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Fall 2022 -Spring 2023

Department of Chemistry 

Newsletter,  March 2023

Greetings from the Department of Chemistry!  I am writing to update you on our events and activities over the past year. The Department continues to thrive, and I am excited to share the many accomplishments of our students, alumni, faculty and staff in 2022.

Showcasing our Department and Connecting with Our Alumni:

We continue to work on ways to showcase our department to enhance and support activities such as student recruitment and philanthropy. In case you missed them, I am sharing links to two short videos, one focusing on faculty and the other on students.

In addition, we hosted an in-person alumni and friends reception at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in San Diego in March 2022. It was wonderful to see so many alumni! We plan to hold another reception later this year at the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, August 13-17. We will be sure to let you know the precise date and time as the meeting approaches, and as before, you will not need to be registered for the ACS meeting to attend our reception. If you can join us, we would love to see you there!


Philanthropy remains a critical goal for the Department of Chemistry. One of my objectives as chair is to raise $4 million for the Lauterbur Frontier Research Endowment Fund in Chemistry, which supports outstanding faculty and graduate students and promotes blue skies research in the areas of health, the environment and energy. The Lauterbur Fund honors Dr. Paul Lauterbur, who performed his groundbreaking experiments in the Department of Chemistry at the intersection of physical chemistry and medicine that led to the invention of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the award of the 2003 Nobel Prize. Current research in the Department is highly interdisciplinary and builds on the legacy of Dr. Lauterbur’s pioneering discoveries.

Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, we have a matching gift of $500,000 that will be released once we have raised $500,000. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of the Stony Brook Chemistry Community, we are currently at $420,000. We hope to raise the remainder this spring during the university’s annual Giving Day, which will be on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. We sincerely hope you will join us for this exciting 24-hour campaign! More details to follow.

Sir Run Run Shaw Lecture

Facts & Figures:

For those of you interested in data, here’s a brief summary of the Department:

  • 37 faculty have appointments in the Department of Chemistry
  • There are 26.25 FTEs in Chemistry since many faculty have joint appointments with other departments or neighboring Brookhaven National Lab.
  • In 2021-2022, the Department had $10.6M in research expenditures (~$380,000/FTE)
  • Expenditures support research performed primarily by graduate students.
  • The Department has 180 PhD and 20 MS students.
  • We teach chemistry courses to ~11,000 students per year (~38,000 credit hours!)

Department Events:

Convocation: The Department held its fifty-second ceremony on May 20, 2022. We were back in person and our speaker was Dr. Ronald T. Garry, MD, who completed his BS in 1992 and went on to graduate as a scholar in medicine at Stony Brook's School of Medicine. His talk, “Tools I Have Added to My Toolkit Along the Way,” was very well received by all. For more event details, such as the photo slide-show, video recording, and student awards, please visit our commencement page or click the links below.

Graduate Commencement Awards
Undergraduate Commencement Awards

Bigeleisen Lecture: The 27th Jacob Bigeleisen Lecture was held on April 14, 2022, featuring distinguished speaker Dr. Laura L. Kiessling, Novartis Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Kiessling gave a wonderful talk, "Microbial Glycans in Health and Disease." Click here to view photos of the event.

Ojima Distinguished Lectureship Award: The Inaugural Ojima Distinguished Lectureship Award in Chemistry, honoring award recipient Dr. Makoto Fujita, University Distinguished Professor of the University of Tokyo, was held on April 29, 2022. Dr. Fujita gave an enthralling talk, “Coordination Self-Assembly: From Origins to the Latest Advances,” which you can see on YouTube. The award lecture was hosted by the Department of Chemistry, the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery (ICB&DD), the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost.


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Dr. Laura L. Kiessling and Dr. Peter Tonge 

Makoto Fujita and Iwao Ojima               

Peter Tonge, Fujita, Ojima, Nicole Sampson


Francis Johnson Lecture:  The Sixth Francis Johnson Lecture was held on May 5, 2022, featuring distinguished speaker Dr. Tom W. Muir, Princeton University, who gave an excellent talk titled "Janus Particles: The Role of Molecular Symmetry in Epigenetic Regulation."

johnson lecture

The Jon Rudick Memorial Symposium:  We held a symposium last September in honor of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Jon Rudick, an associate professor in the Department who passed away on January 1, 2022, at the age of 44. The symposium featured colleagues and former students of Dr. Rudick, who all gave great talks and shared personal anecdotes. The speakers were Dr. Ivan Korendovych, Syracuse University, Dr. Jeannette Marine, Croda, Dr. Virgil Percec, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Bill DeGrado, University of California, San Francisco. We also had members of Jon’s family join the symposium, including Jon’s widow Molly, his parents, and his brother.

rudick1 rudick2

Institute for Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery (ICB&DD) Annual Symposium:  The 16th annual ICB&DD symposium was held on October 6, 2022. The theme of the symposium was “Metabolism in Health and Disease,” and the distinguished speakers included Dr. Fei Chen, SBU, Dr. James Versalovic, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Jason Locasale, Duke University; Dr. Kayvan R. Keshari, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Dr. Lydia Finley, Weill Cornell Medical College; Dr. Adrianus van der Velden, SBU; and Dr. Paul Cohen, Rockefeller University.

