Potential mentors in our program are listed below (alphabetically), with links to their REU projects and group research pages. They reside primarily in the Department of Chemistry, but key faculty members from other colleges are also included in our program. This affords REU students the opportunity to experience firsthand several aspects of research in the chemical sciences.
|Organic chemistry, Catalysis, Synthesis: From the discovery of new medicines to the development of sustainable energy technologies, many enterprises remain crucial for the advancement of modern society. Central to addressing these challenges is the need for precise control over chemical reactions. The Bandar Group explores creative modes of molecular activation that lead to general strategies for promoting, controlling and utilizing chemical reactivity. For example, we are interested in giving chemists exquisite control over proton transfer events by developing new reagents, reactions and catalytic paradigms. We are dedicated to advancing chemists’ ability to efficiently access chemical structures of broad importance. By pursuing processes featuring high practicality, selectivity and efficiency, we hope that these developments will find widespread use across the scientific community
|Materials: Polymer Chemistry; Catalytic Chemistry; Green/Sustainable Chemistry The Chen group’s research encompasses three major areas: polymer chemistry, catalytic chemistry, and green/sustainable chemistry. Our polymer chemistry projects focus on the precision (chemo/stereoselective and living) polymer synthesis of stereoregular and optically active chiral polymers, as well as the development of new polymerization reactions or methods for completely recyclable sustainable polymers. In the catalytic chemistry front, we develop new catalytic reactions or processes based on organic catalysts, main-group Lewis pairs, and chiral transition metal complexes, for activating small molecules and synthesizing macromolecules. In the green/sustainable chemistry area, we create new atom-economical and catalytic reactions or processes for nonfood biomass conversion and upgrading into renewable chemicals, liquid fuels, and polymeric materials, as well as design macromolecular recognition and self-assembly strategies to control organic/polymer photovoltaic active layer morphologies aiming for higher power conversion efficiencies of solar cells.
|Biomedical Sciences Dr. Chicco is a Professor of Biomedical Sciences, with expertise in cardiorespiratory physiology and metabolism. His laboratory studies how variations in lipid metabolism contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with a particular interest in the roles of polyunsaturated fatty acids and mitochondria. His research group conducts basic, integrative and translational studies utilizing animal models of human disease, dietary and pharmacological interventions, and genetic gain/loss-of-function approaches to target central regulators of metabolism in health and disease. These studies are complimented by collaborative projects with faculty at CSU and across the country investigating metabolic adaptations to physiological and pathogenic stress in humans, laboratory animals and non-model organisms.
|Physical: Molecular Biophysics; Reaction Kinetics on Membrane Surfaces; Single-Molecule Imaging; Time-Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy Our goal is to discover physical principles underlying biological processes through quantitative spectroscopic tools.
|Bioinorganic: Coordination Chemistry; Metals; Spectroscopy; Diabetes, Cancer, and Tuberculosis Research in the Crans group focuses on synthesis and characterization of vanadium, chromium and other transition metal coordination compounds with spectroscopic and mechanistic studies of these complexes. Examples are complexes derived from 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylic acid (H2dipic), aliphatic aminoalcohol ligands, and natural metabolite chelators including amino acids and redox active systems such as catechols. Many of these complexes have potential for treatment of a particular disease such as diabetes, cancer or occupational asthma. Some undergraduate projects involve synthesis and characterization of V, Cr or other transition metal complexes. After complex preparation and isolation UV-visible and IR spectroscopies are used for characterization of all the complexes. 51V, 13C and 1H NMR spectroscopy will be used for characterization of the vanadium(V) complexes. NMR spectroscopy is employed for the chromium complexes with appropriate oxidation states. EPR spectroscopy is used for vanadium(IV) and chromium(III) complexes.In a second type of project, students examine how metal complexes interact with enzyme or lipid interfaces. Some of these complexes are potent inhibitors for phosphatases and some projects have involved enzymatic studies with these compounds. Studies probing the interaction with lipid interfaces relate to model systems as to how metal complexes enter cells. These studies include working with microemulsions of synthetic surfactants and Langmuir monolayers. One recent project working with microemulsions has involved developing a formulation that allows intracavitary delivery of gelatous carboplatin to animals that had carcinomas surgically removed. Characterization of these materials includes investigating phase diagrams, optical properties, drug release and rheological characterizations.
|Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology Dr. Crick is Professor of Mycobacterial Biochemistry. The research interests of his laboratory involve the metabolism of isoprenoids, one of the most structurally diverse and biologically important families of compounds known in nature. Of particular interest are the M. tuberculosis enzymes involved in the synthesis of isoprenoids (such as prenyl phosphates) and the enzymes that are involved in isoprenoid metabolism, including the glycosyltransferases involved in the cell wall and lipid biosynthesis—keys enzymes in development of anti-mycobacterial drugs as well as drug resistance. An additional research focus is on the enzymes that transport (flip) activated prenyl phosphate-linked saccharides across bacterial membranes in pathogenic organisms.
|Biochemistry Professor Gourley’s teaching responsibilities within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at DePauw include courses on thermodynamics, kinetics and quantum mechanics as they apply to chemical systems. She also teaches a laboratory-based course on the interface between theory and experiment. Like all of her departmental colleagues she contributes to courses in the core curriculum by teaching Introduction to Inorganic Compounds, Chemical Stoichiometry and Thermodynamics, Equilibrium and kinetics. She has taught topics courses on Computational Chemistry, Molecular Reaction Dynamics and Group Theory. In addition to teaching within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Professor Gourley has also taught Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning and the Science Research Fellows First-year and Capstone Seminars.
|Analytical: Low-Cost Paper-Based Analytical Devices The Henry Group develop cutting-edge lab-on-a-chip technologies, to study environmental and biological phenomena. Current research projects include the development of paper- and polymer-based microfluidic systems, for the colorimetric and electrochemical quantification of biologically- and environmentally-relevant analytes (e.g. bacteria, neurotransmitters, heavy metals, etc.). Major techniques used include microfabrication, chromatography, electrochemistry, electrophoresis, microscopy, and 3D printing. Detailed information about current research projects can be found on the Research page.
|Materials and Mechanisms for a Sustainable Future Our research leverages organic chemistry to design advanced polymeric materials for applications in sustainability, catalysis, and soft materials.
|Physical Computational Modeling of Bioenergy. Develope computational catalyst design and apply computational tools to both enzymatic and catalytic conversion processes of sustainable chemicals and polymers from plants (biomass) for a new bio-energy infrastructure. Mechanism-driven discovery of biopolymer upgrading and material design via molecular and quantum mechanics. Machine learning approach in catalyst design, and (bio)fuel and chemical property prediction tool kit development.
|Physical/Materials: 2-D Infrared Spectroscopy; Optics; Imaging of Complex Materials and Media Research in our lab will be focused on elucidating the molecular level details that drive nano- to microscopic properties in condensed phase systems. Initially, our group will exploit the structural and temporal resolution of two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy to address questions related to pore-formation in lipid membranes, charge transport in polyelectrolyte membranes, and the nano-aggregation process of asphaltenes. In order to gain further insight to these systems, we will complement our experimental results with computer simulation and theory. Students will become experts in nonlinear spectroscopy and will develop general skills in optics, computer programming, and synthesis.
|Bioinorganic Chemistry, Biospectroscopy, Imaging, and Mapping, and Physical Inorganic Chemistry A list of current projects can be found here.
|Physical: Spectroscopy; Dynamics; Nanostructures Research in the Levinger group focuses on dynamics of molecules and chemistry in the condensed phase, especially molecular assemblies, molecules at liquid interfaces and in confined environments, such as reverse micelles. We use a range of spectroscopic techniques to explore these inhomogeneous environments including steady-state and time-resolved ultrafast laser spectroscopy. Working on their own project under the guidance of other group members, undergraduate students participating in this research can work on projects that range from preparation and characterization of new reverse micellar systems to making measurements using laser spectroscopy. In one potential project, an REU student could use time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to learn about the similarities and differences of water at interfaces and confined to nanoscopic proportions in reverse micelles. REU students may also work on collaborative projects with the Crans or Bartels groups.
|Organic: Organic Synthesis, Catalysis, Sustainability New reagents to make medicines more efficiently. Catalytic methods to make carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds. New methods to transform aromatic heterocycles into biologically active derivatives.
