Department of Chemistry – Research Interests 2017
Kevin Bisceglia, Ph.D. – Environmental Chemist
Dr. Bisceglia's research focuses on monitoring trace organic chemicals in the built environment. Recent projects have included studying the leaching and transformation of pesticides from consumer-grade mulch products, and developing analytical methods to monitor for illicit drugs and other public health biomarkers in municipal wastewater, a practice called wastewater epidemiology.
Ronald P. D'Amelia, Ph.D. - Physical Polymer Chemist
Dr. D'Amelia' s research interests focus on using the principles of Polymer Chemistry and Material Science for the Synthesis and Physical Characterization of Organic Polymers Specifically: Polyvinyl Alkyl Esters (PVAE) and Polysiloxanes (Silicones). The research includes the synthesis and characterization of the bulk and dilute solution properties of Polyvinyl Acetate (PVAc), copolymers and derivatives thereof. The overall goal is the understanding of the structure-property relationship of these polymers and to develop practical industrial applications. Our research also includes laboratory work using different analytical instrumentation such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) to characterize the polymeric properties of these polymers.
Ling Huang, Ph.D. – Analytical Chemist
Dr. Huang's current research fields are the forensic applications of instrumental analysis. Specifically his group is developing fast and accurate NMR detection and quantification techniques for designer drug analysis, simple and low-cost extraction and HPLC cannabinoid quantification methods, and quantitative elemental analytical methods for gunshot residues with X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.
Kara Jaremko, Ph.D. – Organic Chemist
Dr. Jaremko's research interests are in the investigation of enzymes involved in natural product pathways, including fatty acids and non-ribosomal peptides (pharmaceuticals), using small molecule probes and inhibitors. Techniques used span from synthetic chemistry to protein expression and biochemical assays.
Scott Lefurgy, Ph.D. – Biochemist
Dr. Lefurgy's research focuses on the problem of bacterial antibiotic resistance—a major public health threat—by examining the structure and function of beta-lactamases. His group seeks to trace the evolutionary path by which these enzymes gain the ability to inactivate antibiotics. A deeper understanding of resistance mechanisms will inform the design of new, more robust antibiotics. Biochemical and microbiological techniques are used: growth selection, genetic engineering, recombinant expression, affinity chromatography, and UV-Vis spectroscopy.
Shivnath Mazumder, Ph.D. – Computational Chemist
Dr. Mazumder's research interests are (a) investigation of water-splitting mechanisms by transition metal catalysts in presence of sunlight and rational design of new water-splitting catalysts with improved catalytic activity and lifetime and (b) rational design of new metal-catalyzed cycloaddition reactions for synthesis of new natural products.
Emily Mundorff, Ph.D. – Biochemist
Dr. Mundorff's research interests are in the investigation of determinants of enzyme substrate specificity, using both study of mutants and computer modeling using specialized molecular modeling software.
Sabrina Sobel, Ph.D. – Inorganic Chemist
Dr. Sobel's current research focuses on educational development for General and Inorganic chemistry. She is working on developing and adapting inorganic synthesis experiments for an advanced inorganic lab class. In addition, she develops Literature Discussion lesson plans to guide students in the critical reading of articles on exciting new chemistry research. Lab experiments and lesson plans are published on the peer-reviewed educational resource website IONiC VIPEr (www.ionicviper.org).
Nanette Wachter, Ph.D. – Organic Chemist
Dr. Wachter's students are investigating organic reaction mechanisms; specifically, the aldol reactions of aromatic aldehydes and ketones, and the reaction of nitric acid with acetophenones. Students in her lab also have been synthesizing compounds capable of delivering nitric oxide and are investigating potential NO-releasing NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).