Skip Navigation

Skip to Main Content


Main Navigation:

Department of Chemistry
The Johns Hopkins University
138 Remsen Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Kenneth Karlin
Department Chair

Phone 410-516-7429
Fax 410-516-8420

News and Events

Read the Winter 2012/2013 Department Newsletter from the Chair. [PDF]

Herdeline Ardoña Receives HHMI International Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Herdeline Ardoña of the Tovar group for receiving the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's International Student Research Fellowship!  This year, the HHMI selected 45 graduate students from 18 countries for fellowships that will help them complete their graduate studies in the life sciences.  She is one of two students from the Philippines to receive the fellowship since it began in 2011.  Click here for more information.

Dr. Kit Bowen Receives Department of Defense's MURI Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Bowen for receiving the Department of Defense’s MURI grant!  The DOD’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program funds research teams that overlap in more than one traditional science and engineering discipline.  A total of 55 academic institutions are expected to participate in these 22 research efforts.  Dr. Bowen’s proposal, “Metalloid Cluster Building Blocks and Their Inclusion with Composites,” is one of six research efforts sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.  Click here for more information.

Colin Zhang Recognized by PRC for Scientific Achievements

Mr. Colin (Xinxing) Zhang has recently been recognized by the Chinese government for his outstanding scientific achievements as a graduate student in the United States.  The award ceremony took place on May 9th, 2015 at the PRC Embassy Annex in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rebekka Klausen Receives Department of Energy Honor

Congratulations to Dr. Rebekka Klausen! Dr. Klausen is one of 44 young scientists across the country chosen to receive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the agency’s Early Career Research Program. This annual award supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers.  Click here for more information.


Two Cover Articles From the Tovar Group

Benjamin Streifel’s paper, “An unusually small singlet-triplet gap in a quinoidal 1,6-methano[10]annulene due to Baird’s 4n pi-electron triplet stabilization” a collaboration with Juan Casado at the University of Málaga (Spain), was chosen as the subject for an inside cover in Angewandte Chemie (click here to read the paper).  To follow up very soon, Reid Messersmith’s review “Assessment of the aromaticity of borepin rings by spectroscopic, crystallographic and computational methods: a historical overview” was awarded the front cover of a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry  (click here to read the paper).  Artwork credits for both covers go to Molly Messersmith.

Dr. Craig Townsend and Two Others Honored For Contributions to Natural Products Chemistry

A dedicated issue of Natural Product Reports recognizes contributions spanning several decades from three scientists born within 6 months of each other, Craig Townsend (JHU), Tom Simpson (Univ. of Bristol)  and John Vederas (Univ. Alberta), to understanding fungal polyketide biosynthesis. While having no common mentor, each has both made fundamental advances to methods now in widespread use and delivered major insights into iterative catalysis exemplified by this family of multidomain enzymes.  Click here to read Dr. Townsend's article and the issue's dedication.

Dr. Nicole Gaudelli and Darcie Long publish in Nature
Dr. Nicole Gaudelli and graduate student Darcie Long report with Prof. Craig Townsend the discovery that a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase acts centrally in the formation of the beta-lactam ring of the nocardicin family of antibiotics. The mechanism of this unprecedented reaction is examined and its engineering for generalized protease inhibition is discussed.  Click here to read the article.


Mark Struble and Max Holl Featured on ACS Editors' Choice

Congratulations to Mark Struble and Max Holl of the Lectka group!  Their paper “Synthesis of a Tight Intramolecular OH---Olefin Interaction, Probed by IR, 1H NMR and Quantum Chemistry,” which was recently published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, was selected as an ACS Editors' Choice. Click here to read the article.

Welcome New Faculty!

We are very pleased to announce two new faculty will be joining the Chemistry Department this summer 2015.  We welcome Dr. V. Sara Thoi and Dr. Thomas J. Kempa.

Dr. Sara Thoi received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley with Christopher J. Chang and is currently completing her postdoctoral studies at California Institute of Technology with Sossina M. Haile.  Sara’s research interests include coordination chemistry, materials synthesis, electron and ion transport, photochemistry, and electrocatalysis.  Sara’s research will be focused on using molecular design in porous materials for the development of sustainable technologies in energy conversion and storage.

