Meeting January 26th

January 2023 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

The Development of Germ-busting
Light-based Technologies

Featuring Dr. Violet Bumah,
Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UT Martin

Thursday, January 26th 

at Murray State University
1212 Jesse D Jones Hall
Murray KY 42071

Dinner Catered by The BUrrito Shack:
Taco Bar w/ Chicken or Beef
($10 Members/$5 STudents

Multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MDROs) in hospital and community environs have surged and are of concern to the health care system due to the enormous burden of increased morbidity, mortality, and cost. As a part of an ongoing effort to find a solution to this problem, a paradigm shift from antibiotic therapy, to the use of certain wavelengths and pulsed characteristics of light to inactivate these microbes is investigated.

Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an innovative antimicrobial pulsed blue light technology was developed and tested. Results indicated that this device is antiviral against HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-229E—two surrogates of SARS-CoV-2. In further studies, another antiviral light panel with multiple colors—including white—that could replace light fixtures in homes, offices, clinics, and vehicles, was tested. Data obtained support the claim that, it is possible to develop and deploy a cost-effective light fixture as an environmental decontaminant that can inactivate viruses and other microorganisms.

Dr. Violet Bumah is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Physics, University of Tennessee-Martin. Prior to joining the Faculty at UT Martin, Dr. Bumah worked as a Research Professor at San Diego State University. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Following graduation, she was recruited as an Assistant Program Manager at the United Nations World Food Program in Cameroon. Dr. Bumah was a recipient of the Prestigious Fulbright Senior Research scholarship to the Fienberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Chicago. Furthermore, Dr. Bumah received the Burroughs Welcome Fellowship as a Senior Scholar where she pursued her research on host-pathogen interactions and the development of potential vaccine candidate antigens against malaria. More recently, her research has focused on the mechanisms underlying the antimicrobial effects of blue light.

Meeting November 3rd

Kentucky Lake / Nashville / Memphis
Joint Local Section ACS Meeting

Sponsored by Aegis Sciences Corporation and Zochem. 

Austin Peay State University
Sundquist Science Complex

Mock Interviews 4:00-5:30pm
College & Career Fair 5:30-7:30pm
FREE Dinner 6:00–7:00 pm
Mini-Seminars 7:00-8:30pm

Event information: The event will take place from 4-8:00 pm on Thursday, Nov 3. Students may participate in any or all parts of the night. Dinner will be provided free of charge thanks to our two sponsors: Aegis Sciences Corporation and Zochem. 

Directions and Parking: The career night will take place in the first-floor atrium of Austin Peay State University’s Sundquist Science Complex, with seminars taking place in the adjoining lecture halls. Address: Sundquist Science Complex, 8th St, Clarksville, TN 37040. Anyone who arrives before 4 pm will need to contact APSU’s parking office at or 931-221-7275, in order to obtain a parking permit. You do not need a permit if you arrive after 4:00 pm. The closest parking will be lot 8. 

Mock interviews (4-5:30 pm): Mock interviews will last 15-30 minutes depending on the number of participants. Every attempt will be made to accommodate time preference and career interest matching with interviewer. You must sign-up in advance (by Nov 1) using this link:

College & Career Fair (5:30-7pm): There are currently tables reserved for each of the following 11 Schools (6 chemistry graduate programs: ETSU, MTSU, Murray, TN Tech, U of Memphis, Vanderbilt. 1 STEM teaching graduate program: UT Martin, and 4 pharmacy schools: Belmont, Lipscomb, Union, UTHSC)

Local Section Breakout (6:30 pm): KLS Election Results

Meeting October 11th

Kentucky Lake Section ACS Meeting
National Chemistry Week Demo Show

Live from The University of Tennessee at Martin
258 Brehm Hall

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022
Dinner @ 6:00–6:45 pm, Demo Show @ 7:00 pm

Dinner: BBQ, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, & Coleslaw
Dinner Price is $10 (Students $5)

Fabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of Fabrics

National Chemistry Week this year celebrates the theme, “Fabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of Fabrics.” When you start to unravel this theme a bit, you’ll find chemistry worth celebrating. From the layers of plastic fibers in N95 masks; to linen tablecloths made from the flax plant; to hydrophilic cotton and hydrophobic nylon; to smooth, strong silk made from insect cocoons—the history and uses for fabrics is nothing short of fabulous.

Come join our Local Section as we kick off National Chemistry Week a bit early—hosting our annual chemistry demonstration exchange with demos provided by our SMACS chapters.

