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Probst Lecture 2020

Dr. Graham Cooks

April 29, 2020

Wednesday 29 April 7:00 PM in the Meridian Ballroom, Morris University Center
"Brain Cancer Diagnostics during Surgery using Chemical Measurements"

Prof. Cooks, Purdue University, is internationally known in the field of mass spectrometry and analytical chemistry. He is an ISI Highly Cited Chemist with over 1,000 publications and an H-index of 94. His research has included a diverse range of mass spectrometry topics including the development of prominent techniques likes desorption electrospray ionization (DESI), important mass analyzers like the cylindrical ion trap (CIT), and the development of portable mass spectrometers. His work has garnered him recognition from 1984 to the current including the Analytical Division, Award in Chemical Instrumentation, 1984; Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2006; Ralph N. Adams Award, the Pittsburgh Conference, 2010; and he was elected as a fellow to the US National Academy of Sciences, 2015.

For additional information, contact the Chemistry Department.

For directions to the campus please visit the SIUE maps or SIUE Parking.

Probst Lecture 2019

Dr. Jennifer Doudna

March 26, 2019

Tuesday 26 March 7:00 PM in the Meridian Ballroom, Morris University Center
"CRISPR Systems and the Future of Genome Editing"

Tuesday 26 March 11:00 AM in the Science East Auditorium (SE 1136)
"CRISPR Chemistry:  Defending and Editing Genomes"

Dr. Jennifer Doudna is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California Berkeley.  She is a leading expert on RNA-protein biochemistry, CRISPR/Cas9 chemistry, and genome engineering.  Her fundamental work has led to CRISPR-mediated genome editing, which is considered one of the most monumental discoveries in biology.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received numerous prestigious fellowships and awards, such as the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and the 2016 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science.  She was included in Time:  100 Most Influential People in 2015 and awarded Time:  Person of the Year in 2016

The 2019 Probst Lecture was made possible in part by the generosity of the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation through the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions.

Probst Lecture 2018

Dr. John Killmer

Dr. Killmer is internationally known in the plant bioscience field. He worked at Monsanto for many years, including as president of Monsanto China. His company, RNAgi, is a local company in St. Louis, and it has developed technology for commercially feasible production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) for RNA interference (RNAi) applications in agriculture. RNAi is a small piece of RNA that can block the formation of protein. With the technology, one can change the characteristics of a plant, kill insects, control plant disease, and reverse the tolerance that certain insects have built up to certain insecticides.

Probst Lecture 2017

Dr. Mae C. Jemison


Dr. Mae C. Jemison (B.S. Chemical Engineering, M.D. 1982) is the first African American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992, Dr. Jemison flew for her first time into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47 as the first African American woman in space. In addition to her contributions to the NASA missions, Dr. Jemison makes a tremendous impact in our society as a role model and inspiration for all. Dr. Jemison has received several recognitions and awards, such as the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the Ebony Black Achievement Award in 1992, and the Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993, as well as numerous Honorary Doctorate degrees.

Dr. Jemison is an active member of several organizations, such the American Chemical Society. She established the Jemison Foundation, which developed and has hosted, among other initiatives, The Earth We Share™ (TEWS) since 1994. TEWS is an annual international science camp to promote science literacy and research for young students, and therefore future scientists.


Probst Lecture 2016

Dr. Richard B. Silverman


"CPP-115: A novel GABA aminotransferase inactivator and potential new treatment for epilepsy, addiction, and hepatocellular carcinoma"

"Drug Discovery: Ingenuity or Serendipity?"

Professor Silverman’s research can be summarized as investigations of the molecular mechanisms of action, rational design, and syntheses of potential medicinal agents, particularly for neurodegenerative diseases. Professor Silverman has received the highest honors and awards from all over the world including: Fellow of the American Chemical Society, Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), Sato Memorial International Award of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan , Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society. In addition to international recognition in the academic world professor Silverman is the inventor of Lyrica ™ (pregabalin), marketed worldwide for the treatment of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and (in Europe) for generalized anxiety disorder.


