Distinguished Alumni Lecturers
A former student from the Department of Chemistry at UMSL delivers this annual lecture, which is followed by a reception. This forms part of the regular departmental seminar program and is typically; scheduled for the first Monday in May as the final seminar of the academic year. The lecture follows presentation of the Annual Departmental Awards
# 34 2021
Eric A. Bruton (BS 1997, PhD 2003)
Dr. Bruton studied hydrogen bonding interactions using single crystal crystallography with Lee Brammer for his PhD degree. He worked at Chemir Analytical Laboratories, Monsanto, Crosslink and Jost Chemical before joining Boeing’s Chemical Technology Group in Boeing Research and Technology in 2015. He has been an active member of the leadership of the St. Louis Section of the ACS, serving as Chair when the Section was honored with the Award for Outstanding Performance by a Medium-Large Section in 2012. Some of his earlier activities were with the Younger Chemists Committee, Career Counseling and in
promoting ACS Leadership Development Courses. In 2017 Eric was elected Councilor for the St. Louis Section of the ACS to the national organization and is currently Chair of the Council Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs.
# 33 2020
Elizabeth (Betsy) Keath (BA 1978)
Dr. Keath holds a PhD in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry from Saint Louis University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the WU Infectious Diseases division in molecular medical mycology. She was on the faculty at Saint Louis University (Department of Biology) and served in Ireland as a Scientific Programme Officer for the Science Foundation Ireland, and consultant for the Irish Cancer Society. She is is Associate Professor of Medicine, Research Development Program Director in the Institute of Clinical and Translational Science, Washington University School of Medicine. She served as a laboratory instructor in the Chemistry Department at UMSL from 1976-78 and in 1992 was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award by the UMSL Department of Biology. She holds BA degrees from UMSL, Summa Cum Laude, in both chemistry and biology.
Martin E. Hayes (BS 1999)
Martin earned a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Mathematics, both Summa Cum Laude from UMSL in 1999. He did undergraduate research with Chris Spilling and then went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained a PhD degree in Chemistry with Rick L. Danheiser. He is currently is employed by AbbVie in Worcester, MA as a Director, ADC Platform Strategy, Global Biologics Discovery.
Yanina Levchinsky-Grimmond (BS 1997, MS 1999)
Yana is an Associate Director of Technology Transfer in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where she has held various positions in analytical sciences and GMP manufacturing process transferlogistics since 2002. After receiving the B.S degree in 1997, in 1999, she completed an M.S.degree under the guidance of Janet Braddock-Wilking, who also advised her during 2 years of undergraduate research. Prior to Regeneron, Yana had a few brief stints as a validation consultant at Valicor associates,and as an R&D scientist at GEGlobal Research Center. She also interned with FDA while completing her MS thesis work. Yana and her husband Brian PhD,1999, have been based in the Albany, NY area since 2001. When not at work or traveling, Yana can most often be found pursuing various hiking and kayaking challenges in the mountains of the Catskill and Adirondack Parks.
Dennis P. Parazak (BS 1982, MS 1986, PhD 1996)
Dr. Parazak initially enrolled at Meramec Community College, eventually transferring to UMSL and obtaining his B.S. in Chemistry. He joined Petrolite Corporation in 1982, and continued his education in the evenings at UMSL, obtaining his M.S in 1987 and in 1992 he resigned his position as Senior Chemist at Petrolite to enroll in the PhD program. He graduated in 1996 in Dr. Stine’s laboratory where he studied phase transitions of insoluble monolayers of enantiomeric fatty acid amino acid adducts. He spent 20 years as an ink chemist at Hewlett-Packard, first in Corvallis, OR, and eventually in San Diego. He took an early retirement from HP and moved to Boulder, CO where he currently works for Ricoh USA doing Ink Quality Assurance work.
