Chemistry faculty and students recognized for explorative work

At Gettysburg College, faculty and students passionately pursue their interests through hands-on and explorative research, both individually and collaboratively. In fact, student-faculty research is a staple of the Gettysburg education—more than half of the Class of 2021 completed research with faculty.

Recently, three professors and two students have been recognized for their curiosity and hard work in the Chemistry Department. Read about their achievements below.

Poster project, X-SIG research wins second place

Biochemistry and molecular biology major Jordyn Markle ’22 earned second place for her poster presentation in the biology-chemistry division at “Exploring Innovation in Appalachia,” an undergraduate research symposium at the University of West Virginia.

Markle’s presentation covered the research she conducted alongside Prof. Shelli Frey, who holds the G. Bowers and Louise Hook Mansdorfer Professorship in Chemistry, as part of Gettysburg College’s the Cross-Disciplinary Science Institute (X-SIG) summer research program. This research project focused on the interaction of the Huntingtin protein, which causes Huntington’s disease, with cell membranes.

“I really enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of our research,” Markle said. “We look at our research through the lenses of chemistry, biology, and physics.”

‘Evolving our Biochemistry and Chemistry Curricula’

Together, Chemistry Profs. Kate Buettner and Frey received funding from the Procter & Gamble Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for their work titled, “Evolving our Biochemistry and Chemistry Curricula: Increasing experiential learning and interdisciplinary thinking.”

“The funding will be used for the development of the new biophysical chemistry course and the development of a biochemistry and molecular biology superlab methods course to be co-taught between a biochemist and a molecular biologist,” Frey said

The grant will also support new half-semester courses at the College on topics such as bioinorganic chemistry, virology, and biophysics, which students can pair together to meet curriculum requirements. The courses will strengthen interdisciplinary skills in the chemistry field.

Sponsoring new student opportunities, resources

Frey also earned a Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh College Equipment Grant to purchase new spectrometers in the College’s chemistry and biochemistry labs and the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Grant from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

The Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Grant will sponsor two summer research programs for students on campus and allow the Chemistry Department to sponsor a guest speaker session with Penn State Prof. Squire Booker of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“This visit is invaluable for our students to interact and network with such a well-respected chemist,” Frey said.

X-SIG research leads to scholarship

Chemistry major Brittany Loh ’22 was awarded the Dr. Judith Bond Scholarship from the South Eastern Pennsylvania Section of the American Chemical Society. Loh was nominated by Gettysburg College’s Chemistry Department for her continued involvement with X-SIG.

“Research has been and remains to be one of my favorite college experiences, so to be able to showcase everything I have been working on and to then receive the Dr. Judith Bond Scholarship for that work, was a surreal experience,” Loh said. “Simply put, hard work and dedication will lead to rewarding moments, no matter the size of that reward.”

Funding earned to advance science education

Chemistry Prof. Tim Funk received a Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grant to purchase a new infrared (IR) spectrometer. The Pittsburgh Conference aims to promote science education at all levels, and the grant program helps small colleges and universities advance their science education.

“I am thankful for receiving the grant and excited that our students get to use a modern instrument as they collect data and learn about the many applications of IR spectroscopy,” Funk said.

Learn how the Chemistry Department at Gettysburg College teaches students to solve unique problems using state-of-the-art technology.

By Ericka Gardner ’22
Photo by Miranda Harple
Posted: 11/11/21