Faculty Research

Dr. Saliya DeSilva

  • Supramolecular systems that utilize photoinduced electron transfer (PET) as a means of translating a molecular recognition event into an optical signal.
  • Designing new molecules that allow the manipulation of several PET processes with multiple cation binding events.

Dr. James Dyer

  • Plant enzymology and molecular biology with a focus on the role of thiolases and cryptochromes.
  • Techniques include:
    • Bioinformatics
    • Cloning
    • Expression
    • purification
    • biochemical characterization
  • Collaborations with other groups involve work on elucidating structure and function relationships with these proteins.

Dr. Henk Eshuis

  • Computational chemistry to understand the relationship between molecular structure of catalysts and their catalytic activity with emphasis on the role played by weak, non-covalent interactions. 
  • The research focuses on alkane metathesis and development of new quantum chemistry methods to get more accurate and efficient ways to describe molecules.

Dr. Yvonne Gindt

  • The mechanism by which DNA repair enzymes recognize damaged DNA bases with emphasis on DNA photolyase, which recognizes and repairs UV-damaged DNA bases. 
  • DNA repair at extreme temperatures. 
  • Her laboratory uses biophysical chemistry techniques including:
    • Isothermal titration calorimetry
    • Spectroelectrochemistry
    • Fluorescence spectroscopy

Dr. Nina Goodey

  • Areas that fall under the umbrella of understanding the structure and function of enzymes: 
    1. The role of allosteric residues in drug binding
    2. Use of phylogenetics to predict ligand-target interactions to repurpose drugs
    3. Understanding the biochemistry of heavy metal contaminated soil.

Dr. Shifeng Hou

  • Chemical methods to functionalize graphene oxide to develop novel electrode materials to design bio-sensors to detect dopamine and to support platinum nanoparticles substrates for fuel cell applications. 
  • Applications of graphene oxide are also developed for heavy metal removal from the environment.

Dr. Brian Humphrey

  • Synthesis and characterization of electron transfer molecules (organic, inorganic, organometallic or polymeric). 
  • Such molecules have application in:
    • Photocells
    • Batteries
    • Cyclic electron transfer processes.

Dr. Jack Isidor

  • Organic synthesis of heterocyclic compounds modified by attachment to ionic liquids. 
  • Applications include:
    • Fluorescent sensors
    • Kinase inhibitors
    • Antitumor agents. 
  • Research involves synthesis, separations, and analysis.

Dr. Marc Kasner

  • Computational study of the steric and electronic contributions to structure and energy of α- and β-D-Glucopyanose.
  • Attempting to evaluate the degree to which electronic interactions and steric factors contribute to the stability of the structures and the conformational energy.

Dr. Dave Konas

  • Organic and bioorganic chemistry. 
  • Primarily focused on the synthesis of compounds that are designed to be used as enzyme inhibitors and other kinds of biological tools and probes.

Dr. Dave Rotella

  • Medicinal chemistry and drug discovery research. 
  • Utiliztion of synthetic organic chemistry to prepare new molecules for biological testing as enzyme inhibitors, antiviral, neuroprotective and anticancer agents. 
  • Collaborate to study these molecules and use this information to prepare more potent, drug like compounds.

Dr. Johannes Schelvis

  • Laser based techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and time-resolved absorption spectroscopy to study enzymatic reactions, enzyme-substrate and protein-DNA interactions, and the transfer of electrons and protons in proteins. 
  • The DNA repair enzyme DNA photolyase and its interaction with UV-damaged DNA are of current interest.

Dr. John Siekierka

  • Biochemistry of protein kinases. 
  • Major interest: development of inhibitors of parasitic protein kinases as probes for studying the role of these enzymes in protecting parasites from immune-mediated rejection by the host and as potential therapeutic agents. 
  • Alrernative interst: role of protein kinases in tumorigenesis.

Dr. David Talaga

  • Amyloid formation mechanisms. 
  • Amyloid is an aggregated form of protein that accumulates in Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Type II Diabetes, Spongiform Encephalopathies and others. 
  • Approaches include:
    • Single molecule fluorescence lifetime
    • Solid state nanopores
    • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
    • Interfacial effects on proteins
    • Novel methods of global data analysis
    • Theory in support thereof

Dr. Mark Whitener

  • Preparation and crystallographic study of coordination compounds with ligands that contain hydrogen bonding groups and reparation.
  • Characterization of quasiracemates containing transition metal complexes.