Faculty & Research

Faculty

Research in the Department of Chemistry is loosely organized according to seven paths: analytical, chemical biology, chemistry education research, inorganic, materials, organic and physical chemistry. Faculty are often affiliated with more than one of these seven paths, as summarized below. They also explore a wide array of research topics, which branch out into other areas including astronomy, medical science, pharmacy, and physics, to name a few.

Get to know the faculty by path (to the right) or see what each person studies and learn more about their research below.

 

Meet the Faculty

FACULTY BY RESEARCH AREA

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Analytical

Chemical Biology

Chemistry Education

Inorganic

Materials

Organic

Physical

Professors of Chemistry

Berry, John

Credentials: Inorganic | Organic

Research Website

 

Bioinorganic, Physical

 

• Coordination Chemistry
• Electronic Structure and Bonding
• Synthetic Chemistry
• Crystallography
• Spectroscopy

Bertram, Timothy

Credentials: Analytical

Research Website

 

Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry

 

• Atmospheric and environmental chemistry

• Trace gas reactions at atmospheric interfaces

• Air-sea exchange of reactive trace gases and aerosol particles

• Chemical ionization mass spectrometry

• Distributed networks for air pollution monitoring

 

Also Affiliate Prof. Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences & Environmental Chemistry and Technology

Blackwell, Helen

Credentials: ChemBio | Organic

Research Website

 

Bioorganic, chemical biology, synthesis, biochemistry

 

• Cell-cell signaling, or “quorum sensing,” in bacterial pathogens and symbionts

• Chemical biology approaches to intercept cell-cell signaling

• Small molecule and peptide synthesis for chemical probe discovery

• Interspecies and inter-kingdom chemical signaling; methods to control the growth of bacterial communities

• New materials and surfaces for antimicrobial and antivirulence applications

Boydston, AJ

Credentials: Materials | Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Polymer Synthesis, Functional Materials

 

• Photoredox catalysis and polymerizations

• Stimuli-responsive materials and polymer mechanochemistry

• Additive manufacturing (3DP)

Brunold, Thomas

Credentials: ChemBio  |  Inorganic  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Bioinorganic, Physical Inorganic

 

• Geometric and electronic structures of cofactors and metalloprotein active sites

• Electronic absorption, circular dichroism, magnetic circular dichroism, resonance Raman, and EPR spectroscopies

• Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics and density functional theory calculations

• Enzymes involved in coenzyme B12 biosynthesis and B12-dependent enzymes

• Thiol dioxygenases

Buller, Andrew R.

Credentials: ChemBio  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Biocatalysis, Protein Engineering, Biophysics, Synthesis

 

• Biocatalytic synthesis of biological building blocks

• Protein engineering methods to enhance enzyme function

• Biophysical chemistry of the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate

• X-ray crystallography

• Natural products biosynthesis

Burstyn, Judith

Credentials: ChemBio  |  Inorganic

Research Website

 

Bioinorganic, Physical Inorganic

 

• Metalloprotein biochemistry and biophysics

• Hydrogen bonding in heme-thiolate proteins

• Allostery in gas-sensing transcription factors

• Heme as a regulatory cofactor in sulfur metabolism

• Heme in microRNA processing

 

Also Irving Shain Chair of Chemistry

Cavagnero, Silvia

Credentials: Analytical | ChemBio | Organic | Physical

Research Website

 

Protein folding and aggregation in the cell, laser-driven NMR, single-molecule fluorescence, cryo-EM

 

• Protein folding, misfolding and dynamics in the cellular environment

• Role of the ribosome and molecular chaperones in protein folding, aggregation and prion diseases

• Laser-driven multidimensional NMR spectroscopy and nuclear spin hyperpolarization

• Time-resolved fluorescence, synergistic NMR / single-particle cryo-EM

Choi, Kyoung-Shin

Credentials: Analytical  |  Inorganic  |  Materials

Research Website

 

Energy, Materials for Electrode and Catalyst Development

 

• Electrochemical synthesis of electrode and catalyst materials

• Solar energy conversion

• Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical energy storage and conversion

• Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical biomass conversion

• Electrochemical desalination and water treatment

Coon, Joshua

Credentials: Analytical  |  ChemBio

Research Website

 

Mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, and structural biology

 

• Chemical instrumentation

• Structural biology

• Proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics

• Systems biology

• Data analysis and computation

 

