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Research Areas

Research Areas

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry supports ongoing research in a variety of areas. Explore the various research areas and associated faculty below. These research areas also correspond to the available areas of specialization for our Graduate Degrees

Analytical Chemistry is a discipline within chemistry and biochemistry which is substantially focused upon the identification, determination, and quantitation of various bio/chemical substances and/or classes of substances. Thus, analytical chemists are generally more concerned with chemical and physical properties of matter that will allow the distinguishment of such species. Likewise, analytical chemists are more broadly concerned with the instrumentation and procedures employed in the identification and measurement of chemicals. Many individuals would more strongly associate analytical chemists, as opposed to chemists of other sub-disciplines, with the applied areas of electrochemistry, spectroscopy, separations, and equilibrium/kinetics.

Faculty:

Shaorong Liu | development and application of micorfluidic systems, bio-separation, bio-analysis, analytical instrumentation

Laura-Isobel McCall | chemical cartography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, metabolomics, host-microbe interactions, microbiome

Robert L. White | infrared and mess spectrometric analysis, environemental chemistry

Si Wu | top-down proteomics, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, proteomics, HDX-MS, functional proteomics, autoimmune disease, single cell analysis 

Zhibo Yang | mass spectrometry, live single cell analysis, mass spectrometry imaging, instrumentation, metabolomics, fundamental ion chemistry

Biochemistry is a study of the chemistry of life. The discipline includes a study of the structure of proteins and other macromolecules and how they are formed and organized into what we see as parts of the body, organs, organelles and cells. Proteins are multifunctional and an important part of Biochemistry is devoted to an understanding of how they work, including a study of metabolism as it relates to the utilization of nutrient to create energy or build molecules needed by the body. The structure of other macromolecules such as lipids and complex carbohydrates and how they are made and work is also studied. The storage and transmission of genetic and other information is also considered. Finally, the discipline includes a study of how the above processes are regulated. Closely related to this is a study of how cells and organisms grow, differentiate and reproduce. Underpinning all of the above are the tenets learned in Physical, Organic, and Inorganic Chemistry. In addition, it is impossible to describe the study of the above without a working knowledge of Analytical Chemistry.

Faculty: 

Christina R. Bourne | structural biology, anti-bacterial, microbiology, biochemistry

Laura-Isobel McCall | chemical cartography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, metabolomics, host-microbe interactions, microbiome

Rakhi Rajan | protein-nucleic acid interactions, CRISPR-Cas systems, structural biology, gene editing, CRISPR adaptation

George Richter-Addo | biological inorganic chemistry, heme porteins, nitric oxide

Valentin V. Rybenkov | chromatin structure and dynamics, single DNA nanomanipulations, antibiotic discovery, computational and mathematical biophysics 

Yihan Shao | enzymatic reactions, bioluminescence, chemiluminescence, multi-scale modeling algorithms, quantum chemistry methods

Paul A. Sims | enzymology, biocatalysis, biochemical education

Shanteri Singh | chemoenzymatic, chemical biology, enzymes, X-ray, NMR

Ann H. West | C. difficile sporulation, two-component signal transduction, stuctural biology, protein phosphorylation

Helen I. Zgurskaya | cell membrane biochemistry

Inorganic chemistry is concerned with the structure, properties, and reactions of all compounds not derived from hydrocarbons. It has applications in every aspect of the chemical industry, including catalysis, materials science, pigments, surfactants, coatings, medicine, fuel, and agriculture.  Inorganic chemists are employed in fields as diverse as the mining and microchip industries, environmental science, and education.  Their work is based on understanding the behavior and the analogues for inorganic elements, and how these materials can be modified, separated or used often in product applications.

