"My Rockhurst education is absolutely priceless. The lessons that were taught extended beyond the classroom. I not only received a strong knowledge in Chemistry, but the education gave me the skill to cope with life's challenges. I would gladly choose Rockhurst again."
- Leroy Chimilio, Class of 1994
Fifth year chemistry graduate student University of Kansas
The chemistry department at Rockhurst University offers a bachelor of science degree. Chemistry professors work closely with all entering students to help select the appropriate courses and to plan a curriculum tailored to each individual's career aspirations.
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Dr. James Chapman Selected as the 2010-2011 Daniel L. Brenner Faculty Scholarship Award Recipient
The Daniel L. Brenner Faculty Scholarship was established in 1987 by Daniel L. Brenner, longtime Regent and friend of Rockhurst, to support and recognize outstanding faculty.
The following is the text of the introduction of the award winner at the Faculty Recognition Dinner given by Dr. Dale Harak
I am happy to introduce my Chemistry colleague, Dr. James Chapman, who is the winner of this year’s David L. Brenner Scholarly Achievement Award.
Have you ever wondered what chemical compounds are present in a particular beer that make it taste good? Or, what compounds are present in the aroma profiles of coffee beans? Or, what compounds are responsible for the beautiful colors of the petals in petunia, cactus, chicory, & magnolia blossoms? Or, perhaps, what happens to these compounds when they are ingested by a budworm? Ever wonder where the heat is in hot peppers? (Dr. Chapman has proven that it’s not in the seeds!) What are the toxic, foul-smelling compounds emitted by certain molds as they attack that week-old leftover in your refrigerator? How about this--what are the medicinal compounds present in native prairie plants? What role do compounds like tannins play in protecting an oak tree from insect and microbial damage? In what plant tissues are the tannins found in the oak tree and what happens to them when they are ingested by an acorn weevil? These are among the many questions asked and answered by Dr. Chapman in his on-going research.
Questions like these could not be easily answered until about 18-20 years ago, when 2 separate and important instrumental techniques were interfaced together for the first time. The first of these instrumental techniques is known as liquid chromatography (known to chemists as the acronym, LC). Liquid chromatography, in its very essence, is a technique that allows chemists to separate complex mixtures (like petunia petal extracts) into their many chemical components and also to quantify the amounts of those components. The second of these instrumental techniques is mass spectroscopy (or MS), which gives chemists the ability to measure the molecular weights of compounds. The MS technique also gives information that can be used to elucidate molecular structure. The interfacing of these 2 techniques has produced a powerful tandem process that affords opportunities for chemists like Dr. Chapman to answer those tough questions mentioned earlier. Incidentally, Dr. Chapman was key in the procurement of not 1, but 2 LC-MS instruments that are both housed in our Department.
James M. Chapman received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Tarleton State University (between Abilene and Ft. Worth) in 1985. He then completed his Ph.D. at the Ohio State University in 1990. After holding a post-doc and teaching position in South Carolina, where he worked with the purification and characterization of retinoid compounds, Dr. Chapman came to Rockhurst in 1993. He has risen through the ranks, becoming an associate professor in 2001, and a full professor in 2008.
If you have had the chance to roam the halls of the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Science Center, you will notice research posters containing all kinds of research subjects. These are posters that our research students and their faculty mentors have presented at various scientific meetings both regionally and nationally. I walked the halls of the 3rd floor the other day and counted 28 posters that have Dr. Chapman’s name on them. I know that this is not a complete number, because I also know that he has posters displayed on the 2nd floor, for work done in consultation with our Biology faculty.
In addition to the poster presentations, Dr. Chapman also has numerous publications and presentations of his work. There are upwards of 65 peer-reviewed publications and presentations in regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society, and the Pittsburg Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. Several of these publications and presentations were the result of invitations from various chemical journals and other scholars in the field. Several of the publications also involve successful collaboration with other researchers from Rockhurst, from the University of Kansas, and with scientists in the United Kingdom. One paper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry requires specific mention. In August, 2009, Dr. Chapman was listed among several researchers in a featured article. I must say that this quite an accomplishment, as the Journal of Organic Chemistry is highly selective as to the papers they publish. Normally, only research I institutions have the resources to compete for inclusion. The fact that Dr. Chapman was part of this elite group of researchers speaks volumes as to the amount of work that Dr. Chapman does with a “shoestring” budget.
Dr. Chapman has also been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, among them, grants from the Thomas More Center here at Rockhurst, the A & S Dean’s Fellowship Grant for Undergraduate Research, the Presidential Grant for Faculty Development, and, from outside the University, the chemical instrumentation firm, Teledyne ISCO. Dr. Chapman was also instrumental in securing major funding from the National Science Foundation to upgrade our nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer in the Chemistry Department in 2002.
With all of this said, please join me in congratulating Dr. James M. Chapman, the 2011 recipient of the David L. Brenner Scholarly Achievement Award.