Also Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry

Feng, Dawei

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Metal-Organic Frameworks, Batteries, Electronics

 

• Semiconductive metal-organic frameworks

• Rechargable ion batteries

• Redox flow batteries

• Solid electrolyte

• Inorganic-polymer hybrid materials

 

Also Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Forest, Katrina

Credentials: Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Structural Microbiology

 

• Light sensing by phytochromes

• Design of novel phytochrome-based fluorophores

• Retraction mechanism of bacterial Type IV pili

• Structures of proteins required for symbiosis

 

Also Professor of Bacteriology 

Fredrickson, Daniel

Credentials: Inorganic | Materials | Physical

Research Website

 

Solid-State, Crystallography, Theoretical Chemistry

 

• Structural chemistry of metals, alloys, and intermetallic phases

• Chemical bonding theory

• Crystallography

• Structure-properties relationships

Garand, Etienne

Credentials: Analytical | Physical

Research Website

 

Laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, catalysis, computational chemistry

 

• Characterization of catalytic reaction intermediates

• Solvent effects on molecular structure and reactivity

• Excited-state spectroscopy of organic chromophores

• Instrumentation development for mass spectrometry and spectroscopy

Ge, Ying

Credentials: Analytical | Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Cardiac Systems Biology

 

• Ultra high-resolution mass spectrometry-based top-down proteomics

• Nanoproteomics: novel proteomics strategies enabled by nanotechnology

• Top-down proteomics of myofilaments in heart failure

• Cardiac signaling and systems biology

• Stem cell and cardiac regeneration

 

Also Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology

Gellman, Samuel

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Bioorganic, Synthesis, Biomolecular Structure/Dynamics, Chemical Biology

 

• Protein-inspired oligomers with well-defined folding patterns (“foldamers”)

• Inhibition of specific protein-protein interactions with foldamers

• Selective agonists for polypeptide-activated receptors, and the origins of receptor signaling mechanisms

• Foldamer-based catalysts

• Structural characterization of membrane-embedded peptides and proteins

Gilbert, Pupa

Credentials: Physical

Research Website

 

Biomineralization, Synthetic Biomaterials, Methods Development in Synchrotron Spectro Microscopies, Saving Coral Reef Ecosystems

 

• Nano-to-Microscale Structure of natural biominerals: teeth, corals, seashells

• Biomineral formation mechanisms: amorphous precursors, crystal ordering

• Structure-property relations in teeth

 

Also Professor of Physics

Golden, Jennifer

Credentials: Organic

Research Website

 

Organic Synthesis, Medicinal Chemistry

 

• Synthetic methodology efforts leading to new scaffold development

• Medicinal chemistry optimization and drug discovery

• Synthetic medicinal chemistry focused on the development of anti-infective and anticancer agents

 

Also Assistant Professor of Pharmacy

Goldsmith, Randall

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Single-Molecule Spectroscopy, Nanophotonics, Catalysis, Biophysics, Microfluidics

 

• Investigating chemical and biophysical processes at the level of individual molecules and making molecular movies!

• Developing cutting-edge instrumentation for performing single- molecule measurements, resonators, microdroplets, cavity-enhanced spectroscopies, fluorescence, microfluidic traps

• Make use of chemical synthesis and nanofabrication as well as microscopy/spectroscopy

• We look at biomolecules, organometallic molecular catalysts, electronic materials, and anything else that excites us

Gong, Shaoqin Sarah

Credentials: Materials

Research Website

 

Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Polymers

 

• Polymer-based biomaterials

• Nanomedicines

• Drug delivery systems

• Genome editing

• Tissue engineering scaffolds

 

Also Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine & Tissue Engineering, Theme Faculty at Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Gopalan, Padma

Credentials: Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Functional organic/polymeric nanostructured materials

 

• Polymer synthesis for nanotube electronics

• Polymer coatings for stem cell biology

• Synthesis and assembly of block copolymers and polymer brushes

• Design of non-toxic monomers for functional polymers

 

Also Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Hamers, Robert

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Nanomaterials, Surface and Interface Chemistry, Quantum-Based Sensing, Surface Analysis

 

• Surface chemistry and interactions of nanomaterials

• X-ray and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy

• Optical properties of nanoscale and bulk materials

• Electron emission into liquids

• Nv centers in diamond for quantum-based chemical sensing

Hermans, Ive

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Sustainable Chemistry

 

