University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Chemistry

UVM Chemistry News 2010
Eliza Arsenault
Eliza Arsenault delivers her presentation on green chemistry at Burlington's Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center (Photo by Sally McCay)

Chemistry undergraduate students gain teaching experience

Undergraduate students Michelle Borsavage and Eliza Arsenault assisted Prof. Matthias Brewer, assistant professor of chemistry, this summer 2010 to develop and present a multimedia program on "Green Chemistry" to the 500-plus daily visitors at the Burlington ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.

Read the full UVM Communications 9/8/2010 news report by Jon Reidel. The following text was extracted from that news report.

The summer internship for Borsavage & Arsenault was funded as part of Prof. Brewer's National Science Foundation CAREER grant award. It started with a four-day training at ECHO that focused on the development of a hands-on green "chemistry encounter". Borsavage and Arsenault also created an outreach display in the main lobby that included a DVD on the principles of green chemistry; a notebook with applicable research and articles; and a display case with tools typically found in a green chemistry laboratory.

The opportunity was tailor-made for Borsavage, an education major who loves chemistry, and Arsenault, a chemistry major who loves to teach, to hone their curriculum building and teaching presentation skills. The most applicable exercise in that regard was the development and delivery of a 30-minute green chemistry presentation that included a chemical experiment. They presented it to many of the center's 45,000 patrons over the summer, which both students say helped clarify their post-graduation plans of wanting to teach K-12 chemistry.

"I've wanted to be a teacher since second grade, and this internship only made that commitment even stronger," says Borsavage. "This was the first time I was able to talk about content knowledge and chemistry to the public, and I loved it. There's no question in my mind that I want to teach after this eye opening experience."

Prof. Brewer has incorporated green concepts and experiments into his undergraduate organic curriculum hoping to lay the groundwork for the next generation of chemists to develop more efficient and environmentally friendly processes. His NSF CAREER grant proposal included an adult education and public outreach component that Brewer felt was important to help dispel some of the misconceptions about chemistry. "Chemists get a bad rap because most of the public only hears horror stories and not about all of the good things that chemistry has done for people."

Newspaper headline

Download the Chemistry Department Spring 2010 Newsletter

Paul Anderson

Dr. Paul S. Anderson delivers UVM Burack Lecture

Paul S. Anderson, Ph.D.,Vice President for Chemistry, Merck (retired) presented a Dan and Carole Burack President's Distinguished Lecture entitled Life Long Learning in the Pharmaceutical Industry at UVM on March 3, 2010.

Paul Anderson grew up in Swanton, VT then attended UVM, earning a B.S. degree in Chemistry 1959. He then went on to complete a PhD in Chemistry from Univ. New Hampshire in 1963. At UNH, Paul met his wife Jane, then an undergraduate chemistry major. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, he started at Merck as a research chemist in medicinal chemistry. Dr. Anderson quickly moved up through the ranks in Merck, eventually being appointed Vice President for Chemistry at the Merck West Point, PA facility in 1988. He then became the Senior Vice President of the combined DuPont-Merck venture in 1994 and Vice President for Drug Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb (which acquired the Dupont operation) in 2001. Dr. Anderson's drug discovery and development efforts have made contributions to the treatment HIV & AIDS, cardiovascular disease and glaucoma. He has over 100 publications and 19 patents.

Dr. Anderson also maintained a number of other scientific duties outside the pharmaceutical industry. He was an NIH study section member and chair; he lead the Gordon Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, and he has been very active in the American Chemical Society (ACS), eventually being elected in 1996 Paul as President of the 160,000+ member ACS.

Paul Anderson has received numerous awards and honors, a few of which are

The abstract of Dr. Anderson's lecture: Drug discovery and development is an interdisciplinary endeavor with a strong industrial base. The objective of this endeavor is to connect a preclinical hypothesis about how a new medicine might work to clinical validation of the hypothesis. A hypothesis is built on basic science derived from academic research much of which usually is supported by the federal government. Scientists in the pharmaceutical industry work at the interface between chemistry and biology to translate preclinical hypotheses into new medicines. Only a fraction of these translational efforts are successful. Because the pharmaceutical industry is a commercial enterprise, it is important to have a proper balance between financial risk-taking and value creation for patients and their physicians. George Merck put this into perspective more than 50 years ago when he said, "We try to remember that medicine is for the patient. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear." At a time when advances in science have presented us with unprecedented opportunities to improve therapeutics for untreated or poorly treated diseases, the industry needs to return to this core principle for its business.

Last modified June 11 2011 09:44 AM

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