Dr Benjamin Schazmann

T: (+353-1) 402 4693
F: (+353-1) 402 4989
E: Benjamin.Schazmann@dit.ie          
                                  

BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, AMRSC, PG Cert in Third Level Learning & Teaching (DIT, 2010)

Profile

I have been active as a Lecturer in DIT since 2007.  I am involved in teaching a broad range of scientific subjects to all undergraduate years and at MSc level both in the classroom and in the lab.  In 1997 I obtained an honours BSc from Queen’s University in Belfast.  It was here under the supervision of Prof. AP deSylva during my final year project that I developed an interest in the synthesis and analytical application of active compounds for chemical sensors.  In 1999 I obtained an MSc in Chemical Oceanography at NUI, Galway under the supervision of Prof. M. Orren.  At NUI, Galway I learned to appreciate the importance of sampling in analytical chemistry and the satisfaction of applying science in real-life environments.  Following 2 years experience in the Pharmaceutical industry as a Development Chemist, I started work on a PhD.  In 2006 I obtained a PhD from Dublin City University under the supervision of Prof. Dermot Diamond.  At DCU I was fortunate to partake in the full life cycle of a chemical sensor, from molecular design to organic synthesis and on to the analytical characterisation and application in real-life devices of organic molecules (calixarenes in my case) that I designed and synthesised myself.
I was active as a post doctoral researcher in DCU until my appointment as Assistant Lecturer at DIT in 2007.  From a very young age I have had an interest in teaching in a variety of areas.  I am a qualified kayak instructor and enjoy giving language tuition since second level.

Current Duties

  • Year 2 coordinator of the DT261 Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences course
  • School Erasmus coordinator

Current Research Interests

The analysis of sodium in sweat – I am currently collaborating with Prof. Diamond at DCU with the aim of developing a wireless electrochemical sensor device for measuring real-time sodium concentration in sweat by wireless means.  This technology is envisaged to be of broad use, for example by performance athletes (e.g. dehydration studies) and for developing rehabilitation programs for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) sufferers, elevated sodium levels in sweat being symptomatic of CF.  At the heart of this sensor is an organic sensor molecule developed by Prof. Diamond and associates.

Supramolecular Chemistry – I am currently supervising projects which aim to exploit the fluorescent signal of pyrene containing compounds, whereby changes in emission intensities and wavelengths can be related to the conformational changes of 3D cage like structures (for example based on calixarene ‘cup shaped’ platforms).  These conformational changes can be simply explained by analytes (e.g. a chemical species such as a particular ion being measured) that fit selectively into the central cavities (hence the term supramolecular) of these molecules.  The sensor molecule adapts its shape or conformation to accommodate the analyte (This is sometimes and usefully called a Host-Guest interaction).  These shape changes may result in useful changes in absorption or emission properties of the molecules – a basis for the signal of an optical chemical sensor.
I am interested in both the synthesis of new fluorescent Host molecules as well as there characterization for analytical use.

Education Interests

In 2010 I was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education by DIT.  This programme ensures that lecturers are up to date with what is considered to be best practice in modern teaching and learning environments, specifically at third level.  What I learned from this course in essence:  Having delivered the fundamental science based on the traditional lecture method, there is less emphasis on the student listening and writing (both considered relatively passive activities) and more engagement with activities is encouraged (e.g. problem based learning, continuous assessment and project work).  This may be considered learning by doing – we remember what we experience!
In 2010 I was awarded a School Teaching Excellence Award.  This award encourages recipients to discover new teaching and student learning tools via the literature and observation of colleagues, facilitating constant improvement in the way we practice.
I have published work on the introduction of Quality Control charts in the teaching lab – a practice common in industry for example, helping to ensure analytical results are valid and reliable. 
I am currently conducting research by student and staff surveys on factors that motivate us to learn.  This revolves around a concept called Locus of Control (LOC).  An Internal LOC means we rely on our own strengths and abilities to achieve our learning goals.  A more External LOC suggests we require more help from others and rely on luck.  In general, an Internal LOC is considered more desirable.  A challenge is identifying activities that nurture better motivation.

Publications

Benjamin Schazmann, Deirdre Morris, Conor Slater, Stephen Beirne, Cormac Fay, Niall Moyna, Ronen Reuveni and Dermot Diamond.   A wearable electrochemical sensor for the real-time measurement of sweat sodium concentration.  Analytical Methods, 2010, 2, 342-348.

Benjamin Schazmann, Coleman O’Riordan, Brett Paull, Fiona Regan and Dermot Diamond.  Introducing Quality Control in the chemistry teaching laboratory using control charts.  Journal of Chemical Education, 2009, 86(9), p1085.

Benjamin Schazmann, Nameer Alhashimy and Dermot Diamond.  A Chloride Selective Calix[4]arene Optical Sensor Combining Urea Functionality With Pyrene Excimer TransductionJournal of the American Chemical Society, 2006, 128, 8607-8614.

Benjamin Schazmann, Shane O’Malley, Kieran Nolan and Dermot Diamond.  Development of a calix[4]arene sensor for soft metals based on nitrile functionality:  relating structural tuning to an Ion Selective Electrode response.  Supramolecular Chemistry, 2006, 18, 515-522.  
 
Benjamin Schazmann, Gillian McMahon, Kieran Nolan and Dermot Diamond.  Identification and recovery of an asymmetric calix[4]arene tetranitrile derivative using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Supramolecular Chemistry, 2005, 17, 393-399. 
 
Benjamin Schazmann and Declan McCormack.  The science of motivation and motivation in science:  A psychological snapshot of how students approach problem solving today (poster presentation).  Teaching and Learning Showcase DIT, January 2009. 

Ben Schazmann and Dermot Diamond.  A good combination: Chloride selectivity using a calixarene platform, urea co-ordination and pyrene optical signaling (oral presentation).  Joint RSC meeting for Supramolecular, Coordination and Macrocycle groups, QUB Belfast, December 2006.

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