• Functional materials and characterization

• Heterogeneous catalysis

• Sustainable chemistry

• Natural gas upgrading; renewables-to-chemicals; chemical building blocks

• In situ spectroscopy

Hoskins, Aaron

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Single-Molecule Biophysics, Gene Expression and Regulation

 

• Assembly of RNA/protein complexes

• RNA recognition during pre-mRNA splicing

• Molecular mechanism of spliceosomal ATPases

• New tools for studying ribonucleoproteins in vitro and in cells

 

Also Associate Professor of Biochemistry

Huang, Xu Hui

Credentials: ChemBio | Physical

Research Website

 

Theorical Chemistry and Molecular Biophysics

 

• Markov state modeling of biomolecular dynamics.
• Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven inhibitor design.
• Integral equal theory for solvation and protein-ligand binding.
• Functional conformational changes of RNA polymerase.

 

Joins the department in Fall 2021

Jin, Song

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Nanomaterials, Solid-State Materials, Electrocatalysis, Solar Energy and Energy Storage, Optoelectronics, Biomaterials

 

• Nanomaterials (0D, 1D and 2D) and solid state chemistry

• Electrocatalysis, electrochemical energy conversion and energy storage

• Solar energy conversion, photoelectrochemistry

• Optoelectronics and Spintronics (Skyrmionics)

• Biological applications of nanomaterials and proteomics

 

Also Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Landis, Clark

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Synthesis

 

• Ligands for enantioselective hydroformylation

• High pressure NMR reactors

• Kinetics and mechanism of catalytic alkene polymerization and hydroformylation

• Synthetic applications of hydroformylation

• Natural bond orbital methods

Li, Lingjun

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Bioanalytical, Mass Spectrometry, Separations, Neurochemistry, Proteomics/Peptidomics, Glycomics, Metabolomics

 

• Development of mass spectrometry-based tools for neuroscience research

• Novel chemical tags for multiplexed quantitation of proteins, peptides and glycans

• MALDI mass spectrometric imaging technology development and applications

• Ion mobility mass spectrometry to probe peptide and protein structural dynamics

• Disease biomarker discovery enabled by large-scale proteomics and metabolomics

 

Also Professor of Pharmacy

Lynn, David

Credentials: Materials  |  Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Polymers, Synthesis, Interfacial Chemistry

 

• Soft materials and interfaces

• Polymer synthesis and characterization

• Reactive and responsive materials

• Thin films and coatings

• Biotechnology and nanotechnology

 

Also Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Martell, Jeffrey

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Enzyme-Mimicking Catalysis, Bioinorganic, Biomaterials, Synthesis, Energy

 

• Harnessing biotechnology for high-throughput catalyst discovery and molecular recognition

• Porous protein framework materials

• Directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes

• DNA nano-scaffolds as supramolecular catalysts

• Applications: synthetic methodology, energy, environmental remediation, diagnostics, targeted therapeutics, chemical separations

McMahon, Robert

Credentials: Materials  |  Organic  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Physical Organic, Synthesis, Interfacial Chemistry

 

• Astrochemistry

• Mechanistic organic chemistry of harsh reaction environments

• Photochemistry and spectroscopy of reactive intermediates

• Chemical reactions involving quantum tunneling

• Organic materials chemistry

Mecozzi, Sandro

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Bioorganic, Synthesis, Physical Organic, Polymers, Drug Delivery

 

• Ionic liquids

• Self-Assemby and liquid crystals

• Molecular recognition of RNA

• Drug delivery and imaging

 

Also Professor of Pharmacy

Nathanson, Gilbert

Credentials: Physical

Research Website

 

Interfacial Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry

 

• Molecular beam studies of collisions and reactions at gas-liquid interfaces

• Environmental reactions at the surfaces of sea spray aerosols

• Acid dissociation and proton exchange at the surface of water

• Solvated electrons at the diamond-water and vacuum-water interfaces

• Mechanisms of evaporation of jet fuel and common liquids

Pazicni, Sam

Credentials: Chemistry Education Research

Research Website

 

Learning Environment Design and Assessment, Faculty Professional Development, Spatial Reasoning, Systems Thinking

 

• Equity in the chemistry classroom

• General and inorganic chemistry education

• Language and chemistry learning

• Student engagement with feedback

Pedersen, Joel

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Environmental Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Nanomaterials

 

 

• Interaction of nanoparticles with biological membranes and proteins

• Environmental transformation of engineered nanoparticles

• Interfacial processes controlling the environmental fate and bioavailability of organic contaminants

• Transmission of prion diseases via environmental routes

• Novel methods to detect prions in environmental matrices

 

Also Professor of Soil Science and Civil & Environmental Engineering

Record, Thomas

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Biophysical Thermodynamics, Kinetics

 

• Kinetics and mechanism of function of RNA polymerase as a molecular machine in transcription initiation

• Conformational changes in transition states and intermediates of protein and nucleic acid processes using solute and salt effects on rate constants.