Faculty:

Yitong Dong | quantum dot, single photon emitter, spectroscopy, quantum dot synthesis, quantum light source, single nanocrystal spectroscopy, photocatalysis, electrochemistry

George Richter-Addo | biological inorganic chemistry, heme porteins, nitric oxide

Bayram Saparov | solid state chemistry, materials chemistry, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, chalcogenides, photovoltaics, magnetism

Indrajeet Sharma | synergistic catalysis, metal carbenes, carbohydrate chemistry, nitrous oxide, drug discovery, organic synthesis, natural products, laughing gas

Yitong Dong | quantum dot, single photon emitter, spectroscopy, quantum dot synthesis, quantum light source, single nanocrystal spectroscopy, photocatalysis, electrochemistry

Daniel T. Glatzhofer | energy conversion and storage, polymer chemistry, electrochemistry

Ulrich H.E. Hansmann | protein folding, aggregation, enhanced sampling techniques

Chuanbin Mao | nanotechnology, nanomedicine, biomaterials

Bayram Saparov | solid state chemistry, materials chemistry, hybrid organic-inorganic materials, chalcogenides, photovoltaics, magnetism 

Yihan Shao | enzymatic reactions, bioluminescence, chemiluminescence, multi-scale modeling algorithms, quantum chemistry methods

Indrajeet Sharma | synergistic catalysis, metal carbenes, carbohydrate chemistry, nitrous oxide, drug discovery, organic synthesis, natural products, laughing gas

Wai Tak Yipsensor development, solar energy harvesting, single-molecule photophysics 

Organic chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the structure, properties, and reactions of compounds that contain carbon. It is a highly creative science.  Chemists in general and organic chemists in particular can create new molecules never before proposed which, if carefully designed, may have important properties for the betterment of the human experience. The very foundations of biochemistry, biotechnology, and medicine are built on organic compounds and their role in life processes.  Most all of the modern, high tech materials are composed, at least in part, of organic compounds.

Faculty:

Robyn Beaulieu | chemical education, organic chemistry, mechanistic organization, currciulum development, laboratory development

Robert H. Cichewicz | antibiotics, cancer, drug discovery, fungi, infectious diseases, natural products

Daniel T. Glatzhofer | energy conversion and storage, polymer chemistry, electrochemistry

Donna J. Nelson | organic chemistry education research, science policy, public perception of science

Indrajeet Sharma | synergistic catalysis, metal carbenes, carbohydrate chemistry, nitrous oxide, drug discovery, organic synthesis, natural products, laughing gas

Shanteri Singh | chemoenzymatic, chemical biology, enzymes, X-ray, NMR

Physical chemistry is concerned generally with the structure, energy, and transformation of matter, placing special emphasis on the principles of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and kinetics. Physical chemists are focused on understanding the physical properties of atoms and molecules, the way chemical reactions work, and finding out what these properties reveal. Their work involves analyzing materials, developing methods to test and characterize the properties of materials, developing theories about these properties, and discovering the potential use of the materials.

Faculty:

Ulrich H.E. Hansmann | protein folding, aggregation, enhanced sampling techniques

Charles V. Rice | MRSA, antibiotics, beta-lactams, drug development

Valentin V. Rybenkov | chromatin structure and dynamics, single DNA nanomanipulations, antibiotic discovery, computational and mathematical biophysics 

Susan J. Schroeder | biophysical chemistry, viral RNA, virus-host interactions, nanopore sequencing, structural biology, RNA thermodynamics, RNA structure prediction 

Yihan Shao | enzymatic reactions, bioluminescence, chemiluminescence, multi-scale modeling algorithms, quantum chemistry methods

Zhibo Yang | mass spectrometry, live single cell analysis, mass spectrometry imaging, instrumentation, metabolomics, fundamental ion chemistry

Wai Tak Yip | sensor development, solar energy harvesting, single-molecule photophysics 

Christina R. Bourne | structural biology, anti-bacterial, microbiology, biochemistry

Ulrich H.E. Hansmann | protein folding, aggregation, enhanced sampling techniques

Rakhi Rajan | protein-nucleic acid interactions, CRISPR-Cas systems, structural biology, gene editing, CRISPR adaptation

George Richter-Addo | biological inorganic chemistry, heme porteins, nitric oxide

Susan J. Schroeder | biophysical chemistry, viral RNA, virus-host interactions, nanopore sequencing, structural biology, RNA thermodynamics, RNA structure prediction 

Shanteri Singh | chemoenzymatic, chemical biology, enzymes, X-ray, NMR

Ann H. West | C. difficile sporulation, two-component signal transduction, stuctural biology, protein phosphorylation