Michael J. Finkes (BS 1973, MS 1978)
After graduation and a year at a small pharmaceutical company Mike joined Monsanto in 1974 and spent 37 years until his retirement in 2010. He was a synthetic organic chemist until 1989 and finished his career as a quality assurance specialist. While at Monsanto he was one of the first students to enroll in the part-time MS program. In 2005 he became a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and served as President from 2014-2015. During his two-year term as President, he also served on the Chancellor’s Council. Mike and his wife Linda, BA political science, have been very generous to the department, recently funding the Linda & Michael Finkes Scholarship in Chemistry and bequeathing a portion of their estate for future chemistry scholarships.
Michael D. Groaning (BA 1995, MS 1997)
Mike, BA 1995, MS, 1997, is Associate Director CMC Regulatory Affairs at Endocyyte. After completing his MS degree with Chris Spilling he received a PhD degree in 2000 with Professor Al Meyers at Colorado State University. He then moved to the E.T.H. in Zurich to do postdoctoral research with Professor Erick Carreira. After one year in Zurich he joined F. Hoffmann – La Roche in Basel. In 2003 he moved back to the US with the Roche Colorado Corporation and after five years returned to Basil to complete his career with Roche with a one year assignment. He joined Endocyte in 2008.
Katherine M. Block (BS 2001)
Katherine is a Senior Scientist at the Novartis Clinical Trial Center of Excellence at Genoptix Medical Laboratory, which is part of the Novartis Company, in San Diego. After graduation and a stint at Pfizer in St. Louis, she received a PhD degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Prior to joining Genoptix in 2012, she was a Senior Development Scientist and Technical Lead at Beckman Coulter in Orange County, CA
Kim S. Gorman (BA 1992)
Kim is President/Technical Leader at Paternity Testing Corporation in Columbia, MO. When she was at UMSL she did research with Wes Harris and before completion of her degree she started work first at Washington University School of Medicine in the Human Gene Project and later with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department as a forensic DNA analyst. In 1996 she formed her own company and has seen since seen much success. In 2003, she was awarded one of the five Distinguished Alumni Awards given by the UMSL Alumni Association.
Dr. Stephen A. Kolodziej (BA 1987, PhD 1992)
Steve is an Associate Research Fellow at Pfizer, Inc., in St. Louis. After graduation from Rudi Winter's research group, he did postdoctoral work at Washington University School of Medicine and then joined Monsanto as a Research Associate. After just over one year he became Senior Research Investigator, Group Leader and Associate Fellow and finally Associate Fellow with the company as it morphed through Searle, Pharmacia into Pfizer. Like many of our current students, Steve transferred to UMSL from the St. Louis Community College and went on to great success. One of Steve's hobbies is music - he is the bass guitarist for the group Roofrockers.
# 24 2011
Dr. Elizabeth A. Amin (BA 1996, PhD 2002)
Dr. Amin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, She is also a member of the Graduate Faculty, Security Technologies Program and Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology (BICB) Program and an Associate Fellow, Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for Advanced Computational Research. She did her doctoral work at UMSL with Bill Welsh and worked in industry before going into academia. Her research program focuses on designing countermeasures to biological and chemical warfare agents, specifically Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) and organophosphate nerve gases such as sarin, soman, and VX. She also holds a doctorate in German from Washington University.
Dr. Barbara W. Brown (BA 1984)
Barbara W. Brown, O.D., FAAO, is Manager, Student and Special Services for the UMSL College of Optometry and is a partner at Overland Optical Family Eyecare. She is a 1988 alumna of the College and a received a BA degree in chemistry in 1984 from UMSL. She completed a graduate certificate from UMSL in 2005. She joined the Optometry Staff in November, 1999 after leaving a full-time optometric practice. She has ten years experience in fundraising with extensive work in Planned Giving and Capital Campaigns. During the past three years she has been a leader of the UMSL Chemistry Alumni Council.
Dr. Donald G. Hesse (BS 1984; Ph.D 1991)
Don is the owner of Veritas Analytical Services, but his day job is Vice-President of Information Technology at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dr. Timothy T. Wenzel (BS, 1978).
