Faculty and students participate in active research programs encompassing modern aspects of analytical, biological, environmental, inorganic, organic, physical, and polymer chemistry. Our research drives innovation both domestically and internationally, focusing on topics such as biomedicine, nanomaterials, green synthesis, and clean energy.
Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining and processing information about the composition and structure of matter. Our research is highly multidisciplinary and includes bioanalytical chemistry, mass spectrometry, sensing and imaging, spectroscopy, proteomics and metabolomics. Projects focus on developing novel (nanofabricated or microfluidic) devices and methodologies for disease biomarker detection, mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics, and the understanding of quantum dots as platforms for analytical probes.
Biological chemistry is the study of the chemical substances and processes related to live organisms. Our multidisciplinary research covers the investigation of the mechanism of mutagenesis and repair of DNA damage, the synthesis of small molecules that interrogate the molecular mechanism of action of nerve communication and protein-carbohydrate interactions, the search toward novel antibiotics, the development of early cancer biomarkers, and the assembly of RNA sequences at nanoparticle surfaces for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Environmental chemistry is the study of the chemical and biochemical phenomena that occur in natural places. Our research includes studies of solar photocatalytic degradation of toxic species, the distribution of toxic elements in the biosphere, the development of materials for the adsorption of harmful chemicals, and mass spectrometry-based investigations of the metabolomics of life to learn more about the interactions between humans and their environment.
Inorganic chemistry deals with the synthesis and behavior of inorganic elements. Our areas of focus include transition metal and main group coordination chemistry for a range of applications, bioinorganic chemistry, organometallics, catalysis, solid state, and materials chemistry. Our strengths include solid state catalysis of a range of small molecule activation, fine chemical production, and environmental toxin remediation processes, the physical characterization of solid state materials, battery research, the development of metal-based drugs, and the fundamental study of bioinorganic processes.
Organic chemistry is the branch of chemistry that studies the structure, properties and reactions of organic compounds. Our projects range from the study of natural products and their analogues; reaction method development; chemical biology; and medicinal, green, and polymer chemistry. Researchers use compounds or materials that they have synthesized as tools to investigate a broader question about activity or properties. Training in organic chemistry develops expertise in the synthesis and characterization of new molecules and materials.
Physical chemistry is the study of phenomena in chemical systems in terms of the principles and concepts of physics. Our research includes the study of light-induced photochemical events in pigments and proteins, solar energy capture and its translation into chemical energy, the study of the optical and structural properties of nanoparticles at the single particle level, the development of large-scale quantum chemical methods to model protein structure and function, and the atomistic simulation and practical manipulation of atoms and molecules on a surface.
Polymer chemistry focuses on the study of the chemical synthesis, structure, and chemical and physical properties of polymers and macromolecules. Our research focuses on ionic and radical polymer synthesis; soft, liquid crystals, shape memory, or biomimetic materials; self-assembled structures; electrochromic and fluorinated polymers; carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets; and polymers grafted to surfaces. Our work also encompasses polymer characterization by microscopy and scattering techniques.