Dr. Tom Kempa received his Ph.D. from Harvard University with Charles M. Lieber and is currently completing his postdoctoral studies with Daniel G. Nocera at Harvard. Tom's research interests are in the general area of solid-state materials chemistry and experimental physical chemistry. Tom's research group will work towards building and characterizing new classes of solid-state systems that can enable advances in energy conversion, self-assembly of photonic and meta materials, and biophysical probes. The group will explore perovskite and oxide-based 2D materials and superlattices, novel strategies for kinetic assembly, and inorganic nanoprobes for interrogation of cellular networks. To accomplish this science, his group will use a rich array of gas-phase and inorganic synthetic methods and a number of solid-state optical and structural characterization techniques.

Marisa Taverna Porro Featured on ACS Editors' Choice

Congratulations to Marisa Taverna Porro of the Greenberg group. An article she coauthored, "Double-Strand Breaks from a Radical Commonly Produced by DNA-Damaging Agents.” (click here to read the article) in Chemical Research in Toxicology was chosen by the editors to be featured on the journal’s cover and the ACS Editors’ Choice website. The ACS chooses one article per day to be highlighted on its website and is published in Open Access form.

Daryl Guthrie Featured in the Journal of Organic Chemistry

Congratulations to Daryl Guthrie of the Toscano group!  An article he cowrote, “Catch and Release of HNO with Pyrazolones,” was chosen by the editors of the Journal of Organic Chemistry as a Featured Article.  Click here to read the article.

Dr. David Yarkony Celebrated in Special Volume of The Journal of Physical Chemistry

A special volume of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A celebrates the career of our colleague David R. Yarkony, D. Mead Johnson Professor of Chemistry.   As the front cover and following description of this Dec. 26, 2014 (Vol. 118)  special issue (a Festschrift) illustrates Yarkony is a world  leader  in nonadiabatic chemistry. For more details on his life and career, see the Preface of the Festschrift issue (, which includes a Tribute from the issue’s Guest Editors (Spiridoula Matsika, Henry F. Schaefer III, and Michael Schuurman), Yarkony’s Autobiography, his Collaborators, his CV and his Publications.

Dr. Jon Sczepanski Featured in Nature
Former JHU Chemistry Ph.D. graduate Jon Sczepanski, who received his PhD in 2010 with Marc Greenberg, just published the first example of a RNA enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of RNA molecules composed of enantiomeric nucleotides in Nature (Nature 2014, 515, 440-442, as sole co-author with his postdoctoral advisor, Professor Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute. The publication,.which was highlighted in a Nature News & Views article (, and featured in Chemical & Engineering News ( addresses a long-standing question concerning the role of RNA in the origin of life.


Dr. David Goldberg and Collaborators Featured in JACS
With graduate student Sumit Sahu and X-ray crystallographer Maxime Siegler, Prof. David Goldberg  and collaborators recently published a Communication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), that was highlighted in JACS “Spotlights on Recent JACS Publications”, see the highlight below and the Table of Contents (TOC) graphic for this article.


From "Spotlights on Recent JACS Publications": | J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 14321-14322


Enzymatic reactions depend on delicate substrate recognition mechanisms to achieve high chemo-, regio-, and stereoselectivity. For metalloproteins, this recognition usually involves specific spatial arrangements in terms of the position and the orientation of substrates relative to metal centers, which coincides with what inorganic chemists try to accomplish with transition metal-based catalysts. Recently, a multinational research team headed by David Goldberg, Sam de Visser, and Guy Jameson has designed a nonheme iron(IV)-oxo complex capable of mediating intramolecular arene C-F hydroxylation ( | J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13542-13545). The team successfully traps and characterizes the complex at low temperature and further confirms the participation of the FeIV(O) species in fluoroaryl hydroxylation. This study represents the first example of this type of a reaction mediated by a nonheme iron complex. More importantly, it identifies the proper orientation of the substrate as a crucial prerequisite, providing valuable insights into understanding ligand structural factors that regulate the reactivity of transition metal complexes. Xin Su, Ph.D.