Tim is a Research Leader at Dow Chemical Co. in Midland MI. He completed a Ph.D degree at Cornell University and did postdoctoral work at UC-Berkeley. He spent several years at Union Carbide in Charleston WV which became a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Co. in 1999.
Joseph P. Bono, (BS, 1969)
Joe recently retired after a very successful career in forensic science which took him via the St. Louis County Police Department Laboratory 1974-1981, to Naples, Italy, 1981-1984, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 1984-1986, and San Diego, 1986-1988. From 1988 - 2006 he was with the Drug Enforcement Administration and from 2006 - 2008 he was with the US Secret Service, Forensic Services Division, both in the Washington, DC/Virginia area.
Dr. Alicia M. Beatty, (BS, 1989)
Alicia was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Mississippi State University when she gave the lecture and she is now Associate Professor of Chemistry here at UMSL.
Dr. Rajiv M. Banavali, (Ph.D, 1985)
Rajiv Director of Technology, Specialty Products, with Honeywell Division of Allied Chemical Co, in Morristown, NJ. He was with Rohm and Haas in Philadelphia when he gave the lecture and moved to Honeywell in the spring of 2009.
Jean Huhmann-Vincent (BA 1992; Ph.D 1996)
Jean is Senior Development Chemist at Air Products and Chemicals in Allentown, PA.
Mr. Jerry Ronecker, (BS 1982)
Jerry is a partner in the Saint Louis law firm, Husch, Ampersand, Eppenberger. He has been with the firm since September 1990.
Dr. Douglas G. Nuelle (BS 1969)
Doug is currently Chief of Orthopedics at the Fannin Regional Hospital in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Mr. Ken Owens (BS 1980)
Ken was appointed Scientific Glassblower in the Chemistry Department at UMSL in 1997 and served until his untimely death in 2007.
Dr. Deborah F. Bergstrom (BS 1980)
Deborah was with Dow-Corning Company as Global Research Leader in Midland MI but she moved to the DC area in 2006 and runs a consulting company, Bridgehead Enterprises and teaches chemistry at Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD .
Dr. Michael D. Ennis (BS 1978)
Mike went west to Caltech to complete his Ph.D. degree with David Evans prior to joining the staff at Pharmacia & UpJohn in Kalamazoo, MI. He is now with Pfizer Inc. in St. Louis.
Dr. Karl Seper (BS 1982)
Karl was a Project Development Specialist at the Technology Center of the Occidental Chemical Corporation, Grand Island, NY. He since move and is now Senior Scientist with Amway Corporation in Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. Dawn L. Shiang (BA 1983, Ph.D. 1988)
Dawn was Director for Asia-Pacific Research for Dow Chemical Co located in Shanghai, China, for 4 years and returned to Midland MI. in 2010. She served for three years as Associate Director for Sustainable Technologies before retiring in 2013.
Robert L. Lamberg, MD (BS 1972)
Dr. Robert Lamberg practices Ophthalmology at Clarkson Eyecare in Saint Louis, Missouri
Dr. Janet Braddock-Wilking (BA 1985)
Janet is Associate Professor of Chemistry at UMSL.
Professor C. Michael Drain (BS 1982)
Mike is Professor of Chemistry at Hunter College in New York City.
Dr. William L. Neuman (Ph.D. 1987)
Bill is Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville.
Professor Susan A. Jansen-Varnum (BS 1982, Ph.D. 1986)
Sue is Professor of Chemistry at Temple University.
Dr. Gary S. Jacob (BS 1969)
Gary has been President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Scientific Officer and Director, Calllisto Pharmaceuticals , New York, NY and President, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Director, Synergy Pharmaceuticals , New York, NY, both since July 2008.
Mr. Harold R. Messler (BS 1970)
For many years Harold had been Director of the City of St. Louis Crime Laboratory and retired recently after a career spanning almost almost 40 years there.
Dr. David Henton (BS 1967)
David is retired and was Senior Scientist in the Designed Thermoplastics Research Laboratory at the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI.
Professor Sanford A. Asher (BA 1971)
Sandy joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1980 and is now Distinguished Professor of Chemistry there.