition to the speaker portion of the event, a research poster session was offered where six of 21 posters presented were by UW-Platteville faculty and student teams or individuals. UW-Platteville poster presentations included research on preserving latent fingerprint images on paper surfaces, assessments of a tunable colloid-production device, gene and cellular studies, and the use of functional materials in sensing, therapeutics and biomedical research.

For more information, contact Zauche at (608) 342-1678 or zauchet@uwplatt.edu.

Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, UW-Platteville Office of Public Relations

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