Probst Lecture 2015

Dr. Gregory H. Robinson


"Stabilization of Highly Reactive Molecules"

"Molecules That Changed History"

Professor Robinson is an internationally known organometallic synthetic chemist. His research involves the synthesis and characterization of compounds containing main group elements with unique bonding characteristics (particularly those of groups 13 and 14). The Robinson group has gained wide recognition for their work involving multiple bonds between elements such as gallium and lead. In 2008 the Robinson group discovered a new base-stabilized soluble allotrope of elemental silicon that contains a Si-Si double bond. Professor Robinson has published ~150 peer-reviewed journal articles and six book chapters. He is the author/editor of a book on the Coordination Chemistry of Aluminum. Professor Robinson has received numerous awards for his work including the National Science Foundation's Award for Special Creativity, the Alexander von Humboldt—Stiftung Research Fellowship, and the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.


Probst Lecture 2014

Dr. Erick M. Carreira


"Recent Advances in Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis"

"Surprises and Discoveries with Human-Derived Natural Products and Their Relevance to Human Medicine"

Professor Carreira (ETH Zürich) is recognized for the discovery and development of novel strategies for synthesis. This interdisciplinary work demands effective integration of the tools, concepts, and methods of molecular recognition, inorganic, organometallic, and organic chemistry. Areas of investigation include development of processes for asymmetric synthesis, design of catalysts for use in aqueous media, laboratory syntheses of complex natural products, and identification of novel small molecule building blocks that are beneficial to the drug discovery process. Professor Carreira has authored over 230 publications and 30 patents, and has received numerous awards, including the European Research Commission Award, the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, and the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry. Together with colleagues at ETH Zürich, he has co-founded Lipideon, SpiroChem, and Glycemicon, and is a consultant for companies in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Probst Lecture 2013

Dr. Christopher Cummins


" Coordination Chemistry and Molecular Recognition in a Supramolecular Container Molecule "

" Nitrogen and Phosphorus: Fertilizer from the Atmosphere to the Oceans "

Professor Cummins's work in inorganic chemistry has been recognized by numerous prestigious organizations. He has had a remarkable career, graduating with a Ph.D. from MIT in 1993 and being immediately hired by MIT as an assistant professor. By 1996 he was promoted to the rank of professor. So far in his 20-year career he is the author of over 150 research articles, advisor to 21 Ph.D. graduates, and serves on the boards of many of the most important inorganic chemistry journals. He has been the recipient of Harvard University's E. Bright Wilson Prize, the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award, an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, the Dannie-Heineman Preis of the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, the ACS F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences. Dr. Cummins has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a corresponding member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In February prior to the Probst Lecture, it was announced that Dr. Cummings was the winner of the inaugural Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award from the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Cummins was nominated by his peers for his creativity, rigor and record of research success in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Probst Lecture 2012

Dr. Mark Von Itzstein

" Rotavirus and Host-Cell Glycan Interactions "
" Viruses in the 21st Century - an Alternative Approach to Tackling Viral Diseases "

Prof. Itzstein (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) is a world wide recognized scientist who has international standing in glycoscience and drug discovery especially in the area of anti-infective drug discovery. His research team designed the synthesis of Relenza®, which is currently used as anti-influenza drug. This discovery is a milestone and at the same time a starting point for the use of carbohydrates and carbohydrate-recognising proteins as drug discovery targets. Relenza® is also the first 'designer' anti-viral drug in the world.

Prof. Mark Von Itzstein established and heads the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University, which is the only multidisciplinary glycoscience research centre in Australia. His research accomplishments and the relevant contributions to drug design and discovery are internationally recognized by the whole scientific community. The number of his publications, book chapters and invited papers, in addition to the awards received validate the impact of his scientific contributions.

Probst Lecture 2011

Dr. Jerald L. Schnoor

"Water Sustainability in a Changing World"
"Phytoremediation from Molecular to Field Scale"

Professor Jerald Schnoor is a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his pioneering work using mathematical models in science policy decisions. He testified several times before Congress on the environmental effects of acid deposition and the importance of passing the 1990 Clean Air Act. While serving as Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science and Technology, Jerry guides the leading journal in the world in both environmental engineering and environmental science. His editorial writings on environmental policy and research have been widely accessed by the international community. Professor Schnoor has published (as author, co-author, or editor) six books and over 150 research articles in archival journals, in addition to serving as lead editor of a series of texts and monographs.