Chemistry Research Day: This past October, the department held Chemistry Research Day, a celebration of research in chemistry performed by graduate, undergraduate and high school students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists affiliated with Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory. The day ended on a high note with a great lecture from Dr. Ben Levine, Department of Chemistry and Institute for Advanced Computational Sciences, and awards for the best student posters.


Nobel Symposium:  A Symposium on the Development and Applications of Bioorthogonal Chemistry in Honor of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was held on December 12, 2022. The distinguished speakers, who had all previously trained with Nobel Laureate Carolyn Bertozzi, included Dr. Michael Boyce, Duke University; Dr. Hatzios, Yale University; and Dr. Yarema, Johns Hopkins University, together with Dr. Isaac Carrico, Dr. Scott Laughlin, and Dr. Jessica Seeliger, all from Stony Brook University.


Faculty News and Recognition: 

  • Professor Eszter Boros’ work on theranostic radiometal drugs was highlighted in Chemical & Engineering News.
  • Esther Takeuchi, distinguished professor and William and Jane Knapp Chair in the Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, received the 2022 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciencesfor breakthrough contributions to our understanding of electrochemical energy.
  • Four Stony Brook faculty are named 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows, including Professor Eszter Boros from our department.
  • Peter Khalifah’s research on lithium-ion batteries is highlighted in a special issue of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
  • Karena Chapman, Joseph Lauher and Frank W. Fowler Endowed Chair in Materials Chemistry, received the 2022 Hanawalt prizebased on her contributions in developing X-ray diffraction capabilities in the study of challenging materials problems in sustainable energy and environmental remediation.
  • Professor Jin Wang received the 2021-2022 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
  • We held a Chemistry Faculty Recognition Eventto celebrate the contributions of six faculty to the Department:  Professor Nancy GoroffProfessor Steve KochProfessor Kathy Parker Eric PattersonProfessor Greg Rushton and Dr. Brad Tooker.  



  • Distinguished Teaching Professor Joe Lauher was among six people honored and recognized for 45 years of service to SBU in an in-person ceremony in 2020.
  • Up to $24 million will be invested in the novel “nano-formulated taxane” anti-cancer agent developed by Distinguished Professor Iwao Ojima
  • Distinguished Professor Esther Takeuchi was honored with the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award for her role in a Congressional briefing series, “Driving U.S. Competitiveness & Innovation: A New Era of Science for Transformative Industry.” 
  • In addition, the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties at SBU (m2M#S), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science funded Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) led by Professor Takeuchi, was recently awarded $13.6 million in renewed funding over the next four years, which will enable research focused on electrochemical energy storage. 
  • Distinguished Professor Benjamin Hsiao, together with colleagues from SBU and collaborators at the University of Queensland in Australia, were awarded an NSF grant to develop a low cost and sustainable fertilizer.

Student and Alumni Recognition: 

  • In May 2022, we graduated 49 chemistry and engineering chemistry majors, 9 MS students, and 36 PhD students  
  • Nicholas Wodzenski won the Dr. Kenneth M. Nicholas Undergraduate Research Fellowship
  • Jacky Chen and Nicholas Wodzenski won the Emerson Award and Lap Chan Scholarship
  • Kevin Gatien and Noah Schwartzapfel won the Sei Sujishi Award
  • Stephanie O’Brien '08, ’17, PhD, was named a 40 Under Forty honoree


  • Norma Reyes, the assistant to the chair, won a College of Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Award 

Upcoming Events:

  • March 24, 2023: A Sir Run Run Shaw series lecture, “Controlling the Fate and Function of Proteins with Proximity Photopharmacology,”will be given by Dr. Dirk Trauner, Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. 
  • March 29, 2023: Annual Giving Day.
  • May 5, 2023: The Ojima Distinguished Lecture will be given by Dr. John Hartwig, the Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. 
  • August 13-17, 2023:  Alumni and Friends Reception at the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco.  The date is to be confirmed.  You don’t need to register for the meeting to attend.

Arrivals and Departures: 

  • The Department welcomes  Jeffrey Lipshultz, assistant professor; Dr. Christian Aponte-Rivera, IDEA Fellow; Dr. Sandhya Muralidharanas the new assistant director of Chemistry Facilities and Operations; and Dr. Suan Quah-Ivarson, lecturer.
  • We want to say farewell to faculty members Professor Melanie Chiu Eric PattersonProfessor Trevor Sears and staff member Alyssa Tuthill.
Chiu Patterson Sears
Melanie Chiu Eric Patterson Trevor Sears

We hope you will also connect with or reconnect with our faculty soon. We’d love to hear your news, how you’re doing, where your career has taken you, and any life events you'd like to share. And if you haven’t already, please join our alumni group on LinkedIn: SBUChemistry Alumni so that we can stay connected.

Best wishes,

Peter J. Tonge
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Department of Chemistry