Research in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Please see the Faculty Directory for more information on each faculty member's research focus and current publications.

Research Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Professor Tong in the lab

    Analytical Chemistry at SDSU

    The Analytical Chemistry Group at SDSU is led by faculty members with expertise in each of five major areas of analytical instrumentation and methodology: mass spectrometry (Erica Forsberg), magnetic resonance (Greg Holland), separations (Chris Harrison), biosensors (Youngkwang Lee), and electrochemistry (Diane Smith), and laser spectroscopy (William Tong).

    These groups have a diverse range of interests coupled with these specialties:

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  • Biochemistry
  • protein design illustration

    Biochemistry at SDSU

    Research in the Biochemistry group -- our fastest growing division in SDSU Chemistry and Biochemistry -- presently includes studies of the following.

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  • Chemical Education
  • Komperda DBER slide

    Chemical Education at SDSU

    Chemical Education is the study of how we learn chemistry, whether it's physical concepts of matter, laboratory skills, pattern recognition in organic reaction mechanisms, or other tools and tricks that we use to acquire and pass on our understanding of molecular systems. Chemical education research at SDSU is carried out by:

    • Regis Komperda's group, studies the measurement of motivation, student and instructor strategies, and learning environment, all to help develop and quantitatively assess evidence-based teaching methods.

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  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • molecular modeling

    Inorganic Chemistry at SDSU

    The inorganic chemistry research program at SDSU includes investigations in environmental chemistry, the synthesis of optically active organometallics, and the characterization of bioinorganic compounds. Much of this work is carried out as part of a broader emphasis on organometallic chemistry that bridges the traditional divisions of inorganic and organic chemistry.

    • Jing Gu (photoactive materials for renewable energy)
    • Carl Carrano (crystallography, inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry)
    • Douglas Grotjahn (organometallic synthesis)
    • Yong Yan (new materials for chemical catalysis)

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  • Organic Chemistry
  • molecular modeling

    Organic Chemistry at SDSU

    The study of organic chemistry at SDSU spans the development of new methodologies, synthesis of organometallic and organoboron compounds, bioorganic photoactivity, and catalysis. Research groups in this area at SDSU are listed below.

    • Jeffrey Gustafson: Asymmetric catalysis, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology
    • Byron Purse: unnatural nucleosides, fluorescent probes, medicinal chemistry, self-assembly, molecular recognition
    • B. Mikael Bergdahl: asymmetric total synthesis of natural products, organometallic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry and chiral synthesis with the emphasis on catalysis and asymmetric induction.
    • Thomas Cole: boron/organometallic chemistry; computational organic chemistry.
    • Douglas Grotjahn: organometallics and bioinorganic chemistry.

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  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • researcher at lab bench

    Organometallic Synthetic Chemistry at SDSU

    At SDSU, the organic and inorganic chemistry programs work closely together, united by a shared interest in the synthesis of organics in conjunction with main group or transition metal elements. The principal researchers in this area at SDSU are listed below.

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  • Physical Chemistry
  • researcher at lab table

    Physical Chemistry at SDSU

    Physical Chemistry is the study of those fundamental laws that govern the behavior of all molecules. If you're a chemist, and you want to understand what you're doing, then you're a physical chemist. P-chem and p-chem-ish labs at SDSU include:

    • David Pullman's group, studying chemistry of nanomaterials and surfaces by experimental and and computational methods;
    • Andrew Cooksy's group, investigating the properties of reactive chemical intermediates in combustion, interstellar chemistry, and biochemistry;
    • Greg Holland's group, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy to probe the properties of biomaterials;
    • Bill Tong's group, pioneering the application of non-linear spectroscopy to a wide range of chemical analytes, including biochemicals;
    • Karen Peterson, studying the spectroscopic properties of weakly-bonded hydrocarbon complexes.

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Consult the following resources for additional information on research in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Search for research interests and subject area experts among the faculty: