Professor of Chemistry
Department Chair

Education

BA, Goshen College, 1982
PHD, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, 1987

Courses

Chem 100, Chemistry World

An introduction to chemistry in our society for non-science majors. The course is a hands-on laboratory course based on important and intriguing problems from the world around us. Topics may include forensics, biochemical, environmental, household, medicinal and nuclear chemistry. Modern instruments and analysis will be used to collect and discuss data. Lectures and laboratory. Prerequisite: one year of high school algebra.

Chem 101-102, Chemistry and Physics of Life

Designed for non-chemistry majors. Chem 101 gives students a condensed foundation of chemistry principles. Chem 102 focuses on organic and biochemistry. Students who have taken at least two semesters of high school chemistry with grades of B- or higher may enroll in Chem 102 without taking 101. Lectures and laboratory.

Chem 200, Analytical Chemistry

Quantitative analysis using traditional and instrumental methods. Lectures and laboratory.

Chem 220, Human Nutrition

A study of the nutritive needs of the body in normal stages of growth and development, food sources of nutrients, nutrient functions, nutrition in clinical practice, and an emphasis on patient teaching.

Chem 303-304, Organic Chemistry*

Covering structure, nomenclature, stereochemistry, and principal reactions for the major functional groups of organic chemistry, this is a one-semester survey course that gives an overview of the field. Laboratory exercises introduce basic purification techniques. Using Chem 303 as a foundation, Chem 304 course presents additional reactions (with an increased emphasis on mechanisms) and material on stereochemistry, as well as introducing spectroscopy (IR, NMR, GC-MS and UV-Vis). Together, the Chem 303-304 sequence covers all topics traditionally covered in two-semester organic chemistry courses. Laboratory experiments teach techniques for organic syntheses, instruments (GC/MS, FT-IR, FT-NMR), and chemical information retrieval.

*Taught as two-cycle organic chemistry. For more information, view my presentation given at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 2010.

Chem 430, Biochemistry

Introduction to the chemical processes of living organisms. This course (which complements Biol 307) focuses primarily on proteins (including enzymes) and metabolism, with introductions to carbohydrates, lipids, and cell membranes. Students planning to continue on to graduate programs in medicine, biochemistry, or related fields should take both Chem 430 and Biol 307 to get a solid background in the areas of biochemistry and molecular biology. Lectures and laboratory.

Chem 450, Introduction to Research Problems

 

Current Projects

Faculty supervisor for biodiesel project . Used vegetable oil from the college’s cafeteria and snack bar are converted to biodiesel for use by the campus generator. Our reactor, based on that described in the book Biodiesel Basics and Beyond, by William Kemp, can process 300 liters of biodiesel per batch.

Research

Research on structure-function relationships in serine hydroxymethyltransferase.

Organic synthesis and purification of compounds used for research of pyridoxal phosphate-dependent enzymes.

Selected Publications

Schirch V., Schirch, D., Martini, F., and Bossa, F. Serine Hydroxymethyltransferase: Effect of Proteases on the Activity and Structure of the Cytosolic Enzyme, (1986) Eur . J. Biochem., 161, 45-49.

Schirch, D.M. and Wilson, J.E. Rat Brain Hexokinase: Location of the Substrate Hexose Binding Site in a Structural Domain at the C-Terminus of the Enzyme, (1987) Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 254, 385-396.

Schirch, D.M. and Wilson, J.E. Rat Brain Hexokinase: Amino Acid Sequence at the Substrate Hexose Binding Site is Homologous to that of Yeast Hexokinase, (1987) Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 257, 1-12.

Schirch, D.M. Location and Structure of the Hexose Binding Site of Rat Brain Hexokinase, (1986) Ph.D. Dissertation Thesis, Michigan State University.

Schirch, D.M., Contestabile, R., delle Frate, S., Iurescia, S., Angelaccio, S., Bossa, F., and Schirch, V. Function of the Active Site Lysine in Serine Hydroxymethyltransferase, (1993) J. Biol. Chem., 268 (31), 23132-23138.

Schirch, D.M., delle Frate, S., Iurescia, S., Angelaccio, S., Contestabile, R., Bossa, F., and Schirch, V. Serine Hydroxymethyltransferase: Role of the Active Site Lysine in the Mechanism of the Enzyme, (1993) Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 338, 715-718.

Schirch, D.M., Villar, E., Maras, B., Barra, D., and Schirch, V. Domain Structure and Function of 10-Formyltetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase, (1994) J. Biol. Chem., 269 (40), 24728-24735.

Cai, K., Schirch, D., and Schirch, V. The Affinity of Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate for Folding Intermediates of Escherichia coli Serine Hydroxymethyltransferase, (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270 (33), 19294-19299.

Kim, D.W., Huang, T., Schirch, D., and Schirch, V. The Properties of Tetrahydropteroylpentaglutamate Bound to 10-Formyltetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase, (1996). Biochem . 35 (49), 15772-15783.

Leadership of Study Service Term Units

Leader of Study-Service Term in Nicaragua during the summer of 2008.

Employment

July 2010-present
Professor of Chemistry, Goshen College, Goshen, IN.
2004-2010
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Goshen College, Goshen, IN.
2002-2004
Academic Dean, Ave Maria College of the Americas, Nicaragua.
2000-2004
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Ave Maria College of the Americas, Nicaragua.
1997-2000
Academic Dean, University of Mobile Latin American Campus, Nicaragua.
1994-2000
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Mobile Latin American Campus, Nicaragua.
1992-94
Postdoctoral research, Medical College of Virginia.
1987-91
Team member and Coordinator of Media/Documentation Office, Witness for Peace, Nicaragua.