Research Opportunities

Research is the cornerstone of our chemical and biochemistry undergraduate programs. For over 50 years, every chemistry and biochemistry major has completed a faculty-mentored, thesis-based capstone research experience. We also collaborate with other departments in offering interdisciplinary PhD programs, including the PhD in Science of Advanced Materials and the MS or PhD in Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology.

As a Chemistry graduate and undergraduate student, you'll conduct cutting-edge research, present your findings at scientific conferences, and publish papers in quality journals. You will also collaborate our faculty on research projects with interesting applications such as designing new molecules for drug delivery, molecular tools for fighting tuberculosis, designing new materials for batteries and electronic devices and for biomedical applications and improving chemistry education. Some of these research projects are supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Our faculty members have also received national and regional recognition for their outstanding contributions to their research fields. Drs. Gabriel Caruntu and Benjamin Swarts have each received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Dr. Ben Swarts was also honored with the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Dr. Brad Fahlman recently received the Outstanding Achievement and Promotion of the Chemical Sciences Award from the Midland Section of American Chemical Society.

Grab a lab coat, a pair of goggles, and join us

Explore the different research topics below that are currently being pursued our faculty members and students. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student interested in learning more about getting involved in a faculty member's research, please feel free to contact them directly.

  • Analytical Chemistry | Determine the chemical identity and quantity of unknown materials
  • Biochemistry & Chemical Biology | Understand and manipulate the chemistry of biological systems
  • Inorganic Chemistry | Examine the properties, behavior, and creation of metals, minerals, and organometallic compounds
  • Materials & Nanoscience | Produce and study polymers and nanoscale architectures with specific chemical, biological, and physical properties
  • Organic Chemistry | Study the structure, reactivity, and synthesis of natural and man-made carbon-containing compounds
  • Physical Chemistry | Investigate how matter behaves on a molecular and atomic level and how chemical reactions occur

Find everything you'll need to get started in one of our research facilities

Chemistry Research in the Dow Science Complex

The Dow Science Complex is a four-level, 60,000 square foot facility that was built in 1991. In addition to standard and active learning classrooms and introductory and advanced-level teaching laboratories, the Dow Science Complex features 20 faculty research laboratories, each permitting multiple undergraduate and graduate students to carry out faculty-mentored chemistry research. Support laboratories for research instrumentation and services are also located in Dow, including for NMR spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, chromatography, radioactive materials research, and glass blowing. A full-service chemical stockroom and graduate student desk rooms are located on Dow's first floor.

Biochemistry & Chemical Biology Research in the Biosciences Building

Primarily constructed for research activities, the Biosciences Building is a four-level, 169,000 square foot facility that was built in 2016 with a budget of $95 million. This interdepartmental building houses biochemistry faculty from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, as well as faculty from the Department of Biology, the School of Engineering & Technology, and the College of Medicine. Consisting mainly of research laboratories, the Biosciences Building offers spacious open-concept labs with segregated student desks, support rooms for shared equipment, core facilities for confocal & electron microscopy and flow cytometry, and specialty labs for synthetic chemistry and work with pathogenic organisms and radioisotopes. Conference rooms for research meetings are abundant.

Major Analytical Instrumentation for Chemistry Research

NMR Spectroscopy

  • Varian Inova 500 NMR Spectrometer
  • Varian Mercury 300 NMR Spectrometer

Mass Spectrometry

  • Gas Chromatography (GC)-MS Instruments
  • Waters LCT Premier XE high-resolution ESI-MS
  • Bruker UltraFlex MALDI TOF-MS
  • Thermo LTQ XL MS/MS

Molecular Spectroscopy

  • Thermo Nicolet FT-IR Spectrometers
  • Varian Cary and Thermo UV/Vis Spectrometers
  • Varian Cary Eclipse Fluorescence Spectrometers

Chromatography

  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Instruments
  • Waters Nanoacquity Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC)
  • Eksigent Nano-Liquid Chromatography (nanoLC)
  • Akta Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC)
  • Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) Instruments
  • Dionex Ion Chromatography System

Polymer/Materials Characterization

  • Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM)
  • Horiba Raman Microscope
  • Hitachi HT-7700 Transmission Electron Microscope
  • Rigaku Powder X-ray Diffractometer (XRD)
  • Micrometrics Surface Area Measurement System
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzers
  • Biolin Theta-Lite Optical Tensiometer