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Chemistry department announces inaugural lecture series

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

LAWRENCE — A renowned chemistry researcher has been named the inaugural Ralph N. Adams Lecturer and will give two presentations this week at the University of Kansas.

R. Mark Wightman, Emeritus W. R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present both public and scientific lectures regarding his innovative work on the development of novel analytical methods for the investigation of brain chemistry.  Specifically, Wightman developed a method for directly monitoring catecholamine release in the brain. These methods are widely used to study the neurological basis of addiction as well as neurological disease. His research has resulted in more than 400 publications.

Wightman will present a public lecture titled “Detecting Catecholamines – A Journey from Beaker to the Behaving Brain” on Thursday, Nov. 15, and a scientific lecture on “Chemical Monitoring of Neurotransmission with Microlectrodes” on Friday, Nov. 16. Both lectures will take place at 4 p.m. in Room 1154 of the Integrated Science Building, with a reception immediately following the public lecture Nov. 15. Both lectures and the reception are free and open to the public.

Wightman joined the Department of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1989 and is also a faculty member in UNC’s Neurobiology Curriculum and the Neuroscience Center. He was an undergraduate at Erskine College, graduating in 1968. In graduate school at UNC, he studied under Royce Murray, receiving a doctorate in 1974 in analytical chemistry. From 1974 to 1976, he was a postdoctoral associate in KU’s Department of Chemistry with Ralph Adams. Prior to 1989, he was a professor of chemistry at Indiana University.

The Ralph N. Adams Lectureship is jointly organized by KU’s chemistry department and the Ralph N. Adams Institute for Bioanalytical Chemistry. It was established with funds donated by Adams group alumni Donald Leedy and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Theodore Kuwana. The intent of the annual lectureship is to maintain cognizance of Adams’ contributions as a scientist, mentor and humanitarian. Selected annually, each lecturer will be a prominent scientist in the field of bioanalytical chemistry, broadly defined, who can bring fresh research perspectives to the KU campus and whose research has been influenced by Adams.