Alaska Local Section


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Planning for NORM 2016 in Anchorage!

Posted by William Howard on August 30, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (3)

The Alaska Local Section is proud to host the 2016 American Chemical Society Northwest Regional Meeting (NORM) in Anchorage, Alaska!  We are currently planning this event, and we solicit the advice and help of our members.

Please see the preliminary email communication (shown below) sent by Dr. Lisa Hoferkamp, our section councilor, on August 4, 2012.

Hello AK ACS members,

I recently returned from the 2012 NORM meeting in Boise, ID. It was a good meeting in what turned out to be a pretty good place. Having grown up in northern ID, I’d been to Boise a few times, about 25 years ago. It has changed quite a bit. The downtown now has a very nice pedestrian center with good shopping, restaurants and parks; overall a nice place to visit. The scientific presentations ranged from technical applications (nano and nuclear chemistry) to the more esoteric (non-linear optical spectroscopy) as well as chemical education. I attended several fascinating sessions. I also attended the NORM Board meeting and as your representative and took that opportunity to present a bid for the 2016 NORM meeting. The theme of the proposed meeting was “Integrated Ecosystem Studies of Terrestrial and Near-Shore Environments”. The bid was accepted so it looks like we’re on for the 2016 ACS-NORM meeting in Anchorage (please see below for further details on the proposal). 2016 may seem like a ways out but we all know how fast time flies so I’m going to try to get as much as possible done well-ahead. With that said, Chairperson Bill Howard and I would like to take this chance to solicit your input. We would very much like this meeting to be something that appeals to and serves all members of the AK section as well as our lower-48 colleagues of the ACS. Please send your suggestions for symposia, session topics, workshops and/or extracurricular activities to either Bill ( or me ( And if you’d like to get involved in the organization and implementation of the meeting (e.g. chair a session), then by all means let us know! I’ll keep you posted as the meeting structure and contents develop and will always welcome your comments, suggestions and insights.

Here are some of the details from the proposal I presented at NORM 2012:

Basic elements of the technical program planned: Biochemistry, Chemical Education, Environmental Chemistry, Geochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Toxicology.

Particular highlights or themes for your meeting (is a logo planned?): Integrated Ecosystem Studies of Terrestrial and Near-Shore Environments. Excursion to the Seward Sealife Center, a banquet at the Alyeska Resort, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, the University of Alaska Anchorage (Environment and Natural Resources Institute, Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies) and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

I’ll keep you informed as plans solidify and I look forward to including your good ideas. If you’re not interested in receiving these email updates, please let me know and I’ll remove your address from this list.


Lisa Hoferkamp

ACS Speaker Dr. Paul Helquist

Posted by William Howard on August 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Dr. Paul Helquist (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame) will tour Alaska as an ACS speaker in October of 2012.  He will deliver a seminar at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Tuesday, October 23, at 4:00 - 5:00 PM in room 201 of the Reichardt Building.  The title and abstract for his seminar are:

Collaborative Multidisciplinary Development of New Therapeutic Agents


In a joint set of ventures, the Wiest and Helquist laboratories at the University of Notre Dame, specializing in computational chemistry and drug synthesis, respectively, are supported by various funding mechanisms to reach out to investigators in other fields and at many institutions to form multi-disciplinary collaborative teams for the purpose of drug development. Most often, the external collaborators are at medical schools or other biomedical institutions and have major strengths in biological or clinical studies but do not have the chemistry expertise required for drug development. These collaborators have often identified a potential therapeutic protein target from cellular studies, or they have conducted compound screenings to identify initial hits. The next logical steps in these investigations are the design of protein binders or hit optimization, requiring the computational and synthetic chemistry input of our laboratories. The resulting compounds are provided back to the external collaborators and other appropriate parties for more extensive biological studies. Over the past few years, these collaborative ties have been established with many investigators at Cornell University Weill College of Medicine, Tufts University Medical School, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Washington University School of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Purdue University, State University of New York at Albany, Stockholm University, Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), and the Sahlgrenska Research Hospital of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

This presentation will place emphasis on the discovery and synthesis of target compounds as potential drugs for treating cancer and Niemann-Pick type C disease, one of several rare, inherited lysosomal storage disorders.

Contact Person:  Bill Howard     (907) 474-6019