Research Interests of the Faculty

By area of interest.
By name.

Research Interests by Area

Research Interests by Name

Edmond F. Bowden: Biological electrochemistry; electrochemistry of protein monolayers; biological electron transfer; monolayer modified electrodes; biosensors; enzyme electrocatalysis.

Wei-chen Chang: Chang lab focuses on elucidating and understanding intriguing biological transformations using bio-organic and bio-inorganic tools. We aim to utilize these "bio-catalysts" in making useful natural products.

Daniel L. Comins: New synthetic methodologies, strategies for asymmetric synthesis, directed metallation reactions, stereoselective reductions, catalytic asymmetric synthesis, new chiral auxiliaries, and the total synthesis of natural products and biologically active compounds.

Denis Fourches: Fourches' central research goal is to analyze, model, and forecast complex interactions between chemical structures and various biological targets to design novel compounds with the desired activity and safety profiles. To achieve this objective, his group develops and implements innovative cheminformatics methods that (i) characterize the two- and three-dimensional properties of molecules, (ii) establish and validate accurate quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR), and (iii) use these predictive models in combination with structure-based molecular docking for screening extremely large libraries of virtual compounds and prioritizing hits to be tested experimentally. Fourches' research on computational chemistry has important applications to drug discovery, agrochemical development, green chemistry, and biocompatible nanomaterials.

Stefan Franzen: The application of spectroscopy to structure and determination of enzymatic reaction mechanisms in biology.

Reza Ghiladi: Biological/medicinal inorganic chemistry. Research is focused primarily on i) the elucidation of enzyme structure-function-spectroscopy relationships as they relate to disease states, primarily the activation of the anti-tubercular drug isoniazid by the hemoprotein KatG; ii) metalloprotein (re)engineering via incorporation of unnatural amino acids into enzyme active sites; and iii) design and synthesis of novel anti-tubercular PDT agents.

Christopher B. Gorman: Design and synthesis of new optical and electronic materials for application in optoelectronic devices, nanoscale electronics, and information systems. The use of scanning probe microscopes for investigating nanoscale processes.

Lin He: Development of nanomaterial-based optical and mass spectrometric methods for chemical analysis of complex biological systems.

Elon Ison: Development of novel organometallic complexes for catalysis. Kinetic and mechanistic studies of catalytic and novel organometallic reactions. We are interested in the discovery and design of new organometallic catalysts. Our primary focus will be on catalytic oxidation reactions with a particular emphasis on green chemical reactions. Green chemistry is defined as, the invention, design and application of chemical products and processes to reduce or to eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Special emphasis will be placed on the mechanistic interpretation of these catalytic reactions with an eye on the elucidation of reaction pathways in order to gain insights for catalytic development in the future.

Elena Jakubikova: Computational chemistry, electronic structure theory. The focus is on development of new computational approaches to study molecular-based assemblies for solar energy conversion.

Vincent Lindsay: The Lindsay group focuses on developing new catalytic modes of activation of small molecules to accelerate the synthesis of biologically relevant organic compounds in a sustainable way: methodology development, C−H functionalization, asymmetric catalysis, organometallic chemistry, and green chemistry.

Jonathan S. Lindsey: Development of synthetic methods in porphyrin chemistry, design of molecular photonic devices for studies in artificial photosynthesis and molecular photonics, and development of workstations for automated chemistry.

Paul A. Maggard: Synthesis and characterization of metal-organic/oxide hybrids, ferroelectric/magnetic layered oxides, and large-pore iron based solids; hydrothermal and high temperature syntheses; X-ray diffraction; photocatalytic decomposition of H2O into H2 and O2; ferroelectricity; band gap measurements; electrical conductivity; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

James D. Martin: Characterization of magnetic and luminiscent properties of materials; Small molecule and gas sorption in metal halide analogs of zeolites; X-ray crystallography; Synthesis and characterization of materials with negative thermal expansion coefficients; Solid-state phase transitions.

