Areas of Research

Sponsors of research in the Department of Chemistry include government agencies (NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD), private foundations (Ellison Medical Foundation, Smith Family Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund, Sloan, Dreyfus), and corporations (Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Bristol Meyer Squibb, 3M). The research being conducted is recognized by many honors and awards for the faculty and their research groups and spans the breadth of chemistry. The research conducted in the Department is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative. It is facilitated by state of the art instrumentation and facilities, including the Life Science and Engineering building (dedicated in 2005).
Biochemical Research Excellence

Biological Chemistry

Biological chemistry research focuses on protein structure, peptide chemistry and biomodel systems, and bioinorganic chemistry. Within biological chemistry, biophysical chemistry explores the connections between physical chemistry and the chemical function of biological molecules. Protein folding, nucleic acid structure, biological electron transfer, and macromolecular dynamics are some of the topics investigated by this group of researchers, using both experiment and computation. Although most chemists use analytical chemical methods in their work, the research of some faculty focuses on the development of methods for the analysis of biological activity and detection of biological molecules.

Computational Research Excellence

Computational & Theoretical Chemistry

The active areas of research in theoretical and computational chemistry and biophysics include quantum dynamics, photo-ionization and electron-molecule scattering theory, classical statistical mechanics of dynamical processes in liquids, and protein structure and dynamics.

Inorganic Research Excellence

Inorganic Chemistry

Research in inorganic chemistry spans the continuum from small molecule systems to metalloproteins, from the investigation of the reactivity properties of synthetic complexes to the use of metal-based reagents for probing protein-DNA interactions.

Physical Research Excellence

Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry ranges from the development of analytical methods for environmental contaminants and biomaterials to measurement of the ultrafast reactions of excited molecules in the gas and fluid phases, with a strong emphasis on spectroscopic methods (Rosina Georgiadis, Björn Reinhard, Larry Ziegler). Specialty areas include materials science, nanotechnology, and photonics and photochemistry.

Organic Research Excellence

Synthetic Organic Chemistry

The organic chemistry group emphasizes the synthesis of complex natural and unnatural molecules of biological significance with an emphasis on the development of new synthetic methodologies. Isolation of bioactive natural products and synthesis aimed at drug discovery and development and medicinal chemistry are other important areas of research. Newer areas of research are related to utilization of parallel and combinatorial synthesis methods in complex molecule synthesis.