Meet Dr. Jessica Tischler of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department!

Dr. Jessica Tischler is Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UM-Flint, she is also a co-advisor for the UM-Flint Chem Club. Recently the club traveled to MSU to compete in this year’s Battle of the Chem Clubs, going up against 12 other universities from around Michigan.
They won first place!
Read their story here.

Flint, Sharita Combs

Dr. Jessica Tischler, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Co-Adivsor for the Chemistry Club

Name: Dr. Jessica Tischler
Title: Chair, Associate Professor, Co-Advisor to the Chemistry Club
Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry

Classes I teach:
– Organic Chemistry I: (CHM 330) lecture course for pre-professional, biology, and chemistry majors.
Organic Chemistry II: (CHM 332) Continuation of Organic Chemistry I.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory I: (CHM 331) Laboratory Course associated with Organic I lecture. Serve as coordinator of all organic lab sections.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory II: (CHM 333) Laboratory Course associated with Organic II lecture.
Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds: (CHM 468) Expanded version of CHM 368 to cover Mass Spectroscopy, Infrared Spectroscopy, and 1H and 13C NMR Spectroscopy in greater detail. Included a hands-on experience with instruments.
Advanced Organic Chemistry: (CHM 430/530) Lecture course for junior/senior chemistry majors.
– Introduction to Professionalism in Chemistry: (CHM 310) Introductory course in documentation, searching the literature, scientific writing, and oral presentation for junior chemistry majors.
– Senior Seminar in Chemistry: (CHM 410/510) Senior and graduate chemistry majors present a detailed oral presentation, paper, and poster presentation regarding a current topic in chemistry.
– Supervised Chemical Research: (CHM 299) Students conduct chemical research and Literature survey under faculty supervision.
– Chemical Research: (CHM 499) Students conduct chemical research independently and write a report detailing their findings.

Professional Interests, Activities, or Publications:
My professional interests and activities have grown out of my role as advisor to the UM-Flint Chemistry Club, which is a student member chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS). In my role as a faculty advisor over the years, I have assisted the ACS’s Undergraduate Programs Division by serving as a reviewer of annual Chapter reports, reviewer of Chapter grants, assisted in writing a handbook for faculty advisors, and spoke on a panel discussion at a National Meeting.

Our Chem Club has also developed a very strong science outreach program. We regularly go out in to the community to do science demos or hands-on workshops for children from Pre-K-12, teachers and UM-Flint students, too! I help as much as I can to plan and perform these events. We are always trying to think up new demos/activities to add to our repertoire.

Publications: (Note: I have also presented numerous poster presentations with students since these papers but didn’t think you really wanted to see all of them. All of them have been presented at American Chemical Society National Meetings with students as co-authors.

Tischler, J. L.; Abuaita, B.; Cuthpert, S.; Fage, C.; Murphy, K.; Saxe, A.; Furr, E.; Hedrick, J.; Meyers, J.; Snare, D.; Zand, A. “Simple inhibitors of histone deacetylase activity that combine features of short-chain fatty acid and hydroxamic acid inhibitors” J. Enz. Inhib. Med. Chem. 2008, 23, 549.

Zand, A.; Wagner, P. J.; Song, J.; Tischler, J. L. “Investigation of Tubulin Polymerizing Agents: Synthesis of Substituted Cyclooctatrienes as a Possible Taxoid Framework” Lett. Drug Design Discovery 2005, 2, 355.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
Currently my research revolves around green chemistry—the idea that chemical processes are designed to prevent or limit the use of hazardous materials and waste from the beginning instead of trying to figure out a way to limit exposure or clean up hazardous waste after the fact. Specifically I am studying a new way to synthesize a class of chemicals known as tertiary alkyl amines; a broad class of commercially important compounds. Traditionally, the main synthetic route to these amines involves the use of flammable, organic solvents, harsh reagents, and generates byproducts that would require disposal as hazardous waste. In the process I am studying, water that is under high temperatures and pressures (known as subcritical water) is used as both the solvent and catalyst. At the end of the reaction, the only byproducts are water and carbon dioxide, both of which are non-hazardous. I have recently completed work to optimize the reaction variables and investigated the scope and limitations of the reactions.

• W’13 Dr. Charles W. Bailey Advisor Award
• 2007 Pfizer Michigan Green Chemistry Award. ($5,000).
• F’05 Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Junior Women Faculty Award

As Co-advisor to the Chem Club, the Club has won the following National awards from the American Chemical Society for their annual activities:
• Outstanding Student Chapter (the top honor): 6 times (the last 5 years in a row)
• Commendable Student Chapter: 4 times
• Honorable Mention Student Chapter: 3 times
• Green Chemistry Student Chapter: 1 time

From the President’s Ball (SIL awards) the club has also been recognized many times including the Dr. Juan E Mestas Excellence Award, Charlie Nelms Community Contribution Award and the CAB Trailblazer award.

• Michigan State University, Ph.D., 1995-2001, Organic Chemistry/Biocatalysis. Advisor: John W. Frost. Dissertation: “Environmentally Benign Synthesis of Aromatic Compounds from D-Glucose.”
• Saginaw Valley State University, B.S. 1991-1995, Chemistry (ACS Certified)

Member of the American Chemical Society since 1993

How I fell in love with my field:
Although I always knew wanted to be a scientist (from paleontologist to astronaut at different points), I technically started college undecided. Then I had an amazing General Chemistry Professor–Dr. George Eastland at SVSU. Not only was he a great teacher but he recommended me for a position doing research in a lab on campus. I was very lucky to start research as a freshman with a wonderful advisor and mentor by the name of Tom Vivian. I did research with Tom for four years. It was because of these two people that I have career in chemistry. I continue to fall in love with chemistry as I see the excitement children and students have when I am doing demos and explaining how chemistry connects everything. I am very proud to be a chemist.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
That I have made a difference in my students’ lives or even just in a semester. That when they hear the term “organic” they realize what that really means. That chemistry is maybe a little less scary and a little more interesting than they thought. That I have helped them achieve a goal (just passing Orgo!, doing well on the MCAT, realize their passion to be a scientist). In the end, I hope that I will always continue to get more out of teaching, than what I put in.

What I hope for students in my field:
That no matter where their career takes them- research, industry, academia, or professional fields- I hope that we have prepared them for every aspect of their journey. From the specific chemistry content they need to be successful, to the confidence to stand by their results, to the eloquence to present their opinions.

Three things you should know about me:
(This was the hardest question!)
• I am horrible at spelling. Many times spellcheck won’t even recognize the word I am trying to spell. So if you receive a handwritten note from me, I apologize now.
• My 8 year old said I should just say my favorite food, animal, and color—easy aaand done! So food: Although I enjoy cooking/baking and make some mean homemade jam, it is even better when someone else cooks; animal: cat person; color; green (a trip to 5th floor MSB may give that away)
• My 5 year old said to say that I explain things. When I asked if I explain things to her, she laughed and said, “No, Mommy. To your students.” Apparently I can’t reach everyone in my evaluations.

To learn more about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, please visit their website.