Christian Melander: Bioorganic chemistry. Design and synthesis of novel ligands for the sequence specific recognition of nucleic acids. Small molecule control of gene transcription/translation. Evolution of protein catalysts to mediate key steps in the total synthesis of natural products.

David Muddiman: Professor Muddiman’s research group focuses on the development of high-end mass spectrometry instrumentation and its application to solve important biological problems. Research projects include mass measurement accuracy and quantification using FT-ICR mass spectrometry, gas-phase ion chemistry, separations coupled with MS, and understanding and exploiting a variety of ionization techniques.

Alexander A. Nevzorov: Biophysical solid-state NMR spectroscopy; structure determination of membrane proteins; development of NMR pulse sequences and structure calculation algorithms using angular-dependent NMR observables; slow-motional spin dynamics.

Maria T. Oliver-Hoyo: Design and development of resources for chemistry instruction. A solid background in chemistry is essential in the development of materials to be used in chemistry courses. This group seeks inquisitive, creative, and highly motivated students interested in obtaining a strong background in chemistry to be used toward the design and development of chemical applications to educational purposes.

Joshua G. Pierce: The Pierce group is targeting biological problems through the development of synthetic chemistry: Complex bioactive natural product synthesis, novel reaction development, asymmetric catalysis, organometallic chemistry and medicinal chemistry.

Caroline Proulx: Bioorganic chemistry: design, synthesis, folding, & function of peptidomimetics. We develop new synthetic chemistry to access robust peptide and protein mimics for drug development and chemical biology tools. Topics include: the effect of unnatural amino acids on folding and function, medicinal chemistry, peptide chemistry, chemical biology, and bio-nanomaterials.

David A. Shultz: Molecular magnetism. Design, synthesis and characterization of organic molecules and related molecular assemblies containing unpaired electrons, particularly ligands based on semiquinones and porphyrins.

Alex Smirnov: Use of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and especially development of novel high field/high resolution EPR methods in biomedical and biophysical research as well as material science. The main emphasis is given to the following areas: studies protein conformations and folding with site-directed spin labeling and EPR at high magnetic fields; development of new spin-labels for distance measurements in proteins; probing electrostatic environment of proteins with High Field EPR, structure of paramagnetic ion clusters in novel optically-active glasses.

Tatyana Smirnova: Research interests focused on application of spectroscopy, especially electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and fluorescence, in chemistry and biology, specifically to study structure and dynamics of membranes and proteins, drug-protein, and protein-protein interactions.

Leslie Sombers: Neuroanalytical chemistry. Research projects include the development of robust electrochemical sensing technologies to measure rapid neurochemical processes, and their application to neuroscience questions including the study of addiction.

Walter W. Weare: Inorganic chemistry related to solar energy capture and storage. Projects include exploring molecular metal-to-metal charge transfer by synthesis and spectroscopy, with the ultimate goal of integrating such a chromophore into solar-to-fuel systems.

Myung-Hwan Whangbo: Study of structural and electronic properties of low-dimensional solid-state materials by electronic band structure calculations; analysis of scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy images.

Jerry L. Whitten: Theoretical chemistry; electronic interactions, molecular structure theory, chemisorption on solids and surface reactions. Development of first-principles computational methods.

Gufeng Wang: We are developing optical imaging techniques to solve chemical, biological and material problems. Our current research includes super-resolution optical microscopy, single molecule and nanoparticle imaging, interfacial phenomena, nanoparticles with novel optical and chemical properties, bioanalytical chemistry, and biophysics.

Gavin Williams: We use evolutionary methods of enzyme redesign called directed evolution to create mutant enzymes with altered specificity and activity. These novel bio-catalysts are then employed for the biosynthesis of natural product analogues and other small molecules, which may result in the identification of improved drugs with antibacterial, antiviral, or anticancer properties. Studying variant enzymes created by our engineering efforts will improve our understanding of the molecular basis of enzyme specificity and catalysis. Research spans the traditional boundaries of chemistry, biology, and engineering, and as such is highly interdisciplinary.