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2018 Announcements

A new discovery on Titan’s haze is revealing new information about burning fuels on Earth

Oct. 9

FIU chemist Alexander Mebel and a team of international researchers have been studying Saturn’s largest moon, trying to unlock a mystery brewing beneath Titan’s thick, hazy atmosphere — How is it that dunes of hydrocarbons exist on the moon’s frozen surface?

Largest class yet of Biochemistry Ph.D. Program; students will have opportunities for research

Sept. 21

As of fall semester 2018, eight students from around the world have set their sights on FIU’s Biochemistry Ph.D. Program, bringing the total to 23 biochemistry graduate students.

FIU celebrates Preeminent Programs

Aug. 2

The university community gathered last month to celebrate faculty whose work has earned the university’s Preeminent and Emerging Preeminent Program status. Which included the Preeminent program, Global Forensic Justice Center and Emerging Preeminent program Translational Molecular Discoveries.

Professor Kelly Rein Describes the Cause for the Fish Kill Around Florida

Aug. 16

Professor Rein explains the causes and the dangers posed by the toxins which cause the current red tide around Florida. These toxins are dangerous to animals and humans alike.

Dr. Jose Almirall appointed to NIJ's Forensics Technology Group

Aug. 15

Professor Almirall of Chemistry and Biochemistry was recently appointed to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)‘s newly created Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group (FLN-TWG).

Congratulations to Drs. Rein and Liu for being awarded an NOAA Grant

Aug. 15

Professor Kelly Rein (PI) and Professor Yuan Liu (Co-PI) have been awarded a $428K grant from the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Competitive Research Program. Their project is entitled: "An Intervention for Brevetoxin Induced Oxidative Stress" in collaboration with Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota.

Our own Zaida Morales Martinez is honored by the White House and the NSF

June 27

The White House Office of Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation have honored Chemistry Professor Emeritus, Zaida Morales Martinez with a Presidential Award for her excellence in mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Zaida, thank you for continuing to bring honor and recognition to Florida International University with your exceptional work in the chemical sciences.

Chemistry Alumni Well Represented in National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

June 13

Paloma Tuttle-Vasseur, class of 2018, is headed to Harvard, Jocelyn Nardo, class of 2015, is a graduate student at Purdue University and Tayliz Rodriguez, class of 2017 is a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Congratulations to all the students.

FIU team evaluates the use of scent-discriminating dogs for rapid response to agricultural diseases

June 12

Julian Mendel, Kenneth G. Furton, and DeEtta Mills have ferreted out a possible solution to a serious issue in one corner of the horticultural industry, and then ascertained the extent to which this solution is effective. The results of this study are presented in their article "An Evaluation of Scent-discriminating Canines for Rapid Response to Agricultural Diseases" published in the latest issue of HortTechnology.

FIU Project SEED scholar Michelle Melo featured in C&E News

June 1

Michelle Melo found out about the ACS Project SEED program from a high school guidance counselor. She didn’t need Hollywood to help her realize that Forensic Science was the career for her. She was placed in FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute in the lab of José R. Almirall. Melo credits a part of her success to her days in Project SEED. “I don’t know if I would have been so focused and determined and known exactly what I wanted to do had it not been for that experience,” she says.

SISH Awards Celebration

May 17

On May 3rd, faculty members, families, and friends of the school gathered to recognize students who were given scholarship awards in five different areas. Please join us in congratulating the awardees of the Zaida C. Morales-Martinez & Howard E. Moore Scholarship in Chemistry, and the Leonard S. Keller Memorial Scholarship. View photos via the Photo Albums page.

Our own Sara Casado Zapico interviewed on Telemundo

April 25

Dr. Casado Zapico, Member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the International Forensic Research Institute was interviewed on Telemundo's morning show celebrating National DNA day. (Dia nacional del adn)

Haixiang Yu is Recognized by the Division of Student Affairs

April 9

Please join us in congratulating our graduate student, Haixiang Yu who just received the GRADUATE SCHOLAR AWARD presented by the FIU Division of Student Affairs. This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership through academic achievement and/or academic research. Haixiang is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Professor Yi Xiao.

Professors Dares, Tse-Dinh and Underwood Named Top Scholars

April 8

Let's congratulate Christopher Dares, Yuk-Ching Tse Dinh and Sonia Underwood. All three have been nominated and selected as Top Scholars at Florida International University. This is a great honor for each individual and for the Department as a whole. Great Job!

University Graduate School Provost Awards

April 4

Among the recognized individuals are: Daniel Roncancio, Chemistry and Biochemistry For his paper titled “A label-free aptamer-fluorophore assembly for rapid and specific detection of cocaine in biofluids”, that was a published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. Professor Yi Xiao for her guidance and mentorship of graduate students within the department.

“Adapting Assessment Tasks To Support Three-Dimensional Learning” is picked as editor’s choice.

