Alumni News

Dr. Joseph Vacca.

Joseph P. Vacca, PhD (UB Chemistry) received the 2020 Julian Park Award from UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Julian Park Award is the highest honor awarded by the dean and recognizes an individual who has made meritorious and notable contributions to the college or university that support its growth and priorities and inspire others to give of their time and talent. Vacca, who obtained his PhD with Peter T. Lansbury, Sr., has had an extraordinary career in scientific research and leadership. At Merck, from 1981- 2011, Vacca’s work involved the development of protease and integrase inhibitors, and leadership as Head of Chemistry at Merck’s External Basic Research Site, as Basic Research Site Head of the Merck Frosst Research Institute, and as Global Head of Structural Chemistry. After retiring from Merck in 2011, Prof. Vacca joined WuXi AppTec, Ltd., and is now an independent consultant. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents and has won a Merck Directors Award, a PhRMA Discovers Award, and an ACS Award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. Vacca is a Merck Research Laboratories Presidential Fellow and a member of the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. Vacca was selected to receive the Julian Park Award in recognition of his incredible years of service and generosity to UB and the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Chemistry congratulates Joseph Vacca!

Prof. Mark Meyerhoff.

Mark Meyerhoff, PhD (UB Chemistry), Philip J. Elving Collegiate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, was awarded the 2020 ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the science of analytical chemistry, pure or applied, with emphasis on independence of thought and originality, and importance of the work for public welfare, economics, or the needs and desires of humanity. Meyerhoff was selected for his significant contributions to the field of electrochemical/optical chemical sensors and advancing their analytical applications for both in vitro and in vivo biomedical measurements. The Department of Chemistry congratulates Mark Meyerhoff for receiving this national ACS award!

Dr. Janet Rideout.

Janet Rideout, PhD (UB Chemistry) has made a bequest commitment to the Department of Chemistry. The bequest gift will establish the Janet Lister Rideout Fund to support undergraduate students with financial need. Rideout had a distinguished career as a research chemist at Burroughs Wellcome Co. (now GlaxoSmithKline). She played a leading role in the development of azidothymidine (AZT) as an antiretroviral medication to treat HIV/AIDS. The drug, which was the first effective HIV treatment and remains in use, has saved countless lives. Rideout holds 40-plus patents and is a past recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Award and UB’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The Department of Chemistry is profoundly grateful for Janet Rideout’s generous and lasting commitment to our department and students!

Prof. Joel Destino.

Joel Destino, PhD (UB Chemistry), Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Creighton University, received a 2021 Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement! The Cottrell Scholarship program supports early-career teacher-scholars who are recognized by their scientific communities for the quality and innovation of their research and their potential for academic leadership. Destino’s Cottrell award supports research on glass-forming particles for 3D printing of optical quality glasses, as well as his teaching and mentoring activities, including the development of remote-flexible laboratory experiments and course modules that integrate social justice and science.

PhD., Jesus Velazquez.

Jesús Velázquez, PhD (UB Chemistry), Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UC Davis, received a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The NSF CAREER program supports early-career faculty identified as having the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead at their departments and organizations. Velázquez’s award supports the iterative combination of computational and experimental research in the development of new chalcogenide framework materials for energy storage and conversion. Velázquez is integrating modeling with state-of-the-art materials synthesis and the experimental evaluation of electronic and structural properties to design new materials with real-world applications in energy storage and conversion. The CAREER Award additionally supports Velázquez’s educational and outreach initiatives to train young scholars, particularly underrepresented minority and first-generation students, to solve problems at the interface between solid-state chemistry and chemical engineering.

Joshua Hazelnis.

Joshua Hazelnis (UB BS in Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering), was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive and prestigious award from the NSF supports Joshua’s PhD studies in chemistry at the University of Michigan.



Dr. Daniel Ammon.

Daniel Ammon, PhD (UB BS and PhD in Chemistry), was named Vice President of Research and Development at Collagen Matrix, Inc., a leader in regenerative medicine and a global manufacturer of collagen- and mineral-based medical devices. Over his 30-year career, Ammon has held scientific and leadership positions in research and development for medical devices, at Bausch and Lomb and Dentsply Sirona. Prof. Ammon now oversees all strategic research projects at Collagen Matrix.

Prof. Michael Coleman.

Michael Coleman, PhD (UB Chemistry), School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), gave a virtual seminar in February 2021 as part of our MEETS (Materials, Energy, EnvironmenT Seminars) program. Michael spoke on Experiences of a UB Chemistry PhD Graduate: Road to Academia.

Give to the Department of Chemistry

Thank you for your support of the Department of Chemistry. With the support of alumni and friends, we can provide vital resources to enhance our department and provide support for students, research projects and programs. We are grateful for your generosity.

You can support your department and help to provide for our students by making a gift online.

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