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John Brent Friesen was born in Mt. Lake, MN and grew up on a farm in southwestern MN. He has been an avid runner since high school. He has remained a competitive marathon and middle-distance runner throughout his life.

After completing his undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Prof Friesen and his wife joined the Mennonite Central Committee and spent three years in Europe and Africa. After 9 months in Brussels studying French, they went to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). They taught in a high school in a small village near the Angolan border that had a missionary hospital.

After completing his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of MN, Prof Friesen and his wife joined the Peace Corps and went back to Africa with two children. This time they lived in N’Djamena, Chad -- another French speaking country. Prof Friesen taught at the University there for seven years. During part of that time they were country representatives for the Mennonite Central Committee. He learned a lot about African traditional medicine during that time and got interested in studying medicinal plants.

When Prof Friesen started out at Dominican in 1999, he had an office, teaching laboratory, chemical stockroom, storeroom, and classroom practically all to himself on the third floor of the old science building (Albertus Magnus Hall). He found it difficult to do research under those conditions so he started working with Dr. Guido Pauli at UIC College of Pharmacy during the summers. His work at UIC mainly focuses on dietary supplements such as Ginkgo, Black Cohosh, Hops, Green Tea, Hemp, and Licorice.

The chemistry faculty moved into Parmer Hall to start the Fall 2007 school year. It was pretty amazing to have new labs and facilities. Prof Friesen enjoys creating a new course or modifying a course that he has taught before. He always thinks that there is a way to improve his teaching and the courses he teaches. He has his own research lab and has mentored dozens of student researchers.
PhD, University of Minnesota
BA, Bethel College
Research Interests
Investigating the biological activity of natural products and plant extracts.
Developing research-rich undergraduate Organic Chemistry experiments.
Engaging in pioneering work with Countercurrent Chromatography methodology and applications.


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