Research

  • An important component of the chemistry major is a 3- semester hour research laboratory experience. (Students may enroll CHM 498.)This work gives students an understanding of what is involved in independent research and an opportunity to utilize their own creativity and hard work to make new discoveries and learn and develop new experimental techniques.
  • At the end of this endeavor, students have the opportunity to present their research findings at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium sponsored by the Rochester section of the American Chemical Society.
  • During the summer, many universities offer paid internships to undergraduates, placing them in functioning science labs to conduct their own research project. The intention of these internships is to prepare undergraduates for medical and graduate school and broaden their functional science knowledge.

Amy Kovach, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Kovach studies the enzymatic activing of ascorbate peroxidase in rice plants. Ascorbate peroxidase catalyzes the conversion of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.  Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species harmful to cells increase in the presence of salt.   Rice plants have shown the unusual ability to grow in conditions of high salinity due to the increased activity of ascorbate peroxidase in rice plants grown in these conditions.  Since rice roots can be grown easily, this effect can easily be studied.  The ascorbate peroxidase extracted from rice roots grown in varying concentrations of salinity can be studies kinetically. The goal of this project to develop a series of undergraduate laboratory experiments that give students a real life application to the science they learn in the classroom.

 

David Roll, Professor of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Human Biology
Dr. Roll’s research interests include Eukaryotic cell differentiation, animal cell membrane and cell surface carbohydrates, glycoprotein synthesis and secretion, viral cell transformation, topoisomerases and cell transformation, topoisomerase genes in Chlamydia.

 

Jason Taylor, Professor of Chemistry
With his research, Dr. Taylor primarily works with undergraduate students to synthesize stable nanoparticle probes that can be utilized in sensitive detection schemes or for specific biological recognition events.  Additionally, Dr. Taylor also has research interest in using chemical instrumentation in environmental analysis and remediation studies.  Sample research projects with students include the following:

  • Synthesis of water soluble semiconductor quantum dots (2-8 nm).
  • Synthesis of uniform gold nanoparticles (2-100 nm).
  • Examining the effect of iron oxide, gold, and silver nanoparticles on bacterial growth.
  • Passivating gold and quantum dot nanoparticles with a stable polymer coating to be used in fingerprint analysis.
  • Fluorescence quenching studies with gold nanoparticle sensors.
  • FRET analysis with quantum dot and gold nanoparticle probes.
  • Environmental analysis of semivolatile organic molecules present in local water systems
  • Analyzing drinking water for lead content.
  • Implications of nanoparticles released into the environment.