Seminar Speakers Photos 2008 - Chemistry Department

Department Seminar Speakers




  • Dr. Margaret M. Wallace (John Jay College)
  • November 21, 2008
  • Title: "Forensic Biology: The Interface between Molecular Biology and the Law"
  • Abstract: Forensic scientists use the record of the physical evidence at a crime scene to identify and individualize evidentiary material and to reconstruct the sequence of events that occurred during the commission of a crime. The ability to recognize and record the elements of the physical record, analyze the evidence, interpret and report the results requires a solid theoretical background in the sciences coupled with hands-on training in the techniques and technologies used by modern forensic scientists. John Jay College of Criminal Justice located in NYC is the only liberal arts college with a criminal justice focus in the United States. Internationally recognized as a leader in criminal forensic education and research, it is also a major training facility for local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel. Advances in the field of molecular biology have had a tremendous influence on the field of forensic science. The ability to type DNA has had a significant impact on identification and individualization of samples from human and nonhuman sources. Results from several research projects will be discussed: generation of PCR-STR DNA profiles from flip-open cell phones, identification of botanical (leaf material from Acer rubrum) and entomological (larval samples from blowflies, Cochliomyia macellaria and Phormia regina, and flesh eating flies, Sarcophaga bullata) samples using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP).

  • Dr. Lou Massa (Hunter College, CUNY)
  • October 24, 2008
  • Title: "The Mechanism of Peptide Bond Formation in the Ribosome"
  • Abstract: Using quantum mechanics and crystallography we investigated the mechanism for peptide-bond formation in the ribosome. We calculated the activation energy and geometry of the transition state (TS). The optimized geometry corresponds to a structure in which the peptide bond is being formed as other bonds are being broken, in such manner as to release the P-site tRNA so that it may exit as a free molecule and be replaced by the translocating A-site tRNA. At TS formation the 2' OH group of the P-site tRNA forms a hydrogen bond with the oxygen atom of the carboxyl group of the amino acid attached to the A-site tRNA, indicative of its catalytic role, consistent with recent biochemical experiments. Quantum topology illuminates the role of the bonds which participate in the mechanism of formation of the TS.

  • Dr. Victor Cesare (St. John's University)
  • October 3, 2008
  • Title: "The Chemistry of α-Lactams"
  • Abstract: This presentation will use -lactam chemistry to teach students some of the basic principles of organic chemistry. A study technique describing how to succeed in the organic chemistry course will also be outlined. -Lactams are strained three-membered rings containing the amide function and their general structure is shown below. An overview of their history, stability, methods of synthesis, and a variety of ring-opening reactions that demonstrates the synthetic potential of these highly stained rings will be described.


  • Dr. James F. Wishart (Brookhaven National Lab)
  • April 4, 2008
  • Title: "The Radiation Chemistry of Ionic Liquids"
  • Abstract: We are interested in how ionic liquid properties influence physical and dynamical processes that determine the stability and lifetimes of reactive intermediates and thereby affect the courses of chemical reactions and product distributions. One important potential application of ionic liquids is as a medium for the processing of spent nuclear fuel. Successful use of ionic liquids in radiation-filled environments, where their safety advantages could be significant, requires an understanding of ionic liquid radiation chemistry. It is therefore important to study the radiation chemistry of ionic liquids, not only to determine their radiolytic products and degradation pathways, but also to describe how the radiolysis may affect or interfere with separations processes. An understanding of ionic liquid radiation chemistry will also facilitate pulse radiolysis studies of general chemical reactivity in ionic liquids, which will aid in the development of energy production, chemical industry and environmental applications. As it turns our, many of the important features of ionic liquid radiation chemistry can be traced back to unique aspects of their physical chemistry.


  • Dr. June Kasuga Miller (Director) and Mr. Santo Di Sclafani (Valley Stream North High School)
  • March 7, 2008
  • Title: "Symposium on the Teacher Academy for Mathematics and Science"
  • Abstract: This event will focus on the benefits of joining an elite corps of science and math majors who are interested in teaching in NYC schools for 2 years upon graduation from Queens College.


  • Dr. Luis Vargas (QCC, CUNY)
  • February 22
  • Title: "Silylphosphites: Useful Reagents in Organic Synthesis"
  • Abstract: Silylphosphites are powerful nucleophiles that react with alkyl and acyl halides to produce silylesters that easily hydrolyze to phosphonates. Application to the synthesis of biologically active molecules will be presented.


Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center
Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives

Using the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Queensborough Performing Arts Center
QPAC: Performing Arts Center

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.