Professor Schnoor and his students have pioneered phytoremediation, the use of plants to help clean the environment. The research involves discovering novel pathways for the uptake, storage, and metabolism of toxic organic chemicals at waste sites. Schnoor's publications cover a wide range of environmental problems including toxic chemical fate and transport, surface and groundwater contaminant modeling, phytoremediation, and carbon sequestration for mitigation of greenhouse gases. Over the past three years, Jerry has developed a novel course at the University of Iowa on sustainable environmental systems and has worked closely with students in Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW).

Probst Lecture 2010

Dr. Gary M. Hieftje

"Models, Methods, and Machines for Chemical Measurements"
"Teaching and Research: Symbiosis or Conflict?"

Gary M. Hieftje is Distinguished Professor and Mann Chair of Chemistry at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. His research interests include the investigation of basic mechanisms in atomic emission, absorption, fluorescence and mass spectrometric analysis, and the development of instrumentation and techniques for atomic methods of analysis. He is interested also in the on-line computer control of chemical instrumentation and experiments, the use of time-resolved luminescence processes for analysis, the application of information theory to analytical chemistry, analytical mass spectrometry, near-infrared reflectance analysis, and the use of stochastic processes to extract basic and kinetic chemical information. He has won numerous awards in the fields of analytical chemistry and spectroscopy, has held major offices in several scientific societies, and has served on the editorial boards of many major journals. He is the author of over 500 publications, 10 books, and 15 patents. More than 65 students have received doctorates under his direction.

Probst Lecture 2009

Dr. William A. Eaton

"Protein Folding Dynamics"
"Searching for a Cure for Sickle Cell Disease"

William A. Eaton is the distinguished investigator and the Chief of Laboratory of Chemical Physics at National Institute of Diabetics and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the scientific director of intramural AIDS Targeted Antiviral Program of the Office of the director at NIH. Dr. Eaton received both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 and 1967. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow from 1968 to 1972. His research focuses on kinetics, dynamics, and mechanisms of protein folding using pulsed laser methods, single molecule spectroscopy, theoretical models, and computer simulations; physical chemistry of sickle cell hemoglobin polymerization and high through-put screening for the drugs for sickle cell disease; cooperative interactions in multi-subunit proteins. Among the awards Dr. Eaton has received are the Founders Award of Biophysical Society (2006) and Gordon G. Hammes ACS Biochemistry Lectureship (2009). He has been the Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Biophysical Society, and member of National Science of Academy. Dr. Eaton has served on a number of editorial boards, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), Chemical Physics, and Journal of Physical Chemistry. He has published more than 140 prestigious publications, given hundreds of seminars, and has received recognition from chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysical societies.

Probst Lecture 2008

Dr. C. Dale Poulter

C. Dale Poulter is the John A. Widtsoe Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah. He earned his B.S. in 1964 from Louisiana State University and his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow from 1967 to 1969 with Saul Winstein at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Poulterπs research combines synthetic and mechanistic organic chemistry with biochemistry and molecular biology to study the chemistry of enzyme catalysis. This work has focused on enzymes in the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway, including those in sterol biosynthesis and protein prenylation.

Among the awards Poulter has received are an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1975), the American Chemical Society Ernest Guenther Award (1991), an ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1998), the ACS Repligen Award (2002), and the ACS James Flack Norris Award (2004). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Poulter has served on a number of ACS committees, NIH review panels, and editorial advisory boards. He has held several different offices in the Organic and Biological Divisions of ACS and served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Organic Chemistry and for Organic Letters. Dr. Poulter is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Organic Chemistry. He has consulted in the pharmaceutical industry and is a founding scientist of two start-up companies.

The Probst Lecture Series

The Department of Chemistry of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) initiated the Probst Lecture series in 1975 as a memorial to one of its founding faculty members, Professor William J. Probst. Each year a noted chemist is invited for a visit that features several lectures. An evening lecture usually consists of a topic that is broad in scope to attract the interest of alumni, faculty, and students throughout the arts and sciences, while a second afternoon lecture focuses on the guest's contributions to chemical research. In recent years, the lecture series has been planned to coincide with the Chemistry Senior Assignment Poster Session and the Student Research Symposium.

