Chemistry, Microbiology and Professor Wickham

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Chemistry, Microbiology and Professor Wickham

Dr. Charles Rice of the University of Oklahoma's Chemistry Department gave a technical presentation to NWOSU science faculty and students April 13, 2012.

Dr. Wickham introduces Dr. Rice (Dr. Wickham's PhD advisor) with a little humor.  Little did he know the favor would be returned at the close of the talk!


The official title of Dr. Rice's talk was: Chemistry, Microbiology and Professor Wickham: NMR, Bacteria, and Life on Mars (the official abstract is at the bottom of this post).

Unofficially . . . His talk gave very favorable recollections of Dr. Wickham's times as a graduate student, including his early contributions that directed Dr. Rice's research.  And, of course, the talk ended with Dr. Rice sharing stories, recapturing the interest of Dr. Wickham's students (as well as Dr. Wickham!).

During his talk, Dr. Rice walked the audience through his pathway from initial research conceptions to his most current projects.  It was a wonderful example pathway of doing science, illustrating that research questions change, data have a history and that with concerted effort anyone can contribute to scientific discovery.  The offical abstract is below:

Professor Rice started his academic training at Illinois State University where he completed his undergraduate work in 1993. After finishing his MS degree at ISU in 1995, he moved to Purdue University to work with Professor Daniel Raftery. At Purdue, Dr. Rice used NMR to study the photodecomposition of trichloroethylene on titanium dioxide, in addition to research with hyperpolarized xenon as a means to enhance weak NMR signals. In 2000, He moved to St. Louis to work with Professor Jacob Schaefer at Washington University. This post-doctoral appointment focused on biological NMR studies to complement his work in catalyst surface chemistry. In 2002, Dr. Rice was able to combine these research areas at the University of Oklahoma where he joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an Assistant Professor. His research group uses NMR spectroscopy to study problems at the interface of materials science and biology, such as the conformation of peptides and proteins in polymer hydrogels. These biomaterials are used as tissue scaffolds for wound repair and replacements for diseased organs in humans. At the other end of the evolutionary scale, Dr. Rice is interested in the bacterial cell wall. This work has applications to bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation, which has expanded into studies of metal chelation and antifreeze properties of teichoic (tay-co-ic) acid. Dr. Rice is collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to study bacterial spores and the potential for life on Mars. 

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