Meeting September 20th

September 2021 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

Mass Spectrometric Analysis
of Organic Compounds
Extracted From Prehistoric Greek Pottery

Presented by Vernon Stafford

Ph.D. Student, UT Knoxville (Dr. David Jenkins Lab)

Vernon Stafford

Tuesday, September 20th 2022 

at Union University Carl Grant Center
Jackson, TN 38305

Dinner @ 6:00 pm, Presentation @ 7:00 pm

Dinner Menu: Caesar Salad, Chicken Marsala, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Buffet Potatoes (Hashbrown Casserole), Sautéed Green Beans, and Chocolate Explosion w/ ice cream

Dinner Price is $10 (Students $5)

The analysis of physical artifacts is the chief method by which archaeologists and anthropologists can gain information about prehistoric societies. Ceramic pottery, a common artifact and very porous material, can absorb and trap organic compounds related to the substances originally processed in them, protecting those compounds from oxidative and bacterial degradation and preserving them for thousands of years. This is especially true for fatty acids, which are hydrophobic and less prone to water leeching, and are also a primary component of many foods. We have taken advantage of this phenomenon to conduct chemical analysis on cooking pots from the prehistoric site of Mitrou, Greece, occupied during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. In order to extract fatty acids from these vessels and relate them to their original substance, we have employed a combined procedure that both extracts fatty acids from the vessel and converts them to fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) in a single step. These FAMEs were then analyzed by three different gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques. In particular, we performed qualitative analysis by GC-EI-MS, quantitative analysis by GC-APCI-MS, and compound-specific isotope ratio analysis by GC-C-IRMS. By these methods, we have discovered a shift in cooking practices that coincides with the rise of the more dominant Mycenaean society, providing evidence for the suppression of the local Mitrou culture in favor of the external one. This analysis represents one of the first of its kind conducted on cooking pots from this region and era, and sheds light on how local societies may have interacted with larger foreign ones.

Bio: Vernon Stafford graduated from Union University with a B.S. in chemistry in 2017. During his time there, he served as an officer in Union’s SMACS chapter and did summer research under Dr. Joshua Williams, evaluating the quality and purity of commercial fish oil dietary supplements using quantitative NMR and ICP-OES. Since, then, he has been in pursuit of a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville under the direction of Dr. David Jenkins. His research focuses on the analysis of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) extracted from prehistoric Greek pottery, with the goal of answering questions of anthropological relevance. In addition, he is interested in developing an improved method for the determination of wine residues in ancient ceramics. Outside of his research, Vernon has spent time participating in UT’s ACGS chapter, teaching undergraduate courses, mentoring undergraduates, and managing one of the department’s high-resolution mass spectrometers. He plans to graduate in Spring 2022.

Fall Picnic and Meeting August 25th

 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

Annual Fall Picnic

Thursday, August 25, 2022
5-8 pm

Bailey Pavilion at Central Park
Gil Hopson Drive, Murray KY

Dinner at 6pm:
Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Veggie Burgers with picnic-style sides and desserts

The price is $10 (Students $5) 
Join us for a fun, laid-back, family-friendly opportunity to meet and visit with your local chemistry colleagues.  After dinner, we’ll take a few minutes to talk about the fall meeting schedule and update you on local section news.


In the News: Calloway County High School student wins first-place in CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest

Kerrigan McManus, a student at Calloway County High School, recently won the first-place national award among high schoolers participating in this year’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Week Illustrated Poem Contest.  This year’s contest theme was “The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry.”

The Murray Ledger and Times recently featured Kerrigan’s win.  Read the article here.

Congratulations Kerrigan!


Meeting April 14th

APRIL 2022 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

3D Printers: Enabling Tools for Chemical
Research and Education

Featuring Dr. Daniel Johnson, Murray State University

Thursday, April 14th 

at Murray State University
1212 Jesse D Jones Hall
Murray KY 42071

3D Printing WorkshoP 5–6pm
Undergraduate Poster Session 5:30–7PM
Dinner 6–7PM
Presentation (& KID’s Science Center) 7–8PM

Dinner Catered by The BUrrito Shack

Abstract: Over the past decade, three-dimensional printing (3DP) has become an important tool in technical contexts ranging from the hobbyist “maker” movement to construction and high-performance manufacturing.  Indeed, an exponential growth of papers that mention the use of 3DP illustrates a transformative potential for both chemical research and education.  The purpose of this presentation is to introduce chemists to various 3DP strategies and how they could be deployed in their work.  Different styles of 3DP will be described, along with their relative merits and the types of materials that can be printed.  Then, some applications of 3DP, both from the literature and our experiences at MSU, will be discussed.  Finally, some projects with a reverse perspective, i.e., where novel chemistries can broaden the application of 3DP, will be highlighted.