Table of past Probst lecturers
2019 Dr. Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR Systems and the Future of Genome Editing
2018 Dr. John Killmer, Agricultural and Biomedical Applications of RNAi
2017 Dr. Mae C. Jemison, Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential
2016 Dr. Richard B. Silverman, Drug Discovery: Ingenuity or Serendipity?
2015 Dr. Gregory H. Robinson, Molecules That Changed History
2014 Dr. Erick M. Carreira, Surprises and Discoveries with Human-Derived Natural Products and Their Relevance to Human Medicine
2013 Dr. Christopher Cummins, Nitrogen and Phosphorus: Fertilizer from the Atmosphere to the Oceans
2012 Dr. Mark Von Itzstein, Viruses in the 21st Century - an Alternative Approach to Tackling Viral Diseases
2011 Dr. Jerald Schnoor, Water Sustainability in a Changing World
2010 Dr. Gary M. Hieftje, Teaching and Research: Symbiosis or Conflict?
2009 Dr. William A. Eaton, Searching for a Cure for Sickle Cell Disease
2008 Dr. Dale C. Poulter, The Terpenome. A Cornucopia of Natural Molecules for Life, Health, and Commerce
2007 Ms. Susan Marie Frontczak, Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie
2006 Dr. René Roy, Carbohydrates and Biological Recognition: Impact on the Development of Vaccines
2005 Dr. Robert F. Curl, The Discovery of the Fullerenes and the New World of Carbon Chemistry
2004 Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Science is Fun
2003 Dr. George B. Richter-Addo, Small, Versatile, and Potent: NO and You
2002 Dr. William R. Heineman, Chemistry Sensors: Why They Are Important to You
2001 Dr. Purnendu K. Dasgupta, Science and Scientists: Culpability and the passage of innocence
2000 Dr. Allen J. Bard, Cold Fusion and Pathological Science
1999 Dr. Janet Osteryoung, Research: Who Pays and Who Benefits
1998 Dr. Ronald Breslow, The Chemistry of Tomorrow will Change Our World
1997 Dr. Fred Basolo, The Early History of Metal Complexes to Illustrate How Science Works
1996 Dr. Alfred Bader, The Adventures of a Chemist Collector
1995 Dr. Roald Hoffmann, The Same and Not the Same: the Rift Between the Sciences and Humanities
1994 Dr. Terence C. Owen, Pretty Colored Chemistry for Biology and Medicine: Better Things for Better Living
1993 Dr. Frederick Hawthorne, Boron Neutron Capture Therapy
1992 Dr. Harold Kroto, C60, Buckminsterfullerene, The Celestial Sphere Which Fell to Earth
1991 Dr. James L. Dye, Electride Structures
1990 Dr. Lawrence K. Montgomery, Organic Superconductors? You Must Be Kidding
1989 Dr. Norman R. Farnsworth, Prospects for Finding Anticancer Drugs from Plants and Marine Organisms
1988 Dr. Peter Kollman, Use of Computer Simulations in Chemistry
1987 Dr. John William Birks, Nuclear Winter - Ultraviolet Spring
1986 Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton, Molecular Travels Along the DNA Strand
1985 Dr. Paul Gassman, How to Bend a Carbon-Carbon Bond
1983 Dr. Michael Kasha, A New Look at the History and Design of String Instruments: Guitar, Viola, Violin
1982 Dr. Leo A. Paquette, The Dodecahedron Story
1981 Dr. Mildred Cohn, Nuclear Probes of Enzymatic Reactions
1980 Dr. William N. Lipscomb, How Do Enzymes Work?
1979 Dr. Carl Djerassi, The Future of Human Birth Control
1978 Dr. Melvin S. Newman, New Chemistry Involved in Studies on Synthesis of Carcinogenic Compounds
1977 Dr. Paul D. Bartlett, Competing Reaction Mechanisms in Organic Oxidation
1976 Dr. Robert E. Buckles, Halogen Addition Reactions: Simple Reactions Which Are Not So Simple
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