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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

How do I get involved?

Undergraduate research in chemistry and biochemistry here at UNI is a valuable opportunity for students to gain practical knowledge and experiences that will provide a solid foundation for further study and future employment. Researchers develop more than just an ability to perform laboratory techniques. Critical thinking and problem solving, for example, are important parts of any research project. Summer researchers also have some fun with weekly barbecues on the patio, volleyball matches, and other social activities.

To start, look at the faculty research interests below or the summer research opportunities links to find out what general projects faculty are engaged in. Next, find projects that are interesting to you and email or drop by the office of the faculty to discuss their projects. The faculty are always glad to talk with students about their research projects!

You might also want to touch base with students who have been or are involved in research projects. Check out the list of student presentations at the Spring 2016 meeting of the American Chemical Society. The names of UNI undergraduates are in boldface.

Faculty Research Interests

All the UNI faculty are research active and most have students working with them on research projects during the academic year and/or during our summer research program. Fields of research include analytical chemistry, biochemistry, bioinformatics, chemistry education, environmental chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and physical chemistry. Many projects are interdisciplinary. Please check this listing of faculty research areas for more information.

  • Dr. John Bumpus is interested in computational chemistry as well as bioremediation.
    319-273-7220 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Martin Chin is interested in the synthesis of organometallic complexes for the activation and functionalization of small molecules.
    319-273-7898 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Dawn Del Carlo has students working in classroom laboratory and in creating professional development for teachers to make laboratory more effective learning experiences for their students.
    319-273-3296 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Jeffrey Elbert works on synthesizing organic compounds that fluoresce under specific conditions. He also has projects on modifying soy-based compounds to serve as substitutes for petroleum-based compounds in practical applications.
    319-273-2476 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Nalin Goonesekere explores protein function using bioinformatics tools. In addition, he is identifying the genes responsible for disease in the corn pathogen, F. verticillioides.
    319-273-3949 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Curtiss Hanson is developing new detectors and instruments for mass spectroscopy.
    319-273-2435 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. William Harwood uses eye-tracking to investigate how novices and experts use visual information to solve chemistry problems.
    319-273-2506 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Kirk Manfredi is exploring of natural compounds from prairie plants as sources of natural food preservatives.
    319-273-2295 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Eric Peterson is interested in protein folding and conformational changes; protein reaction dynamics and energetics; biophysical chemistry; time-resolved laser spectroscopy; and sol-gel encapsulation of proteins.  • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Joshua Sebree in interested in the organic processes taking place in the atmosphere of Titan and other celestial bodies. Of particular interest is how organic aerosols interact with solvents at cryogenic temperatures.  • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Ira Simet is investigating the function of different forms of DNA polymerase alpha.
    319-273-2130 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Laura Strauss develops and characterizes new ceramic materials for use as hydrogen storage materials for fuel cells.
    319-273-6139 • E-mailWeb Page

  • Dr. Colin Weeks designs 3D coordination polymers that combine metal centers and organic ligands.
    319-273-2805 • E-mailWeb Page

Have a summer available for doing research?

Learn about our paid Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

Acknowledgements: Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program was made possible by the hard work of both students, teachers and faculty. The UNI College of Natural Science, the UNI Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the UNI Office of International Programs provided stipends and support for this year's undergraduate students and the RAISE project funded research by high school teachers. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is most appreciative of the continuing support for undergraduate research given by the University of Northern Iowa Provost Office and the College of Natural Sciences.

Want to present your research at a professional conference?

Each year we send 10-15 students to present their research at the spring American Chemical Society meeting. See the most recent topics.
Learn more about ACS Student Affiliate activities at UNI.