Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Research
Research by Discipline
Biological and biophysical chemistry use chemical and physical techniques to investigate biological systems and their structure, properties, and behavior. These investigations are important in understanding the cause of disease and developing treatments and cures for these diseases.
Analytical and physical chemistry provide measurement techniques that can be used to address challenges facing our communities ranging from crime to climate change and environmental health. Research programs in this area build on the departments strong traditions of laboratory training and take our technical expertise to engage with our local community.
Nanochemistry is a new field of chemistry dealing with the syntheses, characterizations, and applications of nanoscale (from ~1 to ~100 nm) materials. In this size regime, many materials show unique physical and/or chemical properties that neither their bulk counterparts nor atoms/molecules have. Our discipline provides various research activities in, but not limited to, creating new chemical nanostructures, uncovering and understanding their novel properties, and learning how to organize these new nanostructures into larger and more complex functional structures and devices.
The main goal in this area of research is to discover efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly synthetic routes for the preparation of organic compounds that are beneficial to the society (e.g. pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, etc.). This broad area of research may involve one or more of the following topics: organic or organometallic synthesis design, reaction techniques, process chemistry, multiphase catalysis, green solvents, catalyst immobilization and/or recycling, and chromatographic separations. In addition, a variety of instrumental analytical techniques (NMR, IR, UV-Vis spectroscopy; mass spectrometry; X-ray crystallography) are used for structural identification of newly discovered compounds. A current topic is "green chemistry" and both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, as well as enzymatic reactions, feature prominently.
Chemical Education Research (CER) uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method techniques to investigate effective approaches to cognition, instruction, and assessment. Such investigations are important in aspiring future chemists, retaining people within the field of Chemistry, and broadening the wider public's understanding of Chemistry as a discipline and its applications to their everyday life.
With constantly improving curriculum and burgeoning technology affordances, there are many exciting opportunities for research in chemical education.