Alexander Kossak Selected for ACS Scholars Program

Congratulations to JHU freshman Alexander Kossak, who was selected as a Scholar in the American Chemical Society’s Scholars Program.  Alex is one of approximately 120 scholars selected for his ability to excel in a challenging course of scientific study. Alex, who plans to be a Chemistry major, is currently enrolled in 030.205, Organic Chemistry I for freshmen.

Samantha Arnett Featured in Chemical & Engineering News

Chemical & Engineering News highlights the career path of JHU Chemistry PhD graduate Samantha Arnett (2008, with Craig Townsend): from mechanistic enzymology to virology to bioterrorism.  Click here to read more.

Marc Greenberg Article Featured in Current Opinion in Chemical Biology

The invited review article entitled "Looking beneath the surface to determine what makes DNA damage deleterious," written by Professor Marc Greenberg for a special August 2014 issue of Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, was highlighted on the journal cover.  Click here to read the article.

Bragg Group Featured in The Journal of Chemical Physics

Congratulations to Wenjian Yu, Paul Donohoo-Vallett, and Jiawang Zhou of the Bragg Group!  Their article, "Ultrafast photo-induced nuclear relaxation of a conformationally disordered conjugated polymer probed with transient absorption and femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopies," was featured as an Editor's Pick in The Journal of Chemical Physics.  Click here to read the article.

Julie Bitter Featured in Environmental Science: Nano

Congratulations to Julie Bitter of the Fairbrother Group!  An article she cowrote, "Transformations of oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotubes exposed to UVC (254 nm) irradiation," was featured on the cover of the June issue of Environmental Science: Nano.  Click here to read the article.

Mark Hutchinson Featured in Chemical Research in Toxicology

Congratulations to Mark Hutchinson of the Rokita Group!  An article he cowrote, "Oxidative Quenching of Quinone Methide Adducts Reveals Transient Products of Reversible Alkylation in Duplex DNA," was featured on the cover of the current issue of Chemical Research in Toxicology.  Click here to read the article.

Dr. Kenneth Karlin Elected 2014 ACS Fellow

Congratulations to Dr. Ken Karlin for being elected a 2014 ACS Fellow!  The American Chemical Society elects fellows annually for their outstanding contributions and service to chemistry and society.  Click here for a full list of winners.

Mark Struble Featured in Angewandte Chemie

Congratulations to Mark Struble of the Lectka group! His paper "Search for a Strong, Virtually “No-Shift” Hydrogen Bond: A Cage Molecule with an Exceptional OH⋅⋅⋅F Interaction," which was recently published in Angewandte Chemie, was selected as a Very Important Paper. Click here to read the article.

Dr. Chris Falzone Wins KSAS 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award

Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Falzone, who has been awarded the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award!  This award is sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association and the KSAS Dean’s Office.  Dr. Falzone, a major contributor to our Introductory Organic Chemistry sequence, will be recognized for his teaching excellence during this year’s commencement ceremonies.

Herdeline Ann Ardoña Wins Faculty for the Future Fellowship

Congratulations to Herdeline Ann Ardoña of the Tovar Group for winning the Schlumberger Foundation's Faculty for the Future Fellowship! This annual program awards grants to women scientists from developing countries to pursue PhDs and Post doctorate studies in scientific and engineering disciplines. Click here for more information.

Chemistry Graduate Program Ranked Among Nation's Best

The JHU chemistry program has once again made U.S. News and World Report's Best Graduate School rankings, tying with three other schools for the #24 slot. Click here for more information.

Benjamin Trump Wins Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship

Congratulations to Benjamin Trump of the McQueen group! Benjamin was named one of the 2014 winners of the Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship from the International Center for Diffraction Data. Click here for more information.

Dr. Tyrel McQueen receives Cottrell Scholar Award

Congratulations to Dr. Tyrel McQueen for receiving the 2014 Research Corporation for Science Advancement Cottrell Scholar Award! The Cottrell Scholar Award is awarded annually to early-career faculty members who excel as both teachers and researchers. Click here for more information.

Nicole Gaudelli Featured in Nature Chemical Biology

Congratulations to Nicole Gaudelli of the Townsend group! An article by Gaudelli and Dr. Townsend, "Epimerization and substrate gating by a TE domain in b-lactam antibiotic biosynthesis," was just published in Nature Chemical Biology. Click here to read the article.

