Although we will not be holding any in-person events in the near future due to COVID-19, we plan to host at least one virtual event a month.

Upcoming events

September Meeting Cancelled

The September meeting of the IL-IA ACS Local Section has been cancelled. We did not receive a sufficient number of RSVPs to make the meeting viable.

Past events

Virtual Seminar - Best Queso Scenario

Professor Max Holle from Monmouth College will be giving a seminar on the microbiology and food safety of fresh, Hispanic-style, cheese at 7 pm on April 27th.


Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic and zero-tolerance foodborne pathogen that causes listeriosis, a rare illness but with a high fatality rate. Listeriosis outbreaks have often been linked to the consumption of Hispanic-style cheeses (HSC), accounting for 17% of total outbreaks in the U.S. in the past ten years. In particular, Queso Fresco (QF), the most common HSC in the U.S., is characterized by a near neutral pH, high fat (>20%) and low salt (<3%) content, and a short shelf-life requiring refrigeration. In addition, QF is known to support the growth of L. monocytogenes. The development of a miniaturize laboratory-scale queso fresco that accurately replicates the composition of commercial QF has allowed for the incorporation and testing of novel antimicrobials. Endolysins, a class of lytic enzymes derived from bacteriophages, have shown promising results at controlling pathogen contamination in QF. Characterization of these endolysins has shown that PlyP100, the endolysin from GRAS phage P100, is currently the best endolysin for combatting pathogen contamination in QF.

Virtual Chemistry Trivia Night

Join us for a virtual trivia night, hosted by St. Ambrose University on March 31st from 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Participants will work in groups to solve some chemistry trivia questions. Dr. Andy Axup will be the trivia host and has created a bunch of fun questions.

We will be working in small groups, so if there is a group you would like to work with, please include that in your RSVP.

Please RSVP to Jennifer Schmidt-McCormack by Monday, March 29th.

The Chemistry of Candy

“The Chemistry of Candy” was presented by Dr. Michelle Schwenk, who is the President of Bellis Food Solutions and the President of the American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT). Michelle shared her more than 30 years of experience in the food and confectionary industry. She discussed how the properties of sugar can be manipulated by controlling its physical state and concentration to produce the myriad of confectionary products on the market. Products discussed included hard candy, gummy bears, cotton candy, caramel, fudge, and toffee. 30 people joined us for the virtual presentation.

2020 Undergraduate Research Conference

The Undergraduate Research Conference was held virtually on Saturday, November 7th. The speaker schedule and presentation titles can be viewed here.

Experiences from the FUTURE

Loras chemistry faculty members Dr. Andrew Kehr (participated summer 2020) and Dr. Adam Moser (participated summer 2014) discussed their research and experiences with the FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent – Uniting Research Education) program. We were also joined by Dr. Madeline Shea, founding Director of the FUTURE in Biomedicine program, who gave an overview of the program and how faculty and students can get involved.