Megan Lazorski

Megan Lazorski, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver and joint appointee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Her areas of expertise include the study of special metal complexes, understanding how these materials convert light energy into other forms of energy. This work involves the use of lasers and other scientific instruments to learn how these materials respond to light under different conditions. Her major research area centers on the examination of photoactivity of materials when hit by light to understand their behavior for potential commercial applications in products like solar panels.

Lazorski’s teaching practice focuses on inorganic chemistry and the advancement of diversity in STEM, with a particular emphasis on supporting students and scientists from underrepresented/minoritized (URM) backgrounds. This work led Lazorski to form a group of colleagues who’ve created two post-baccalaureate Bridge Experience programs for students from URM groups in STEM. Lazorski is also a co-author of “Changing the Charge: Electrostatic Effects in Pd-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling” and “1FLO: Electron Counting and Electrostatic Effects in Palladium Carborane Complexes.” Both works are featured on the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic Resource.

Lazorski’s professional experience includes serving as the faculty associate for curriculum in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and she has taken on the role of chair of the curriculum committee in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Additionally, she maintains affiliations with several notable professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society, Inter-American Photochemical Society, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Lazorski received her doctorate of Chemistry from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Studio Art from the College of Wooster.

Katie Strain

Katie Strain, M.S., is a laboratory services manager of Alcoholic Beverage Quality Assurance/ Quality Control and a lecturer in the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her areas of expertise are fermentation, microbiology, chemistry, data analysis and experimental design.

Prior to joining MSU Denver, Strain worked as a laboratory operations coordinator and graduate student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She was also a research associate at Colorado State University and laboratory technician at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Strain received her master’s in environmental toxicology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 2014 and a bachelor’s in biochemistry from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005. She is a triple TTB certified chemist allowing her to conduct analysis of beer, wine and spirits for purposes of export.

Emily Ragan

Emily Ragan, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She developed and teaches an online section of general chemistry using open educational resources and multiple face-to-face biochemistry courses.

She has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2013. Previously, Ragan worked as an affiliate professor at Tulsa Community College, University of Tulsa, Contra Costa Community Collee and Laney Community College; was a lecturer at Dominican University of California and Kansas State University; and was a postdoctoral associate and graduate research assistant at Kansas State University. She received the E-Learning and Instructional Technology Exemplar award from MSU Denver and was a Teaching Excellence award finalist from MSU Denver Faculty Senate in 2016.

Her lab is currently investigating the mechanism of iron uptake in insects using biochemical techniques and insect cell culture. Better understanding of iron uptake in insects could set the stage for novel pest control strategies or may yield insights that transfer to a more complete understanding of human iron metabolism. Ragan is also interested in active learning strategies, including course-based undergraduate research experiences, to increase student engagement and support learning outcomes. She co-authored several research papers including “Analysis of mutually exclusive alternatively spliced serpin-1 isoforms and identification of serpin-1 proteinase complexes in Manduca sexta hemolymph” in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2010.

Ragan received her doctorate in biochemistry from Kansas State University in 2008 and a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of California in 2002.

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Jacobs has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2007 and currently teaches classes in Brewing Science, Physical Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy. He has been active in the planning of the new beer labs on campus and helped develop the curriculum for the brewing science course and the brewing program as a whole. Jacobs also teaches as part of MSU Denver’s Summer Science Institute, which inspires middle school students to consider STEM fields and University opportunities. His industry experience is in food chemistry and Rhone Poulenc food ingredients. Prior to joining MSU Denver, Jacobs worked at West Virginia University as a National Science Foundation fellow. He is part of the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA) and has home brewed for 11 years and made wine for five years.

Jacobs has co-authored several publications including “New Aspects of Slime Chemistry” for 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting in 2015 and “Biofuels for Campus Sustainability” for 247th American Chemical Society National Meeting in 2014. His research interests include spectroscopy (SERS), biodiesel production, analysis of ancient glass, environmental analysis, brewing science and biomineralization.

Jacobs received his doctorate in applied chemistry with a minor in natural resource economics and a master’s in chemistry from Colorado School of Mines and a bachelor’s in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from Waynesburg University.

April Hill

April Hill, Ph.D., is a professor and program director of Criminalistics in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has conducted research on water quality analysis, forensic chemical analysis, archaeochemistry and science education for the visually impaired.

During her graduate research, Hill completed 12 flights aboard NASA’s microgravity aircraft, affectionately known as the “Vomit Comet.” She then completed a post doctorate in education and outreach at Penn State University’s Center for Nanoscale Science, where Hill developed a passion for creating hands-on science experiences for the blind. Her work in this area has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education and was awarded a ChemLuminary Award from the American Chemical Society.

As a dedicated proponent of increasing minority participation in STEM fields, Hill serves on the steering committee for MSU Denver’s CO-WY AMP Program and as the academic advisor for the Women in Science student organization. Her current research efforts include projects in archaeochemistry, chemical education for students with visual impairments and forensic chemistry. She has collaborated with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on several projects, including analyzing residues in ancient Mayan beer vessels to recreate an authentic Mayan beer and performing a demonstration of the Marsh Test for arsenic which was featured in the recent Poisons exhibit.

Hill received her doctorate in analytical chemistry and a graduate certificate of forensic science from Iowa State University in 2007. She completed her bachelor’s in chemistry and became ACS certified from Central College in Iowa in 2002.

Andrew Bonham

Andrew Bonham, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is a research biochemist with a focus on development of novel biosensors for detection and quantification of proteins and small molecules.

Bonham has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2011 and became chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in 2016. While pursuing his doctorate, Bonham worked as a post-doctoral fellow and graduate research associate at University of California in Santa Barbara, and as an undergraduate researcher at University of Colorado in Boulder while pursuing his bachelor’s degree. Bonham has received several teaching awards and a Tri Counties Blood Bank Santa Barbara Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Santa Barbara Foundation in 2010. His professional memberships include Association of American Colleges and Universities, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Society for Biological Engineering, and American Chemical Society.

As a biochemist by trade, Bonham conducts research on transcription factor interactions, biosensors development for early cancer and disease diagnosis, novel spectroscopic investigations of gene regulation and protein-binding events. He has published several articles on his research and co-authored the Biochemistry Laboratory Manual CHE 4350 for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Bonham also runs the Bonham Research Lab at MSU Denver.

He received a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010 and a bachelor’s in chemistry and biochemistry from University of Colorado, Boulder in 2004.

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