Student research is one of the most important aspects of our curriculum. Majors design and carry out projects with guidance from a faculty mentor of their choice, often starting research during their sophomore or junior year. These projects are excellent learning experiences for future scientists and many are of our students are published in peer-reviewed journals and have their work funded by external research grants.
Our faculty are experts in a wide range of areas, including both traditional fields in chemistry, biochemistry and physics, and emerging interdisciplinary specialties that focus on applications in medicine and industry.
Dr. Ron Brown (Physical and Computational Chemistry)
Students in Dr. Brown’s research group use computational techniques, including electronic structure calculations and the development of Monte Carlo simulations, to investigate surface adsorption and other localized phenomena on extended systems such as carbon nanotubes and graphene.
Amanda Harris, class of 2014, is investigating the energetics of small adsorbates to the surfaces of carbon nanotubes.
Kirubeal Mulugeta, class of 2015, is studying the relative stability of graphene surfaces following adsorption processes.
Dr. Amy Danowitz (Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology)
Students in Dr. Danowitz' research group develop new reactions to make biologically active small molecules, and develop synthetic molecules that affect biological systems.
Megan Church, class of 2014, is developing peptides that affect quorum sensing in bacteria.
Dr. Clint Jones (Analytical and Materials Chemistry)
Jones Lab Research Website
Dr. Jones works with intelligent hydrogel polymers to produce nanoparticles and thin films, which capture targeted chemicals from solution.
Dr. Amy Parente (Biochemistry and Environmental Analysis)
Parente Lab Research Website
Dr. Chris Taylor (Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology)
Student projects in Dr. Taylor's research group include developing novel methods to synthesize 'drug like' molecules, synthesizing artificial ligands for mosquito olfactory receptors, and using a mechanistic understanding of cancer biochemistry to find more effective drug combinations for cancer treatment.
Zane Taylor, class of 2015, is developing new organocatalytic reactions that will allow rapid construction of drug-like functionality.
Autumn Walter, class of 2016, is working on a joint project with Dr. Taylor and Dr. Dyan Jones (physics) to examine combination effects from radiation and drug treatment on cancer cells.
Dr. Jack Williams (Organic Chemistry and Natural Products)
Williams Lab Research Website
Dr. Williams's research is in the area of flavors and fragrances specifically with respect to the aroma profiles of plants and foods. This research relies heavily on both 1D and 2D Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) in addition to Gas Chromatography Olfactometry (GC-O).