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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Panel to focus on careers for women in science at URI
Visting MIT prof. will also deliver annual
Cruickshank Lecture

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 21, 2000 --Two University of Rhode Island chemists will join JoAnne Stubbe, Novartis professor of chemistry and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a panel discussion on Thursday, April 27 at noon.

One of the URI scientists is an explosive expert while another is an analytical chemist whose major work has been in the application of high performance liquid chromatography to biomedical research. Both are pioneers in their fields and both are women.

The three scientists will discuss careers in science for women in the Memorial Union Atrium, Room 222AB. At 4 p.m., Stubbe will give an in-depth technical lecture on her cutting-edge research on ribonucleotide reductases in the Cherry Auditorium. Both events compose the 2000 Cruickshank Lecture.

Women are sorely underrepresented in science, math, engineering, and technology both in the nation and at URI. For example, in 1997 at URI, women received 15 percent of the 33 physical science degrees and 16 percent of the 126 engineering degrees.

The three panelists are wonderful role models. Dr. Phyllis Brown of Saunderstown, professor of chemistry, has been fascinated by science ever since she read about Madame Curie and Louis Pasteur in the ninth grade. Raised in a world in which science wasn't considered women's work, she attended Simmons College and graduated from George Washington University in 1944. Returning to Rhode Island, Brown applied to graduate school at Brown University but was rejected. "I was a woman and the veterans were returning from the war," she notes.

Eighteen years, four children, umpteen PTA, Girls Scouts, and League of Women Voters meetings later, Brown gave Brown University another try, was accepted, and earned her Ph.D. She came to URI in 1973 and soon developed an international reputation in the still-young field of using liquid chromatography to solve problems in medicine. She explains that the HPLC process can separate the many components in blood. Such understanding has lead to the creation of better drugs and treatments. Brown has received multiple honors for work. She has published more than 200 articles. She wrote the first book on the biomedical and biochemical applications of high-performance liquid chromatography and co-authored the first book on reversed-phase HPLC. Both books have been translated into Japanese.

Brown leads an active research group at URI and keeps Pfizer employees updated by teaching a class for the URI-Pfizer joint master's degree program in chemistry which she teaches at Pfizer's headquarters in nearby Conn.

The 70ish Brown is still going strong. "People ask me when I'm going to retire," she says. "I tell them I'll retire when I'm no longer having fun and that hasn't happened yet."

Jimmie C. Oxley of Narragansett, URI associate professor of chemistry, is an expert in explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, microanalysis and hazard analysis. Oxley moved her research group to URI in 1995. She was principal investigator for the Thermal Hazards Research Center for Energetic Materials at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology from 1983 through 1995. She is a founding executive in the Research Center for Energetic Materials; a center supported by the National Science Foundation industry, government and military labs. Oxley is a visiting scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a lecturer at the FBI Academy and organizer of special explosives workshops for government and industrial labs.

She is a reviewer for the FBI, NSF, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council National Materials Advisory Board and the Federal Department of Energy; a member of the NMAB Commercial Aviation Security committee, a member of the National Institute of Justice technical working group of Bomb Scene Processing and Explosive Residue Analysis. She has 54 publications on various aspects of explosives related research. She is a founding member of the Forensic Science Partnership at URI, a collaboration of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory, which is based at URI's College of Pharmacy, the other colleges at URI, the state Department of Health, the state's law enforcement community, and the insurance industry. The partnership provides some of the best scientific minds for the fight against crime.

MIT professor JoAnne Stubbe, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work on ribonucleotide reductases has garnered awards from the following: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1991; the National Academy of Sciences, 1992; Cope Scholar Award, 1993; Richards Medal, 1996 (Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society); the Cotton Medal, 1997; Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, 1997.

The Gordon Research Conference in honor of its Director Emeritus, Alexander M. Cruickshank, supports this annual lecture series through an endowment. Each year, the Cruickshank Lecture is delivered from the fields of chemistry, physics, or biological science. The URI Chemistry Department through the auspices of The Gordon Research Conference in Kingston sponsors this year's lecture. For more information, please contact the URI Chemistry Department at 874-2318.


For Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116


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