Meeting March 10th

March 2022 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

The Art and Science of Powder Coatings
OR the Business of Watching Paint Dry

Fred Allen, Ph.D.
Technical Director, Estron Chemical

Thursday, March 10th 

at Estron Chemical
807 North Main Street,
Calvert City, KY.

Dinner @ 6:00 pm
Presentation @ 7:00 pm

Space is limited.
Please contact an officer to reserve a spot!

Dinner Catered by Artisan Kitchen of Paducah:
Artisan Meatloaf and Herb Roasted Chicken
with Country Style Green Beans, Creamed Corn and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Dr. Allen’s professional career has involved using his strategic planning, technical background, and rapid application development expertise to lead scientific organizations and technology companies to profitability and international prominence. He has 30+ years of experience working at the nanometer scale as a scientist with a business perspective. Motivated by an early passion to study mineral structures and crystal growth, Dr. Allen obtained his B.S. degree in Earth & Planetary Sciences from Stony Brook University in 1979 graduating with highest honors. He went on to Harvard University as a National Science Foundation Fellow to study mineralogy and crystallography and obtained M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences in 1981 and 1985, respectively. He then worked at the National Center for Electron Microscopy at Arizona State University for two years. In 1987, Dr. Allen joined Engelhard Corporation (now BASF) in New Jersey. Over the next 18 years, he conducted research, commercialized products, and managed the Technology Assessment group. His materials characterization and methods development expertise focused on relating material properties to product performance. He led Engelhard’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery materials program and their nanotechnology growth initiative that involved pursuing internal R&D leads and external business opportunities in this emerging space. In 2005, Dr. Allen founded his own technology assessment and business development consultancy, RADii Solutions, LLC. Starting in 2013, he accepted the role of Global Technology Director of Powder Coatings for Axalta Coating Systems, LLC (formerly DuPont Performance Coatings) and in 2016 joined Estron Chemical in Calvert City, KY, as Technical Director focused on the design and development of acrylic polymers for diverse applications including: powders coatings, liquid paints, adhesives, graphic arts, and cosmetics. Dr. Allen has over 50 publications and presentations and 17 patents.

Meeting February 24th

February 2022 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

Protein Arginine methyltransferases:
an investigation of structural factors that control activity and product specificity.

Featuring Dr. Betsy Caceres
Assistant Professor, Union University

Thursday, February 24th 

Dinner @ 6:00 pm
Presentation @ 7:00 pm
at Fresh Market Restaurant
2255 E. Wood St
Paris, TN 38242

Dinner Price is $10 (Students $5)

Abstract:  Protein arginine methylation is an essential post-translational modification involved in many important biological processes. Some examples are transcription, RNA splicing, signal transduction, DNA repair, viral replication, and chromatin remodeling. In recent years, the significance of protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) in human diseases has been increasingly studied, especially in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although the importance of this enzyme is recognized, the understanding of the fundamental biochemistry of PRMTs is still limited. Very little information is available to explain how or why any of the PRMT isoforms target their cognate protein substrates, and more so, what determines which arginine within a protein substrate should be methylated. One of the great challenges when studying this family of proteins arises from the fact that different methylation statuses (monomethyl arginine [MMA], asymmetric dimethyl [ADMA], or symmetric dimethyl [SDMA]) of the same substrate can lead to distinct biological outputs. Therefore, to understand how this family of proteins functions and how to control them, it’s essential to understand how product specificity is achieved. In order to better understand the product specificity and activity of this family of enzymes, two Protein arginine methyltransferases that are responsible for two different methylation statuses have been used as models in our studies; PRMT1, which is responsible for ADMA and MMA formation, and TbPRMT7, which can only form MMA. Using the crystal structure of these enzymes and the available knowledge of PRMT activity regulation as a guide, we have found that there are several factors both structural and external that contribute to controlling the specific PRMT product formation and overall activity. This knowledge is crucial for the design of new drugs that would help us target these proteins in the diseases they are involved in.

