Each year, the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology hosts an event to celebrate the academic achievements of our undergraduate students. This year’s event was held on April 26, 2024, in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building. The program included a poster session, an awards ceremony, and a talk by Professor L. Andrew Lyon from Chapman University, Orange, CA.

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L. Andrew Lyon (RC '92) has over 25 years of experience as a chemist, bioengineer, educator, and entrepreneur and is currently a professor of chemistry at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Dr. Lyon also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, an organization with a long and successful history of providing funding to young investigators in the physical and life sciences. He previously served as the Founding Dean of the Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering at Chapman University from 2019-2023 and as Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University from 2014-2018. Before arriving at Chapman, Dr. Lyon spent nearly 16 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a member of the Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty, serving as Associate Chair from 2010-2013 and Chair from 2013-2014, and directing a research program aimed at creating new types of biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications. In addition to his role at Chapman, he is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Sanguina, Inc. and SelSym Biotech, Inc. two early-stage biotechnology companies. Sanguina is a medical device company that makes point-of-care diagnostics for anemia determination (AnemoCheck Home), as well as digital health devices (the smartphone app AnemoCheck Mobile), which allows for the real-time, non-invasive determination of anemia using only your smartphone camera. SelSym Biotech is aimed at commercializing a novel artificial platelet technology for applications in trauma and a variety of coagulopathies. Dr. Lyon is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, Beckman Young Investigator, Research Corporation Research Innovation, and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the National Fresenius Award, and the 2021 Distinguished Educator Award presented by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. He is a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors.

        Title: "A path from peptides to nanoparticles to biomedicine shaped by one simple word"

Abstract: When one reflects upon the experiences, mentors, and opportunities one has chosen throughout a career, it is usually fairly obvious how the present state relates to those previous variables. It is clearly much more difficult, however, to recognize how a decision made in the moment might change that course. Balancing a fear of failure with ambition is difficult enough, but when one considers how boundless the opportunity landscape is in front of us, the infinite range of possible paths at our disposal can become overwhelming and paralyzing. In this talk I will reflect upon a career in science that began with a fairly result-less undergraduate research experience in the Wright-Rieman Chemistry Laboratories. From that starting point, the path twisted through academia, entrepreneurship, non-profit leadership, and a whole lot of student mentorship – all the while being driven and shaped by decisions made in the moment that were framed by a very simple but well-structured methodology. Whereas that method and framework might not be useful for everyone, I hope that our discussion will help students focus on developing their own approach to crafting an enriching career without collecting a whole lot of distasteful regret.  

Jean Wilson Day Head ShotThis event is in loving memory of Jean Wilson Day, who received her Ph.D. from Rutgers in 1965, having done research on polyphosphates under supervision of Professor Ulrich Strauss. That same year she joined the staff of the school of Chemistry as instructor of general chemistry and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1968. She was an extremely enthusiastic teacher, and cared deeply about her students. She taught with great enthusiasm and organized special classes for the slow learners. Jean was also profoundly concerned about environmental pollution and sparked an interest among her colleagues and students seeking remedies.

After her untimely death in 1971, the Department chose to honor Jean’s memory by establishing a lectureship designed to attract undergraduates. As an enduring tribute to her generous spirit, Dr. Jim Savage, along with fellow classmates from Rutgers Class of 1971, formally announced the establishment of the Dr. Jean Wilson Day Memorial Scholarship on May 14, 2011.

Click here to see award recipients!