• Thermodynamics and mechanism of protein folding, nucleic acid helix formation

• Free energies of hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic and other interactions of C, N, O unified atoms of amides and proteins in water from measurements of small solute interactions

 

Also Professor of Biochemistry

Rienstra, Chad M.

Credentials: Analytical | ChemBio | Physical

Research Website

 

Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy, Computational Structural Biology, Molecular Dynamics

 

• Amyloids involved in Parkinson and other diseases
• Antifungal drugs (such as amphotericin B) that bind sterols
• Membrane proteins in native lipid bilayers
• Time-dependent quantum mechanics and NMR theory
• Design and construction of magic-angle spinning NMR probes
• Wide range of collaborations with NMRFAM users

 

Also Professor of Biochemistry & Co-Director, National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM)

Schmidt, J.R.

Credentials: Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Theoretical Chemistry, Energy

 

• Theoretical and computational chemistry

• Computational heterogeneous catalysis

• Nucleation and growth of nano-porous materials

• First-principles force field development

• High performance scientific computing

Schomaker, Jennifer

Credentials: ChemBio | Inorganic | Organic

Research Website

 

Synthetic Methods, Catalysis/Catalyst Design, Total Synthesis, Chemical Biology

 

• Stereochemically rich building blocks from allenes

• Asymmetric Ag(I) complexes for enantioselective C-H functionalizations

• Aziridinium ylides and amidoallyl cations as key intermediates in syntheses of drug-like N-heterocycles

• Application of methods to total synthesis of bioactive natural products and analogues

• Designer bioorthogonal labeling and photoswitchable reagents for biological applications

• New modes of reactivity for first-row transition metal catalysts

Schreier, Marcel

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Electrified Interfaces, Electrochemical Energy Storage, Electrocatalysis Interfacial Charge Transfer

 

• Electrochemical interface and catalyst surface chemistry interactions

• Reaction scope of electrocatalytic transformations, extended beyond activation of small inorganic molecules

• Interconversion of electrical and chemical energy

• Processes at electrochemical interfaces

• Renewable electricity storage

• Electrification of chemical industry

 

Also Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Schwartz, David C.

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Single-Molecule Genomics, Bioinformatics, Nanofluidics, Synthetic Biology

 

• Development of single molecule systems for personalized medicine, cancer genomics

• Creation of functional systems for many types of genome analysis engendering large data sets for providing scalable biological insights

• Development of a nanofluidic-based, cell-free system for genome construction that will allow construction of mammalian chromosomes, or large-scale molecular objects

• Investigation of molecular nanoconfinement and new principles for development of genome analysis systems featuring electronic detection

 

Also Professor of Genetics

Sibert, Ned

Credentials: Physical

Research Website

 

Theoretical chemistry

 

• Developing vibrational probes for studying molecular conformations

• Understanding dynamics of multiple energy surfaces

• Studying vibrational energy flow in gas and condensed phases

• Elucidating proton transfer in the quantum regime

Smith, Lloyd

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website

 

Bioanalytical Chemistry, Quantitative Biology, Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Proteogenomics

and Bioinformatics

 

• New proteomics tools, technologies and protocols to further the understanding of complex biological systems

• Bioinformatics software development for comprehensive elucidation of peptides, proteoforms and proteoform families

• Proteogenomic discovery of protein variation including post-translational modifications, sequence variants and splice variants

• New technologies and strategies to reveal the DNA:protein and RNA:protein interactomes

• Developing and applying new bioanalytical technologies to reveal key molecular interactions in HIV, cancer immunotherapy and diabetes

Stahl, Shannon

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Synthesis, Energy

 

• Homogeneous catalysis: Catalyst development and mechanistic studies of catalytic reactions

• Electrocatalysis: applications to energy (fuel cells), biomass conversion and chemical synthesis

• Synthetic organic chemistry, emphasizing oxidation methods that use O2 as the oxidant