April 3

Sonia Underwood and Justin Carmel, FIU Chemistry & Biochemistry and STEM TI faculty members’ article entitled “Adapting Assessment Tasks To Support Three-Dimensional Learning” is picked as editor’s choice by the ACS and highlighted in the February Edition of Science Magazine.

Nuclear waste might be a thing of the past if this graduate can help it

April 2

During the Cold War, the U.S. Department of Energy produced tons of nuclear material for the development of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Today, the United States is awash in radioactive material from weapons production and nuclear power plants. Matthew Fortunato, a recent chemistry graduate is part of a research team led by Professor Kavallieratos trying to find the right mix of ingredients that could rid nuclear waste of actinides–the most dangerous long-lived radioactive elements.

Apply now for the Professional Science Master's in Forensic Science

March 26

The application process for Fall 2018 is still open. Applications must be submitted by June 1st, 2018. Contact us at for more information.

Breakthrough Invention in Whole Blood Analysis

March 19

A team of multinational scientists, jointly led by Dr. Abuzar Kabir at FIU in Miami, Florida and Dr. Marcello Locatelli at University of Chieti–Pescara “G. d’ “Annunzio”, Chieti, Italy have developed a novel analytical technique based on fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) that allows analysis of whole blood without converting it into plasma or serum.

BSI to collaborate with PREMIER Biosoft in advancing research

March 5

In collaboration with chemistry professor Francisco Fernandez-Lima, the Biomolecular Sciences Institute (BSI) and PREMIER Biosoft are pleased to announce their research partnership to provide advanced mass spectrometry-based data analysis solutions for lipidomics.

Undergrad research symposium winners enrich South Florida science community

March 2

When Alejandro Hernandez won first place in the poster presentation at the Life Sciences South Florida’s (LSSF) STEM Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2016, he did not yet know how far his research would take him.Hernandez began his research journey in 2015 as a Department of Energy Fellow, working alongside researchers Vasileios Anagnostopoulos and Yelena Katsenovich at FIU’s Applied Research Center.

Untangling the Origin of Earth's Beaches

Feb. 19

An international team of scientists led by Florida International University's Alexander M. Mebel, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Chemistry Professor Ralf I. Kaiser, and Tom J. Millar of Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) discovered a novel chemical route to form silicon dioxide (SiO2) - the key molecular building block of terrestrial sand in interstellar space. The team announced their findings in the February 2018 issue of Nature Communications.

Graduate Visitation Day - Deadline fast approaching

Feb. 14

The reservation deadline is February 15, 2018. Please join us for our annual Visitation Day to learn more about our Graduate Programs in traditional areas of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as specializations in Environmental, Forensic and Radiochemistry. Take a tour of our facilities. Reservations are necessary please Contact us at

FIU Researchers Patent New Test for Cocaine

Feb. 7

FIU students and their professor have patented a series of new tests that can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively confirm the presence of cocaine. The tests can be carried out by police on the side of the road – one testing saliva, the other unknown powders. In each case, the substance to be tested is added to a liquid solution developed by FIU chemist Yi Xiao and her students in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. See FIU News and Miami Herald stories.

Everglades needs more fresh water to fight salt water intrusion

Feb. 7

As sea levels continue to rise, more areas of the coastal Everglades will be susceptible to salt water intrusion, according to a new FIU study. Sea levels rose 2.2 centimeters annually from 2011 to 2015, according to scientists in FIU’s Southeast Environmental Research Center and FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center.

Stacey J. Oddman M.D. CARI-STEM First Gen Scholarship is open

Jan. 30

Are you a FT student pursuing an FIU degree in a STEM field? Then this scholarship is for you - and the deadline is coming fast - Feb. 9, 2018. Apply Now! Preference given to first generation students of Caribbean descent.

Nuclear Research Fellowships -Deadline is February 1st

Jan. 25

A unique opportunity for outstanding M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students who pursue nuclear-related projects to obtain research assistantship support from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The deadline is fast approaching.

Research Experience for Undergraduates - March 1st Deadline for Application!

Jan. 24

Sensors and Sensing: From Molecules to Applications. During the 10 week program, from 5/21/2018 to 7/28/2018, the participants will closely work with faculty and graduate students on cutting-edge research projects that bridge traditional chemistry disciplines. The REU program provides a $ 5,200 summer stipend. Sophomore, junior, and rising senior students are encouraged to apply!

Patent invention could stop cancer in its tracks

Jan. 24

Professor Yuan Liu, a faculty member of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute (BSI), was recently granted a U.S. Patent (Patent No. US 9809843 B1) for her invention of a high throughput measurement of DNA base lesion repair capacity in human cell and tissue.

Dr. Bruce McCord discusses a new tool for forensics detectives

Jan. 5

Chemistry professor and IFRI faculty member Dr. Bruce McCord was recently interviewed by News Medical Life Sciences for his upcoming talk on forensic epigenetics.