Bio: Dr. Caceres graduated with a bachelor’s in pharmacy from Central East University in the Dominican Republic. She was awarded a presidential scholarship for her master’s in Biochemistry and later another one for her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Utah State University. Dr. Caceres’s Ph.D. work was focused on Protein Arginine Methyltransferases and she has several publications from this work. After graduating, Ishe worked for a year in an X-ray crystallography lab at Utah State University where she reconstituted the yeast exosome. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor of Biochemistry in the Chemistry department at Union University where she is also a co-advisor to the Union University Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) chapter.

Meeting January 27th

January 2022 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting

Quantum Chemical Simulations of Carbon Nanostructure Self-Assembly in Nonequilibrium

Featuring Dr. Stephan Irle,
Computational Chemistry and Nanomaterials Sciences Group,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Thursday, January 27th @ 7:00pm

Join Virtually via Zoom (Meeting ID TBA)

Abstract:  The density-functional tight-binding (DFTB) method [1] is an approximation to density functional theory (DFT) and allows a speedup of first principles electronic structure calculations by two to three orders of magnitude. In this talk, I will discuss DFTB-based simulations of nanoscale materials self-assembly in nonequilibrium on large length scales [2]. Fullerene, carbon nanotube, and graphene formation were simulated on the nanosecond time scale, considering experimental conditions as closely as possible. An approximate density functional method was employed to compute energies and gradients on-the-fly in direct MD simulations, while the simulated systems were continually pushed away from equilibrium via carbon concentration or temperature gradients. We find that carbon nanostructure formation from feedstock particles involves a phase transition of sp to sp2 carbon phases, which begins with the formation of Y-junctions, followed by a nucleus consisting of pentagons, hexagons, and heptagons. The dominance of hexagons in the synthesized products is explained via annealing processes that occur during the cooling of the grown carbon structure, accelerated by transition metal catalysts when present. The dimensional structures of the final synthesis products (0D spheres – fullerenes, 1D tubes – nanotubes, 2D sheets – graphenes) are induced by the shapes of the substrates/catalysts, and their interaction strength with carbon. Our work prompts a paradigm shift away from traditional anthropomorphic formation mechanisms solely based on thermodynamic stability. Instead, we conclude that nascent carbon nanostructures at high temperatures are dissipative structures described by nonequilibrium dynamics in the manner proposed by Prigogine, Whitesides, and others. As such, the fledgling carbon nanostructures consume energy while increasing the entropy of the environment, and only gradually anneal to achieve their familiar, final structure, maximizing hexagon formation wherever possible [2,3].

[1] a) Christensen, A. S.; Kubar, T.; Cui, Q.; Elstner, M. Semiempirical Quantum Mechanical Methods for Noncovalent Interactions for Chemical and Biochemical Applications, Chem. Rev. 2016, 116, 5301-5337; b)
[2] Irle, S; Page, A. J.; Saha, B.; Wang, Y.; Chandrakumar, K. R. S.; Nishimoto, Y.; Qian, H.-J.; Morokuma, K. Atomistic mechanism of carbon nanostructure self-assembly as predicted by nonequilibrium QM/MD simulations, in: J. Leszczynski, M. K. Shukla, Eds. “Practical Aspects of Computational Chemistry II: An Overview of the Last Two Decades and Current Trends”, Springer-European Academy of Sciences, Chapter 5, pp. 105-172 (April 2, 2012). ISBN 978-94-007-0922-5. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-0923-2_5 Preprint:
[3] Page, A. J.; Ding, F.; Irle, S.; Morokuma, K. Insights into carbon nanotube and graphene formation mechanisms from molecular simulations: a review, Rep. Prog. Phys. 2015, 78, 036501/1-38.

Bio: Dr. Stephan Irle is Group Leader of the Computational Chemistry and Nanomaterials Sciences Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory with more than 30 years of experience in computational chemistry and materials sciences in Germany, Austria, the United States, and Japan. He was a founding principal investigator at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (WPI-ITbM) at Nagoya University and member of the Japanese “post-K supercomputer” support project. His specialty is the quantum chemical study of complex systems on exascale and quantum computing platforms. Target areas are soft matter and biosimulations, excited states of large molecules, electrochemistry, catalysis and geosciences. Complementary studies of physicochemical properties, theoretical spectroscopy, and the development of methodologies including approximate quantum chemical methods accompany this research. Dr. Irle has more 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 45 book chapters and conference proceedings and authored 2 books. Dr. Irle received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry, both from the University of Siegen in Germany.  He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Vienna in Austria.