Conducting scientific research is an integral part of an education in chemistry and the Chemistry Department provides a variety of exciting research opportunities. Students get to work one-on-one with Chemistry faculty on challenging projects in fields as varied as chemical synthesis and characterization (organic, inorganic, organometallic, materials), physical, theoretical, and computational chemistry, biochemistry and bioorganic chemistry, analytical and instrumental chemistry, environmental and atmospheric chemistry. During their research, students learn to use a wide array of modern instruments (see the list of departmental instruments), participate in the writing of proposals and publications, and present their results at UPS and in various regional and national conferences. 

Research opportunities:

Chem 390 – Directed Research: Theoretical and/or experimental research done in an area of chemistry connected to the specialty of a mentor in the Chemistry Department. This research is conducted during the fall or spring semesters. Student and mentor sign a contract that specifies the number of units and agree on the schedule, format of the research and presentation of the results. Directed Research often constitutes a student’s first opportunity at conducting cutting-edge research in chemistry.

Chem 490 – Senior Research Thesis: A yearlong commitment to independent research that is typically closely connected to the mentor's specialty, although student-initiated projects are also possible. The results of the student’s work are presented in the form of a senior thesis and a presentation in front of the Chemistry Department. Students seeking the BS degree in Chemistry are required to participate in research during their senior year.

Summer research on campus: Students can conduct research during the summer in collaboration with a mentor in the Chemistry Department. This research is typically quite different from Chem 390 and Chem 490 in that summer research is a full-time, ten-week long effort for which the students receive a stipend. In order to conduct summer research, students need to select a faculty mentor and write a research proposal during the school year as part of the application for a Summer Research Grant in Science and Mathematics. This grant ($3250 in 2013) is awarded to students on a competitive basis and requires the students to present their results in the form of a poster at the Fall Student Research Symposium. Many students continue their summer research into the following school year (as either Chem 390 or Chem 490). In addition, they often get the opportunity to present their work at regional and national conferences.

Important Research Information:

Research Laboratory Useful Information

Faculty research:

Visit the faculty webpages for more information on their research interests:

Professor Luc Boisvert Research

Professor Dan Burgard Research

Professor Jo Crane Research

Professor Jeff Grinstead Research

Professor John Hanson Research

Professor Amanda Mifflin Research

Professor Steven Neshyba Research

Professor Amy Odegard Research

Professor Eric Scharrer Research


Recent publications:

If you’re curious about some of the research recently conducted by students and faculty from the department, see this list of publications:

Undergraduates are highlighted in bold.

 Gessel, M. M.; Norris, J. L.; Caprioli, R. M. "MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry: Spatial Molecular Analysis to Enable a New Age of Discovery" J. Proteomics 2014, 107, 71-82.

Vita, F.; Tauscher, T.; Speetjens, F.; Samulski, E. T.; Scharrer, E.; Francescangeli, O. “Evidence of Biaxial Order in the Cybotactic Nematic Phase of Bent-Core Mesogens” Chem. Mater. 2014, 26, 4671-4674.

Moore, D. R.; Burgard, D. A.; Larson, R. G.; Ferm, M.  "Psychostimulant Use Among College Students During Periods of High and Low Stress: An Interdisciplinary Approach Utilizing Both Self-Report and Unobtrusive Chemical Sample Data" Addict. Behav. 2014, 39, 987-993.

Burgard, D. A.; Banta-Green, C.; Field, J. A. "Working Upstream: How Far Can You Go With Sewage-Based Drug Epidemiology?" Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, 48, 1362-1368.

Burgard, D. A.; Fuller, R.; Becker, B*.; Ferrell, R.*; Dinglasan-Panlilio, M. J. "Potential Trends in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Drug Use on a College Campus: Wastewater Analysis of Amphetamine and Ritalinic" Acad.  Sci. Total Environ. 2013, 450-451, 242-249.

Hanson, J. E. “NMR Spectroscopy in Nondeuterated Solvents (No-D NMR): Applications in the Undergraduate Organic Laboratory”, in NMR Spectroscopy in the Undergraduate Curriculum, Soulsby, D.; Anna, L. J.; Wallner, A. S. Editors.; ACS Symposium Series, Vol. 1128; American Chemical Society, Washington, DC (2013), pp 69-81.

Rowe, P. M.; Neshyba, S. P.; Walden, V. P. "Radiative Consequences of Low-Temperature Infrared Refractive Indices for Supercooled Water Clouds." Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 2013, 13, 18749-18770.

Neshyba, S. P.; Lowen, B.; Benning, M.; Lawson, A.; Rowe, P. M. "Roughness Metrics of Prismatic Facets of Ice." J. Geophys. Res. – Atmospheres 2013, 118, 3309-3318.

Gessel, M. M.; Bernstein, S.; Kemper, M.; Teplow, D. B.; Bowers, M. T. “Familial Alzheimer’s Disease Mutations Differentially Alter β-Protein Oligomerization” ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2012, 3, 909-918.

Gessel, M. M.; Wu, C.; Li, H.; Bitan, G.; Shea, J.-E.; Bowers, M. T. “Aβ(39-42) Modulates Aβ Oligomerization but Not Fibril Formation” Biochemistry 2012, 51, 108-117.

Gladich, I.; Pfalzgraff, W.; Maršálek,O.; Jungwirth, P.; Roeselová, M.; Neshyba, S. "Arrhenius Analysis of Anisotropic Surface Diffusion on the Prismatic Facet of Ice." Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2011, 13, 19960-19969.

Pfalzgraff, W.; Neshyba, S.; Roeselová, M. "Comparative Molecular Dynamics Study of Vapor-Exposed Basal, Prismatic, and Pyramidal Surfaces of Ice." J. Phys. Chem. A 2011, 115, 6184-6193.

Alex, S.; Lange, K.; Amolo, T.; Grinstead, J. S.; Haakonsson, A. K.; Szalowska, E.; Koppen, A.; Mudde, K.; Haenen, D.; Al-Lahham, S.; Roelofsen, H.; Houtman, R.; van der Burg, B.; Mandrup, S.; Bonvin, A. M.; Kalkhoven, E.; Müller, M.; Hooiveld, G. J.; Kersten, S. "Short-Chain Fatty Acids Stimulate Angiopoietin-Like 4 Synthesis in Human Colon Adenocarcinoma Cells by Activating Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ." Mol. Cell. Biol. 2013, 33, 1303-1316.

Neshyba, S. "It's a Flipping Revolution." Chronicles of Higher Education, April 4, 2013.

Speetjens, F.; Lindborg, J.; Tauscher, T.; LaFemina, N.; Nguyen, J.; Samulski, E. T.; Vita, F.; Francescangeli, O.; Scharrer, E. "Low Nematic Onset Temperatures and Room Temperature Cybotactic Behavior in 1,3,4-Oxadiazole-Based Bent-Core Mesogens Possessing Lateral Methyl Groups." J. Mater. Chem. 2012, 22, 22558-22564.

Boisvert, L.; Goldberg, K. I. "Reactions of Late Transition Metal Complexes with Molecular Oxygen." Acc. Chem. Res. 2012, 45, 899-910.

Burgard, D. A.; Bria, C. R. M.; Berenbeim, J. A. "Remote Sensing of Emissions from In-Use Small Engine Marine Vessels." Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45, 2894-2901.

Gladich, I.; Pfalzgraff, W.; Maršálek, O.; Jungwirth, P.; Roeselová, M.; Neshyba, S. "Arrhenius Analysis of Anisotropic Surface Diffusion on the Prismatic Facet of Ice."  Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2011, 13, 19960-19969.

Pfalzgraff, W.; Neshyba, S.; Roeselová, M. "Comparative Molecular Dynamics Study of Vapor-Exposed Basal, Prismatic, and Pyramidal Surfaces of Ice." J. Phys. Chem. A 2011, 115, 6184-6193.

Rowe, P. M.; Neshyba, S.; Cox, C.; Walden, V. P. "A Responsivity-Based Criterion for Accurate Calibration of FTIR Spectra: Identification of In-Band Low-Responsivity Wavenumbers." Optics Express 2011, 19, 5930-5941.

Rowe, P. M.; Neshyba, S.; Walden, V. P. "A Responsivity-Based Criterion for Accurate Calibration of FTIR Spectra: Theoretical Development and Bandwidth Estimation." Optics Express 2011, 19, 5451-5463.

Odegard A.; Banerjee M.; Johnson J. E. "Flock House Virus: A Model System for Understanding Non-Enveloped Virus Entry and Membrane Penetration." Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol. 2010, 343, 1-22.

Pfalzgraff, W.; Hulscher, R.; Neshyba, S. "Scanning Electron Microscopy and Molecular Dynamics of Surfaces of Growing and Ablating Hexagonal Ice Crystals." Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2010, 10, 2927-2935.

Hanson, J.; Dasher, B.; Scharrer, E.; Hoyt, T. “Exploring the Stereochemistry of the Wittig Reaction: The Unexpected Influence of a Nominal Spectator Ion.” J. Chem. Educ. 2010, 87, 971-974.

Mifflin, A. L.; Smith, M. L.; Martin, S. T. "Morphology Hypothesized to Influence Aerosol Particle Deliquescence." Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2009, 11, 10095-10107.

Odegard, A. L.; Kwan, M. H.; Walukiewicz, H. E.; Banerjee, M.; Scheemann, A.; Johnson, J. E. "Low Endocytic pH and Capsid Protein Autocleavage are Critical Components of Flock House Virus Cell Entry." J. Virol. 2009, 83, 8628-8637.

Banerjee, M.; Khayat, R.; Walukiewicz, H. E.; Odegard, A. L.; Schneemann, A.; Johnson, J. E. "Dissecting the Functional Domains of a Nonenveloped Virus Membrane Penetration Peptide." J. Virol. 2009, 83, 6929-6933.

Burgard, D. A.; Provinsal. M. "On-Road, In-Use Gaseous Emissions Measurements by Remote Sensing of School Buses Equipped with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts and Diesel Particulate Filters." J. Air Waste Manage. Assoc. 2009, 59, 1468-1473.

Neshyba, S.; Nugent, E.; Roeselová, M.; Jungwirth, P. "Molecular Dynamics Study of Ice-Vapor Interactions via the Quasi-Liquid Layer." J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113, 4597-4604.