• Organometallic, organic and inorganic chemistry related to catalysis

• Green chemistry related to pharmaceutical/chemical synthesis, energy and biomass conversion

Stowe, Ryan

Credentials: Chemistry Education  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Sensemaking, cognition, assessment

 

• Molecular-level sensemaking

• Learning environment characterization

• Model-based reasoning in organic chemistry

• Resource theory of cognition

• Evidence-centered design of assessments

Tang, Weiping

Credentials: ChemBio | Organic

Research Website

 

Organic Synthesis and Chemical Biology

 

• Synthetic methodology development for the synthesis of bioactive compounds
• Carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology
• Targeted protein degradation for drug discovery
• Assay development and mechanism of action studies for bioactive compounds

 

Also Professor of Pharmacy

Wang, Tina

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Protein Folding, Directed Evolution, Synthetic Biology

 

• Continuous evolution of chaperones to improve or retarget client protein folding

• Addressing constraints on protein evolution to improve fitness of challenging targets

• Small-molecule biosensor design

• Microbial stress responses

Weix, Daniel

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Synthesis, Mechanism

 

• Development of new catalytic methods for organic synthesis

• Discovery of new lead ligand structures for use in catalysis

• Study of unusual organometallic mechanisms involving radicals and multiple metals

• Exploration of nanomaterial-metal complex conjugates as a new frontier for catalysis

• Application of these new methods to long-standing challenges in organic chemistry

Wickens, Zachary

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Catalysis, Organic Synthesis, Sustainable Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry

 

• Discovery and development of sustainable methods for organic synthesis

• Synthetic organic electrochemistry and photochemistry

• Organic and organometallic radical ions as a new family of homogeneous catalysts and reagents

• Mechanistic study of organic reactions

• Synthesis of biologically active molecules

Widicus Weaver, Susanna

Credentials: Analytical | Physical  |  Astronomy

Research Website

Faculty Page

 

Molecular Spectroscopy, Astrochemistry

 

• Laboratory astrochemistry

• Rotational spectroscopy

• Astrochemical modeling

• Observational astronomy

 

Also Professor of Astronomy

Wright, John

Credentials: Analytical  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Nonlinear Molecular Spectroscopy, Laser Spectroscopy/Dynamics, Nanoscale Heterostructures, Transition Metal Complexes, Oxygen Evolving Complex, Charge Transfer

 

• Development of Multidimensional Schrodinger Cat State Spectroscopies

• Quantum state resolved charge transfer in organic and inorganic synthesis

• Multidimensional spectroscopy of transition metal coordination complexes and the oxygen evolution center

• Spectroscopy of nanostructures and interfaces

Photocatalytic and photovoltaic materials

Yang, Yang

Credentials: Physical

Research Website

 

Theoretical Chemistry

 

• Developing multicomponent density functional theory for studying nuclear quantum effects

• Developing theoretical methods to investigate excited states and bridging the classical and quantum pictures of many physical and chemical phenomena, such as the nuclear vibrations and electronic plasmons

• Exploring topics in machine learning and quantum computing

Yethiraj, Arun

Credentials: Physical

Research Website

 

Statistical Mechanics, Theoretical Chemistry, Biophysics, Polymer Physics

 

• Statistical mechanics of complex fluids

• Polymer physics

• Complex coacervates

• Room temperature ionic liquids

• Coarse-grained force fields for complex fluids

Yoon, Tehshik

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website

 

Synthesis, Catalysis

 

• Synthetic organic photochemistry

• Enantioselective catalysis

• Understanding mechanism in photochemical reactions

• Generation and control of reactive radical intermediates

• Synthesis of complex bioactive organic structures

Yu, Lian

Credentials: Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Solid State Chemistry, Crystallization, Interfacial Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Materials

 

• Surface diffusion

• Crystal polymorphism

• Crystal nucleation and growth in molecular glasses

• Polymer additives and nano-coating for improving materials

 

Also Professor of Pharmacy

Zanni, Martin

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

 

Biomolecular, Laser Spectroscopy/Dynamic

 

• Ultrafast 2D spectroscopy in the infrared and visible

• Optical engineering of new ultrafast microscopies

• Amyloid fiber formation in Type 2 diabetes and other diseases

• Protein structural dynamics of ion channels

• Singlet fission and energy transfer for new solar cells

• Atomic Force Microscopy imaging coupled to ultrafast laser spectroscopy