Faculty Research

Click on the name of a faculty member to see contact information as well as full research activity information.
Professor
Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
Dr. Martin Chin is interested in the synthesis of organometallic complexes for the activation and functionalization of small molecules. The area of research involves synthesizing and testing new binuclear catalysts for the activation and functionalization of small molecules.  Professor Chin's research involves using a doubly linked dicyclopentadiene ligand with robust carbon linkers to hold the two metal centers next to each other.
Associate Professor
Organic Chemistry, Physical Organic Photochemistry, Green Chemistry, Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Three projects in Organic Synthesis with the end goals of:1) Bio-Oils Derivatization 2) Localized Drug Delivery and 3) Fluorescent Probes of Transition Metals.
Professor
Inorganic Chemistry, Solid-State Chemistry, Magnetic Materials, Hydrogen-Storage Materials
Materials for Hydrogen fuel cells Overall Nature and Background of the Project The desire to reduce the use of traditional fossil fuels has sparked great initiatives into alternative ways to produce, store and utilize energy that are more environmentally. While looking into all three aspects of alternative energy is important, new ways to store energy is vital. If we cannot store the energy produced by sources such as wind, solar, biomass etc., we waste the full potential from the production of cleaner sources of energy.
Associate Professor
Chemistry Education Research
There are two general areas of research I pursue: 1. My primary interest is in how students' experiences at all levels affect their development as scientists'.  Specifically, what makes them choose to become science (and specifically chemistry) majors, what causes them to change their major and what causes them to perservere.  Most recently, the focus has been on the experiences of women, but the research can (and will at some point) be expanded to both men and women. 2.
Assistant Professor
Inorganic Chemistry, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Porous Materials
Colin Weeks has summer research projects on synthesizing and investigating the properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These materials are two- and three-dimensional frameworks where organic molecules connect metal atoms together into crystalline polymeric structures.
Professor
Identifying biologically active natural products from prairie plants and cultered fungi; developing techniques to determine the absolute stereochemistry and regiochemsitry of complex carbohydrates.
A.)  Identifying biologically active natural products from prairie plants and cultured fungi.   This work involves doing bioassays on prairie plant and fungal extracts to identify compounds that have potent activity against bacterial and/or fungi.  The research also involves running bioassays for compounds that may be used in natural food preservatives. 
Assistant Professor
Chemistry Education Research, Chemistry Teacher Education Research
Currently, research projects which I am pursuing have two main focuses: (1) learning experiences impact on teachers’ practice, and (2) effects of curricular changes (new lesson plan, differing topic order, use of misconceptions) on students’ understanding and learning of chemistry.My recent research projects (all at different stages of development and implementation) include a project examining the effects of participating in undergraduate science education research on teachers’ practices, what science teachers understand about en
Assistant Professor
Protein folding and conformational changes; protein reaction dynamics and energetics; biophysical chemistry; time-resolved laser spectroscopy; sol-gel encapsulation of proteins.
I am interested in understanding how changes in a protein’s conformation affect its function, and the current focus of my research group is on understanding the mechanisms by which proteins fold.  This is part of a long-standing basic research question in Biophysics:   If we know a protein’s amino acid sequence, can we predict its structure and its function?  Further, many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington, and Jakob Creutzfeldt in humans and mad cow and wasting disease in animals are at le
Assistant Professor
Biochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Spectroscopy
Dr. Melisa Cherney has summer research projects mutating, expressing, and purifying the heme protein cytochrome c, as well as performing spectroscopic experiments with the purified protein.  The goal of these projects is to generate model systems to mimic "Type II heme-thiolate proteins" (a new class of proteins that are poorly understood and not as easy to work with as cytochrome c).  Aspects of the project include using PCR to make mutations to the cytochrome c DNA, using live E.
Assistant Professor
I am interested in the organic processes taking place in the atmosphere of Titan and other celestial bodies. Of particular interest is how organic aerosols interact with solvents at cryogenic temperatures.
My research program will aims to explore new aspects of prebiotic and Titan-like aerosols and their importance both in interpreting data from missions, such as Cassini-Huygens, and in understanding how biological molecules may form in abiotic environments. This will be accomplished through three interconnected research topics: The effect of trace species on bulk aerosols: properties and productionThe effect of extended photochemical processing on subsequent aerosol generationThe interaction of aerosols with liquids: solubility and subsequent reactions1.