Dr. Dianjie Hou Receives ACS Editors' Choice

Congratulations to Dr. Dianjie Hou in Professor Greenberg's group! His paper "DNA Interstrand Cross-Linking Upon Irradiation of Aryl Halide C-Nucleotides," which was recently published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, was selected as an American Chemical Society's Editors' Choice. Click here to read the article.

Dr. Tyrel McQueen receives Sloan Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr. Tyrel McQueen for receiving the 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship! The Sloan Fellowship is awarded annually to the best and brightest early-career researchers and scholars. Click here for more information.

For more information on the Sloan Fellowship, click here.

Ben Trump featured in Journal of Solid State Chemistry

Congratulations to Ben Trump of the McQueen group! His article "The new misfit compound (BiSe)1.15(TiSe2)2 and the role of dimensionality in the Cux(BiSe)1+δ(TiSe2)n series" appeared on the cover of the Journal of Solid State Chemistry. Click here to read the article.

Abhishek Phatarphekar mentioned in Nature Chemical Biology

Congratulations to Abhishek Phatarphekar of the Rokita Group! His paper "Iodotyrosine deiodinase: a unique flavoprotein present in organisms of diverse phyla," which was recently published in Molecular Biosystems, received a highlight in Nature Chemical Biology. Click here to see the mention.

Mark Struble makes cover Journal of Organic Chemistry

Congratulations to Mark Struble of the Lectka Group for making the cover of the Journal of Organic Chemistry with research entitled "Modulating "Jousting" C-F---H-C Interactions with a Bit of Hydrogen Bonding." Click here to read the associated paper.

Dr. Craig Townsend Awarded I.A. Scott Medal

Congratulations to Dr. Craig Townsend for winning the I.A. Scott Medal. The I.A Scott Medal is sponsored by the ACS Texas A&M Section and the Texas A&M University department of chemistry. The award recognizes excellence in biological chemistry research. Click here to read more

Ira Remsen Video Filmed in New Teaching Labs

Click here to view a video demonstration of the Ira Remsen experiment produced exclusively for the Chemistry Department, which premiered at the opening gala of the new Undergraduate Teaching Labs and features Dr. John Toscano as narrator.

Chemistry Open Positions
Click here to view open positions in the Chemistry Department.

Now Available: Undergraduate Chemistry Major Handbook
Click here for the handbook and more useful chemistry undergraduate information.

Dr. Tyrel McQueen Awarded ExxonMobil Faculty Fellowship
Congratulations to Dr. Tyrel McQueen for winning the American Chemical Society's ExxonMobil Award Faculty Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry. The award symposium will be held at the ACS Fall 2013 national meeting in Indianapolis. Click here to read more about the award. More info to come.

Lectka Lab Publishes in Science
Congratulations to graduate student Mark Struble and Dr. Tom Lectka's laboratory for publishing in Science with research entitled "Evidence for a Symmetrical Fluoronium Ion in Solution." Click here to read the associated paper.

Bowen Lab Publishes in JACS
Congratulations to graduate student Xinxing Zhang and Dr. Bowen's laboratory for publishing in Journal of the American Chemical Society with research entitled "On the Existence of Designer Magnetic Superatoms". This work was highlighed by C&EN News as a science and technology concentrate and will be featured in JACS highlights.

Chemistry Graduate Student Allix Sanders to attend Nobel Meeting
Congratulations to Allix Sanders who was selected by the DOE to attend the annual Nobel Laureate Meetings at Lindau. Allix will be one of 625 students from 78 countries that attends this prestigious meeting. Formal talks and informal discussions will be led by the 35 Nobel Laureates (35 from Chemistry) that will also be in attendance.

Department Seminars, Colloquia and Events
Access departmental event calendars here, inquire about departmental events by contacting us.

Download the Graduate Student Handbook 2014-2015 [PDF] (last updated September 2014)

Click here to visit the new Chemistry Department Mass Spectrometry Facility website

Remote Order from the Stockroom or Schedule Instrumentation Time From Your Desktop!!

It is now possible to order supplies from the stockroom and to schedule instrumentation time conveniently from your computer. To use these systems you must be set up as a user. For access to the system contact Jordan Patterson at

To remote order from the stockroom click here Remote Ordering

To schedule instrumentation time click here Schedule Instrumentation Time