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.


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.


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 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.


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.