School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann

    Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann

    Senior Lecturer of Chemistry

    BioReaching out to Stanford’s diverse body of students and beyond to share the excitement of scientific discovery has been a growing passion for Dr. Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann. In addition to coordinating and co-teaching Stanford’s freshmen chemistry sequence, she takes a leadership role in developing training programs for teaching assistants and enhancing classroom and lab experiences for undergraduates, while also providing STEM learning opportunities for incoming freshmen and local high school students.

    Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann studied chemistry at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri (A.B. 2002) before coming to Stanford University as a graduate student (Ph.D. 2008). Her thesis work under Prof. Edward Solomon addressed structural contributions to reactivity in active sites of non-heme di-iron enzymes, including ferritins. She joined the Stanford Center (now Vice Provost) for Teaching and Learning as a Teaching Fellow in 2008. In 2009, she became Lecturer and Introductory Course Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry, and in 2011 was promoted to Senior Lecturer. She has received multiple awards for her teaching and training work, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dean’s Award for Achievements in Teaching, Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching, and Society of Latino Engineers and School of Engineering’s Professor of the Year Award.

    Teaching
    Dr. Schwartz coordinates and co-teaches the introductory course sequence of Chem31A, 31B, and 33 for about 450 students each year. She has also created a set of companion courses (Chem31A-C, 31B-C, and 33-C) designed to provide motivated students an opportunity to build stronger study habits and problem solving tools that help them persevere in the sciences regardless of prior science background. In parallel, she has been involved in the creation and teaching of the Leland Scholars Program, which facilitates the transition to college for incoming freshman intending to study in STEM or pre-health fields.

    Instructor Training
    Dr. Schwartz has always believed that well-prepared and enthusiastic teachers inspire and motivate learning, yet excellent teaching requires training, feedback, reflection and support. She has worked both within the department and more broadly to help ensure that teaching assistants throughout the university receive the training, practice and mentorship they need to grow and excel as educators. She previously directed the Department of Chemistry’s TA Training program and, with the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, co-founded and directs the Mentors in Teaching Program, MinT, which provides training and resources to teaching mentors from more than 15 departments on campus. Through MinT, advanced graduate students learn effective ways to mentor TAs, through mid-quarter feedback, classroom observation, establishment of teaching goals, and workshops that enable new TAs to better engage with students in the classroom.

    Enhanced Learning Experiences
    Dr. Schwartz has been heavily involved in the development of hands-on, guided-inquiry lab activities that are now fully integrated into lab/lecture courses throughout the introductory general and organic chemistry sequence. Through the “Inspiring Future Scientists in Chemistry” Outreach Program, she is also helping to bring the excitement of exploring real-world chemistry into local high schools. She works with local high school teachers to design lab experiences that reinforce and compliment the chemistry concepts in the California State curriculum. Stanford Chemistry students take these activities to local high schools, providing hundreds of students the opportunity to work with enthusiastic young scientists while getting hands-on experience in chemistry. The program aims to demonstrate how chemistry relates to the ‘real world’ and to promote an appreciation for both science and higher education.

  • Edward I. Solomon

    Edward I. Solomon

    Monroe E. Spaght Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Photon Science

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProf. Solomon's work spans physical-inorganic, bioinorganic, and theoretical-inorganic chemistry, focusing on spectroscopic elucidation of the electronic structure of transition metal complexes and its contribution to reactivity. He has advanced our understanding of metal sites involved in electron transfer, copper sites involved in O2 binding, activation and reduction to water, structure/function correlations over non-heme iron enzymes, and correlation of biological to heterogeneous catalysis.

  • Andrew Spakowitz

    Andrew Spakowitz

    Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Materials Science and Engineering and, by courtesy, of Applied Physics and of Chemistry

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTheory and computation of biological processes and complex materials

  • Daniel Stack

    Daniel Stack

    Associate Professor of Chemistry

    BioResearch in the Stack group focuses on the mechanism of dioxygen activation and the subsequent oxidative reactivity with primarily copper complexes ligated by imidazoles or histamines. Specifically, the group is interested in substrate hydroxylations and full dioxygen reduction. The remarkable specificity and energy efficiency of metalloenzymes provide the inspiration for the work. Trapping and characterizing immediate species, primarily at low temperatures, provide key mechanistic insights especially through substrate reactivity along with spectroscopic and metrical correlation to DFT calculations. Our objective is to move these efficient enzymatic mechanisms into small synthetic complexes, not only to reproduce biological reactivity, but more importantly to move the oxidative mechanism beyond that possible in the protein matrix.

    Daniel Stack was born, raised and attended college in Portland Oregon. He received his B.A. from Reed College in 1982 (Phi Beta Kappa), working with Professor Tom Dunne on weak nickel-pyrazine complexes. In Boston, he pursued his doctoral study in synthetic inorganic chemistry at Harvard University (Ph.D., 1988) with Professor R. H. Holm, investigating site-differentiated synthetic analogues of biological Fe4S4 cubanes. As an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor K. N. Raymond at the University of California at Berkeley, he worked on synthesizing new, higher iron affinity ligands similar to enterobactin, a bacterial iron sequestering agent. He started his independent career in 1991 at Stanford University primarily working on oxidation catalysis and dioxygen activation, and was promoted to an Associate Professor in 1998. His contributions to undergraduate education have been recognized at the University level on several occasions, including the Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Education in 2003.

    Areas of current focus include:

    Copper Dioxygen Chemistry
    Our current interests focus on stabilizing species formed in the reaction of dioxygen with Cu(I) complexes formed with biologically relevant imidazole or histamine ligation. Many multi-copper enzymes ligated in this manner are capable of impressive hydroxylation reactions, including oxidative depolymerization of cellulose, methane oxidation, and energy-efficient reduction of dioxygen to water. Oxygenation of such complexes at extreme solution temperatures (-125°C) yield transient Cu(III) containing complexes. As Cu(III) is currently uncharacterized in any biological enzyme, developing connections between the synthetic and biological realms is a major focus.

    Surface Immobilization of Catalysts in Mesoporous Materials
    In redox active biological metal sites, the ligation environment is coupled tightly to the functional chemistry. Yet, the metal sites are also site-isolated, creating species that may only have a transient existence in a homogeneous solution. Site isolation of synthetic complexes can be achieved synthetically by supporting the metal complex on a solid matrix. Movement of these complexes into silica based materials or onto electroactive carbon electrodes represent a new direction for the group in the development of bio-inspired metal-based catalysts.