A major strength of the department is the commitment of the full-time faculty to research involving undergraduate and graduate students. This research commitment is an integral part of our teaching. A research project is required in all options in the MS Chemistry program, and at the undergraduate level can be used for elective credit.  Some faculty have set up research web pages, which may be accessed using the links below.

  • Dr. Ba -  The development and applications of magnetic resonance techniques for the studies of physicochemical properties of biomedically related macromolecules, hydrogel systems and nano-structured drug carriers. 
  • Dr. Foster - My research activities are designed to investigate the effects of sunlight on pollutants at the air-water interface.  For example, sunlight may react with elevated nitrate concentrations in watersheds to change the oxidation capacity of the water and the air.  In addition, many pesticides in air and water are decomposed by sunlight; however, little is known about the decomposition products.  My research group investigates these types of fundamental questions using ion chromatography and LC/MS/MS.
  • Dr. Gomez - Biological applications of capillary electrophoresis (CE) with a particular interest in molecular recognition and analysis of in-capillary enzyme-mediated transformations; bioinorganic, bioorganometallic, and main-group synthetic chemistry.
  • Dr. Gutierrez - Synthetic organic chemistry. Synthesis of highly substituted crown ethers as selective ionophores and enzyme mimics; ferric ion binding ligands as potential therapeutic agents for thalassermia; and other biologically active substances.
  • Dr. Hayes - Biochemical processes and protein machinery that modify and controls ribonucleic acids (RNAs).  An improved understanding of the regulation of RNA metabolism will lead to the development of new biotechnolotical tools.
  • Dr. Liu - Design and synthesis of nanoporous materials (e.g. Metal-Organic Frameworks) for applications including energy storage, gas separation, carbon capture, catalysis, sensing, drug delivery and semiconductors. Our group is also interested in exploring new hybrid materials and studying the structure-property relationship through collaborations with computational scientists and industry.
  • Dr. McCurdy - Bioorganic Chemistry. Synthesis of organic molecules designed to mimic calcium signaling in cells by binding and releasing calcium ions in response to light.
  • Dr. Momand - Redox regulation of signal transduction pathways with a particular emphasis on the p53 tumor suppressor protein. Development of new assays for quantitative and qualitative analysis of oxidation reactions of protein amino acid residues. 
  • Dr. Nickolaisen - Kinetic study of the gas phase photolysis of alkanes using flash photolysis/infrared photochemical techniques.
  • Dr. Rudd -My research activities are focused on the teaching and learning of chemistry and other sciences that examine the natural world. My research groups investigate science instruction across a range of contexts, such as instructional methods in college classrooms, professional support for K-12 teachers, and institutional change within college and university science departments. Specific projects are: use of multiple representations in chemistry pedagogy, development of inquiry-based laboratory curricula, implementation of Next Generation Science Standards in K-12 curricula, and assessment of high-impact, low-cost strategies in college science courses.
  • Dr. Selke -Mechanistic organic, bioorganic, and organometallic chemistry, models for oxygen activation in enzymatic reactions. Organic and organometallic photochemistry. Chemistry of singlet oxygen.
  • Dr. Sode - Theoretical chemistry; computational approaches including electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning are employed to study multiscale chemical phenomena.
  • Dr. Tunstad - Synthetic organic chemistry; Synthesis of macrocycles for host-guest complexation studies.
  • Dr. Vellanoweth -Characterization of biochemical and molecular genetic events in the senescence of leaf tissue in Arabidopsis thaliana. Identification and cloning of senescence-specific genes and analysis of their regulation at the transcriptional level. Genetic dissection of leaf longevity using mutational approaches.
  • Dr. Wang - Nanoscale electrochemical imaging/analysis. Interested areas: imaging single catalytic nanoparticles and relating the catalytic efficiency to structures; studying drug-protein interaction from single cell analysis; developing electrochemical sensors for environmental and food safety.
  • Dr. Wen - My research interests are at the chemistry-biology interface. We aim to understand the relationships between protein structure, dynamics, and function by integrating molecular biology techniques with biophysical methods (primarily NMR and CD). In particular, we are currently working on two biological systems to address how the interactions of protein-small molecule affect the structure of the protein, and accordingly the biological role of the protein: (1) Antifreeze protein and small molecule interactions, and (2) Zinc finger protein and toxic metal ion interactions -
  • Dr. Zhou -Developing various sensitive instrumental methods to analyze environmentally and biologically important species using electrochemical and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopic methods. Also, developing electrochemically- based biosensors. 
  • Dr. Zurita-Lopez -Assessing the functional role of protein arginine methylation including the effects of methylation with respect to other modifications such as phosphorylation function.