|Polymer Chemistry, Catalysis, Materials Science Development of organic and organometallic catalysts; Visible light mediated photoredox catalysis for polymerization and small molecule transformations; Sustainable polymeric materials; Applications of self-assembled block copolymer nanostructures as photonic crystals.
|Materials: Solid State Chemistry; Biomineralization; Hard Magnetic Materials; Semiconductors; Superconductors The Neilson Laboratory is interested in fundamental solid-state and materials chemistry, elucidating synthesis-structure-property relationships in functional materials that will lead to “materials by design”. The research primarily focuses on understanding electronic properties, magnetism, superconductivity, and emergent physical properties in inorganic materials. We synthesize materials using high-temperature solid-state and low-temperature solution-based chemistries, followed by advanced characterization of atomistic structure and physical properties. Our additional use of theory and simulation provides insight into their relations. REU students will take on independent projects to prepare new functional materials and characterize their atomic structure and properties. The students will learn synthetic techniques from a wide array of methods, x-ray diffraction, physical properties measurements, and computer programming to analyze the data.
|Informatics and Computational Models applied to Catalyst Design and Reaction Mechanisms We use quantum-mechanical calculations and modern methods in data science to understand how reactions happen and to predict and design new catalysts. Applications include selective catalysts for organic synthesis, conversion of biomass into useful products, and fuel-property predictions.
|Materials: Batteries; Photovoltaics; Nanostructured Materials The Prieto group is interested in developing new ways of synthesizing nanoscale solid state materials with useful and interesting properties in three main areas: (1) developing a three-dimensional nanostructured architecture for lithium-ion batteries with high power density, (2) synthesizing nanoparticles of earth abundant, non toxic elements for inexpensive and efficient photovoltaics, and (3) synthesizing nanoparticles of Mg exhibiting improved kinetics for hydrogen storage applications. Each of these projects requires the synthesis of nanostructured materials, the characterization of these materials (typically with diffraction and microscopy techniques) as well as the incorporation of these materials into functional devices. REU students will learn how to make and characterize new materials, as well as build functional electronic devices.
|Inorganic: Electronic Structure Calculations; Solar Photoconversion; Protein-Ligand Interactions Research in the Rappé group focuses on understanding chemical structure, reactivity, photoconversion, and magnetism through quantum and molecular mechanics. REU students will be involved with computation of activation or excitation energies for practical chemical transformations. The goal is to gain a molecular-level understanding of the interactions between weakly coupled electrons essential for control of chemical reactivity and photoconversion. The students will learn the basics of scientific computer programming, quantum mechanics and bonding, and modeling of reactivity and photoexcitation.
|Materials/Analytical/Physical: Super-Resolution Microscopy, Renewable Energy, Single-Particle Imaging The Sambur group focuses on developing imaging methods to study single nanoparticles. The group is excited to host an REU student to image gold nanoparticles with super-optical resolution imaging methods.
|Inorganic: Coordination Chemistry; Spin-Crossover; Single-Molecule Magnets; Solar Photoconversion Research in the Shores group is directed toward the design, synthesis and characterization of inorganic coordination compounds with tailored magnetic and electronic properties. We seek to understand and control electronic spin both to answer fundamental questions in magnetism as well as to provide new materials for chemical sensing, data storage and solar photoconversion. We are currently focused on the following projects: (1) using host-guest interactions to drive spin state switching in a controlled manner, which has applications in chemosensing and imaging; (2) preparing paramagnetic organometallic complexes as potential single-molecule magnet materials; (3) exploring new dyes and semiconductor combinations that improve hole-transfer photochemistry, which will pave the way toward more efficient solar energy conversion schemes. Undergraduate researchers work on their own projects with the guidance of graduate students and postdocs. REU students will be involved with all aspects of materials design, synthesis, and characterization. They will become familiar with air-sensitive synthesis techniques, X-ray crystallography, UV-visible, IR, and NMR spectroscopies, and measurement of magnetic properties with SQUID magnetometry.
|Chemical and Biological Engineering At CSU, Dr. Snow focuses on the prediction and design of biomolecular structure and specificity. Application areas of interest include bioenergy, synthetic biology, pharmacogenetics, and structural biology. Methods of particular interest include directed evolution, macromolecular crystallography, and new algorithms for reliable computational protein engineering.